Featured Stories, Week of Sept. 15, 2018: Part Two


Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at our weekly meetings. For this week's featured stories, we are ALL featured as this was a particularly fun jaunt into our imagination. First, we drew at random a genre. Then we chose a prompt from the book "Q&A a Day for Writers." Then we wrote for 20 minutes.

GUIDANCE

By L.E. Lasko

There was a thumping on the roof. At first I thought it was just Stanley, the overweight raccoon who terrorized the neighborhood. But the sound was too rhythmic, too consistent. Three hard knocks, a pause, then three more.

I didn’t want to go out to investigate, but Rob would tease me if I didn’t.

He always joked I couldn’t hold my horror, as if fear is something easily contained. I rummaged through the kitchen junk drawer for a flashlight, and retrieved a shovel from the garage.

Cracking open the screen door, I slipped outside. I waited in the darkness to hear the thumping. Nothing.

I flipped on the flashlight and started scanning the roof. The wind pulled my hair over my eyes. Fighting the tangles, I juggled the flashlight and the shovel as I reached in my pocket for a ponytail.

I dropped the flashlight and the door slammed shut.

Rob’s nagging pragmatism told me it was just the wind.

Turning off the flashlight, I tried the knob and it was still unlocked. Once I threw my weight against the door, it gave a little and opened.

All the lights were on. I returned the shovel, but kept the flashlight.

I reheated my half-eaten burger and settled down on the couch.

A tornado watch blared as soon as I pressed the power button. I jumped, knocking the food to the floor.

Cursing, I tried to lean over, but something held my chest in place. Breathing became harder. I could feel something tightening around my neck.

I opened my mouth and it constricted, crushing my vocal cords.

FLASHBACK

By Susan Lee

Detective Mark Franks tossed the file on his desk and sighed, scrubbing his hands over his face. He hadn't shaved in days and it looked like it would be a few days more before he would even see the inside of his shitty little apartment. Too many people had died and many more probably would before they caught this one

A mug shot slid out of the file, peeking out at Franks. A black and white shot of a grinning young Asian man that haunted the police detective's dream. Allan Lee. The one responsible. The man Franks had to capture before he could sleep again.

Franks looked up as Maggie Sing entered his office. Maggie was a stunning, petite Chinese-American woman consulting on the case. Franks wasn't sure what that meant. He figured she was just hanging around because she was the niece of someone important in the department because that's how all the "consultants" worked.

"Detective?" Maggie cautiously approached Franks' desk. "Have you got a minute?"

Franks didn't really want to talk to her but he knew he had to play ball.

"Sure, sweetheart," he growled, gesturing to the chair across from him.

Maggie bristled at sweetheart but let it slide. She sat down, her eyes catching the mug shot. She placed her own folder on top of the file. Then she waited as Franks threw back a shot of days-old coffee from the disgusting mug on his desk. He felt Maggie's eyes on him but took his time anyway. She could wait.

Finally, Franks put the mug down and met Maggie's eyes. It was the first time he noticed that her eyes were green, not brown as most Asian's eyes were.

"Whatcha got for me, sweetie?" Franks finally asked.

Maggie slid her folder over to him.

"Allan Lee," she replied. "That's what I have for you."

Franks took the folder and opened it. He was surprised to find a series of crime scene photos, old and faded. Dead body after dead body, all matching the MO of the sadist they were chasing.

"This is Lee?"

"Yes, sir," Maggie said. "From Hong Kong. In 1922."

Franks tried to keep his temper in check.

"1922? You're shitting me. That's not possible."

Maggie sat back and smirked at Franks, which pissed him off just a bit.

"In 1922, Hong Kong police faced a series of brutal killings that terrorized the population. The killer gutted his victims, eviscerated some, and then apparently left the organs at the homes of their families. Numerous suspects were questioned, then released. There was no rhyme or reason to the way he selected his victims. Housewives, businessmen, hookers, children. It didn't matter. He killed them all."

Intrigued, Franks flipped through the folder, examining the photos and the blurry photocopies of old handwritten police reports.

"How'd they catch him?" Franks inquired.

"They didn't," Maggie responded. "He sent them that last picture and then apparently vanished from the face of the earth. The murders stopped. The city went back to normal and the case remains open to this day."

Franks looked at the last photo in the folder. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. He reached out and slid the mugshot from his file back over to his side of the desk. He laid the two photos side by side.

It was the exact same man - Allan Lee. The exact same age. The exact same smile.

"This is crazy," Franks said softly. "This can't be the same man. Has to be his... grandson? But the resemblance is uncanny."

"It's not his grandson," Maggie insisted. "It's him. And I'm here to take him back with me."

"Back to where?"

"1922."

Franks almost laughed but one of the crime scene photos caught his eye. He slid that one out and looked carefully at it.

In the background, dressed in a police uniform, was Maggie Sing.

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