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Crime Fiction Mystery

The studio went silent and the little green light started to blink. Sonnie tried not to look into the spotlight focused on his face. 

“I’m here with Sonnie Davis, computer programmer and local hero. Sonnie wrote the algorithm that returned Sharise Douglas to her parents last Monday, just five hours after her abduction. Sonnie, how does it feel to be a hero?”

“It feels amazing, Rebekah.”

“Tell us about how you performed this miracle.”

“Truthfully, I amazed even myself. I knew I had something special as soon as my fingers hit the keys. It just seemed to flow out of me.”

“And we’re so grateful for your special gift. Thank you for your quick response. We hope this never happens again but if it does can we count on you?”

“Of course, I’ll always be available when you need me.”

The camera clicked off and Sonnie watched Rebekah unclip her mic and walk away without a goodbye. A pair of slacks appeared before him.

“Sonnie Davis?”

“Ya?”

“I’m Rosemarie Carter and I need you.”

Sonnie leaned back resting his arms on the back of the sofa.

“I’m sure you do.”

Rosemarie stepped forward, producing a badge.

“We have a child in danger.”

Sonnie sat up.

“I can help with that too.”

Rosemarie turned and began to walk towards the door.

“Good, I’ll tell you the details on our way.”

Sonnie matched her stride but kept his view forward.

“I only work from my office.”

“That won’t be possible.”

“It’s the only possibility. I don’t work anywhere else.”

“I’m sorry Mr Davis. I don’t think you understand. We can’t allow it.”

“I don’t think you understand, Ms. Carter. I don’t choose to work at home, I just can’t work anywhere else.”

Sonnie made an abrupt turn.

“I’ll be home in fifteen minutes. Send everything over before I get there.”

Sonnie opened the exterior door and disappeared into a shimmering rooftop parking lot.

Another little girl. This time witnesses didn’t see Krysten Beckett disappear. She was there and then she was gone. No cameras. Limited witnesses. So far Sonnie only had a handful of clues but he knew he could make them work.

An hour later he entered his last line of code and set it free on the computers of the world.

Rosemarie was on video conference when the results came through.

A van. Why was it always a creepy van?

Vehicle GPS placed a twelve passenger behemoth within a tenth of a mile of the park. It arrived before Krysten’s family and left ten minutes before Krysten was reported missing.

Rosemarie dispatched agents before Sonnie could get a word out.

“They’ve apprehended the van Sonnie. They don’t have Krysten. Owner says she remembers her though. We’re questioning her now but she has a few photos you need to look at.”

Sonnie took a deep breath. 

“Krysten’s still out there, Sonnie. Do what you have to. Make it happen.”

Sonnie disconnected the call and opened the blinking folder on his screen.

The owner of the van had taken several pictures of her boys at the basketball court. A gaunt looking man was captured in the background leaning against a light blue sedan in each one. By the third frame it was clear he was leering at something off frame. Four clicks later and Sonnie felt his neck get hot. The man was staring directly at Krysten.

Within minutes Sonnie forwarded Rosemarie the address of Barry Mamie, twice convicted child sex offender and current parolee. 

Sonnie froze in his chair, head in hands, waiting for word from Rosemarie.

It had been more then twenty four hours since Krysten’s disappearance.

Sonnie clicked on his phone without looking up.

“We have Barry but he doesn’t have Krysten. He had photos of her on his phone but he was picked up before she went missing. The cop cam caught some footage, too. I’m forwarding everything to you now.”

The phone call disconnected when it smashed against the wall.

Early Saturday morning Barry had been running the new algorithm for six hours when a series of photos began to pop up on his computer screen. 

He scanned the photos as he dialed Rosemarie on the land line.

“I know who has Krysten.”

“Sonnie?”

“She’s in Hamstead. With her mother.”

“Send the address to my phone, I’m on my way.”

Sonnie heard Rosemarie’s phone chime. He could hear her shoes clicking. She was muffling the phone and shouting orders.

“They’ve been getting ice cream and going on bike rides. Even with all of the media. She’s changed her hair though - I’ll send pictures.”

“Thanks, Sonnie.”

“There’s a man, Rose.”

“Of course there’s a man.”

“I don’t think they were taken. I think they left.”

“You did great Sonnie, thanks for all your help. I’ll call if I need you.”

Rosemarie disconnected the call. Sonnie was still sitting at his computer when breaking news announced the safe return of Krysten Beckett to her father and the arrest of her mother.

Sonnie hung his head and sobbed.

“Good morning everyone. I’m Rebekah Ambrosine and today we’re privileged to have Sonnie Davis with us again. After our last show Sonnie was immediately scooped up to aid in the recovery of another missing child.

“Sonnie, I have to say I’m very impressed. This was an especially complicated case. The nation is indebted to you today. Thanks to you another little girl is safe and back at home.

“You are amazing. We’re in awe of your gifts. Can you describe how it feels to be you?”

“It feels like you’ve been throwing up for two weeks.”

“That sounds terrible.”

“And your heart never stops racing.”

“Do you need medical attention?”

“You want to kill anyone that gets in the way of finding that little girl.”

“Um-“

“You don’t care if anyone thinks you’re a hero. You’re just really really glad she’s safe.”

“Yes, we are-“

“And you could definitely use a nap.”

Sonnie removed his mic and walked away from the spotlight without a backward glance.

June 18, 2022 02:24

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5 comments

L. Maddison
09:34 Jun 23, 2022

Hi Tiffany, I thought the algorithm prompt was really tricky but you’ve handled it with ease. There’s some well paced dialogue and a likeable main character- quirky and brilliant, and ultimately avoidant of the recognition he deserves. A great story.

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Tiffany Andrew
13:19 Jun 24, 2022

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story! And thank you for the specific feedback - I love hearing what you liked about the story. Tiffany

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Michael Typist
02:36 Jun 21, 2022

Hi Tiffany, I read the story and I liked it. Everything flowed really well. The character of Sonnie came off as both, unlikeable and also wanting to do the right thing, which was interesting. I'm a little confused about the ending. I may have missed something. Why did he start kind of going off and acting unwell? Glad to find another person that's new to Reedsy and look forward to reading more :)

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Tiffany Andrew
19:04 Jun 21, 2022

Yay! Thank you for reading and commenting! In answer to your question, Sonnie was emotionally overwrought at the end of the story and totally disinterested in and averse to any spotlight. Thanks for the encouraging words! Happy writing!

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Michael Typist
02:02 Jun 22, 2022

Ah I see. That's a good change from how he was at the beginning.

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