My story Atypical horror PART ONE
I see in the rules I’m allowed a long story if broken up into no more than 3 chapters
So here is a 2 parter of a 6,000 word, atypical horror/paranormal story
Part one is approx. 2,500 words and part 2 is approx. 3,500 words long
About 13 total pages and if rated I would say it’s a mild PG
This story first appeared online at Demonminds in 2007 as part of a Halloween contest
It received over 3,500 votes to land at # 11
Now it will be the sample story on Amazon when I offer up the 9 story Kindle anthology—
Empath: The Collected Ghost Stories of Nick Crowell: Paranormal Detective
The other 8 stories will feature different people and ghosts that Crowell meets on the job.
The twist of many of the stories will be that while Crowell WANTS to help them, there’s usually little he can do and this weighs on him.
This story is about a man who claims that a snowman killed his girlfriend.
I look forward to all your comments
BLAME IT ON THE SNOWMAN
Written by Frank Zubek
My name is Detective Nicholas Crowell and when I had packed up my family and moved to New Jersey from Cleveland, I told everyone in the station that my wife, Karen, had wanted to be closer to her family.
I lied. While she did have family in the area, we had moved because she had been scared.
You see, I got shot in the line of duty awhile back. I was chasing a suspect through a cemetery when he popped me. I had gotten out of the habit of wearing my vest and I took two in the belly.
After I recovered, I started seeing ghosts, which I figured had something to do with the fact that I had nearly died in a cemetery. They would appear in the hallway or in the garage. Sometimes, I could have brief conversations with them. Truth be told, it didn’t really bother me all that much. It was more of an inconvenience than anything.
But then, for some reason, my wife started seeing them as well and it shook her up. The one that scared her the most was when her grandmother appeared to her in bed at three in the morning, calling out her name.
So we decided to move, figuring that if we left Cleveland, we’d leave the ghosts behind. But ghosts and paranormal events are everywhere and even though we had moved, we still had a ghost or two popping in on us. It was as if I were some sort of paranormal magnet. Karen started to blame it on me and I argued that it was out of my hands. I suggested a psychologist for her and it seemed to help, but the ghosts kept coming.
This morning she had started making noise about splitting up. She figured that with me gone, the ghosts would leave too. While I could see her point, I didn’t like it.
What about my two boys, Alex and Joseph?
They were in high school. And where would I live?
Hell, could I even live on a smaller check? I knew other divorced cops who managed, but still.
Anyway, I told her that I would look into moving back to Cleveland, where my friends were and she agreed.
In the middle of all this, I had my first paranormal encounter on the job. I got a call that a young cashier by the name of Becky Sayers had been murdered. When I arrived on the scene, there were three patrol cars and the usual yellow crime-scene tape spread across the perimeter of the area. The Medical Examiner, forensic team and the photographer were already in there.
A patrolman was directing traffic and a dozen or so citizens stood on the street corner hoping to see some action. I guess a few of them caught sight of the flashing red and blue lights through their windows and called a neighbor or two. Funny how even in thirty-degree weather, people can still get pulled away from their cable TV on a Saturday night.
The suspect, Travis Akrich, and the victim, Becky Sayers, lived in a small house on the corner of a quiet neighborhood street. It was a small, one story, one bedroom home with a living room, kitchen and a laundry room. There was a garage out back, and the east side of the home had a heavy line of trees and bushes that partially hid the house on that side.
Before sitting down with Travis, I talked to Lieutenant Briggs, who was in charge. He gave me a brief run down of what was going on and then asked if I could take over, since there had been another murder ten blocks away and they had asked for him. Since I had the rank, I agreed to take over.
I located Patrolman Richards, the cop who had been the first one on the scene, to get his take of the situation. He told me that the suspect, Travis Akrich, claimed that a snowman had killed his girlfriend. That’s right. A snowman. The kind you make from a few rolled up clumps of snow and some tree branches.
After getting what I needed from Richards, I went inside to see the body. I passed through the living room where one of the patrolmen was talking to the suspect. Akrich was a big boy and looked intimidating by just sitting on the couch. I continued on down the hall until I reached the bedroom. It was cold because the bedroom window had been broken. One of the officer’s had found a large piece of wood in the basement to prop against the window. While it kept some of the cold out, it didn’t really seem to help much.
I nodded to the Medical Examiner who was bent over the body. His name was Carl Goodman and from the few times I had talked to him, he seemed like an okay guy. He stood at least six foot and had a slim build. With his perfect hair and teeth, I once joked to him that he should have been a lawyer. He had smiled and nodded at that, as if he heard it all the time.
“Hey, Carl,” I said.
He looked up at me and nodded.
“You think maybe if there was something worth watching on cable on Saturday nights, maybe there’d be less crime?” I asked.
“Interesting theory, but I’d have to say, no.”
Switching the subject to the business at hand, I asked, “You guys finished up in here?” I asked as my eyes fell upon Becky’s body. She was sprawled across the bed and the sheets were askew as if she had been struggling with someone. Two pillows were on the floor against the side of the bed next to a lamp that had fallen and lay broken into three pieces. The dresser itself had been shoved against the wall so hard it had punched a jagged hole in the wall.
Becky had brown hair, a slim body and looked to be about five feet five. Cute kid. Her ID said that she was twenty-five. Too bad her life had been cut short. It was my job to try to find out who had done this to her.
I walked over to the bedroom window, careful to walk around or over the multiple broken shards of glass all over the floor. With the window already broken, I poked my head out and looked down at the ground. The first thing I noticed was that there were no footprints. There was just the crushed effect you get when rolling a snowball back and forth in the snow. From where I stood, it looked like the pattern led to the front of the house where the living room window was.
If someone was trying to make it look like a snowman had done this, they had certainly gone through a lot of trouble to make it look believable. And yet, I couldn’t figure how they had broken the window from outside without leaving any footprints in the snow. And they had to have been outside since most of the broken glass was on the bedroom floor.
I pulled my head back inside and walked over to the crime scene photographer, Tony Megan. A dark haired man of Italian descent, he looked like he should be a bouncer at a local bar than someone taking pictures of dead people.
“Tony, are you finished up in here?”
“Have you taken pictures outside yet?” I asked.
“No, not yet.”
“Do that now, would you? Have you heard this guy’s story?”
“Yeah, he’s been smoking’ some good weed.”
Ignoring the joke, I said, “Listen, this is important. Take some shots of the front and back yard, and specifically anyplace that might give someone easy access to the east side of the home. Then take shots out here, under the bedroom window. Does that camera have a zoom feature?”
“Yeah, it does.”
“Take pictures of all the trees that are closest to the house and focus on any tree branches that look like they were recently snapped off. and don’t get closer than five feet from the target area. Then take pictures of the ground outside the living room and bedroom windows. You follow what I’m saying?”
“Yeah,” Tony nodded. “You want me to try to see how someone did this without leaving footprints. I noticed that too, when I looked out this window.”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m looking for,” I said.
“Any idea how he did it? From the looks of it, you’d really have to think…”
“Tony,” I said. “We’re cops here. Snowmen that walk and talk only exist on Holiday TV, right?”
Tony thought for a moment, then nodded.
“E-mail me the pictures, would you?” I asked.
Tony nodded that he would and headed outside.
I looked at Becky again. She was laying on her back on the bed. She wore blue jeans and a pull over red t-shirt from work. The logo of the gas station was stitched over the left breast. It was a cartoon of a white gas pump with a smiley face. In bright blue letters was the name of the place: GAS STOP.
I finally got around to asking Carl about the two tree branches sitting on top of her torso. I asked Carl about this.
“The suspect says they belong to the snowman,” he said. “Says the branches were what choked her. You know, hands.” To emphasize this, he extended his hands towards me in a choking position.
As he did this, I leaned down and touched the ends of the branches that, if they had been placed on a snowman, would make it look as if it had two arms. The ends were still wet.
“Maybe we should put out an APB on a snowman with two missing limbs?” Carl said, laughing.
“So, everyone is buying into this snowman story?” I asked.
“No,” he corrected me, “We’re not buying into it. We just like the originality of the story.” He took the tree limbs and leaned them up against the dresser.
I rubbed my the side of my head and Carl noticed.
“Headache?” He asked.
“Ask the guy if you can have a few aspirin.”
I shook my head. “When I’m on a crime scene, I consider the whole place a crime scene.”
Carl shrugged at this and I continued. “So, I know it’s early but give me a ballpark guess on what you think about time of death.”
“I’d say, a few hours ago. At least three hours at minimum. Poor kid was strangled. See the red marks on the neck?” As he said this I leaned closer to get a good look at her neck.
“Humor me a minute,” I said. “Do those marks match what a hand would do? Or branches?”
Carl gave me a look and I explained. “What if he choked her and then, to cover his snowman story, pressed the ends of the branches up against her throat? See all the small pieces of bark gathered up around the neck and on the sheets?”
He leaned down and studied where I was pointing. “Yeah, okay. I could buy that theory,” he said. “Those few scratches on the neck that could have been from the branches being forcibly pressed against the throat. A hand wouldn’t make those marks in a normal choking event.”
“Hmmm.” I muttered. “What about the window there?” We both turned to look towards the bedroom window, which was open to the weather because of all the broken glass.
“The suspect says the snowman got in through there.”
“What do you think?” I asked.
“Oh, anyone could climb in through there,” he said. “But then, there’s the problem of the lack of footprints. Snow doesn’t lie.”
Snow doesn’t lie. Well, I couldn’t argue with that. “It looks like her clothes are still damp,” I said.
“Yeah, as are the sheets. Like I said, she was killed in the last four hours.”
“By being choked to death,” I said.
“That’s how I’m going to type it up.”
“Humor me a little more here. How do you account for the water on the clothing and the sheets?”
“If it were me,” Carl said, “going with his side of the story, I’d make it look like chunks of the snowman had fallen off during the struggle and then melted. The way the heat’s turned up in the house, the snow could melt that fast. What’s your point?” he asked. “I thought you didn’t buy the snowman theory?”
“I’m just trying to get a handle on his thinking. Obviously he had to have just thrown water on the body and the bed to simulate chunks of melted snow.”
Carl rubbed his chin and thought for a minute. “The only problem is the motive. Why kill her?”
“The way things are these days, sometimes I don’t think people kill with a motive anymore. Sometimes they just kill to kill.”
“Yeah, but this. And then to go and actually blame it on a snowman.” Carl shook his head. “It’s a crazy world our kids are going to inherit from us.”
I nodded and thanked him, took a last, long look at Becky, and then went into the living room to talk to Travis. I stopped in front of him, standing over him for a moment so that he knew who was in charge here.
“Travis, my name is Detective Nick Crowell.” After saying this, I took my notepad from my jacket pocket so that I could take notes. “I know you already told a bunch of cops your story but here’s how it works. You have to tell me too.”
CONTINUED IN MY STORY ATYPICAL HORROR PART TWO