Crime Horror Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

** WARNING: Gore, drugs, language, violence, all within reason. **

* * *

“Before we begin, we are being audio and video recorded. Do you understand? I need a verbal response. If you say ‘uh huh’ or ‘nuh uh’, we might say ‘is that a yes, is that a no,’ just to be clear.”

“I understand.”

“I’m Detective Jim Harrington. This is Deputy Hank Snowden. Having gone over your Miranda warnings, is this the form you signed certifying you understand your rights?”


“Is this your signature here?”


“And did you sign it voluntarily, without coercion?”

“Uh huh. Yep.”

“And are you willing to talk to us?”

“I want this to be over.”

“Well, the first step to helping yourself is telling the truth.”

“What’s going to happen to me?”

“Well, that’s not up to us. We need to establish some things first.”


“So, let’s begin. What's your full name?”

“Alexander Houdini Robeson.”

“Houdini, really?"

"It's not on my birth certificate, if that's what you're asking. But it stuck. I wouldn't stay in my crib apparently."

"So, what do you go by now?” 


“When were you born, Xander?”

“July 1, 1988.”

“Where do you presently live?”

“Pelham Boulevard, Madison.”



“Who do you live with?”

“I live by myself.”

“In what, house, condo, apartment?”


“Are you in Pelham Heights?”


“Nice. What number?”

“7-D. Can I get some water?”

“Sure. Deputy, would you mind? Thanks.”

“So, I’m not going home, am I?”

“I can’t answer that, Xander. There are things I know about this case, even more I don’t know. That’s what we’re here to talk about. Let’s take it one step at a time.”

“I got bottled, Detective. It’s not cold.”

“Thanks, Deputy. That all right, Xander?”

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“You ready to continue?”

“Uh huh.”

“When’s the last time you saw your dad?”

“Yes, sorry. Uhm, last time . . .”

“You saw or talked to your dad?”

“It was the night of the Bulldog game.  Two weeks ago? Around there.”

“Tell me what you did that day.”

“Well, dad called me at work and asked if I wanted to have dinner and watch the game at his place. I said sure.”

“That’s at the law firm? And what time did you leave work?”

“Around five, usual time. I stopped at Liquor Depot and picked up a bottle of wine on my way to dad’s and got there around quarter to six.”

“And where does the Judge live?”


“Street address?”

“You already know all this.”

“It’s easiest if you just answer.”

“114 East Main Street.”

“One family home?”

“That’s right.”

“Now, tell us about that night.”

“Like, what about it?”

“Let’s start with your dad; how did the Judge look? How was he feeling?”

“Fine. Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“How old is the Judge?”

“He’s not a judge anymore; you know that, too.”

“Old habit. Does it bother you if I refer to your father as Judge? You can’t just shrug. Words, Xander.”

“Be my guest.”

“The Judge’s age?”


“Would you say he was in good shape, physically?”

“Yeah, he’s always been active.”

“How about mentally?”

“Well, you know why he was removed from the bench.”


“I think there’d be something wrong if he wasn’t feeling the stress.”

“Did he show it?”

“He was drinking before I got there; that was obvious.”

“Okay, let’s go back. When I asked you before how he seemed, you

said nothing out of the ordinary. So, was he intoxicated, you think, when you got there?”

“I know my father. Ever since my mother passed, he’d been drinking more.”

“And your mom passed when?”

“One year ago today.”

“Really? Oh, well, I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. Can we please get on with it?”

“I’d suggest, Xander, you get comfortable and relax. This will take as long as it takes. Would you like another water?”

“No, I’m good.”

“All right. You arrive at your dad’s. You can tell he’s been drinking. What happens next?”

“I opened the wine and we both had some and just shot the breeze.”

“You felt okay giving him more?”

“If it wasn’t me, he’d get it himself.”

“Was he coherent?”

“Sure, he could always hold his booze. Bragged about having a hollow leg.”

“Navy man, eh?”

“Oh, yeah. Yeah . . . I’m sorry.”

“Deputy, would you get some tissues?  This box is empty. Thanks. Take your time, Xander. Let me know when you’re ready.”

“No one’s heard from him. It’s been two weeks and there’s no sign of him. What have you guys been doing? Why am I answering these same questions again? Why are you wasting your time with me?”

“Thanks, Deputy.  Here. All right now, Xander? Ready to continue?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“What happens after you open the wine.”

“The game was set to start at 6:30 so we made plates of take-out to sit and watch the game in the living room.”

“What did you talk about before the game started?”

“He was thinking about asking some woman he’d met to a golf tournament with him the next day.”

“What tournament, where?”

“He had tickets to The Players, Ponte Vedra. He was staying for the weekend, three days.”

“Who was the woman?”

“Her name was Shelly. That’s all I know.”

“No last name, no address?”

“I didn’t ask. My father enjoyed women, that’s all I can tell you. I wasn’t interested in the details.”

“Fair enough. So, do you remember who won the basketball game?”


“What time did you leave your dad’s?”

“Around 10.”

“When did the game end?”

“Around 9, with overtime.”

“And what did you do for that hour before you left?”

“Cleaned up. I helped with the dishes. There wasn’t that much. Finished the wine.”

“How much would you say you had to drink that evening?”

“Couple glasses. Dad had the same.”

“Not counting what he had before you got there?”

“Right. As I said though, he can hold it.”

“Did you talk to him again after that, after you left?”

“Text. I thanked him when I got home.”

“Time? Roughly.”


“Did you hear back from him?”

“No. I assumed he was asleep.  That’s the last . . . contact.”

“Okay. I’m going to leave you with the deputy for a minute. Just breathe, okay? Try to relax. I’ll be right back. I’ll bring you another water.”




“You’re lying.”

“What. . .”

“You’re a fuckin’ liar, Robeson.”

“I don’t know what you’re . . . who are you again?”

“It’s not who I am that matters. It’s what you’re hiding.”

“I don’t have to say anything.”

“Nah, you’ve already said enough. You know you’ll get the death penalty.”

“I don’t have to talk to you.”

“We have the suitcase, fuck boy, full of maggots.”

“I don’t . . . what?”

“Yeah, nice recovery. There’s one question I have though.”

“I don’t . . .”

“What did you do with daddy’s head?”


“So that’s it? Enough said? Well, chew on it then.  Choke on it.”

“Here’s your water, Xander. What was that yelling I heard?”

“Your man here’s a psychopath, Detective.”

“Everything under control here, Deputy Snowden?”

“All good, Detective. Never had to raise my voice once.”

“Are you okay to continue, Xander?”

“I’ve got nothing to hide.”

“So, is there anything you’d like to add; anything you haven’t told us?”

“I can’t think of anything.”

“I’m going to give you a moment to think, and then I’ll ask it again.”

“I got nothing.”

“Well, then you need to consider this: we got something.”

“Oh? What do you think you have?”

“No need to just think, Xander. Forensics takes all the guesswork out of it.”

“Okay, first you try the good cop/bad cop routine and now with the riddles. I think I know how this works. I’m willing to bet you have nothing.”

“DNA doesn’t lie, Xander. Fingerprints don’t lie.”

“Good. Use them and find my father. That’s where your concentration should be. Why don’t we talk about that.”

“We found a suitcase.”


“You missing a suitcase, Xander?”


“We think you might be.”

“Nice try, Detective.”

“I’m giving you an opportunity to tell us, Xander, all of it. You can make this easy or you can make it harder on yourself than it needs to be.”

“Like I said, I got nothing.”

“We’ve got a lot.  You play golf, Xander?  Have I got your attention now? Good. We have more than a suitcase. We have you – on tape -- traipsing around Longwood Country Club in the dark.  Care to fill in the blanks for us, Xander? If you don’t, we know someone who can.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Who?”

“Piqued your interest, just a little? Let me show you something that may help jog your memory.”

“It’s too dark. I can’t make out what . . .”

“You should recognize the 17th fairway; you’ve been there before, haven’t you? Your father played golf, didn’t he?”

“Sure, but . . .”

“Keep looking. You might recognize an area where the earth looks disturbed, dug up? It’s time to stop pretending, Xander. Maybe this will help.”

“So? What does any of this have to do with me?”

“While you’re at it, look at this one, too. Recognize anyone?”

“This could be anybody.”

“But it’s not, is it? These were captured the day after the judge’s disappearance. In the suitcase we found garbage bags with body parts, Xander. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know because it’s you caught on film, it’s your suitcase. DNA tells us those body parts belong to someone you know.”

“Stop! Oh god . . .”

“Whose body, Xander?”

“I don’t, I don’t . . .”

“In pieces, disposed of like trash.”

“I don’t, I . . .”

“One more thing I should probably mention, Xander. We have your car impounded. It’s being searched right now by a couple of our crime scene investigators.  Here’s the warrant, if you care to see it.  Let me know when you feel like talking.”

“I’d like to start over.”

“I’ll bet. We’re listening.”

“I’m not sure where to begin.”

“The night of the bulldog game, dinner with the judge?”

“Yes, that’s true. But it wasn’t just wine I picked up.”

“All right.”

“My father and I liked getting high together.”

“On what?”

“Weed. Cocaine. Pills.”

“So, what did you and the Judge have that night?”

“Oxy. Edibles. Some drinks.”

“So, tell us what happened. In your words. Take your time.”

“Everything was fine. It was all like usual. We partied a little, watched the game. We were both buzzed but nothing excessive.”

“Go ahead.”

“At one point I went to use the bathroom and make a phone call. When I got back . . .”


“Thanks. When I got back, he was slumped on the couch. I thought he’d passed out. He’d done that before. This time he looked different and I got scared. When I tried to wake him, I couldn’t.”

“What did you do?”

“I checked for a pulse. I couldn’t find one.”

“Then what?”

“I didn’t know what to do! I couldn’t call 911. There were drugs in the house, in our systems. I’m on probation, I couldn’t risk it.”

“For the tax thing.”


“So, what happened after that, Xander. Breathe, okay? You’ll feel better if you get it out.”

“I . . . I wanted to get his body into bed so I could just leave and he’d be discovered later. He was too heavy. I never could have gotten him that far.  So, I dragged him into the garage and . . . I . . .”

“You’ve got to speak up, Xander. We have to be able to hear you.”

“I cut . . . I took a saw . . . I had a hacksaw. . .”

“Xander, I promise you’ll feel better if you . . .”

“I held my father’s arm over a garbage bag and hacked it off! Then I took the other. Then . . .”

“I know this is hard, but you’re making it better. You’re doing good.”

“I can’t. It’s too . . . I can’t.”

“Let’s take a break. Anything we can get you?”

“My soul, before it all goes to hell.”

“Look, you can’t change what’s happened, but you can start from now and make it better. I’m going to give you a minute.”

“No, I want it to be done. I’d lined the floor with tarps. I cut his legs, his head. Then there was the torso. I didn’t think I could handle the size of it in the garbage bags.”


“I cut it in half.”

“What did you do then, Xander.”

“All of the parts were in separate bags. I took off my clothes and put them in the washing machine. There’s one in the garage. Then I cleaned up. I bleached everything.   I cleaned the kitchen, the living room, grabbed the drugs and waited for my clothes to finish.”

“How long did that take?”

“Hour? More? I don’t know. At that point I couldn’t think about anything. When my clothes were ready, I got dressed. I backed my car up to the garage and filled the trunk . . . excuse me.”

“You gonna be sick?”

“Uh, no. I don’t think so.”

“You’re almost done. Just a couple more things. Around what time was it when you packed the car and I assume you left?”

“One, two o’clock?”

“All right. Go ahead. When you’re ready.”

“I drove back to my condo. Left everything where it was. Went inside, showered, slept.”

“The next day?”

“Waited until night, brought one of my suitcases and put it in the back seat. Then I drove to the country club. It was closed because of construction. I put some bags in the dumpsters they had out for the construction. The heavier bags I buried in the suitcase.”

“Anything else?”

“Cleaned out the trunk with bleach. That was it.”

“Okay, Xander, that’s enough for now. We’re going to get a couple of deputies to take you to a cell. We’ll get you some food and you can rest. You might want to call an attorney.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Yeah, okay.  Deputy, see who’s at the desk and let’s get Mr. Robeson settled.”

“Sure, Detective.”

“What are you looking at?”

“Xander, don’t make things worse. Go ahead, Deputy. I’ll want to talk to you later.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So, bad cop act wasn’t an act.”

“Just sit tight and we’ll get you out of here.”

“Mr. Robeson? This way, please. Turn around.”

“I’ll come quietly. You don’t have to handcuff me.”

“Policy. Hands together. Come this way.”

“Sergeant, you got a minute?”

“Sure, Jim.”

“We got him. There’s a few open questions but I think we have what we need.”

“What questions?”

“We have any results yet from the phone dump?”

“Well, apparently this one’s quite a Romeo.”


“He was engaged in two long-distance romances with a couple ladies from Colombia, a Juanita and a Sophia. Promised them both a trip to the US, at separate times.”

“And the one call I specified?”


“So, at the end of the day . . .”

“Yep, promises made; all empty promises thanks to an empty bank account.”

“You mean he was . . .”

“I’ll get you the financials. Broke.”

“So, daddy to the rescue.”

“Imagine what would happen if daddy said no.”

“I don’t think we need to.”

* * *

“Morning, Captain.”

“Morning. Hey, has anyone seen Snowden? He didn’t show for morning briefing.”

“Not like Snowden to be late for anything.”

“Ask around, will ya?”


“Say, what’s going on over there? What is that?”

“I don’t know . . .”

“Captain! You’re gonna wanna look at this!”

* * *

“Wakey, wakey, Detective.”

“Wha . . . how did you . . . Jane!”

“Aw, now, why don’t we just let her sleep, Detective. She looks like an angel when she’s asleep. You must have noticed how your wife looks when she’s sleeping.”

“What did you do?”

“Just a little ether, that’s all. She should come around.”

“What is it you want?”

“I want what everyone wants. To be treated with the kind of respect good people deserve. You understand that, don’t you? That's how you treated me at the interview yesterday, remember? Now, that other cop, bad cop? How could you allow a psycho like that to wear the same badge you do? Did you know he said bad things to me when your back was turned? You know what else he did? He tried to take advantage of poor, helpless me while no one was looking. I had no choice.”

“Xander, what are you saying? How did you get here?”

“You don't pay enough attention, Detective, to what's in front of you. What's my middle name? I've said it once and won't say it again. Your deputy was my assistant. He made it all so easy. Seriously, isn’t there anything you can figure out on your own?”

* * *

“Oh my god! Don’t touch anything. Call Crime Scene. Now!”

“Should I get the medics?”

“Jesus, man! How many severed heads have you seen that require medical attention! Call out an APB and let’s get this sick fuck!”

* * *

“So, what now, Xander?”

“I just stopped by to say goodbye, Detective. I like you so I’m leaving you a little present. It’s in the fridge. And I’ve decided to let you live.”

“Xander, you won’t survive this.”

“Well, you should know by now how resourceful I can be. I suggest you not push your luck.”

“So, you’re just going to leave?”

“I’ll save you some suspense, Detective. Before I woke you, I removed all your communication devices and have a special explosive attached to your bedroom door I’ll be activating on my way out. So, I suggest you get comfortable and relax. You won’t be going anywhere for a while.”

“Xander, please . . .”

“We may meet again. Until then, I want to thank you for your service.”


February 19, 2023 21:04

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18:49 Mar 03, 2023

I was hooked by the dialog from the first lines, Susan. High pitched, intense, focused, slick, succinct, clear with no extraneous or unnecessary words. This piece read like a film script and demanded the attempt of a single breath, a single sitting to consume the entire episode, Riveting. The ending provided a surprising twist and opened the story up for the next chapter. I will enjoy reading your other published pieces over time.


Susan Catucci
19:05 Mar 03, 2023

Wow, Ralph, thanks so much for that wonderful feedback. I will say this story is a personal favorite of mine. I love the genre of suspense, horror and intrigue and I'm just beginning to dip a toe in it. Your words are very encouraging and helpful. I'm grateful. :)


20:11 Mar 08, 2023

Best. R


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Chris Campbell
00:17 Feb 24, 2023

Susan, very believable interview dialogue. You took us from thinking Xander was innocent to him being an outright Psycho - ala, Hannibal Lecter. The line, "How many severed heads have you seen that require medical attention," was a hilarious reality-check, slap-in-the-face awakening for the shocked cop. Lots happening in this story, but all connected very well. As for Xander. I wondered about the Houdini middle name. You didn't disappoint. Well done!


Susan Catucci
01:02 Feb 24, 2023

Ah, means the world remarks like yours, Chris. I have great respect for your writings. I'm so pleased you - enjoyed may not be the right word, or . . . actually, yes, why not. You can't survive in the criminal court system without a sense of humor (number one), sturdy spirit and strong stomach.


Chris Campbell
05:00 Feb 26, 2023

Thank you for your very kind words, Susan.


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Delbert Griffith
22:47 Feb 22, 2023

Yep, loved it the first time and love it even more with the "Houdini" addition. Wonderful tale, Susan. I think you have a masterful "dialogue only" piece here, and I am in awe of your skills. Nicely done, my friend.


Susan Catucci
22:56 Feb 22, 2023

Coming from you, Del, this means so much more than I can say. I believe anyone who can appreciate the macabre inherited a very special chromosome - you have to cherish all that capacity to appreciate quality; in whatever form comes your way - I heard someone once say, even evil wants to be loved. Not sure about it, but in abstract form, I'm all in. Thank you!


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Michał Przywara
21:43 Feb 21, 2023

Great! "Just dialogue" naturally implies two speakers, but you somehow manage to get a handful of characters to work, and the action still remains clear. And what a lovely dark story :) Bad cop was surprising, and Xander's confession sounded genuine - but it was all a con. The end is terrifying for the good cop. They're clearly dealing with a highly competent killer. This gave me some Dexter vibes, actually. Maybe due to the dismemberment and the competence. Except, this guy might end up on the table himself :)


Susan Catucci
02:58 Feb 22, 2023

Hah, not just anyone can have that kind of fun with a plot line like this. I had the time of my life crafting this one. Inside story: the base idea is from an actual court case. I'll have to educate myself on what to do, if anything, with stories based on real life events - which, in my experience, is far and away stranger than fiction (and continues to be more so every day.) There's no bottom to this kind of thing. Thanks, MIchal - love to hear from you.


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Jack Kimball
17:59 Feb 21, 2023

The only thing missing was Hannibal Lecter of course and the way he escapes. Great job Susan. I thought the cops were setting him up right up until '“I’d like to start over.” BTW Xander is boy's name of Greek origin meaning "defending men" for whatever that's worth.


Susan Catucci
19:51 Feb 21, 2023

That's interesting, Jack - Xander's name probably reflects how strongly he feels about "good people" getting their due respect. I suspect it could be stretched that far - ah, semantics. I'm so glad you liked it and commented - it was so much fun to write. (Now I'm going to sound silly-picky but when you liked the story, did you "like" the story or just like it - which is fine either way. I'm nothing if not tactful.) :) Thanks again, Jack.


Jack Kimball
20:07 Feb 21, 2023

I have now both liked your story AND liked your story. Well deserved I might add.


Susan Catucci
20:15 Feb 21, 2023

Hahaha - thank you, my friend!


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Lily Finch
05:40 Feb 21, 2023

Susan, This story is imaginative, descriptive and engaging. Great dialogue. LF6.


Susan Catucci
19:35 Feb 21, 2023

Thanks, Lily - it was an absolutely blast to write. One thing I will say - just to you though - I might have described this story as creative nonfiction but I admit I took it pretty far from the bounds of truth. But that's one of the joys of creation - :) Thanks so much for the great feedback!


Lily Finch
20:03 Feb 21, 2023

That's cool! LF6.


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Viga Boland
16:21 Feb 20, 2023

Whoa…another super story by you…so easy to visualize when dialogue is handled by an expert writer. As for the twist, never saw it coming despite the foreshadowing. Words fail. Can’t help thinking to myself “is there any point submitting another of my silly little stories with offerings like this from Susan and a couple of others I’ve just read?” You guys are bad for my ego. Just kidding! 😂 I’m tickled pink that you even follow me here and read my funnies. That’s reward enough.


Susan Catucci
17:21 Feb 20, 2023

You're a riot, Viga. We're all here for the same reasons. We love the written word and being there for each other. I think when you write alone, you think you're good but not really sure. When you write with a community you respect, you gain so much just from being with each other. It's such a positive forum for all of us to enjoy - and your feedback makes my day, like you wouldn't believe! I treasure words like yours. :)


Viga Boland
21:33 Feb 20, 2023

You’re good for my soul, Susan 😊


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Wendy Kaminski
21:38 Feb 19, 2023

"WARNING: Gore, drugs, language, violence" I'm in! This did not disappoint, what a great set of twists and turns and absolutely unexpected ending. All without anything but words in quotes - dayum sis, you are awesome! The Q&A was such an excellent choice, in that it made it so easy to follow, and was a great format to lay out the story. This was just GOOD storytelling, in an inventive style. Love love love!


Susan Catucci
00:47 Feb 20, 2023

Love you back - I have a few inspired modifications and will invite your input when implemented. Please. :)


Wendy Kaminski
00:48 Feb 20, 2023

Deal! :)


Susan Catucci
01:53 Feb 20, 2023

Gimme your best shot . . . er, thoughts.


Wendy Kaminski
02:30 Feb 20, 2023

I’ll be honest I don’t know if it’s the NyQuil or the flu, but I can’t tell exactly what was changed, but it does read just a little bit better. Don’t keep a girl in suspense lol … what was it? :) I read through it twice and still cannot exactly tell what changed lol… though I think the middle name part might be new? PS if I did miss it the first time, Houdini part is very cool! Especially given what transpires. If I didn’t miss it and it’s new then it’s also awesome lol.


Susan Catucci
13:56 Feb 20, 2023

I'm so sorry to hear you have flu/NyQuil. No more reading for you - rest, drink fluids, get better! No, no, that was the change - make it more plain how Xander made the great escape. And just one other word change, which, as you know, can make for a smoother read. :) Thanks for your input - and I thought of you when I caught part of a docu on Pompeii and found myself marveling at all that re-imagined lava poop . . . er, pour. I'll just never see history the same way.


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