|Murder at Easter
Author: Far Wanderer PM
Small town cop Charlie Walker has no worries until his daughter finds a body while hunting Easter eggs. Then it's up to Charlie to find out who silenced his friend. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Crime - Chapters: 6 - Words: 5,390 - Reviews: 8 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-21-11 - Published: 04-16-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2908034
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A warm breeze made the palmettos sway overhead. Charlie Walker's blue shirt flapped in front of him, but it didn't remind him that he was on duty. He felt completely relaxed in a foldable camping chair, just on the brink of dozing off as he watched the children dash back and forth across the small yard of the Franklin Club. Briefly he wondered if the breeze was an ocean breeze, considering that the just-over-two-hundred people of Franklin lived only ten miles from the Atlantic. That curiosity quickly died and he let the polite voices of the ladies drift over him.
"These peanut butter balls are so delicious," his wife chattered. "If I eat any more of them I'm going to get fat. Where did you come up with the idea?"
Charlie didn't look, but he knew that Priscilla Morris was gesturing away the compliment. "Oh it was nothing. They're just peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. I saw the recipe in a magazine once. It called them buckeyes." She held the tray across the half-conscious Charlie to the man in the next chair. "Have you tried one, Gunner?"
"No and no thank you."
Charlie cracked a smile. The idea of offering dainty desserts to the surly vet amused him even more than his wife's absurd notion that anything she could do could make her fat.
His own pride and joy, Charlie Junior, toddled in front of them, dumping Easter eggs from his basket every time that he headed for a new one. His mother jumped up from her chair to help.
Charlie Junior's big sister, Rebekah, sprinted by with a full basket of eggs. Charlie opened his eyes wider and corrected his slouch to watch her beat the bushes, desperate for a prize egg.
Roger had helped Charlie hide the eggs extra well this year, right before he snuck away to put on his Easter bunny suit and hide to scare the kids. The children were getting smarter and older, and he suspected that they would find every one.
Rebekah got a gleam in her eyes and sprinted across the lawn toward the thick bushes at the far end of the area reclaimed from kudzu. Charlie followed her gaze and saw a bit of white poking out from under the shrubbery. That's too big for an egg. It's got to be the edge of Roger's bunny suit.
In an instant, Rebekah was there, tugging on the tuft of white. The eight-year-old shrieked and jumped up and down with delight. "It's the Easter bunny! Come look!"
The older boys looked up from searching a pile of flower pots. They shrugged and snickered to themselves before continuing their hunt.
Charlie stretched and got up from his chair. Charlie Junior was stumbling his way toward Rebekah, but his chubby little feet were having a hard time of it. Charlie wanted someone to share in his daughter's excitement.
Rebekah was yanking harder on the tuft of white now. When Charlie made it to her he saw that it was indeed a paw of the bunny suit. The rest of the bulky body lay face-up in the bushes. The girl gave a nervous giggle. "Why isn't he moving, Daddy?"
Unease crept over him. This isn't right, not right at all. Roger wouldn't wait so long. I'm surprised that he didn't jump out of hiding before the kids even started hunting Easter eggs.
He felt the back of the head for the velcro catch, then yanked the head of the costume off. Roger's eyes were closed, and his face was covered with sweat. Trails of blood stretched from his mouth. Charlie listened for a moment but heard no breaths.
Charlie took a deep breath. Roger is dead. How can I explain that to an eight-year-old? "Yes, Rebekah?"
Her voice sounded strained. "What's that?"
He turned to see where she was pointing. On the ground beside the body lay a red fleshy object, soaked in blood. Fearing the worst, he pried Roger's mouth open. Sure enough, he had a mouth filled with blood, but no tongue. Charlie rocked on the balls of his feet for a moment, staving off lightheadedness. Someone chopped his tongue off. Someone killed Roger.
"Should I tell Mommy to call the hospital?"
Charlie shook his head. "No, sweetie. I'm afraid it's too late for that." This is a case for the police. He looked down at his own blue shirt with the badge glinting in the sunlight streaming down on the bushes. And in Franklin, I'm the police.