1995 Crime Excerpt Suspense

Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale | An Excerpt

{ 959-word excerpt }

Before he made any attempt at action, Officer Bernie Reed sat in his cruiser and waited for Officer Taylor Guerrero to arrive at the scene, which was procedure.  Unlike the police officers seen on most television cop shows, metro patrolmen and patrolwomen rode alone in their department cruisers, yet still partnered up on shared areas of a particular beat.  Also, unlike the cops in those television shows, real cops often do not run sirens blaring with their cherries and blueberries flashing en route to a scene.  The goal was to catch perpetrators, not send the scurrying for safe cover.

When Officer Guerrero arrived, she stepped out of her department sedan and met him midway to the sidewalk that led to the urban residence.  Bernie noticed that the morning sunlight had accentuated Guerrero’s half-Latin features—her long, wavy brown hair, caramel skin, and deep brown eyes

“As always, perfect timing,” she said.

“The art of convenience is a trait that’s inbred in criminals, didn’t you know?” Reed said with more sincerity than sarcasm.

Guerrero’s lips formed something that was almost the complete opposite of a smile.  She said, “This better be worth me being late.”

He knew she was anxious to get the shift over with so that she could see her young son before his aunt carted him off to kindergarten.  First Watch was a tough shift to work for a single mother.

Officers Reed and Guerrero approached the rundown house that had certainly seen better days like most of the other houses on their beat.  Just before they reached the porch they heard a scream from inside, followed by the crashing of something made of glass against a wall.   The two officers continued their approach to the door, but with caution now.  Once on the porch they heard what sounded like a typical domestic conflict with the proverbial screaming and name-calling; typical of domestic disputes.   However, when they heard what sounded like the thud of a body slamming into a wall, they knew they had a serious situation.

Reed checked the door knob.  By the way it turned he assumed it was unlocked.  He should probably knock, but as the apparent struggle inside seemed to intensify, he scrubbed that option from his mind.

One.  .  .

Two.  .  .

Three.  .  .

Reed flung the door open.  “Police!”

He and Guerrero entered the house, greeted by the repugnant sight of a man—if, indeed society would deem him worthy of such a term—crouched above a woman with his fists balled and bloody.  He was a shirtless, roguish looking subject with long, brown, unwashed hair, a scraggly beard, and various tattoos decorating his bare chest and arms.  Reed sized him up to be approximately thirty years of age, maybe six-two and two-hundred pounds.  The tattoos were quite large and colorful, highly detailed and flashy.  The guy was a walking mural.  The woman, his wife, or whatever she was to him besides his apparent punching bag, lay on the living room floor just past the foyer, sobbing.  She bled from the nose and mouth from the apparent battering she had just taken from his ring-covered fists.  Her morning gown had been torn from the struggle, and bared one of her small, perky breasts.  The woman’s lengthy blonde hair had fanned around her head on the floor.  She looked like hell.  Self-conscious, she adjusted the robe to cover the exposed breast.

The shattering Reed and Guerrero had heard earlier looked to be the result of a ceramic lamp that somehow introduced itself to the living room wall.

The two officers stood in the small foyer, which connected to the living room. “Someone here call for us?” he inquired, though the answer was obvious.

Tattoo Guy—surprised to see the police in his home—rose anxiously from his victim and started to protest their intrusion.  “What the hell are you doing here?”

Guerrero said, “Just calm down, mister, and no one will get hurt.”

Reed heard Guerrero’s words fine, but he detected a hidden message in them.  Knowing a great deal about her background, he could only imagine how these domestic calls affected her.  He knew that as a young child Taylor Guerrero had been witness to her own mother being physically abused by her father, who had been an upstanding citizen on the outside world, and, most notably, a sober man, not the drunken stereotype that was expected to have routine volatile outbursts.  Bernie knew that on a basic human nature level, Guerrero was immediately put-off by Tattoo Guy and would have a major attitude toward him.

Neither officer had yet drawn their pistols, though Bernie had a feeling they would need to.   He was usually quite intuitive when it came to these situations.   It was like a latent talent of his to predict negative outcomes, though he was not a complete gloom-and-doom cynic.

The helpless woman sat up and very timidly scooted herself away from her abuser, toward the two police officers.

She yelled, “Get this bastard away from me!”  Her voice was hoarse and tears streamed down her reddened cheeks to mingle with the fast-clotting blood at the corner of her busted lips.

“Just be calm, ma’am” Reed advised.

“He’s a freak and he’s crazy!”

“Ma’am, please—”

“He’s just an ol’ meth head who puts his drugs before his family!”

Her husband, pointing at her, said, “You better shut your fuckin’ hole.”

“Enough!” Guerrero said.  She pointed at the woman, “You, calm down and stop yelling, and you…” she pointed at Tattoo Guy, “You just make sure you keep that stance and don’t go near her.”

Reed added, “We’d really rather not have to use any force, you understand?  So, please, just do what my partner suggested.”

Taken from a story originally written in 1995. The full story was previously featured in Local Heroes, a print anthology published in November 2011 by Static Movement, edited by Brandon L. Rucker. This sample is for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only – any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 1995 – 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover provided by Jessy Marie Roberts and is copyright © 2011. | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

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1995 Excerpt horror

Pieces of Candice | An Excerpt

{ 772-word excerpt }

Back at my place you should have seen the poor gal.  She was sopping wet with the sky’s tears and her own.  Candice had come out of her state of shock by the time we had reached my cabin.  I suppose that Franklin’s passing had finally dawned on her.  She had to be quite distraught for the multitude of resident house flies and other flighty, six-legged critters to go largely unnoticed.

“It’s my fault he died!  It was my shift to drive when the car must have lost contact with the road.”  She tried to control her sobbing but to no avail.  “We crashed into the trees.  I’m so stupid, it should have been me.  It’s not fair!”

However, I could not seem to make logic of her rationale on the subject.  But no one has ever accused me of having a reservoir of sympathy, either.  Actually, I thought her to be foolish and babbling.  Yet being the gracious and very anxious host that I was, I was determined to comfort her and provide her with whatsoever she required.  For example, if she needed a back rub to unwind herself, I would have given her the best rubdown she had ever known.  However, if she needed me to put her out of her misery, I had the perfect cocktail to do so.  Who could blame me for my magnanimousness, eh?  It was not often in my forty years of existence that I was needed.

I prepared some hot tea with my special blend of ingredients to warm her and put an end to her chills.  She sat upon my love seat with her arms folded and her legs drawn up close to her body.  I handed her the drinking mug and sat in the reclining chair that flanked the love seat.

“Thank you, Mister. . . ?” She paused, not knowing how to address me.

“Oh, how rude of me not to offer you my name.  I apologize.  Please, call me Jules.”

“Hmm . . . Jules,” she mused, “not very common.”

“Is that meant to be a compliment?”  I said, glaring at her. “I most certainly hope so.”  She did not flinch at my stern voice.  Candice seemed to be quite relaxed now, which meant my special blend was working its magic—its affects were instantaneous.

Oh, how I reveled at the prospects of what I could do with her.  Her beauty did not affect me in the sexual sense; I was far beyond sexual gratification at that stage of my life.  Odd, yes, but when you’ve lived alone as long as I have you either got over such things, or you’re doomed to be ruled by them without resistance.

No.  My attraction to her was in an artistic, aesthetic sense.  Corruption, pure and simple.  Perverting her beauty so that it matched my own hideousness was going to be most invigorating!

Noticing the odd odor that permeated the place, she said, “What’s that smell?”

I said, “Rancid meat. I’m afraid I got a raw deal at the butcher in town the other day.”  I chuckled.  “Be wary of the manager’s special.”  I didn’t have the heart to inform her it was the smell of old death.

“So, um, do you live alone out here, Jules?” she asked.  To a more attractive man you would call it flirting.  She took another sip of the magical earl grey.

“Surely you don’t picture me with a woman in my life, do you, Candice?  Take a closer look at me.  Really, what woman would share her life with me, hmm?”

While Candice pondered on the question, she gazed intently into her drinking mug, apparently wondering what else was in it besides the tea.

“To be honest with you, dear Candice, I do not live alone in the spiritual sense.  If you follow.”

Now wary yet slightly disoriented, she dropped the mug onto the wooden floor, spilling the remaining contents.  She started to rise from her seat.  “I-I-better be going now . . .”

“Where are you going, darling?  You can’t leave just yet.  You haven’t met my roommates.”

Candice tried to run, but to her detriment she fell to her hands and knees, and then collapsed onto the floor, her face kissing the wood.

“Candice, my darling?  Are you all right?”  I stood above her figure, watching her squirm and writhe in her pathetic plight to escape me.  She was like a helpless insect missing a wing and two legs, waiting to be squashed out of its misery.

“W-w-what-d-d-did you—?” She struggled to speak before falling unconscious.

My exotic potion had worked its magic.  She was going to be staying with us after all.

* * *

{ End Excerpt }

Taken from a story written in 1995, inspired by the works of horror legends Edgar Allan Poe and Ramsey Campbell. The full story was previously featured in Madness of the Mind, a print anthology published in August 2010 by Static Movement, edited by Chris Bartholomew. This sample is for electronic access and online archiving, and is intended for reading and reviewing purposes only — any other unauthorized use or dissemination is strictly prohibited.

This edition is copyright © 2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved.

Cover designed by Brandon L. Rucker and copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved. | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

Amazon | Smashwords