The stiff had been found in the bedroom. He was partially unclothed with ligature marks around his neck. The coroner would have to make the official determination but it clearly looked like he had been strangled with a cord or a rope around his neck.

His fiancée, Adurey De LaCroix, claimed to have been in the parlor all night entertaining their guests. As they had stood to leave he had excused himself, said his goodbyes, and retired to the back of the house. She had seen the guests out, finished her cocktail and discovered the body when she went looking for him. I was next up in the rotation so I caught the case. On the 911 call she had told the operator that by her determination, an intruder had broken in and resorted to violence when he had been discovered. There was a safe in the bedroom.


She stood next to a wingback chair and silently watched me enter the room. Her long black dress was slit high up the side. It was made of a clingy black material that looked wet and clung to her curves like a race car clung to a winding track. Blonde hair hung in tresses down her back.

I motioned for her to sit and made my way to a matching chair. A low table was positioned between us. A Warm fire crackled in the fireplace across the room and the wind howled around the eaves outside. She leaned forward and stared into my eyes.

“You have something to ask me, Detective?”

Her eyes were dark and seemed to pull the surroundings in, like a spider web snares a fly. I felt myself getting lost in the depths of her gaze; falling. Everything else was forgotten. Nothing else was important. The sudden sound of the door brought me back to my senses and she quickly averted her gaze, as though nothing had happened; releasing me.

I shook my head and blinked my eyes. Sergeant Billings had come into the room.

“Sorry to interrupt, Sir,” Billings intoned with his flat Midwestern accent, “the crime scene guys have found some recent scratch marks on the back door lock. It looks like the perpetrator might have finessed his way in. That would explain why we didn’t find signs of a forced entry.”

I looked back at her and watched as she lit a cigarette, carefully avoiding her eyes.

“I’ll need you to wait here, doll,” I said, “I’ll have further questions.”

“Of course,” she said as she tapped her ashes on the hardwood floor, leaned back and crossed her legs.

I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to questioning her further, or not.

 A Tuesday afternoont response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.

Billings Station OLWG#5


I pulled my grip down from the overhead bin and blocked the aisle while the young family in front of me maneuvered out of their seats. The dad shot his cuffs and turned forward to lead his brood off the plane carrying a day pack and a briefcase. His wife, a tiny and tired dishwater blonde, smiled at me and struggled behind him as she pulled a rolling suitcase, with a large purse and a diaper bag hanging from her shoulder. She had a sleeping baby in a sling on her hip and held the hand of a toddler with a dirty face, a runny nose, and a wet t-shirt. I made my way from the plane straight out to the taxi line, no luggage.

There was a sign over the automatic doors advertising a local Indian casino and another written in blue script, “Welcome to Billings”.

I didn’t have to wait, straight to a yellow cab where a large older woman with a blue wash on her grey hair waited.

“Wanna throw your bag in the trunk?” she asked.

“Nah, I’ll just hold on to it.”

She beamed what must have been a shiny new set of chops at me and opened my door before scurrying back around to the driver’s seat.

She turned around and leaned on the seat-back. “What brings you to town, cowboy?” she asked.

I told her that my brother had died and I was in town for the funeral.

“Sorry to hear that,” she said, “where are we going?”

I gave her the address of the downtown hotel where I had a reservation. She spun around and fired up the engine. As we pulled away from the curb she dropped the flag on the meter and commenced to telling me her life’s story. By the time we merged onto the interstate I knew that she had been a widow for almost twenty-five years. She had five kids, two of which still lived in town, and she was a grandma twelve times over.

I asked her what the locals did for entertainment in the evenings. I asked about the Indian casino I had seen advertised in the terminal building.

“That place is OK if you’re not attached to your money.” She said. “If you just want to have a few drinks, and listen to some music; then Billings Station is the place to go.” She grinned over her shoulder, “The women are friendly, the drinks are strong and the country-western music is live and loud.”

I decided I’d stop in there tonight.

30 minutes to draft, maybe 5 more to correct the punctuation and fat finger typos.


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