A String Of Murder

A String Of Murder

by

SJ Wilke

Genre/s

Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal and Supernatural

Publish Date

July 21, 2017

Short Description

Laura sees strings. Strings are memories people create during heightened emotional episodes. These strings are left behind on inanimate objects, creating a history that Laura can read. Not a bad skill to have for an antique appraiser. However, not all strings are good. When she bumps into a serial killer with twenty-three bloody strings attached to his knife, things become personal. Her best friend, Carol, is dating him. Laura suspects Carol is his next victim. She tries going to the police, but they think she’s a kook. Travis Dyner is a respected member of the community. He broadcasts the college football games. The police say this isn’t the first time someone has tried to stop him from calling the game. But what can Laura do? All she has are his strings. How can she use her talents to catch him in time to save her friend? …and possibly herself.

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Description

“I don’t see dead people,” Laura said to Carol, her best friend. They were sitting across from each other in a downtown café.

“Okay, okay. You see strings. But at the end of those strings are dead people. So, you see my logic?” Carol fiddled with the straw in her soda.

“But, I don’t see dead people. Attached to those strings are memories, not dead people.” Laura wanted to laugh at Carol, but she didn’t. Anybody who did know about her ability didn’t understand. She didn’t think of her psychic ability as a gift. In fact, it wasn’t until her high school years, gossiping with friends about boys, love, sex and life, that she realized she was even different. Until then, she thought everyone saw strings.

Carol shifted in her chair, thinking. She was a brunette with hazel eyes and more than a couple of pounds toward the chunky side. Laura liked her because she didn’t think too deep and loved to laugh and be happy. The strings that Laura saw didn’t always lead to happy endings, so she preferred to hang around happy people.

Carol laughed, showing she wasn’t going to go any further with the discussion.

“I got a good chance at that promotion at work.” Carol squirmed in her chair with excitement.

“Excellent,” Laura said with a smile before sipping her soda. She was blue-eyed with dirty blond, shoulder-length hair, a bit above average height and slender but not skinny, a combination which made her think she didn’t stand out in a crowd.

Even the strings didn’t make her stand out. She disguised her ability with her interest in antiques and history. When people grew attached to or experienced a traumatic event with an object, they left a string attached to that object. Laura could see and read those strings. Most antiques had strings attached, so what better occupation to be than an antique appraiser.

Table number two by the window in the Bordeau café was her office. The café was new. New building, new décor, new everything. That meant few to no strings. Sort of like the difference between a room with a hundred TVs, all on different channels, and a room with no TVs.

“Well, I told a friend you’d tell her future,” Carol said with nonchalance.

“I don’t tell futures.” Laura shook her head.

She had known Carol since Middle School, but only in the last year had Carol found out about strings. Carol found strings a hard concept to grasp.

“Well, just tell her something, like you always tell people,” Carol said in a casual manner.

“So I take it we’re having a guest,” Laura said with resignation. “I should start charging you, you know.”

Carol smiled in a shy, oops-like manner.

“What if there isn’t anything to say?” Laura said with a shrug.

“Oh, here she is. Marcie. Over here,” Carol said, beckoning to a woman who stood at the edge of the café looking it over.

Laura didn’t need a string to understand this woman. Her posture reeked of insecurity. Her shoulders drooped inward as she huddled herself within her jacket, even though it was a warm day. She wore neutral colors in an attempt to be invisible, but she had beautiful large eyes that stood out against clear olive skin. There was one string, but Laura couldn’t read it just yet.

“Hi Carol,” Marcie said in a meek, quiet voice.

“Marcie. Sit. Can I order you something?” Carol said, being way too animated for Marcie, who looked embarrassed.

“No, thanks,” she said, sitting hunched in her chair.

“Hi, Marcie. I’m Laura. What do you have in your pocket?” Laura said, still unable to read the string. It wasn’t a strong string.

“Oh, come on, Laura. You’re supposed to tell her what’s in her pocket,” Carol said with a laugh.

Marcie, like an obedient puppy, pulled her hand out of her pocket, revealing what she’d been fiddling with since she’d sat down.

“It’s a…” Carol said.

“Token,” Laura said, cutting off Carol. She touched the token without taking it from Marcie’s hand. There were two strings: one from Marcie and a very weak one from her dad.

The strings attached to the token told the story of why Marcie valued the round emblem off of a 1980 Buick. It was faded metal, but the red, white and blue colors of the emblem were still visible. Her father had given it to her when she was six. Told her it was his most precious belonging, and she needed to keep it safe and that it would always protect her. A big responsibility for a six-year-old, given that her dad was a no good laggard, a petty thief, and had a rap sheet already longer than the six-year-old was tall. Laura knew from his string that he was dead. He died only a few months after he’d given her the emblem. She had the feeling that Marcie didn’t know or didn’t remember much about him. Laura decided that was a good thing.

“Your dad gave it to you,” Laura said.

Marcie didn’t show any feeling as she nodded yes. Laura didn’t expect any expression. Most people tended to suppress any emotion that mightlet Laura know if she was right or wrong. People had the idea that it led the “fortune-teller” on, aiding them in seeming to be accurate. This was mostly true, but Laura didn’t need these cues.

Carol, looking smug, sat back in her chair, willing herself to be silent, at least until Laura finished.

“It’s a token. The value is in the giver, not the object itself,” Laura said, thinking carefully.

Laura hated weak women. The news was always full of female victims. Marcie might as well have the word “victim” stamped on her forehead, since her meekness made her look weak and vulnerable. Laura felt she needed to change this. Knowledge could be empowering, and Marcie needed to learn a few things. True or not.

“He gave the token to you because of your eyes,” Laura said, happy to finally see a reaction out of Marcie. “Marcie is short for Marcella. You’re part Italian. Marcella means warlike and strong. He gave you the token to tone you down. Cool the fire. But… but you’re carrying the token with you and because of that, you’re too toned down. Weak.”

Carol nodded, enjoying the story.

Marcie seemed frozen, not even breathing.

A waiter approached, and Carol shook her head to let him know they didn’t need him.

Laura was glad he responded to Carol’s gesture, turning away.

“Your eyes have the power to knock men down to their knees, but the token prevents you,” Laura said, pausing to sip her soda. Marcie needed some time to digest the information. Sometimes trying to help someone with the power of suggestion worked, and sometimes it didn’t. Laura liked to think she was more successful than not. Her own attempt at the power of suggestion for herself.

“If you shine a flashlight in a dark room, it’s bright,” Laura said, putting her soda down. “If you shine a flashlight out here, in broad daylight, no one will even see it. Right now you are a flashlight in a dark room. Everyone is noticing you.”

That comment made Marcie nervous, looking around.

“It’s your eyes. You need to tone them down by brightening yourself around them,” Laura said.

That got both Marcie and Carol looking confused.

“You need to wear bright colors to tone down the brightness of your eyes. Red. Go find a fashion magazine and dress like a model. You could be a model like your mom was before your dad came along,” Laura said, careful with her wording, since the strings didn’t tell her if Marcie’s dad married her mom or not. Information derived from a string could sometimes be hazy.

“My mom was a model? But she was only sixteen,” Marcie said.

“Shoot. All models start out as preteens,” Carol said, then stuck her hand over her mouth, remembering she shouldn’t have talked until Laura had finished.

Laura sent her a smile. This time the comment was helpful.

“So what’s my future?” Marcie said.

“You have two,” Laura said, worried that Marcie had no insight of what she just told her.

“Two?” Marcie said,