There are a couple of writing practices that I have recently adopted. Since they are fairly new to me, I have made the executive decision not to share them in detail with you just yet. If I am still using them by Easter, I will expand on those more. For now, I will just tell you that this story is inspired by one of the exercises. Therefore, there is no official prompt for this week’s CW piece.
Exiting the closet with a navy blue T-shirt tossed over his shoulder, Hugo pulled on the metal light bulb pull chain. To his surprise, most of the length of the chain remained in his hand after the light switched off.
“Hmmm…” Hugo looked at the broken piece unable to be reattached. He hated the fact that he was responsible for the majority of things getting damaged in the house. He would hide the evidence if he could, but it was only a matter of hours, at most, before Milly walked in to change her clothes and realized she could not turn on the light. Hugo was never good at fixing things, either. He sighed, realizing that telling Milly about what happened was the only option.
“We are still searching for any potential clues that could lead us closer to apprehending a suspect in the recent murder spree…” With her legs folded under her, Milly sat on the couch watching TV when Hugo walked into the room. He opened the palm of his hand in front of her to present the broken chain.
“How?” Milly asked and took a deep breath in an attempt to suppress a sigh. She no longer had the strength to yell and scream at her husband whenever he broke something. She could count the things she damaged throughout the years they had been together on the fingers of her right hand, compared to probably more than half a dozen hands for all the things Hugo destroyed. Such a bull in a china shop…
“I just…” Hugo began but quickly gave up on trying to explain. It was not going to change anything and Milly was not even listening.
“I will put in a ticket for maintenance tomorrow,” Milly said before turning her eyes back towards the screen.
“If you know anything that could help us, call 1-800-MUR-DERS (1-800-687-3377). If you observe anything suspicious, call 911 right away,” the brunette on TV wearing a pink suit jacket urged viewers.
For the remainder of the evening, Hugo and Milly watched crime shows, eating popcorn, and guessing whodunnit.
Monday was uneventful, if slightly annoying. Both Hugo and Milly were super busy at work.
When the doorbell rang, Milly was on the phone with her superior – Mrs. Sullivan. Not just any superior, but the one that insisted on making everyone around them miserable just because she could. Milly could not just tell that grouchy, old buffoon that someone was at the door. That would give the woman more ammo for her: “You should come back to the office” campaign. There was nothing Milly could not do from home and she refused to go into the office just because someone needed their fix of torturing people in person.
Milly could hear someone shuffle by the front door. Her home office was positioned in the dining room, close to the entrance of the house. She wondered if Mrs. Sullivan heard the doorbell. If there was a second one, Milly knew that her co-worker would ask about it, which would lead to Milly either finally telling the woman off, or biting her own tongue off. Neither one of those options seemed appealing. “Let’s try to make this a good week,” she though to herself.
A quick decision had to be made. Milly could hear Hugo in the other room. He was talking to someone, too, unable to answer the door. If he even heard the bell in the first place.
“Hold on. Just a moment, please,” Milly said into the phone before putting it on mute and rushing to the door.
Will she have to explain herself? Hopefully not. Milly waved the thoughts away and opened the door.
“I’m sorry. We’re both working from home and on the phone right now.” She waved the maintenance guy in and returned back to her phone as if nothing happened.
Mrs. Sullivan did not ask Milly why she had to step away from the conversation for a moment, which was a surprise, but Milly chose not to dwell on it and instead, to see it as a sign that it was going to be a good week.
The maintenance guy did his work and left.
“What do we have here?” a detective asked, entering the house
“Two DOAs* – a male in the bedroom, and a female in the dining room. Stab wounds to the neck and chest. The building manager called 911 after one of his maintenance guys discovered the bodies as he entered the house to fix a light bulb pull chain,” a police officer in uniform answered. “No signs of forced entry. They must have let the attacker in willingly,” he added, pointing at the undamaged door.
The detective nodded and cocked his head to the right. “People working remotely, killed in their own home… Stabbed to death… No forced entry… Bodies discovered by the maintenance guy…” There definitely was a pattern, but that realization did not bring them any closer to apprehending the suspect. “We have no choice but to tell the media that our suspect poses as a maintenance guy. People need to start being vigilant about whom they let into their homes,” he said to another uniform before leaving the scene.
“Boss, I have some Mrs. Sullivan here to see you. She says she worked with one of the latest vics** and she claims to have some information that might help with the case,” Peggy announced entering Detective Brody’s office.
“Send her in,” he replied. Announcing a reward for helpful information always brought out all the crazies who thought that their useless information was going to make a difference. Detective Brody rolled his eyes and took his feet off his desk in preparation.
Mrs. Sullivan started talking about Milly and her subpar work ethic before Detective Brody could even say ‘Hello.’
“Ma’am, I was told that you have direct information that will help us catch the killer from Mangrove Meadows. Is this true?” he decided to cut her off.
“Well… yes… Of course,” Mrs. Sullivan stuttered, unaccustomed to people interrupting her.
Detective Brody motioned her to continue.
“As I was saying, before you so rudely interrupted me, Milly insisted on working from home, which…,” she shook her head. “… is unacceptable. There’s no way to really monitor productivity if you are not able to physically check up on someone. No one else seemed to care, though, so I took matters into my own hands and had my son install some sort of program on Milly’s computer so that I could see what she is doing at any given time.”
“Your son hacked someone’s computer camera? You know that’s illegal, right?”
“Oh, give me a break. She was making lunch while talking to clients and she was getting paid for that!”
Detective Brody rolled his eyes and took a deep breath. “Do you have footage from the day of the murder?”
“Right here,” Mrs. Sullivan nodded, handing him a flash drive. “You can clearly see the face of the guy who killed Milly. I told her she should have come back to the office.”
Detective Brody stood up and motioned his guest towards the door . “Thank you, Mrs. Sullivan. Peggy will get your info on your way out.” He smiled. “What a nut!“
Mrs. Sullivan huffed before exiting the room. “People are so ungrateful these days.“
*DOA stands for dead on arrival
**vic is short for victim
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