A Princess-Themed Crime Scene (Part One)

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Set your story at a party that has gone horribly wrong.... view prompt

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Crime Mystery

𝚍𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚑𝚘𝚜𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚢. 𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕𝚜. 𝚒’𝚖 𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚊𝚜 𝚏𝚊𝚜𝚝 𝚊𝚜 𝚒 𝚌𝚊𝚗.

𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚖𝚢 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎, 𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚍.

The detective took a long drag on his Marlboro, his expression quizzical. "Read it again," he barked.

𝚍𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚑𝚘𝚜𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚢. 𝚐𝚞𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕𝚜. 𝚒’𝚖 𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚊𝚜 𝚏𝚊𝚜𝚝 𝚊𝚜 𝚒 𝚌𝚊𝚗.

𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚖𝚢 𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎, 𝚛𝚒𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚍.

"She ignored the letter," the detective mumbled, almost to himself. "Innocent mistake, giving into childish pressure, or something darker?"

"How do you know she saw the letter, sir?" I piped up.

He didn't answer- anxiously, I babbled on.

"We could lie to her- pretend we found another letter- ooh, and ask her if she saw it! If she said yes, then she'd be lying, and we'd have a reason to take her in- ooh, and then-"

"No."

"No?" I said, crestfallen. It was the most intelligent sentence I'd ever spoken in front of the Big Kahuna, and it was being shut down.

"No." Smoke furled from the detective's pursed lips. "Rule Number One, Fisher- don't let the enemy know you've got power over her. We'll see if she mentions it- if she doesn't, then we'll know she's got something to hide. And if she's got something to hide, then we do what, Fisher?"

I heaved a sigh. "Then, she's guilty."

"No, Fisher- then she's guilty of something. Not necessarily these murders. Not necessarily these bodies."

The detective's furry eyebrows bunched together, low on his forehead. "Not necessarily anything to do with this," he murmured, and his fists clenched.

"Sir?" I said tentatively. There was no response, but there rarely was a regular conversation with the main detective.

His head twitched toward me, and he gave me the side-eye; hastily, I scurried off towards the crime scene. Bagging-n'-tagging. My least favorite part.

It required me to get close to the dolled-up children, their heads lolling at unnatural angles. It required me to tug at the bloody fork, sticking straight out from the pigtailed body, until it came loose, with a sliding sound that made me shudder. It required me to take pictures of the dark-skinned, poofy-clad girls, of the blood staining their princess dresses. It required me to get up-close-and-personal, all while the murmur of stern conversations drifted on the wind, tugging at my ears.

When it was done, I backpedaled hastily and ran right into the detective himself. He steadied me, sending me a glance, and I immediately righted myself and began rattling off facts that made my stomach clench inwardly.

"The body count is two; a Sofya Mortiz- that's 'Sofya,' with a Y- and a Maria Mortiz. They were eight-year-old twins- Sofya was the eldest, by two seconds. The preliminary COD is exsanguination, but the mortician's bringing them to the autopsy table now. It looks as if we've got a partial-print, in blood, on the table."

"Tell the probationaries to bag-n'-tag anything that isn't rooted to the ground," the detective ordered, expelling short streams of sweet-smelling smoke. "Do it now. We have six-and-a-half minutes until a CBC van shows up."

Marveling at his extraordinary inner clock, I darted over to the probies and relayed the orders- short and sharp, just as he'd done. When I came back, he was already mid-order.

"... and tell the media that nothing's going to be released- do it politely, Stubbins. We don't need a recap of last case's public apology... it'll give us a bad image... what are you doing, standing around?" he demanded, catching sight of me. "Go. Go interrogate- no, have a conversation with the mother. Mrs. Mortuary, or whatever- go, Fisher. Now."

There was a searing stitch in my side by the time I burst into the living room- it felt like I was walking into a glammed-up funeral, the streamers and decorations and wrapping paper littering the floor completely at odds with the hopelessly sobbing woman in the charcoal-gray chair. Adopting a solemn manner, and trying not to pant too heavily, I sat across from her, waving away the agent that was already standing there.

As the agent's footsteps faded down the hallway, I leaned forward, chin propped up in my hands. "Mrs. Mortiz?" I said, stretching the 'e.' Being notoriously good at botching name pronunciations, I was cautious around any title more complex than 'Smith' or 'Wilson.'

She raised her head- deer-brown hair curtained her heart-shaped face and trailed on her exposed collarbone. In any other circumstances, I might've been a bit too friendly with her- she was a classic beauty, really- but in this, I was gravely polite.

"Could you tell me what you saw, Mrs. Mortiz?" I spoke her name like I was walking on eggshells. Cautiously. Carefully.

She sniffed, loudly, and a few stray tears slipped from her bloodshot eyes and down her chin. When she spoke, her voice was hoarse. "You can- you can call me Fontelle, Detective."

"Officer," I corrected, feeling a strange thrill of pleasure at the 'detective' part. "Mrs. Mortiz, tell me what you saw- start to finish. I know you heard the scream, and then what did you do?"

"What any mother would do," she whispered, rivers flowing down her face. "I ran outside. I had a- a dishtowel, in my hands. I saw- them, I dropped the dishtowel on the ground, and then I-"

She paused, and took a deep, shuddering breath. "I went to my baby," she said softly. "I took her chin, and I raised her face to mine, and then I vomited."

I cringe inwardly, remembering the puddle of sick that had been piled next to the victim. "And then what did you do, Mrs. Mortiz?"

"I staggered to the kitchen, I- I picked up the phone, and I called the police. They said they told Richard- how's he- how's he taking it?"

The letter flashes to the forefront of my mind, but then so does the detective's stern face. I take a deep breath. "I don't know anything about that, Mrs. Mortiz, but I do know that he's coming back on leave. He'll arrive shortly."

She nods, and collapses back onto the couch- this interview's over. Clumsily, I rise, and I leave.

May 11, 2021 19:22

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9 comments

Deidra Lovegren
16:06 May 13, 2021

KATE! You can do police procedurals...WOW. WOW. Make this sucker a longer work. I'm going to do the same for my serial killer religious maniac Malachi (in "The End of Days"). Gripping. You also have an ear for dialog. Very natural. Very readable. Very good :)

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18:49 May 13, 2021

awh, you liked it?! this story speaks of my midnight addiction to true-crime shows... #writersdontneednosleep- there's a part-two out, by the way, if you wanna read it- i hated it even more than i hated this one, but i guess i'm just my own hater! thanks for the compliments, it means a lot. especially from a reedsy queen. :D

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Deidra Lovegren
20:47 May 13, 2021

You are good, Kate. Really really good!

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Aloe Plant
04:50 May 13, 2021

I love the suspense and classic murder mystery elements! I've never been too great at mysteries, and making the point of view from the detectives assistant was brilliant! I have no comments on this, grammatically or narratively. Can't wait to read pt. 2!

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12:11 May 13, 2021

:D.

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21:41 May 11, 2021

wow The description of the girls and the dresses and the fork and the sounds were really good, GRATE 🧀🧀🧀 job!!! the title is very mYsTeRiOuS lol, good job picking it :) ~ Amethyst

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00:38 May 12, 2021

aw, ty- personally, i ~ d e s p i s e ~ it, but i suppose i'm my harshest critic. thanks for commenting, amethyst- it means a lot. :D

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16:52 May 12, 2021

np :) lol yeah, I am too :) np! :DD

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19:24 May 11, 2021

this story needs help. critique, anyone? this quality is at critical condition.

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