Sennacherib’s Tomb #atozchallenge #fiction

Part 2:

“Stories and tales, “ Junaid spit.

He tore away the carpet and clammored down the stairs. I followed out of curiosity. I saw the seal of King Sennacherib. Several men used rods to lever the slab. Junaid wiggled through an opening. Shining a torch into the tomb, he saw clay-casks, overflowing with gold.

“Praise Allah, we have found the treasure!”

I quietly walked back up the stone stairs as more men descended. I could hear their revelry as they jumped into the crypt to claim their prize.

“What is this?” I heard Junaid scream.

Another scream, “my skin feels as if it wants to peel away from my body.”

I heard more screams.

The ancient guard had covered the gold with anthrax spores. All the men had dropped into a cavern of death.

I filled the cavern with as much dirt and sand.  I filled the hole with stones.

I went to one of the lorries and inside was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I cut her loose from the rope that bound her. Not able to return to my dwelling I took her to the unused hut belonging to my grandparents. I gave her wine and dates and gave her a rug to sleep on.

I removed every trace of the men who had disturbed my home. I sold the lorries to a man in the village next to mine. The woman was glad to be free and gratefully became my wife. In July, we had two fine boys. Both my sons will someday guard the king.

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 friend and editor ~ Leslie Moon aka Moondustwriter

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.

Indoctrination #fiction #crime #atozchallenge

My name is Markey Dobbs. The day before yesterday was my birthday, I turned twenty-one. That’s the day I graduated from the police academy. Stayer County Sheriff’s Department hired me that day. I reported on duty with one other recruit -Thorne Whittaker. It was still dark when I arrived at the Sheriff’s station. Standing on the sidewalk was Thorne.

“Who do you think you’re going to ride with?” Thorne asked.

“I’d say my training officer,” I said.

“Duh, let’s report in. We don’t want to be late on our first day. That’s not how you want to be introduced.”

We stopped at the front desk.

“Good morning, sir. We were told to report to Lieutenant Bailis,” Thorne said.

The officer looked emotionally ragged. His eyes were dead from any emotion. I guess that happens when you see too much of everything.

“Welcome aboard. Go through that door and take a seat. The Watch Commander will be back in ten minutes, he’s expecting you. My name is Jeff Radford.” he said, offering his hand. “The ‘El tee’ will issue your keys and lockers. He’s conducting roll-call for early day-watch. He’ll give you your patrol assignments and you’ll meet your training officer during the briefing.”

“Thank you,” I felt the tingling of anticipation.

We stepped into a small office and sat down. Five minutes later, Lieutenant Bailis walked into the room.

“Carl Bailis,” he said, shaking our hands. “I’ll issue your keys and show you where to put your stuff. He pointed to a rack of uniforms. Now go and get squared away. Roll-Call is in twenty minutes.”

“Yes, sir,” we said in unison.

Thorne and I turned and hustled down the hall, trying to find the locker room.

Walking past the desk, we could see a man who looked 60 ish. His uniform bore sergeant stripes. On his left sleeve, he had seven hash marks, each denoting three years. His long sleeves turned back like an old timer and his blue eyes pierced to my heart. A toothpick jutted out of the corner of his mouth.

“Locker room is the third door on your left. My name is Wilkie. I’m your patrol supervisor. We’ll chat later. Welcome aboard. I’ll see you in roll-call,” he said, walking past us.

“Holy Shit! Do you know who that was!” Thorne said.

“Sergeant Wilkie Reynolds. He’s a legend. My dad told me he’s a ‘Cop’s cop.’ I don’t think there’s anything he hasn’t done in the Sheriff’s Department. My dad told me the Attorney General has awarded him two medals of valor,” I said.

“I doubt we’ll see much of him if we’re chasing radio calls,” Thorne said.

“Hey man, we got to start at the bottom. Just like everyone else here did,” I said, trying to sound confident.

“Let’s get a move on, I don’t want to be late.”

We found our lockers, put on our uniform, and reported to the roll-call room. The only two seats that were open were in the front rows. The veteran officers sat in the back row. I knew they were establishing a pecking order we ;were on the lowest rung.

“El tee” Bailis and Sergeant Wilkie pushed through the door carrying clipboards and a mound of paperwork. Wilkie scanned the room, counting heads.

“Where’s DeLone?”

“He’s in the head. Praying to the porcelain god,” a voice from the back chuckled.

“He must have eaten some of your wife’s cooking,” a voice cracked from the back.

“Okay, we’ll be down a man. Which one of you is Dobbs?”

I raised my hand.

“You ride with me today. We’re Sam-7. Whittaker, you’re assigned to A-22, Goldin raise your hand so your trainee can find you,” Wilkie said.

One of the old heads in the back raised his hand, another pitched a paper airplane, made from an old hot-sheet sailing to the desk.

“If I can have the attention of the Wright Brothers, we can start this briefing,” Lieutenant Baillis said. “We’ve got two, fresh off the academy, warm bodies. Treat them well, if they pass probation, you’ll be able to take some much-needed time off.”

The briefing lasted forty-five minutes.

“The kit-room is behind the desk. Check out a car, grab an M-4, and a shotgun. Get regular and less-than-lethal ammo for each. Get a camera; make sure you’ve got film and a fresh battery. Do you have a flashlight with good batteries?” Wilkie asked.

“Yes, sir. My flashlight’s in my car. I didn’t think I’d need it on day shift,” I pensively offered.

“If you don’t have it, as sure as I’m here talking to you, we’re going to need to check an attic or a basement for some nut-job with a gun. We’ll pick it up when we drive out of the station,” Wilkie said, “And happy birthday.”

I finally grabbed all the gear and dropped it in the cruiser. Wilkie walked out, carrying a cup of coffee. A set of car keys hung from the chrome buckle of his gun belt.

“How did you know it was my birthday?” Dobbs asked.

“You may have not have heard what happened twenty-one years ago. The night you were borne, your dad had been drinking heavy. He drove into a ditch about three miles out of town. Before we could load your family into my car, your mother’s water broke, and she started went into labor. The ambulance was on-the-way, but you didn’t want to wait. I delivered you. Six pounds three ounces.”

“I guess that makes you some kind of uncle?”

“An uncle is your father’s brother; I think your dad might have something to say about that.”


“I was the detective that sent him away to prison,” Wilkie said. “One thing about police work. If you look for it, you’ll see it.”

“See what?”

“Everything has irony. For instance—I put your father in prison. Now, I’m training his son to be a cop—that’s irony for you. You just have to watch it, and you’ll see it.”

I was familiarizing myself with the reports. “These differ from the ones we used at the academy. I have a question, what’s SPIT?”

“That’s mostly for suicides—knuckleheads who are successful at jumping off buildings and splat on the sidewalk. It stands for: Sudden, Pavement, Impact, Trauma. We added that box for jumpers—it helps the bean counters keep score so they can apply for federal funding—it’s not the fall that’ll kills you. It’s that sudden stop.”