Friday, December 31, 2010

Short Story - Looking for a Killer.

Hi all,

Here is a little murder mystery I hope you enjoy.

Looking for a Killer
By Jay Wilson ©2009

John Austin was known as a nice man. He was even known as a peaceful person. He had been the Sunday school teacher for eight years. He served on the school board and the library board. John was not the type to go after a killer. He knew that was the police department’s job. But still, he was looking for a killer who had stolen something special from him. He was looking like everyone else. The police, neighbors, and hundreds of others were looking.

Everyone who had seen the report of the horrific murder of Kathy Austin, John’s wife wanted the killer brought to justice. The story was plastered in all the newspapers of how her body was found in a small creek near her country home bludgeoned to death. Some children who were playing made the horrible find while crossing the small bridge. The police lab said she had not been dead for over one hour. Although questioned many times, the children saw or remembered nothing that aided the investigation.

Kathy Austin’s body had been thrown from the bridge into the water. The assailant had intended for the body to be washed down stream. But the small-framed victim’s body had fell partially up on the bank where it stayed. A two-foot metal bar was lying by her side. And that metal bar might prove to be the murderer’s downfall. The chief felt the police lab might be able to lift a bloody fingerprint from the bar. The only clue was saved by the carelessness of the criminal.

In the days that followed, police interrogated everyone associated with Kathy including John. But no leads came from the questioning. They looked hard at him but John understood. The spouse is always a suspect in cases like this. The Austins seem happy enough. There were no suspicions of an affair or money problems. All the neighbors stated the same thing; almost word for word. The Austins were almost a perfect family. Even their three-year-old twin boys were like little angels. But there was no motive and no hint of problems in the family.

John was a devoted husband, took good care of his wife and kids, and had even made plans for them to re-new their wedding vows on their fifth wedding anniversary in two weeks. There were no loud noises or fights to report. The police had never mad a call at their residence. If anything, all the neighbors were somewhat jealous of John and Kathy. They seemed to live a charmed life. Besides, John had an alibi from a man at a bar who swore he had seen John in the restaurant with another man about the time of the murder … and the bar was across town 20 miles.

That is probably why everyone was so shocked about the killing. Things like this never happened in this town. There was an occasional drunk or car collision but nothing like a killing. She was brutally beaten to death with a two-foot piece of re-bar steel. She wasn’t robbed or raped. The murder was brutal striking Kathy twelve or thirteen times with the piece of steel and left in the small creek by the bridge.

Police surmised Mrs. Austin had been walking near the creek when she was attacked. The strikes came from behind. This added some credence to the belief that Mrs. Johnson might not have known the killer. Someone she knew probably would have attacked face to face … unless she tried to run to escape the killer. Blood was found on the wooden planks as well as the handrails. This was accepted as the point in the crime scene of where the lady was killed. Where the body ended up was the FRP (final resting place).

John didn’t eliminate anyone. He wanted the killer found, convicted, and get the lethal injection. He wanted someone to pay for the heinous crime and he wanted blood.

The police felt the murder might have been committed by one of the homeless transients living along the creek about half a mile south of the bridge. Sometimes they drift up the creek looking for things to steal and sell. But if it had been them, it would stand to reason Mrs. Austin would have been robbed. The detective in charge of the case ruled out a rapist because she had not been violated. Of course, the theory of a serial killer was hinted at as well as just some crazy who didn’t even know what he was doing.

In a short time, John turned from all his friends and neighbors. He even avoided his family. John felt he could not face anyone until this devastating crime was solved. He loved his wife and kids. He was thankful that his twins were staying with his mother on the day of the murder. At the funeral, she had offered to keep the children until John had time to cope with the tragic loss of his wife. It was taking longer than she expected but she was okay with that. The boys were welcomed as long as John needed time.

John walked passed the murder site several times but he just couldn’t look down from the bridge. He was afraid of what he might see. On this day he was walking across the bridge and stopped. He knew he had to look down if he was to ever have closure.

One thing bothered him over and over. He knew deep down inside he had not been at that restaurant on the day his loving wife was killed. An internal voice kept telling him that. But at the same time it bothered him that he could not remember where he was at that time. He had made up the story of being on the other side of town because he knew how guilty it would seem by saying he didn’t remember. He didn’t want the police to know he had been having severe headaches and memory blackouts. But he knew he had not hurt his wife. He loved her with all his heart and soul. He just wished he could remember where he was that day. But he was glad that the man in the restaurant thought he had seen John there. It was an honest mistake but it kept John from having to answer a lot tough questions that he could not answer.

With tears in his eyes he looked down below the bridge near the bank where his wife’s body had been found. There was still some blood stained grass and mud showing the exact location. He heard the sirens before he saw the three police cars converging toward the bridge. He thought to himself … hoped to himself that they had news about who had killed the mother of his children. Maybe they had identified the murderer by the bloody fingerprint. He hoped so … he prayed so. He felt a sudden and strange peace within himself. Yes, he knew they had caught the monster. He knew he would grin when the law executed the horrific offender.

For the first time since his wife’s murder, he smiled. John looked down into the slow moving current and saw something that scared the hell out of him. Sobbing, he clung to the bridge railings. His hands holding where Kathy’s smeared blood was still visible. He wiped his eyes and looked down again. He remembered. He didn’t understand why or how but there was an image of the murderer in the water. In the surface of the pool John saw the face of his Kathy’s killer. It was his own face in the reflection. He remembered --- he was the killer.

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