Thank you for tuning back in - it's much appreciated.
Today, thought I would share the first instalment of my two-part short story, titled The End of the Road. It is featured under my Work section, which you can read about here. It will be submitted for The Yeovil Literary Prize 2018 on 31st May 2018 and the winners will be announced in September, so I will update you on an ongoing basis. However, for now, you may enjoy for free!
As usual, please do let me know what you think of it. I LOVE constructive feedback. If we stop learning, we've already failed!
THE END OF THE ROAD (PART ONE):
“Joanne, you get that story or you’re finished here. No more excuses.”
The line goes dead. My boss can be a right asshole at times. I stare at the blank screen as worry starts to creep in, but I shake it off, adjust my hair in the rear view mirror and open the car door.
The murder house is right in front of me; its plain, unassuming exterior shields the picturesque cul-de-sac from a bloodbath. Or so I’m told. I've got someone on the inside at the local Police Station. We go way back. I helped her out once at school and she’s the type who always wants to repay a favour. A real Good Samaritan, which suits me fine, especially when I need access to the next breaking story. I’m in need of one after that phone call. Ever since school, I had always wanted a life in Journalism. How things change.
A chill goes through me as I take in the dystopian eyesore in front of me; the gnarled tree in the front garden that comes straight out of Sleepy Hollow; The lawn that looks like it hasn’t been mown in a decade. The house stands out like a sore thumb against a neighbourhood teeming with white picket fences and manicured lawns.
My phone buzzes, bringing me back to reality. It’s a text from Cody, my inside spy.
“Sorry hon, I’m not at the scene. Let me know how it goes.”
There are limitations to her usefulness after all. I roll my eyes and notice that I’m the only reporter here, the first one on scene. Silver linings and all that. I spot an Officer wandering about in the garden of the murder house, putting up yellow tape. I’m careful not to get my heels wet as I step over a puddle and cross the road towards him.
“Least the weather is holding up nicely for you Officer,” I try to charm him, putting my teeth whitening sessions to good use. It’s no use as he barely looks up at me, managing a quick glance, only really noticing the camera around my neck.
“You’re a reporter?” I nod, my smile faltering. “No comment.” He states matter of factly, turning his back on me. I bite my tongue - the temptation to introduce him to my wrath is difficult to suppress. I try a different, more direct tactic.
“Any info on the stiff then?” I ask casually, knowing it would prompt a reaction. I’m not wrong. He stops and stares at me for a few seconds, his face souring.
“The VICTIM is none of your concern.” He turns his back on me, continuing with the tape. I take my chance and start snapping pictures of the murder house.
“Get any good pictures Miss?” A gruff voice behind me makes me jump. I laugh, clutching my hand to my chest in shock. A seventy something man with speckled hair and a handle bar moustache smiles at me. I marvel at how pristine his teeth are - we are equals on that front.
His eyes twinkle magically. I notice he’s slightly taller than me and his arms are quite thick for someone his age. He would have been quite the catch forty years ago. I return the smile, lowering my camera.
“Getting there. I need to speak to some locals and get an idea about the victim and what happened.”
“I can help you there. I knew her very well.”
“Her? I thought the Police hadn’t…”
“Word travels fast around here. Plus, I was in the area when it happened. You could call me a key witness.” He winks before pointing at a little, green patch of land about two hundred yards down the road,
“I have an allotment. There’s not much I don’t see whilst spending time with Mother Nature.”
He takes out a handkerchief and blows into it, staring at me.
I notice the Officer looking at us. He seems entranced by the man, glancing down at his notepad and back at us, but doesn’t write anything. “Do you know him?” I ask the old man. He shakes his head, “No. Anyway, walk with me. I’ve got things to finish on the allotment.” He starts to amble off at a swift pace. I follow.
TO BE CONTINUED SOON...