This short story popped into my head fully formed and was heavily influenced by years of binge watching Investigation Discovery and reading Edgar Allen Poe. I always wondered what would of happened in Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ if the narrator hadn’t developed a guilty conscience. Although not explicitly stated, Katy and William are like Bonnie and Clyde members of a mafia or at least I see them that way. I also explore themes that evil isn’t born but rather it’s made. My parents always said, you are who you hang out with. I’d like to think this story explores that possibility. I wanted to share this story here on my blog with all of you because I’m proud of it. So here, without further ado, I give you a sample of my new short story ‘Two Articulate Officers Talking To A Shallow Sinner’
Two Articulate Officers Talking to A Shallow Sinner
A Somewhat Short Story
by B.M. Schmidt
(Please note that NO part of this story may be shared or reproduced without explicit permission from the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)
Late June, 1991
Rain drove downward through the darkness in vast, angry torrents. By the edge of the sea, the windows of a small house glowed with soft, golden light. A lone figure stood in the window, watching the scenery around her as though waiting for something or someone.
The figure, a woman by the name of Katy Parker, was thinking about William Downy again. William was an enigma of sorts with stormy grey eyes and white-blonde hair. Tall and lanky as he was intimidating, her feelings for him were murky at best. There were moments she loved him; after all he was her friend they’d shared many drinks and laughs together once upon a time but there were times she couldn’t stand him; he’d lied to her, picked apart her flaws and could never admit fault in anything and slowly he chipped away their friendship with his arrogance.
Katy walked over to the window and reflected on her stormy surroundings. She had always loved the white sandy beaches of Clearwater, Florida with its deep, and steep dunes which dropped down into treacherous ditches. The ocean was churning violent waves of green, blue and grey crashing upon the beach violently. The sky lit up in moments which lightening streaked savagely against it. Yes, it was picturesque but it was also a place that gave her the tendency to feel on edge.
Then she saw something in the distance, or rather someone trespassing up her crushed seashell pathway towards the door. It was William, his long violet cloak flapping in the relentless wind as he strode down the garden path.
Katy grinned like a Cheshire Cat which ate a canary. She glanced at her own reflection. She was a tall, willowy woman with long, thick shiny dark hair, and thin red lips. She had heavily-lidded eyes with long eyelashes, and bronzed skin which made her appear as though she’d spent a lot of time in the sun. While she had the classic great good looks, her personality was anything but. The years of working beside William had taken their toll on her and her friends saw a marked change in her demeanor. To say they mourned the loss of who she once was an understatement. She was arrogant, deranged and detached where she was once modest, rational and empathetic but those days were gone. Even worse, she didn’t miss them or the feelings of powerlessness that came with such weaknesses.
But not even a sadistic person who had once known compassion like Katy, was prepared for what William had in store on this evening.
The rain hammered steady like a heartbeat against a rib cage, making Katy pace like a wild cougar. She grabbed a shiny metal gun that had been tucked safely in a drawer nearby and she massaged it with her fingers reverently. Closer. He was even closer now.
With a deep breath, Katy stepped outside as William came towards her, the wind fiercely whipping her hair and she could see the cruel glint in his eye. “William,” she smiled sadistically, inclining her head in mock respect. “What brings you here at this hour?”
“Katy,” growled William, with a delightful glare that reminded Katy of opportunistic foxes when cornering their prey. “I see you’ve come prepared” a chuckle escaped his cracked, dry lips. “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. They’re coming for you, Katy, you’re a witness…Tony says your a liability and I was given orders to take you out.”
Katy looked back, even more sharply and still fingering the metal 9 millimeter gun. “Well you’re never going to get me,” she replied. “Don’t you see? Coming here tonight was a big mistake, William…your life will never be the same…say a prayer, take a moment to see what you did to me what a monster you turned me into,” she laughed darkly. “You miscalculated my abilities…what a pity there’s only one of us leaving in a body bag tonight and it won’t be me, love.”
William pulled his revolver out and he too caressed it lovingly in his hands, “there’s only one bullet in here, Katy, the rest a blanks…I think you’ll find I only need one shot though.”
They circled each other pointing their guns square at each other’s skulls daring the other to make the first move. Once thick as thieves and now adversaries they eyed each other like starving vultures waiting to swoop down and attack. There was only darkness reflected back from the depths of the windows to their souls.
In a move which nearly killed her, William lunged forward and fired a shot which rang out into the momentary silence between thunder and was surprisingly a blank. Wasting no time, Katy grabbed the sleek, shiny gun in her hand and brought it down on William’s skull.
William’s feet trembled and his lips quivered in agony. Katy didn’t remember how he looked, in fact, she doesn’t remember much other then bringing the gun down methodologically against his skull over and over again. Blood coated the gun handle and caked beneath her finger nails but she herself was unaware of this….
The scene has changed blessedly. She’s now on the white sandy beaches of Bermuda, with a gin and tonic in her hand, the sun shining on her white, wide brimmed, beach hat. She’s taking in the heat and shoving hundred dollar bills in the swim trunks of cabana boys to keep her drinks coming.
Thunder booms and shakes the ground violently beneath her feet as the scene vanishes once more and she was back in the cold, stormy, beachside of Clearwater. There’s a bloody gun in her hand and a man at her feet who lay bloodied and collapsed on the ground. For it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see, William Downy was dead.
Katy Parker worked diligently as hours passed by, hastily, but in silence. First, she put on blue rubber gloves and dragged the bloodied body of William Downy down to the ocean, it took time but she was smugly pleased when she deposited him out to sea. He was swallowed instantaneously by the angry ocean waves. If William had in fact survived their bloody encounter or was clinging to life, he was surely dead now. Food for the fish, just as he’d intended her to be. The fool underestimated her for the last time, she’d done her waiting. Twelve long years in witness protection and she alone was faithful to their Boss, Tony’s cause. It was William who was the rat, and now that rat could drown.
William had been lying when he said Tony sent him to take her out. It was Tony who told Katy he’d be coming and Tony who had told Katy to take William out. Arrogant prick would never realize in his arrogance he was the one who’d been set up. She stood there by the ocean for a while cursing William’s name and reputation, cursing him for turning her into the twisted monster she was today, but ultimately cursing him for allowing her to realize how much of a rush she got from doing it and how much she ultimately enjoyed it. When she’d finally had enough, she made her way back to her home. She cleaned her gun, diligently burying it beneath the floorboards. When that deed was done, she replaced the wooden boards in the floor of her kitchen so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye could have detected any thing wrong.
There was nothing to wash out, no stain of any kind, no blood-spot whatsoever. The confrontation had taken place outside so the rain had washed away any sign of a bloodbath. Katy, herself, had been relieved for that. For the next several hours she soaked in her tub amongst lavender scented bubbles cleansed her fingers, arms, hair and face of his sticky, warm blood. She found herself humming the tune to Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash.
“But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. When I hear that whistle coming, I hang my head and cry” she sang as she scrubbed herself clean from head to toe.
By the time she finished scourging the scene for any lingering and incriminating evidence, it was four o’clock –still dark as midnight aside from flashes of lightning accompanied by load booms of thunder. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knock at the door.
Katy craftily schooled her features to appear impassive and went down the creaking floor boards of the stairs (in a fuzzy purple robe) to open it with a light heart, there was no body or blood, what had she now to fear?
There entered two men, who introduced themselves, with suave professionalism, as member of the Clearwater PD. “Good evening ma’am, we got a noise complaint from a neighbor of hearing yelling and screaming. There’s suspicion of a domestic dispute taking place at your home thats been aroused by the sound of a gunshot.”
“Why officers, I can assure you, it’s nothing but the thunder which hit so close to my window it frightened me” Katy breathed, in staged fearfulness.
“We’re sorry to waste your time ma’am, but since we’ve been dispatched it’s protocol to search the premises and make sure you’re indeed safe. May we come in?”
Katy smiled, –for what had she to fear?
“Of course, do come in, I’ll put on the tea.” Katy said smoothly. “Embarrassingly enough, the scream was from me…I was out looking for my cat Johnny Cash when the lightning struck the ground beneath my feet. It sounded like a gun shot, I screamed and yelled for Johnny but could not find him.”
Katy took her visitors all over the house. She gave them mugs of hot lemon tea while they searched her home for evidence of someone lurking within. She led them, at length, to her kitchen. She showed them her mini bar and in the enthusiasm of Katy’s over-confidence, she brought tall bar stool chairs into the room, “please sit down and finish your tea before heading back into that horrid storm” she said softly while she herself in the excitement of having seemingly convinced the officers nothing had occurred besides the disappearance of her tabby cat, placed her own stool upon the very spot beneath which reposed the gun which killed William.
“Thank you for your cooperation ma’am, we’re sorry to waste your time.” The lead officer said with satisfaction. Katy’s manner had clearly convinced them of no evening dispute and she was now totally at ease.
They finished their tea uneventfully, asking about Katy’s cat and while she answered solemnly, as they chatted of various places her cat could be hiding, taking shelter from the storm. They had even promised to put out the message to other precincts. Finally, just as she began to grow weary of their presence they took leave into the now eerily quiet night. “We’ll keep an eye out for your cat ma’am.”
“Please do,” she smiled false sweetly before entering back into the house and locking the door. She leaned against it, laughing with near hysteria as a loud bang rang out from under the floorboards of her kitchen.
The gun had gone off as though condemning and damning Katy Parker from not coming clean. Katy continued to laugh, like an unhinged demon as she found her way back to her stool in the kitchen, beside the floorboard with a huge gaping wound in it. She’d deal with that later, she reasoned and poured herself a nice glass of gin and tonic.
I hope you all enjoyed that, have a great weekend everyone!
Love you. Mean it.