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Crime Speculative Mystery

Ashley D. Gilyard: 

I can feel it against my skin. The way it tightly binds me. It hurts so much. 

I can’t move. I can’t breathe.

All is dark and stygian. 

I want to scream but a bitter taste filled my mouth. 


Where am I? 



Maxwell Gilyard :

It hit exactly five-oh-four when I got the call. I tried to ignore it, my argument being just a work call or an idler reminding me of my debts. The phone buzzed again in my pocket, sending vibrations down my thighs.


I didn’t usually get calls from Mr. Hudson, and neither did he call anyone often. I doubted he even had a cell phone. I ended up picking the call with a monotonous tone. 


“Hello, who’s this?” 


“Max, I think there is something going on in your house.” 


“Mr Hudson? What happened?” 


“I don’t know, your front door is open and something doesn’t feel right.” 


I should’ve considered the signs. It was unlike Ashley to leave the house door open. My wife was one of those disciplined women who since childhood was taught to take proper care of things. At night, when like a normal person, I lay in bed and start to snore, she’d be awake till midnight worrying whether she turned off the gas (even if we didn’t cook all day), locked the windows and doors. Her mind would ravel through the worst, not did she think that heaves might enter the house but they would be ready to rape and then kill her.


“Maybe Ashley forgot to close it. I am on my way home.”


“Okay dear, come fast.” 


I parked my car in front of the house and rushed in. Mika was sitting on the stairs. Mika was our cat that we bought just after we shifted to Austin. I’d be so proud of her, a fine white fur tracing her slender body. She didn’t get up when she saw me and lunge like she used to. 

“Mika!” I called out with superficial delight. Something did feel off. Mika would never leave the side of Ashley. She followed her down the stairs, through the kitchen and basically everywhere she goes. Mika is still sitting on the front stairs, unmoved. 


I stepped inside with Mika feeling heavy in my hands. The living room was sitting in the shadows. A shrill noise echoed around but the faintness forbade my brain to decipher. 


“Ash, are you home?” 


Silence.


The panic seeped through my soul. A layer of sweat shimmering to the surface of my skin. My hands reached out to turn on the lights. My voice hitched deep down my throat. The sofa lied ripped in front of me. A broken bottle of wine on the floor, carpet glinting with shards of glass.


“Ashley!” I was screaming now. The kitchen stood way worst. Oil spilt on the floor, flour sprinkled across the platform in the center of which a dough rested. The stove still on. It was as if Ashley was cooking and something happened in the middle. I tried not to let the worst possibilities domain but the circumstances had taken hold of me. Suddenly, it all began to grow dark and I stumbled back. Mr Hudson caught me in time. He was saying something that sounded nothing but a gridlock of muffled voices. The colors drained out and I fell into deep darkness.


Ashley D. Gilyard : 

I don’t remember how long I have been stuck here. My throat is itchy with thirst. I could still taste the cookies I had a few hours ago. I think I am somewhere far from the city. The winds caress my cheeks with sudden strangeness, sending chills down my back. Melodies of birds fill my ears. 

Wait, I think….shh…someone is coming. The footsteps keep getting louder.


“Oh, dear lady, what do you think about it?” The voice oddly familiar. 


“Why have you brought me here? And why the hell am I tied up. Ughh get it off me.” I yell with frustration. 


“Shhh, princess. Have patience.” 


The tip of a gun now rests on my forehead. 


Max! Where are you??


Maxwell Gilyard :  

I woke up surrounded by unidentified faces, all looking at me like I was a newborn. I sit straight with a shrug. 

“Just a bad dream. Just a bad dream.” I mumbled with fake assurance. Hell, it definitely wasn’t a dream. 


“I wish it was, Max. Here.” Mr Hudson handed me a glass of water. 


“Where is Ashley!? And…who are they?” I said, my eyes pointing to the uninvited visitors in unintended disgust.


“My friends. They are here to help.” 


It took me a couple of seconds to place my mind in the right box. “M-my phone. I needed to call the police. Right now.” I shuffled my fingers anxiously, turning my pockets inside out. 


“Already tried. The police said to wait twenty-four hours, saying there might be the possibility she’ll come back.” A man spoke. Probably in his fifties. His head was shaved clean while goat beard grew from the jaw edges. 


“She’ll come back! Can’t they understand? What if someone tries to…” I stopped short. “What if someone tries to harm her?” 


“It’ll be okay, Max. I understand what you are going through. Maybe she has gone to visit some of her friends or her parents? They live an hour away, right? 


“Leaving the house like this? Of course.” I pressed my palms against the eyes. It hurt so much. I convinced myself not to cry. Not to give up. The tears slip down. Mr. Hudson put his arms around me. 


“You can try calling her friends. We’ll talk to the police first thing in the morning.” 


They all went after an hour, leaving me to my thoughts. My capabilities to assure myself were being tested upon and I surely was failing with flying colors. 

I couldn’t sleep all night. The face of Ashley keeping me awake, her soft pink lips, the way she bit them whenever she got nervous. Her perfect green eyes, the way her nose has a bump in the middle, she always tries to hide. 


My dear Ash, my dear love, where are you?


Ashley D. Gilyard :

I am not usually the kind of person who brags but hah! What can you do when you are born smart? That fool. He opened my ties for a while and served me food (nothing good, plain bread and milk) and made me eat at the tip of a gun. He tied my hands again. Looser than before. Since then, I have wriggled my fingers in every way possible, struggling through till I break free. 

My phone is still in my pocket. 

Good gracious! 


Maxwell Gilyard :

It was an unbelievable moment. A miracle I thought it to be. My phone buzzed in the middle of the night. It was Ashley. I picked up the call in hurry and pressed it against my ear. 


“Max” I heard a whisper. I was sitting straight by now, a hundred questions waiting in sequel. 


“Ash! What, where are you? And what happened? You scared the heck out of me. The house, why is-” 


“Shh Max, listen to me. I am here in some dark place. There is a man, I don’t know who he is, he always has a mask on.” 


“What?” I don’t know why but I too was whispering by then. 


“Yes, I think it is someplace out of the city. I can hear the birds. Please please Max, come fast. I am scared.” 


“D-don’t worry Ash. But wait, how are you calling me?” 


“My hands were tied loose so I-I manage to break free and- just come fast, please. Oh shoot, I think he is coming back. Please, please. Help. Bye. I love you.” 


“I’ll be there soon. Take-” The phone hung up. My first thoughts were to rush to the police but listening to Ashley, the kidnapper seems inexperienced, rather careless. And such people are often dangerous. 

I could only see one person whom I could trust right now. Who could help me out- Mr. Hudson.


James Hudson: 

I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t help but think what Maxwell must be going through. Poor boy. When I got his call at midnight, I agreed readily. Having the experience working in the police force for so many years turned out to be a boon. I helped Max track the location of the phone call. She was right, the abductor had taken her out of the city, now held in a small abandoned cottage. 


Max was in too much hurry. I offered to go with him but he was not ready to let me take the risk. At last, we figured out an alternative. 


Ashley D. Gilyard : 

I take a huge gulp of wine and lay back. Max will be here soon. 


Maxwell Gilyard : 

The solitude house didn’t give me much of a good feeling. I wondered what my dear Ashley would be like. Thirsty. Hungry. I was going to rip that bastard into shreds who did this to her. I wasn’t much prepared except for a baseball bat in my hand. The urgency had me blinded and now that I stood in front of it, I didn’t feel like the Save-Ashley-hero anymore. 


The front door opened with a creak. Yep, this was probably a bad idea. A thick blanket of darkness spread across the hall. I stepped in and squeaked. 


Just as I was about to call out for Ashley, an excruciating pain gripped me. I yelled in agony. Reaching my hands to the back of my head, I could sense the blood stuck to my fingers. I couldn’t think no more. My head began to spin. Before losing my consciousness, I turned back and met their eyes. All those memories flooded back. The good memories that now dug like a knife. 


Those serpent eyes I would never forget. 


Ashley J. Gilyard : 

I saw him swim out of his consciousness. Good hit Sam! I saw his listless body on the floor with pity. Idiot. The knife felt good in my hands but would probably look better piercing through him. I hold it tight upside down and slice it through his chest. What a pleasure! The warm ichor flows out and paints the floor. His eyes are wide open, looking at me in bewilderment.


 I press the knife deeper. 


Officer Charles

What happened with Maxwell was a shame! It was smart of James to advise Maxwell to secretly record the whole incident, otherwise, we would’ve never guessed the culprit. Though the answers we got were pretty unsatisfactory. 


At court, Ashley Gilyard wept for what she had done stating she herself didn’t know why she did it. She was not in the right state of mind and did what she regrets now. Considering the past medical issues she had, the court reduced the number of years she had to spend in jail but at the same time, declared bail as invalid. His partner Samuel Dicken, Maxwell’s colleague has also been sentenced to jail. Looks like Samuel did this all in pure jealousy against Maxwell. 


Maxwell was buried soon after. 


April 08, 2022 17:12

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21 comments

Zelda C. Thorne
16:19 Apr 13, 2022

Hi Keya! Hope all is well at school. I enjoyed your story, liked the switching between people. It was done well and the twist! Oooooo I'd recommend checking your tenses. I think you slipped between present and past a few times when you were in the same POV and it can be confusing for the reader. Good story! Well done.

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Keya J.
04:59 Apr 14, 2022

Thanks for reading, Rachel! I'll surely work on your suggestion. Thanks!

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Yves. ♙
21:08 Aug 07, 2022

I love the way you found to fit different characters in; it's certainly difficult to do POV switches in such a short space. Keep writing!

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Keya J.
11:46 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks a lot, Yves!

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Aiden Otaktay
15:29 Apr 30, 2022

AAH I LUV THIS STORY SO MUCH WKFGWKEGKGW FANTASTIC JOB!!

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Keya J.
15:49 Apr 30, 2022

Thanks a lot, Aiden!

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Aiden Otaktay
18:12 May 02, 2022

My pleasure!

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Graham Kinross
11:56 Apr 21, 2022

Your work improves the more you post here. Some of the jumping about was difficult to follow but it helped you to built to the twist so that pays off. Just keep in past or present tense. Other than that, great story. Keep it up and let me know when you upload your next one.

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Keya J.
13:01 Apr 21, 2022

Thanks a lot, Graham. I've got my finals coming so writing a story might be a bit difficult 😬. But if any prompt triggers any idea, I'd definitely write it out. Thanks again!

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Graham Kinross
13:10 Apr 21, 2022

Ah. Study for your finals and good luck. Ignore reedsy for a bit because it’ll still be here when you’ve aced your exams. Fingers crossed for you.

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Keya J.
13:27 Apr 21, 2022

Thank You, Graham!! (Btw, just saw your page. You've got 52 stories in the Daughter of disgrace series!!? Why the heck isn't it a book yet?)

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Graham Kinross
13:34 Apr 21, 2022

I'm already working on a book. People can read Daughter of Disgrace here for free and if they like it hopefully I can convince them to buy my book when it comes out. After all of the world building I've done for Daughter of Disgrace I think I'll probably write a novel set in that world as well. By then even more madness will have happened. I just uploaded another one if you want to have a look. I hope your studying goes well. Just remember you work hard and then you can relax when the exams are over.

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Keya J.
15:32 Apr 21, 2022

Thanks for the words, Graham! I wish you the best for your novel! :) Have a good day.

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Ron Davidson
14:46 Apr 18, 2022

Hey Keya! I enjoyed your story! It is so difficult to build multiple characters in short stories, but I thought your creativity in doing this was really good. It was a lot like a screenplay. Have you ever written a screenplay? It might be a way to expand on this story. You have a very visual style. To leave room in these shorts, you might lean only on that skill and remove some explanation. For example, you do an excellent job of describing the house and kitchen, so there is no need to tell us what Max is thinking…Right? You showed us...

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Keya J.
03:16 Apr 19, 2022

It's the best comment I could get. Thank you so much, Ron! I'll definitely keep the suggestions in mind. No, I've never tried writing screenplay but I might now give it a go. Thankss!

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Philip Ebuluofor
08:59 Apr 17, 2022

Fine work as usual. Descriptive ability increasing each day. Really fine work. I don't go near prompts like this.

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Keya J.
06:45 Apr 18, 2022

I very much appreciate your comment, Philip. Thank you!

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Philip Ebuluofor
11:13 Apr 19, 2022

Pleasure

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:33 Apr 15, 2022

Hi Keya!! This was a fantastic story that took me for a wonderful ride! I'm glad to see that you have written a new story, Reedsy has missed your creative stories! I too, have had to take an unexpected break, but I think sometimes it's a good idea to do that to avoid burnout. This story was amazing! I loved the format that you used, and the prompt was a good choice. It kept me on my toes and it really surprised me. Keep up the good work, and best of luck with school! :)

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Keya J.
06:45 Apr 18, 2022

Hey Daniel!! Thank you so much. I've missed your thrilling stories too! A little break did me good and I am planning writing more regularly now. Thanks for reading!

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Keya J.
17:18 Apr 08, 2022

Sorry, I know I've not posted for quite a while now. Awfully busy with school. Finally the prompts have allowed me to present a little fraction of my collection so here it is! The judge's name used in the story is Ashley D. Gilyard. Profile linked below https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/ashley-d-gilyard/ Found the mentioned name here: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/judges/ (judge number 130, I think so) Thanks!

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