Sennacherib’s Tomb #atozchallenge

My name is Al-Salaam. I live in a village that was in Assyria; now it’s north of Mosel in Iraq. Over one-hundred generations of my family have served the Assyrian Guard. I have sworn an oath to protect the tomb of King Sennacherib, who built his kingdom in Nineveh. Anyone who knows about Nineveh knows that it was reclaimed by the desert centuries ago.

“The King’s crypt is deep beneath our land.” My father would remind me. “It is our duty to protect it with our lives.”

 My father died last spring and I am the last of the Assyrian guard.

“The Wraith of Kings protects the tomb!” My father would say as he retold the history.

When I was a boy, he would remind me that the very captain who fought the Medes and Babylonians murdered the king. He then carried the body to the vault and sealed it. Before the Babylonians caught up with the captain, his remaining army made a blood oath to protect King Sennacherib’s sarcophagus.

“They killed the Assyrian guard; my great, great, great grandfather was the only one to escape.” I finished the narrative.

 Archeologists were always nosing around and I knew it was only a matter of time that ISIS would arrive to destroy this protected spot.

On the night of the waning moon, in a year predicted by astronomers, I opened a leather bag that contained a powder that, when ignited, opened a portal.  

“Please, reveal what it is I am to do.” I inhaled the smoke .

 After a few moments, I opened my eyes and saw the wraith.

“I am Atenagoras,” the ghost stated. “You have summoned me?”

“I’m Al-Salaam, the son of Salam. The spirits foretell the enemy will plunder the king’s tomb.”

“In two days, they will arrive. Tell them the tomb is full of gold. The guardians marked the entrance with the mark of Sennacherib. Resist as long as you can. If you provoke them, it will lead to your death,” Atenagoras warned.The specter whisked away.

I wept. “My family’s sacrifice was for naught. I’ve given up everything only to be beaten and murdered.  My birth-line will cease and all the army has preserved will be stolen.”

I gathered my courage and waited. I was a warrior and I pledged to die fighting. The noonday heat caused me to slumber. When I awoke, it was to the sharp edge of a knife against my throat.

“I am called Junaid. I demand that you show me the gold!” Junaid hissed.

“I will tell you if you don’t kill me,” I begged.

“It’s Allah’s will. If you lie, I will stake you to the desert and watch the jackals feast on you.”

“Under the carpet,” I said with steel grey eyes. “and down many stairs there is a marker with the king’s seal on it. Underneath there is more gold than in all of Egypt! But you must beware…”

“What you scoundrel?” His knife caused beads of blood to encircle my neck.

“There is an ancient guardian who protects the tomb. I have seen him once but I have heard…”

This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

many thanks to my editor: Leslie Moon aka Moondustwriter

check out other great writers at the 2022 A to Z challenge

Move Quietly #atozchallenge #fiction

Festas Pinal was a half-breed, former Texas Ranger, and the most feared bounty hunter in the Oklahoma territory. He took great pleasure in looking for men with a bounty on their head.

“The more dangerous the bounty the better.” Festas chose to go after ruthless killers.

“You don’t wanna tangle with Festas; he’s crafty and downright dangerous.” Bounty hunters would spout off behind his back.

 The winter of 1894 was one of the worst on record. The temperatures dipped well below freezing. Festas was coming back to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to collect the bounty on the Shipmen brothers. Parker, well-known as the “Hanging judge,” had issued a Territorial Bench Warrant on Ronnie and Billie. Torture, bushwhacking, arson, and robbery were a few of their “skills.” Parker swore Festas in as a U. S. Deputy Marshall which allowed him to search on Indian land.

Festas had learned tracking by living with his mother’s tribe.

“Silence and eyes in front and behind make the best tracker,” his uncles told him.

After talking to several people about the Shipman’s, Festas knew he would need to move quietly and have a few tricks up his sleeve to catch Ronnie and Billie.

When travelling by Sager Creek trading post, Festas picked up a fugitive named Zed Smith. Smith was wanted for claim jumping. Festas had no choice but deliver the mouthy old coot to a jail which was in Indian territory. Zed took an arrow to the chest before Festas could kill the three Apache attackers.

The next night while setting up camp, Festas sensed that he was being tracked.

“Better be ready for company,” he said to the Zed who he had propped up against a fallen log.

He started a fire and began heating rocks in the coals then he opened a can of beans. He dug a shallow hole, threw in some hot stones, and covered them with dirt.  He laid out his bedroll then carefully lifted the lid to a tin and shook a dozen, small fuzzy critters onto two blankets. He built up the fire so his camp would be easy to find. He put his hat on Zed, grabbed some Buffalo jerky, a canteen of water, and headed for his ambush position.

The hairs on his neck started to tingle before he saw the two men. Driven by hunger and cold, they circled the camp like wolves.  Peering into the camp, they saw Zed with an arrow in his chest.

“Looks like the Indians got him,” Billy said.

“His horses are still here and he ain’t been scalped. Them Indians might be close,” Ronnie whispered. “You go into camp and see if there’s anything to eat. I’ll make sure we’re alone.”

“You do that.”

Billy cautiously moved toward the camp. He picked up a blanket, wrapped it around his shivering body, then dug his fingers into the open can of beans.

“No sign of them,” Ronnie stepped close to the fire trying to get warm. “Give me that second blanket and give me them beans afore they’re gone.” He grabbed the can from his brother.

Festas watched the two fugitive’s and waited.

“Something bit me. I think this blanket got’s bugs.”

“I feel something gnawing on me too. Damn that hurts, feels like a black Widow.”

Both brothers moaned and curled up into the fetal position. Festas smiled waiting for the poison to take effect. When it did, they’d be docile as little lambs. Men have described the bite of the Puss Caterpillar as painful as being struck with a hammer. Pretty strong stuff for a caterpillar that looks like a tiny Persian Cat.

A Walk in the Park #fiction #atozchallenge #murder

A call was made to a man known as ‘Jack.’


“Hello, Jack. I was thinking of taking a stroll in the park. It’s lovely weather, care to join me?”

“One thirty, the usual spot.” The line went dead.

Sir Basil sat on a park bench on the east end of Saint James Park.  Jack’s real name was Percy Roland. He was a retired member of Special Branch. A discrete member of the old boys’ fraternity. Always willing to do little errands for an old chum.

“You look well,” Basil extended his hand.

“As well as one can be when retired,” Jack huffed.

“Let’s walk.”

They walked along the trail where Great George Street intersects with Horse Guards Road. “Someone’s preparing to put the arm on me,” Sir Basil said.

“Do we know who’s involved?”

“I’ve been involved in a fling. The woman I’m seeing lets a room to a lodger. She claims he’s a South African. She found some negatives on her carpet. Said her roommate was seen scurrying around on his hands and knees trying to find something he dropped. The negative was from a Minox—.”

“Do you think this bloke is a spy?”

“I don’t know enough yet to make an educated guess. That’s why I called you,” Sir Basil reached in his pocket and handed Percy a thick, sealed envelope. “All the information I could get is right here. Driving license, passport, both names. She told me she’s known him since she was a child. There’s twenty-thousand pounds and a first-class, round-trip ticket to Cape Town. There’s the number of one of our agents who works at the embassy. He has been relieved of his assignments to render any assistance you might need. He can supply anything the South Africans have.”

“Ruddy good of you. Thank you. I should be back in a week or so. Ring me up if you find anything else.”

“Of course. Good hunting,”

Fifteen days later, Sir Basil received an anniversary card in the mail. Signed by Jack. He picked up the phone and dialed the number.

It rang twice, “Hello.”

“How was your fishing expedition?”

“Interesting to say the least. I’d love to tell you all about it. Our usual spot at say two sharp?”

“I hope you hooked a whooper. I’ll love to hear all about it. See you there.”

Sir Basil was waiting at the same spot.

“Let’s take a stroll. The bad news is taken better if you’re standing up,” Jack said.

“I checked on our friend. Everything I found was routine… too normal. I found an arrest for public drinking. I reached out to one of my old mates who was from Rhodesia. He checked his files…Something awkward reared its ugly head.”

“Awkward? Do tell.”

“It seems that Stephen Cole’s real name is Arkadi Petrolav. I was able to learn that he’s a disgraced member of the East Germans HVA. Reported directly to Markus Wolf. As best as I could tell, he’s originally from Belarus. It’s no surprise to me that the fingerprints on file in South Africa were different than the set the Rhodesians had.”

“What do you think he’s after?”

“I’d say he’s trying to flip you to their side and get back in the graces of his old handler. Maybe a bit of blackmail. I checked against what the Rhodians told me and I checked our files. He was involved in three assignations after the second war.”

“Good work. How long do you think Arkadi’s been out-of-the-game?”

“At least fifteen years. I found out about the woman. They’re related; she’s his niece. She is from Chechnya. A beauty queen that took third in ‘Miss Europe.’ Her real name is Ruth Kuczynski. I read an intelligence file that she had an affair with Colonel Vitali Yurchenko. The relationship ended suddenly when Yurchenko took cyanide.”

“Oh, dear,” Sir Basil moaned.

“Both of these subjects are experienced, trained intelligence agents. If I had to decide on what to do, I’d insist that it contained a lethal option.”

“You’re right, of course. We can make a case of a conspiracy. The option will apply to both. I can lure Devon, or whatever her name really is, back to the Maldives for a three-day holiday.”

“Tell me when and I’ll collect some help and be on with it.”

Two weeks later, during the Christmas holiday, Steven Cole was accidentally struck in a crosswalk by a hit and run driver.

In the Maldives, Devon was killed while painting her fingernails. The police investigating the case listed it as suspicious, yet undetermined cause. They failed to check the desk lamp for the source of the TCCD that caused her death. TCCD is 170,00 times more poisonous than cyanide.

All the recording devices she had installed were discovered and removed.  As a safety measure, Devon’s flat was burnt to the ground.

The link to the first part of this story: The Other Woman

This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

many thanks to my editor: Leslie Moon aka Moondustwriter

The Other Woman #fiction #murder

A black Jaguar with dark tinted windows was parked in the underground garage of a downtown London office. The chauffeur was standing in front of the car, smoking a cigarette. An attractive, twenty-something stepped off the elevator, looked around, making sure she wasn’t being watched.  She made a beeline for the Jag.

The chauffeur scanned the car park, looked at her and gave a slight smile.  She opened the rear door, and without saying a word, stepped into the rear passenger compartment.

“Thank you for meeting me on such short notice,” Basil said.

The woman shook out her long blond hair, leaned over, and kissed him.

“I hope you have missed me as much as I’ve missed you,” Devon flashed a wicked smile.

“I’d like to talk to you about that negatives you found. Where did you say you found it?” Basil asked.

“In the hallway of my flat,” Devon frowned.

“From the size of the negative, it’s from a Mino; that’s a spy camera. It looks like the bungalow where we stayed in the Maldives,” Sir Basil coughed.

  “Basil there’s only one explanation.  I found the negatives on the carpet outside of my lodger’s makeshift darkroom.  I noticed him searching on his hands and knees looking for something. When I asked him what he was looking for, he told me he’d lost a screw from his glasses. He declined my offer to help.”

“Where did you say he was from?”

“South Africa.  I’ve known him all my life.”

“I’m going to ask a friend to make some discrete inquiries. There may be more to your friend Stephen than meets the eye.”

“He’s a nice old man. Promise me you won’t do anything rash,” Devon looked worried.

“If he’s taking photographs of me, he’s angling on blackmail. Then, darling, he’s not a nice old man,” Sir Basil said. “I hope my wife doesn’t find out.”

“I just don’t want you to hurt him is all—.”

“And you’re sure he hasn’t hinted at anything?”

“No, I can’t think of anything,”

“Then we’ll have to wait for him to make his pitch.”

“I need to see you,” she said, moving next to him.

“And I you.” He smiled.

“I’d better get back before I’m missed.” She leaned over and gave him a passionate kiss.

“I’ve got an appointment with the foreign minister. Let’s plan to have dinner at my club on Thursday.”

“I’ll make sure I’m free. Ciao baby,” she winked.

Basil watched her as she intentionally sauntered for his enjoyment. The elevator door started to close. She gave him a little wave.

The driver asked, “Where to Minister?”

“Let’s stop at a discrete phone box. Something’s come up.”

“Right away, Sir Basil.”


Tomorrow’s end to the story: A Walk in the Park

This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

Not Neat #atozchallenge #fiction #N

I had discovered that Shiro was going to be giving a lecture at the local Medical School. I would use this opportunity to assassinate the Doctor. The previous me would leave old blood at the scene of his death creating a false trail for the police to follow.  Then the plan was to molt my old-skin and turn into someone that could not physically be connected with the murder.

My weapon of choice was a rusty, ice climbing ax. Imagine a long arching hook for grasping the ice; the other side equipped with a well-honed, sharp point. Quiet, efficient, and deadly. I was sure Dr. Shiro would get the point.

The planned location of the attack was two blocks from the lab. The urban concentration would allow me to use the rooftops to aid in my escape. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop would allow me to cover the two blocks in seven minutes. Have the procedure and be a newly minted human being before the police conducted the investigation. I smiled at the thought of them chasing their tails.

I even chose the weather pattern; there would be an off-shore wind. I planned to remove my clothing and stuff it into a waterproof bag. The bag would be attached to a weather balloon. I’d stuff blood-soaked clothing into the bag and release the balloon into the off-shore breeze. It would carry it many miles out to sea. I would be a “altered” by the time it disappeared into the Pacific Ocean.

I traveled the route several times both day and night and knew it by heart. The only thing was to wait for the guest of honor to arrive. I hoped he was not too old to realize the work I’d put into planning his demise. I’m sure it’s more that he had put into my father’s.

The day finally arrived. I donned janitor coveralls and coated the water pitcher on the podium with a film of Ipecac Syrup. He’d immediately feel nauseated and head for the bathroom. That’s where I’d be waiting. I knew he’d start to get sick four minutes after his first sip of water.  I watched the monitor in the hall. I saw him take the first sip of water and pressed the countdown timer on my watch. I futzed around wiping the area down with alcohol, obliterating any fingerprints. He walked in, moving quickly to one of the stalls. I placed an out-of-order sign on the door and lock it. I removed the ice-ax from the refuse container.

I asked, “Are you feeling alright?”

“I think so.” he said between heaves. Something I ate.

“Let me tell you about my father,” I said as I swung the Ax above my head.

“He was on your lengthy medical experiment list.”

 I swung the pick deep into his thigh. I may have done that two or three more times.

“Your experiments were painful and purposeful.”

 I chopped at his arm.

And when you had enough, you removed all evidence of your war crimes.

I lashed out all my fury into that final stroke into the man’s brain. I pushed it further as he gasped his last breath.

“What a mess you have made of your life.” I looked at the corpse scornfully. “You’ve’ ruined my uniform”.

I poured my donor blood around the body. I then dragged the wheeled trash barrel to the doorway, locked the door and taped the “out of order” sign to the door and casually make my way to the roof.

Stripping off my disguise, I stuffed everything into the bag and sent the balloon on its merry way. Now a dash across the rooftops which took me seven minutes. When I arrived for the treatment, I take several minutes to allow my heart rate to drop. I listened to the sounds of the city, not even one siren. I walked into the surgery, ready to become a new man. Five hours later, I continued my new life after the cleaning up the past.

This is month long journey with A to z challenge. I hope you are enjoying the blogging. This series of short Stories is called “30 ways to kill (or die)”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

Murder at Ping Fan #atozchallenge #fiction #M

On Monday, I checked the mailbox and to my surprise the thing I most coveted had arrived. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I had volunteered for an experimental procedure, a method to convert my body into a virus-proof machine. There were only two downsides that the doctors could think of:

First, there were no guarantees that it would protect me from the virus. I was okay with that. The second issue was also the most controversial. There was a certainty that the procedure would alter my DNA. This procedure was so radical it was going to reshuffle the helix of my DNA, making me hyper-resistant to any disease.  Dr. Wendel Fulbright was the master-mind; I would have to report to his lab in Lima, Peru. Where he could conduct the tests away from the prying eyes of the FDA or the AMA. 

The Doctor said there were going to be some notable changes in my body because of the procedure. First, I would appear to be younger by approximately fifteen years. Testing on lab animals (which is now what they are doing to me) showed that I was going to be healthier and younger. Even my fingerprints were going to change. It was like a snake molting an old skin.

Anticipating the procedure, I had a pint of blood removed from my body. It was put in a special vault (in Peru) so there was no way to lose or tamper with it. I had special plans for this liquid.

Next, I had to find the whereabouts of the man I abhorred more than any other, Dr. Ishii Shiro. Dr. Shiro was the Joseph Mengele of the Pacific Theater during World War Two. This monster murdered many prisoners of war including my father. I found out by searching through freedom of information documents that my father was a prisoner held by Shiro in Unit 731. This I discovered was the Japanese Bacterial Factory at a place called Ping Fan, Manchukuo.

On testimony from Japanese doctors, my father was exposed to bubonic plague. He was the subject of many experiments on Biological Weapons conducted at the camp. He was more than murdered; it’s as if he was pulled apart one strand of DNA at a time. All evidence of the lengthy atrocities was destroyed in the camp crematorium.

This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

Love or Eros – It all spells Death #kissofdeath #atozchallenge

My name is Lassiter, I’m a detective Sergeant for the LAPD. There’s no shortage of weird in Hollywood, California.  I’ve witnessed satanic, ritualistic killings and religious slayings of every type. This case happened on Valentine’s Day, 2014. The detectives that are familiar with the case call it: “The Death of the Kiss.”

The body was a Caucasian female with no I.D., naked, found dead in a Hollywood Cemetery on St. Valentine’s Day, amidst several statues of Cupid. The coroner identified superficial burns on the lips and pads of the fingertips.

“Do you think this is a body dump?”

“I’ve never seen marks like this. It will be interesting to find out how they were made.” The coroner said.

“Phone for you detective.” Someone called down the hall.

“Detective Lassiter?”

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“My name is Cardinal Shamus Murray. I may have some information about the death that happened last night.”

“You know where Norm’s is?”


“Good, I’ll see you there at two o’clock.”

I called the coroner to see how the identification was progressing.

“We still don’t know who she is. We didn’t find any tattoos, piercings or prints.”

“Any idea how she died?”

“All seems normal, other than that her heart was missing, we didn’t find anything that was conclusive. We’ll see what toxicology finds.”

“Missing? You mean like gone, without an incision. How’d that happen?”

“No clue.”

I met with Cardinal Murray.

“What I am about to tell you will be a little unsettling.”

“I’m in the unsettling business.” I had my pen and pad ready.

“Throughout history things like this have happened on St. Valentine’s Day.”

“You are saying this has happened before?

“I have studied several pieces of late Roman art that involves the God of desire: Eros, Amor or Cupid.”

“I hope you understand that we’re talking about a murder here, not a painting.”

“Let me explain. Psyche is the Greek word for soul.   In the 15th century, scholars found in the Cabala the theme of the mors osculi “The Death of the Kiss”, the final rapture in which the soul is united with the divine.”

“If I understand correctly, you’re telling me that a deity killed our victim?”

“Precisely, and they have been doing it for thousands of years. Leone Ebreo’s Dialoghi d’ Amore deals with the union and copulation with God. Historic records document the ecstatic union with the God, which was experienced by the neophyte, as an initiation unto death.”

“Who do you think she kissed?”

“Eros or Cupid comes to mind first.”

“Why radiation burns on the body?”

“There are volumes that I have examined at the Vatican and in Museum of Natural History in London. There are Bible quotations from Ecclesiastes and Isaiah that indicate your victim was kissed by an angel; the burns were caused by the extraction of her spirit. She gave her heart to god.”

“Do you have any information that may lead to her identity?”

“Unfortunately, no. But I will say that she has a very strong likeness of Athene, the Greek Goddess.”

I left the meeting with more questions than I came with.

The case is still marked ‘unsolved.’ We were never able to identify the victim or who her killer was. In my mind, the case was on the south side of strange.

This is a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

King Moon and the Uncursing #atozchallenge #flashfiction #K

“If I may ask, what do you think you’re doing?” Geno pensively asked.

“We found a wagon!” John said excitedly.

“I can see that. It’s a Gypsie caravan. I knew the family who owned it. The caravan was looted and they were murdered… by Nazis,” Geno said sadly.

“I almost forgot,” John showed Geno a walking stick.

A look of shock came over the old man.

“Where did you find this?” Geno asked seriously.

“I walked outside to stoke the fire. I’ll admit, we’d never havfound this wagon if the stick didn’t lead us here. Something’s hidden inside, it rattles.”

“This staff belonged to my dear friend Sasha Wojtyla. He had three daughters who lived with him in this wagon. I can’t imagine the horrors forced on them by the Nazis.”

“Why is ‘Help us, Ana’ carved on the staff?”

“I made the staff for Sasha on the birth of his first child. I made the staff out of Elder. On Sasha’s bequest, I placed seven leaves of Vervain, powdered eye, dried tongue, and powdered hearts from a wolf, a salamander and 3 tree swallow’s. I charged the staff with a protection spell. It protected them from illness, but I’m afraid not the Nazi’s.”

“What was it doing in your backyard?”

“Sasha gave it to my son when his wife Catarina was sick, he may have thrown it from the wagon to hide it from the Nazis.”

“What do you plan to do?” John asked.

“We must search the area for anything from the wagon. If we find anything, we’ll return it and burn all of their belongings.”


“It’s our tradition. We must remove nothing from this wagon. An unspeakable curse will befall anyone who violates this edict,” Geno warned. “This is why all the Nazis died.”

“I found these a few meters from the caravan. What are they?”

“Glossopetrae! Serpent tongue stones. They dispel misfortune and illness, some use them as oracle stones. Place them on the floor of the wagon, quickly!”

Geno lit some small twigs on fire as he prepared to set the wagon alight.

“What are you doing?”

“I intend to destroy the wagon and its contents before night fall.”

“There’s some elegant stuff in here. You don’t want to destroy it, do you?”

“The sun is hiding behind the mountains. Tonight, is Saint John’s Night. All spirits visit humans, either to help or to harm them. The sanctity of this burial site must be safe. We will only live if we burn this wagon. We have no choice, we must do now it!” Geno’s voice cracked with fear.

“You don’t really think—”

“The revenant will come! If certain rites don’t get respected, the dead will return. They cannot make the journey to the other world. They will bring many múle.” Geno watched the wagon burn. Walking over to John, he snatched the walking stick and tossed it into the pyre.

“Hey! I found that,” John said.

“And I am returning it to its rightful owners.”

The stick burned an radiant blue color, and in seconds, it vanished.  A firefly hovered above where the wagon had been.

“It’s King Moon!” Geno gasped in fright.

The green glow became brighter and brighter. Out of the light, the spirit of a man holding a flute clad in silver appeared.

He waved the flute over Geno.

“A great wrong fixed. Your curse is removed,” King Moon said.

We watched as Geno turned into a firefly and flew into the light. The light disappeared, taking with it Geno’s spirit.

This flash fiction is part of a month long journey with the A to Z challenge. Each day the letter is the prompt for my short stories themed: “Thirty Ways to Kill …”

And keep on the lookout for my upcoming novel – “Lifeblood of the Dragon.” Lifeblood is set in the seedy alleys of post-war Los Angeles. The morgue is full more often than not. Cameo appearances by the well known gangster Mickey Cohen and his goons.

check out other great writers at the 2022 A to Z challenge

Jumper #atozchallenge #fiction

I was trying to take notes. I just finished writing S.P.I.T in my notebook.

“Does that happen often?”

“More frequently than it used to. We have a generation of the population who need a psychiatrist more than a band-aid. The clinics and hospitals over medicate for everything, then push them out-the-door. After a while, psychotropic drugs rot brain function. After taking that crap for most of their sorry lives, they abandon all hope. A large percentage of them end up committing suicide.”

Three beeps on the radio. I felt adrenalin shoot through my body.

“Sam-7, and any available unit that can back, a jumper on the roof of Craft & Fertig, break, the fire department is responding, your call is code-3.”

Wilke flipped on the overhead lights. The tires squealed in protest as we banged a Youie.

Wilkie snatched the microphone off the clip and in a calm voice “Roger dispatch, Sam-7… put me out code 6 on the call. Any description on the jumper?”

“Sam-7 roger, code-6 on the jumper,” Dispatch acknowledged. “No available description the RP is there now.”

Wilkie flipped on the siren and punched it. The surge from the big V-8 engine pushed me back in the seat. My heart was beating out of my chest.

“When you get to a jumper call always park your car on the corner of the next block. Walk across the street to the scene.”

“Why a block away?” I asked.

“You don’t want the jumper to land on the roof of your car. You’ll be here all night doing the reports. Besides, you want the ambulance, or the coroner’s van to be able to pull up and get close.”

“This isn’t your first rodeo.”

“You guessed it. My first was a two-hundred-and-forty-pound hype strung out nine days on meth. I was a rookie. The first unit was on scene. That fat son-of-a-bitch jumped off the hardware store roof and landed right through my windscreen. I damn near died of a heart attack. The jumper made a mess that not even Mr. Clean could handle.”

   We pulled up and jumped out of the patrol car. Walking towards the address, we monitored the pedestrians on the sidewalk.

  “Sometimes the jumper carry’s a gun, and if he loses his nerve, he might decide to commit ‘suicide by cop’,’ If you come charging into the scene, he might panic and start blasting. That’s why we get there quick, but move carefully.”

             We checked the facade looking for our jumper, ducked into the store to contact the reporting party.

  “Did anyone call the Sheriff?” Wiley asked.

  “It’s Fred again. I caught him huffing paint in the back. I tried to stop him, but he made it to the roof—”

     I heard a noise, like someone had dropped a bucket of water off the roof. I saw on the sidewalk that the bucket of water was wearing a dirty red wife beater and a tattered pair of coveralls.

  “Sam-7 to dispatch, please expedite coroner, he just jumped.”

 We charged out to the body. The jumper looked ruptured, bleeding out of every tare. The eyes had collapsed. Blood streamed out of his fractured skull. Before the paramedics arrived, he’d achieved release from his torment. The Paramedic brought out a blanket and covered the body. Bile rushed into my throat. I was going to die before I puked.  I was encircling the area with yellow crime scene tape, trying to keep the gawkers away when I saw it.

  An antique city ordinance sign with bold letters: “To spit on the sidewalk, is illegal, city ordnance 121a.”

I saw the Irony.