Don’t Tell

Stepping into her childhood home was like stepping into another world. She stopped in the living room and shrugged off her coat. Closing her eyes for a moment, she breathed deep, savoring the aroma of fresh baked bread with butter and potato soup, the warmth of the cracking fire, and the overwhelming sense of peace.

That was the best part of coming home – for just a little while, she could put some distance between herself and the real world. She could forget the grieving families, the crimes that seemed more animal than human, the morbid details of her day. It was a brutal job, spending hour after hour studying the worst mankind had to offer. But deep down, she knew she could never do anything else. It was in her blood.

She slipped off her shoulder holster and hung it beside her coat – a normal routine in a family of cops. The door swung open and her dad stepped inside, cheeks red from the cold. The lines in his face seemed deeper than they had this morning. He flashed a tight smile, but it faded quickly.

“Rough day?” She kept her voice low.

He tossed his coat over a chair. “Yeah. Yours?”

She nodded. It was more than just a rough day. She was weary to the bone. “Does it ever get easier?”

He hesitated. “Not really. But some days are easier than others.”

“This definitely wasn’t an easy one.” She sighed.

“Just remember, no matter how bad it was, whatever you do -”

“Don’t tell Mom.” She finished the sentence in a whisper. He smiled – a real smile this time – at their inside joke. Years ago, her mom was nearly hysterical when Savannah decided to follow in her dad’s footsteps as a Nashville homicide detective. Her dad later told her that it would all work out if she followed one rule – no matter how bad things get, don’t tell Mom.

Such a small gesture, but it was enough to know he understood.

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Exciting News!

I got some exciting news last week! A few weeks ago, Steven James, one of my favorite authors, held a flash fiction contest via Facebook and Twitter. The top ten would be published in Splickety magazine, a flash fiction magazine, and the winner would also receive an autographed copy of his newest book.

I was amazed and excited when I was this last week:

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It’s very exciting! It may be only 130 characters, but I won a fiction contest, and something I wrote will be published. It gives me a little more courage to chase my dreams…

One Strange Google Search…

You might do a double-take if you saw my last Google search – but if you come back tomorrow and read my post for Write On Edge, it will all make sense.  What was it?  “How do you pick a handcuff lock with a hair pin?”

First off, let’s just say it’s amazing what you can learn from YouTube.  I was surprised to learn this trick isn’t limited to Hollywood…apparently it’s pretty easy to spring a set of handcuff locks with a hair pin.  Who knew?  Now it’s got my curiosity up – I want to try it for myself.  I don’t think my son’s toy handcuffs with the easy release switch would be much of a challenge, though.  Second, I was amazed at how many people are teaching this online.  I’m not the only curious one.

Thankfully, I have a laptop, so one’s going to see that search result pop up on a family computer.  They might start wondering what crime I’d  committed…or thinking that I need to be committed.  Trust me, this isn’t the only strange search I’ve done since I started writing, it’s just the most recent.  This follows “how long does it take a body to decompose” and “how long does DNA evidence last when exposed to the elements.”  Add to that my obsession with the ID Channel and the police procedural book on my Kindle, and it’s the setup for one of two careers: mystery author or serial killer.

Hmmm…I wonder what other spy movie tricks are actually doable?  I may have to go back to Google…

Chills

Something was very wrong.  A chill crept over me as I stood, staring at the strange way the light refracted through the glass…the broken glass of a locked door, in the building where I stood alone.  Or did I?  My heart started pounding as I realized that the break in had occurred recently, within the two hours or so since I had last stood here – which meant those responsible might still be inside.

Adrenaline was suddenly racing through my veins.  The first thought running through my head: call my husband, who was next door, and pray my phone could get in a signal in the huge metal building – at least if someone hit me over the head, he would know I was there.  My second thought – get out.  The only problem was that every door required a key to unlock it from the inside, a key I didn’t have.  There were only two ways out for me, and both were on the other side of the building.  I made a mad dash for the one I had come in through, fear pulsing through my body.

It was a terrifying experience, especially as I raced back out the way I’d come, now seeing the evidence of a break in that I had overlooked – the overturned boxes, the open doors that should have been closed, the lights turned on.  My husband was already in the parking lot, running to meet me as he called 911.  We were both shaken.

The police came quickly, and caught the would-be burglar, empty-handed and still on the property.  He was arrested – so high the police said he’d probably never even remember the events of that afternoon.  The police later found out that I was the one who scared him off – he was in the building as I entered, but ran when he heard me, hiding on the property until his arrest.

He may not remember, but I will never forget.  I’m really good at playing “what if” – a talent that comes in pretty handy when you want to write mysteries, but no so great when you face a terrifying experience.  I’ve played the game a thousand times since that day, thinking through all the nightmares that could have come true.  Even though it happened more than five years ago, I still remember every time I go into that building.

That single event, spanning just a few minutes on an otherwise normal day, changed me.  I’m much more cautious now and aware of my surroundings at all times.  I have a concealed handgun license and routinely carry my gun (a Sig Sauer, in case you’re wondering).  I’m never without my cell phone.  I even went through our entire house once, gun up and ready – yes, just like they do on TV – when I came home from work to find an empty house and the back door standing open.  (Thankfully, that time my kids had just forgotten to check the back door before they left…no burglar.)  And every time I think of it – even after five years – it still gives me chills.