Presenting my 950 word challenge story photo was taken by Michael Wombat. This challenge was set by Miranda Kate, please find her on twitter @PurpleQueenNL. The challenge is part of her #MidWeekFlash game on Facebook, and the link is below the story.
‘DS Fife, your assistance is required at the Town Hall. Something about a possible murder in the clock tower, over.’
‘Roger that. On my
way’ Detective Sergeant Dennis Fife couldn’t help but smile. He’d wanted to get
a look inside that tower for a while. Admittedly a murder wasn’t high on his list
of reasons to visit.
Fife pulled up at the town hall minutes later. He climbed from his Police Lexus and gazed toward the stormy battleship grey clouds. Thrown into relief by the weather was the five-story Scottish Baronial clock tower. It had been built two hundred years ago and stood like an imposing guard over the city. The whole building was sculpted out of brown ashlar sandstone- giving it an ominous feel. Fife’s eyes drank in the conical roofed bartizan turrets on each corner. He admired the pedimented gables above the clock faces, the crowstepped gables and the four-stage pyramidal roof.
“What a backdrop for murder,” he breathed as he stepped noisily along the pavement to the buildings main entrance. Adjusting his leather jacket over his white shirt and black trousers he entered the glazed automatic doors. The lobby was almost entirely clad with marble effect ceramic tiles. “DS Fife, I understand a crime has been committed here,” he announced himself to the bespectacled lady in the navy-blue trouser suit, sat at the desk.
She checked his badge and made a note before speaking. “Welcome detective. Take the door on the left and follow it both sets of doors. A sergeant is waiting for you at the bottom of the clock tower.”
“Much obliged.” Fife swiftly followed the directions and entered the cold feeling clock tower stairwell and storage space.
“Ah, Dennis. Thanks for coming. I see you still haven’t shaved off your moustache. I bet the wife isn’t happy with that.”
“Hallo, Jack. I own my face, not my missus. I notice the barber hasn’t finished your haircut either.” Fife chuckled and shook hands with bald Sergeant Jack Crimmins. The two had been colleagues for over ten years and loved a bit of banter. “Where’s the crime scene?”
“You should try a skinhead, it’s liberating. Anyway, the horologist came to maintain the clocks. He went up to the first landing, discovered the knife and called us. Nobody’s been up further to protect potential crime scenes.”
“Thanks, Jack. Let’s see.” Fife pulled on his leather gloves and headed up the stone steps.
“The Horologist gave me a statement and went back to his shop. We can find him there, should we need him,” Jack said having followed him.
Fife came upon a half-sized cooks knife sat in the corner of the stone landing, accompanied by a gory footprint with a well-defined heel. The blade was coated in claret like substance. A sniff told him it was blood, he headed on up the stairs. “Get forensics on the way.”
“Will do.” Jack stayed behind. His voice echoing up the stairs as he spoke into his radio. Fife was on a blood trail, the higher he climbed the more drops and prints he found. The second and third-floor rooms offered nothing, so he continued following the trail ever higher. Coming to the clock room door he took a breath and entered.
Lying on the bare floorboards was the victim. The investigation was confirmed as a horrific murder scene.
The deceased was a middle-aged man with an open-eyed stare of fear frozen upon his be-whiskered face. His attacker had made a mess of him in what appeared to be a crazed assault with the knife.
“Bloody hell, who could do that to a person?” he breathed as his eyes took in the steampunk lovers dreamscape of cogs, ironwork and mechanisms of the four massive clock faces and gubbins that took up most of the space. He was amazed to note that he could see the cityscape splayed below him through the enormous clock faces. In each corner, he noted the narrow doors of the four parapets.
“What have you got, Dennis?” Jack was asking over the radio.
“One deceased male in the clock room. He was stabbed multiple times in the last hour or two going by the looks of him. The footprints made by the blood; tell me our assailant wears a size-4 heeled-shoe. Our victim is grey-haired, yet I can see several long brown hairs on his shirt. Those are likely our suspects.”
“I wondered if we might be looking for a female, judging by the size of the knife and heel marks down here,” Jack replied.
“Heel— Shit!” Fife snapped around to face the steps to the dormer room and roof-space.
“The bloody footprints stopped at the knife, Jack.” Fife felt sweat beading his brow, his fear growing.
“You mean the murder is—”
“The horologist came in as she was coming down—She’s still up here!” Fife cut him off at the whisper. The parapet doors were all clearly locked shut. He moved up the wrought-iron steps to switch back and she screamed. The wild-eyed murder lunged down the second flight- blasting him over the railing and down to the floor with a thud. Looking aloft in his daze, Fife saw a clock hand in her hand, held dagger-like. She leapt the railing and dove on him. He rolled aside, the clock hand lodged in the floor. She aimed a boot at his head, went stiff and fell beside him with Jack’s stun gun barbs in her back.
“Crazy woman,” he remarked while cuffing the now flailing and screaming murderer.
“She does appear a little cuckoo.” Fife coughed through his pain. “We solved the case, that’s the main thing,
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