When no one is watching

Submitted into Contest #159 in response to: Start your story with a character accepting a bribe.... view prompt


Suspense Thriller Crime

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

**This story contains violence and profanity. This story is entirely fictional any similarities to actual people or events are purely coincidental.**

The envelope was thick with cash when Kip Williams sliced it open.

There was a note written in pen and all capital letters, probably military Kip thought.



What article? he thought, as he slipped the cash into his wallet and stuffed the envelope in the shredder.

Kip had received letters and comments about his articles in the past always talking about the “truth.” It was usually grieving families or some private eye sleuth, but they never turned out to be anything. Whether because of pure curiosity or ignorance, as the letter stated, he grabbed his notepad, recorder and pen and headed for the door.

Steve walked over to the awkward looking man sitting in the corner booth wearing a dress shirt and pants, bright red suspenders and a bow tie and not one of those clip on ones, a real bow tie that you actually had to tie. An old style fedora was on the table in front of him, like a movie detective from the 50’s.

“Welcome to my restaurant. I’m Steve, can I start you off with a coffee?”

The awkward well dressed man said “yes.”

Steve flipped over the coffee cup on the table and began to pour from the carafe, “Milk or Sugar?”

The man just shook his head no, as if deep in thought. Steve stood there for a moment staring before saying, “Your Kip Williams the reporter, I love your articles.”

Kip nodded, “Yes, that’s me, Thank you.” He handed the menu back to Steve.

Steve shrugged and walked away.

Kip was a crime reporter. A year ago he would write snippets about local weekend events and fun for the whole family crap, he had blog that he was proud of, but it never paid the bills.

That was until a the Capital’s most prestigious Crime reporter Liss “Digger” Anderssen liked one of Kip’s blog posts. Liss took him under her wing and taught him how to hunt down the dirty stories of Ottawa’s hungry underbelly.

Kip sat in the booth sipping at his coffee, it was 8:50. He had a bad feeling about this.

A few minutes later the bell hanging from the door chimed as a short stocky man walked in, he was looking right at Kip. He had a familiar grizzled look as if he had seen a lot in his life but still young with baby fat.

The mans face flashed in Kip’s memory, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He walked up and threw an envelope on the table in front of Kip, this one looked exactly like the one earlier, but it wasn’t as thick.

“Don’t speak, just read it.” the man said.

Kip pulled out the letter, he noticed ink smudges all over it, different writing than the first, probably a lefty, Kip thought.

You’ve shot the wrong man, I’m the one you’re looking for. You don’t kill the innocent, I do. You’ve angered me, watch the canal this weekend for my next.

“Fais toujours des ton mieux même si personne ne regarde,”


Kip flipped the envelope over and saw that it was mailed two days ago August 1st, 1994, to the Ottawa Police Homicide Unit. He put the letter down and looked at the man who was now sitting.

“Always do your best, even if no one is watching,” is the English translation before you ask,” the man said.

Kip was impressed, for a second.

“The Rideau Canal Killer is alive, and I’m going to find him, but I need your help.” He was being sincere, Kip could hear it in his voice.

“I’m guessing that’s what my ‘Incentive’ is for?” Kip asked.

“The article you wrote about the police catching the killer was fed to you by your contact at headquarters am I right?” the man asked.

Kip nodded.

“It’s all bullshit.” The man said.

“So who did the cops shoot?” Kip asked.

The man sipped his coffee, after a minute he said, “Look, this will bring heat on you from all angles, it will get messy and could come with danger, I figured the “incentive” might buy me your help?”

Kip leaned back against the booth, he looked at his coffee cup.

The man leaned in, “I use to read your blog a few years back I love your writing. I’m here to tell you there is something going on in Ottawa and they’re covering it up. Write a letter to T.R.C.K before the weekend and get a response, publish it. Chief Douglas will have no choice but to re-open the investigation.”

“Ok, but I get full rights to the story.” Kip said.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” the man tossed five dollars on the table to pay for the coffee’s, slid out of the booth and left.

He looked back at Kip and said, “I’ll watch for the article.”

Kip called out, “what’s your name?”

But the man was already out the door and out of earshot.

Steve the waiter interrupted.

“ That was Detective Chase McAdams,” Steve said.

Kip turned around to see Steve holding both empty mugs, wiping the table clean.

“His partner shot the Rideau Canal Killer a few months back.”

Steve had a french accent.

“How’d you know?” Kip asked.

“I recognize him, he has been here before.” Steve said.

“Chase, get in here.” Chief Douglas said.

He was a tall, stocky man who could strike fear into any officer with a bellow of his deep voice. An ex Ottawa Police Tactical Team leader that commanded respect with his presence.

“Yeah Chief,” Chase said, as he walked in shutting the door.

Chief Douglas was holding his phone up to his ear, and he looked concerned, today’s paper was on the desk in front of him.

The Chief slid the paper across the desk in front of Chase without saying a word, there was a voice screaming in anger on the other side of the phone.

Kip’s article was laid out across two pages.

This is a letter to The Rideau Canal Killer,

The Ottawa police think they got their man, but they got it wrong. I know you’re still out there, I know you will keep hunting, I see you, I feel you, someone is always watching.

Directly underneath Kip’s letter was a response dated this morning, August 4th, 1994.


You are keen, You have impressed me. I am here, swimming in the canal, hunting the land. Here piggy pigs.

“Tout homme a dans son coeur un cochon qui commeille.”

“Every man has in his heart a sleeping pig.”


He did it, Chase thought.

Chief Douglas slammed the phone down, “Dammit,” he said.

“That was the Commissioner, he told me to fix this. We can’t have another scandal, make the evidence tell the true story Chase, fix it. Put this reporter’s bullshit to an end.”

The Chief was stressfully rubbing his forehead.

“Sir, what if T.R.C.K. is still alive? What if it was one of our other suspects? What if Max killed the wrong guy?”

He stopped rubbing his head and focused his attention on Chase.

“I gave you a chance a few months back and it was your last, knock it off with your theories. Make the evidence fit the dead man or so help me god I will bring so much trouble to your doorstep you will beg for mercy, do you understand me?”

Chase stood up and pushed his chair in, “loud and clear Sir, loud and clear.”

Kip’s doorbell rang, he checked the peephole, it was Detective Chase McAdams.

Kip slid the chain lock and turned the deadbolt. Chase pushed his way in, he was a lot stronger than Kip.

“Kip, show me the letter he sent you in return.”

Kip went to his briefcase in the hallway closet, he pulled out the letter and handed it to Chase.

He could see the smudges of ink dragging across the page.

“He’s a lefty,” Kip said, as if he knew what Chase was thinking.

“Yeah, I think I know who it is. Well I’ve had a theory for a while. I think I know where he is going to dump his next victim.” Chase was staring at the page, almost straight through it.

“What’s your theory?” Kip asked.

“What did T.R.C.K.’s victims have in common?” Chase asked.

Kip was silent, staring at Chase, after a minute Kip said, “His first two victims were part of the gay community. You think that’s his M.O.?”

Chase nodded, “There was a professor that worked at Carleton University running the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the 80’s. He taught many officers in Ottawa Police including my partner Max and Chief Douglas. His name was Étienne Beliveau. He was fired in 85’ for his homophobic and misogynistic views, going so far as to citing James Alexander MacDonald of the Klan in a dissertation about how Criminal Law was no place for “Women or Queers.”

Kip rubbed his hands through his hair.

“I think he moved away, to hide, but a few months back I saw him downtown, I followed him to an apartment he is renting, it’s him.”

Kip was nervous now, Chase had been convincing.

“Kip, do you still want to help?” Chase asked.

Kip hesitated, but answered, “Yes, anything I can do.”

“Ok, meet me at Lansdowne park tonight after dark, jog on the path, I will find you, we’re going to do some surveillance.” Chase said.

Kip nodded in agreement.

Kip was jogging for what felt like 20 minutes already. It was a beautiful night for a run, the path serpentines its way through Lansdowne park. Every once in a while he would look around for Chase.

He was nervous, nervous about being an openly gay reporter running in the park where a murderer was on the loose, a murderer who killed members of the Ottawa gay community.

He passed under the over hanging trees looking up at the leaf filled branches as they passed by.

The sharp sting of a stun gun dropped him to his knees mid stride, he skidded to a stop, he was laying there unconscious, face down.

The burly man picked Kip’s body up off the pavement, threw him over his shoulder in a fireman carry moving quickly before Kip woke.

He stepped over the chain that was slung from post to post blocking the stairs that led down to water level.

He laid Kip down on the pier and tied his hands and feet with thick, white woven rope, he dampened the rope first and made sure it was snug. He wrapped duct tape around Kip’s mouth a few times so he couldn’t chew through it.

He flipped Kip over the edge of the pier into his small 14 foot aluminum boat, Kip moaned as he slowly came to his senses.

He stepped into the back of the boat, near the small trolling motor. He started the motor and steered the boat hard to the right. The motor puttered along at about 5 miles per hour, just barely enough to make a ripple.

Pig island was about 100 ft away so it took a few minutes before he was pulling the boat ashore.

Kip was awake now and screaming, muffled because of the layers of tape over his mouth. The man punched Kip as hard as he could in the stomach causing the air in Kip’s lungs to push out through his nostrils. He was silent now.

The man lifted Kip up by the hands and slung him over his shoulder in the fireman’s carry again, lifting him out of the boat.

He walked with Kip to a small opening in the trees and dropped Kip to the ground, hard.

He was standing over Kip looking down at him, right into his eyes.

It was dark but Kip could see the man’s face clearly, he knew the face, he knew the man, but his eyes were black and empty now.

The man knelt over Kip, straddling his chest. he screamed as hard as he could as the man wrapped his hands around his throat, his hands getting tighter and tighter, stopping Kips screams.

He was too focused on his kill to realize someone had snuck up behind him. Then a crack of a branch and the man turned his eyes sharply to his right, a fraction of a second before the wood made contact with the side of his head. He slumped to his left, falling into the bush.

Kip woke up with the paramedic leaning over him stuffing the breathing tubes in his nose.

“Are you ok?” The medic said.

“What happened?” he asked. Kip was confused as he brought his head up from the gurney to look around.

Chase was standing at the back of the ambulance. He stepped up when he saw Kip looking at him.

Chase asked the medic if he could speak to Kip briefly. The medic nodded and stepped out the ambulance side door.

“It was Steve from the café.” Kip said.

Chase was looking down at the floor of the ambulance.

“When did you figure it out?” Kip asked.

“ I recognized Étienne Beliveau at the coffeeshop a few months back. Étienne is the french translation for the English name Steve. I brought you to the coffee shop because I knew he would target you, a prominent, confident advocate for the Ottawa gay community. You were everything he hated.” Chase said.

“How did you know where we would be?”

Chase brought his eyes up now to meet Kip’s, “It was the french sayings, he referred to Pig’s. First I thought he was making fun of the police but then I remembered Pig Island on the Rideau Canal. So I asked you to meet me here at Lansdowne and I followed you.”

Kip struggled to keep his eyes open. As he dozed off he said, “Thank you for letting me be a part of this.”

Chase knocked on the ambulance door letting the medic know he was done.

The old bell chimed as Detective Chase McAdams walked through the door, he walked up to the table, slid a chair out and sat down. The restaurant was different now, it was a book store and coffee shop. Kip laid a hard cover book on the table, it was titled “When no one is watching.”

“Good to see you Chase,” Kip said.

“Is this it? I love the title,” Chase said.

He flipped the book over and read the quote on the back.

“Kip Williams, a Hero, a Champion for Ottawa’s gay community has delivered an appetizing true story, directly to the city’s starving gut.” - Liss “Digger” Anderssen. 

August 19, 2022 06:24

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J Stephens
12:28 Aug 27, 2022

I really enjoyed your story! Having traveled to Ottawa, it was the perfect setting for this mystery. The plot flowed well and you had me believing the detective was the killer until the end. Well written.


W.E. White
12:32 Aug 27, 2022

Thank you for the compliments, I really enjoyed writing this one, Ottawa is a beautiful city and inspirational.


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Aeris Walker
09:17 Aug 22, 2022

Great detective story, lots of excitement, likable characters. Well done! I love that he wrote a book about the whole experience at the end, in true writer fashion. Your paragraph structure in this one is divided up well and reads very smoothly. Minor suggestion: don’t forget to put a little *** between scene breaks so there’s a clear transition from one scene to the next. Sometimes the extra space between paragraphs doesn’t stand out enough to differentiate. Good work— love the completely different setting and vibe from your western. Ke...


W.E. White
21:28 Aug 22, 2022

Excellent advice about breaking up the scenes, I like it. Thank you for the compliment, I really enjoyed writing this one.


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