Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Author, Ocean, Weapon

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Write a story featuring an author, the ocean, and an antique weapon.

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7 thoughts on “Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: Author, Ocean, Weapon

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    Another bad fiction installment: "Anchovy Heart" Part I
    Authorities at his ocean-side property tentatively labeled his death as “accidental drowning.” But Dennis York, forensic pathologist, discovered that Brian Reed, signer and author of the 1975 hit single, “Anchovy Heart,” had been murdered. Solving murders is my specialty; I’m Detective Vivian Brooker. Shortly after he completed the autopsy, York showed me the incriminating slashes.

    “They crisscross his back, torso, and his arms. He suffered contusions as well.” York pointed to the various wounds on the Reed’s corpse stretched on the examination table.

    “And there were no cuts in his clothing?” I asked.

    “No. The murderer must have changed the victim’s clothes after slicing him up. The cut wounds are particularly puzzling: deep in the center but increasingly shallow towards the end points. I can’t picture what type of weapon was used.” York pulled off his wire rimmed glasses. He squeezed his eyelids shut and pinched the bridge of his nose between his latex gloved thumb and index finger.

    This was a high profile case; the pressure to find the killer quickly would be intense. I pushed my apprehension aside and started with the fundamentals. “Throw me some ideas York. Who might have wanted Brian Reed dead?”

    York slipped on his glasses back on. “Umm…A psychotic fan? A jilted lover? The Bee Gees?”

    “There were no signs of forced entry or struggle at his residence. The killer was someone he knew, someone skilled with an unusually shaped blade and meticulous enough not to leave a drop of blood behind.”

    I flipped open my notebook and attempted to sketch the mystery weapon. Deeper in the center and shallow towards the end points, I repeated the description to myself as I let my pen fly. When I pulled the pen from the paper, a semi-circular instrument with a handle occupied the page. I held the picture up to York.

    York squinted at the sketch. “That might fit the wound pattern, but it looks like a…a kitchen tool.”

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    He locked eyes with mine. A slight smile crept onto his lips. “I trust you Vivian.”

    Full of newly inflated self-confidence, I dashed from the lab to my Impala, and headed to Angelo’s.

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    The warm breeze was blowing across the stern of the boat, the sun beating down onto the divers as the boat jumped the waves on their way out to Alligator Lighthouse, east of Islamorada Key. This trip was a gift, having just finished another mystery novel, he was due some down time, and where else but the Keys. When they anchored at the dive site he took a moment to look around. There was nothing but blue skies above and clear blue water below filled with the most amazing colored fish. When John and his dive buddy were geared up, they went overboard; and entered paradise. They swam along, circling around the lighthouse pillars, surrounded by exotic fish, and the occasional barracuda swimming past. They knew this lighthouse area was generally surrounded by barracuda, however, they also knew that unless they took aggressive actions, or had shiny spots on their equipment to attract the barracuda they were safe.
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  6. Lori Gilbert

    "In His Cave By the Sea"

    Looking for ammonites on the beach below the castle, he walks through the labyrinth inside his skull, holding the red string. He climbs up through the coral curls that sprout sparks around him as he walks. His fingers pry small shells and stones from the wet sand beaten down hard by wave after wave. Sometimes he looks up at the massive storm-cloud outline of Bamburgh Castle against the sky; sometimes he looks out to the horizon. He thinks, What lies across the channel? And then, What lies, across the channel! How they lie, over there, those Frenchmen, and Frenchwomen… how she lies. Did she really lie beside me? Or did I dream it?
    The author never lets the string fall from his hand, as he walks the tunnels turning this way and that, climbing up through the cave.
    Digging into the sand once more, he pries up an encrusted shape the colour of sand, and turns it over in his hand. His thumb traces the ridged curve like a tiny ram’s horn. A creature once lived in the chambers of this small spiral castle under the ancient ocean. He holds the object loosely in his hand and looks out from Northumbria, across the waves, perhaps toward France. He continues to walk through the labyrinth, leaving a trail of red string, a string of connectivity from chamber to chamber as he moves ever in to the centre.
    At the heart of the maze is a circular red room. Sparks fly out from its walls. In the middle of the room, a plinth heaped with dark velvet holds up a velvet-lined tray as if proffering jewels. But instead of a necklace or tiara, he sees displayed a magnificent pair of French flintlock pistols. They are intricately embellished with flowers of silver wire, they are heavily gilt. Is she heavy with guilt, he wonders, or as light as a gull on the wing? He takes one pistol from the tray and holds it with the red string in his hand. He turns around and she is standing there. The monster, the mystery deep inside his cave, is only this small smiling woman. She is mouthing words to explain, one of the words is “only”, another is “connect.”
    The author lifts the lovely pistol, and as easily as in a dream, points it at her heart and shoots. A thin red cord springs across the space between them, and connects.
    He sets the pistol back in its place. The red cord runs from the centre of the crumpled woman to the tapered muzzle of the French flintlock pistol. Twisting out near the lock-plate, the string meanders off into the depths of the cave. He follows it back down the winding path.
    The author has been standing on the beach a long time, looking out at the horizon. Now he swings back his arm, and hurls the ammonite as far as he can. It makes a small splash among the waves and sinks.

  7. Karen Crisco

    The Best Seller

    She had married Preston shortly after the publication of her last best seller “The End of Knight”. A bawdy tale recounting the adventures of Sir Blazingheart from his misspent youth until his untimely death at the hand of a spurned chamber maid. That single story had propelled her from obscurity to the number one spot for seventeen weeks on a world renowned best sellers list. The residuals and movie rights alone made it so she would never have to write another word again for her daily bread.

    She met Preston at a wrap party just prior to the release of the Oscar hopeful movie based on her book. Even though he was twenty years her junior he seemed enraptured by her. In the following days and weeks he pursued her with a flourish that would have swept any woman off her feet. Within six months’ time they married on the beach in front of their new home in Malibu.
    She was utterly and completely in love. With the proceeds from her novel and the movie residuals they traveled the world for their honeymoon. Preston who had made a tidy sum for himself in the stock market took over the management of his lovely brides seemingly never ending flow of income. Neither one realizing within two years’ time the fountain would dry up.

    She was now fifty; he would have turned thirty at his next birthday. Today was a turning point in her life. She not only found out she was beyond broke but in so much debt she would never recover. She found out most of her money went to support a string of long legged beauties young enough to be her daughters.
    She, for some reason did not fly into a rage. She seemed very calm as she picked up the mace from its perch on the mantle. The mace with it spiny ball attached by a chain to a leather wrapped handle was her inspiration for “The End of Knight” when she saw it at the antique store. It felt heavy in her hands as she walked out to the patio where Preston was tanning his already bronzed body. As she walked she started swinging the mace by its handle and she was a little surprised at how easily it moved. She came up behind him and without a word, like a warrior woman of old, swung the mace over her head and sent it crashing down into Preston’s skull.

    One strike did it, Preston’s head caved in, blood splattered all over the tiled patio. She glanced at him for just a moment and with the mace still swinging slightly in her hand she walked down the steps that led to the ocean. She felt nothing, not even the hot sand burning her bare feet. She was looking at something on the horizon and continued looking ahead as she walked into the ocean.


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