It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to sit in front of the computer for any length of time and write. It’s been a productive couple of days though. While working on some short stories an idea for another novel came to me, so I did what I always do when that happens. I typed up a scene. I can’t see the whole story yet, but there are bits and pieces of it that intrigue me. Here’s the scene.
She could have been twenty perhaps, but not much more than twenty-two. The dress was black, long and well fitting; not quite an evening gown, but certainly formal wear. He had seen magazine covers of beautiful young women at the supermarket checkout line, and this girl could have been right in there with them. She had the sculpted face of a model, draped by curly hair, a golden bronze that brought to mind an Arizona sunset.
The photographer stepped in front, blocking his view for a moment, and he realized that he had been staring at her with his mouth hanging open. He promptly shut it, hoping that no one else noticed this momentary lapse, then dug into his jacket and pulled out a notepad.
The photographer finished his last roll of film and said, “She’s really something huh?”
“Um, yes…that she is.”
“Well, all yours. Good luck mate,” he said, fitting the lens cover back on the camera.
At some other time he might have been tempted to ask for her phone number or even an autograph, just to see her smile. Girls like that did not date guys like him though. She may have been in his age range, barely, but it was obvious that she was out of his social class.
No engagement ring, he noted. He imagined what it would be like to hear her laugh at one of his stupid jokes, or to hear her whisper his name and feel the warmth of her breath against his cheek. He closed his eyes for a moment.
Jeeze, get a grip. Imagination was a great tool, but right now he needed to concentrate on the facts.
The fact that she was beautiful, without the slightest trace of make-up was plainly evident. The fact that the black dress she wore looked expensive and custom made testified that she had style. And of course, the most startling fact of all, she was unmistakably dead.
She was lying peacefully on the cheap motel bed, right hand over her heart with the left hand hanging over the side. Her index finger was outstretched ever so slightly, almost as if she were beckoning him to come closer. Someone might think that she was taking an afternoon nap if it weren’t for the pool of blood that was starting to congeal on the floor directly beneath her arm. The cut in her wrist did not look very deep, but then, it didn’t have to be.
He watched as a single drop of blood, dangling on the tip of her finger, fell to the floor in a soft plop.
“John? You ok?”
He turned and saw his partner standing just inside the doorway of the room. Allen Rayburn, which had been Allen Rainbear until he had it officially changed right after high school, was the biggest man that John had ever known. His shoulders were so broad that he couldn’t walk thru most doors without turning a bit to keep from bumping into the frame. He was just short enough that he didn’t have to duck, and although he was pushing nearly three hundred pounds, you would have a hard time finding an ounce of fat on him.
“Sorry. Yeah, I’m fine. Just having a hard time buying this as a suicide. I don’t care what the note says. A girl this pretty just does not decide to end it one day because her boyfriend breaks up with her. Look at her. She could have had any man between the ages of thirteen to eighty eating out of her hands. Did you talk to the manger yet?”
“Yep. He said she checked in alone about two hours ago, didn’t seem depressed then. In fact, he said she even joked about the vending machines.”
“When he told her that the room would be right around the corner to the vending machines, she said those things were evil and always ate her money.”
“That does not sound like someone ready to commit suicide,” John said, continuing to search the room.
“Nope, I agree. The manager assured her that he would be happy to refund any money she lost in the machine, and even offered to bring her room service. Just for the record…the motel does not have a room service policy. The guy has to be ninety years old John, and he’s in a wheelchair.”
John smiled. “OK, I take it back. There is no age limit on the guys that would not fall for her.”
“Obviously not. It’s also their policy not to rent rooms without a valid credit card. Manger said he made an exception in this case. Said she claimed that she didn’t use credit cards because they were evil too, and tended to eat her money. She paid cash for tonight and tomorrow. We have a positive I.D. though. He made a copy of her license. Mary Lynn Stewart from Charlotte, North Carolina. Tomorrow would have been her twenty-first birthday.”
Allen handed him the I.D. that the manger copied. “I got the tag number from her registration card. She was driving a red sixty-six Mustang.”
“Well, even the DMV and a lousy copier still can’t hide the beauty in that face. I would like to see the original though.”
He did another quick scan and opened the closet door a bit wider. “No purse or luggage in the room, so I’m guessing they must still be in the car. We’ll have the lab guys bag everything once…what?” Allen was shaking his head.
“I suppose someone could have dropped her off, but the car is not in the parking lot John. It’s gone. I put out an APB a couple minutes ago.”