Highly Commended Story - Neon Blue Disaster
“Neon Blue Disaster” by Avni Khambit, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Neon Blue Disaster
“AHHHHH! No. Don’t do this to me, please. Please spare me!” she pleaded as the gunshot silenced her. Both, the devil and the sound disappeared in the darkness.
At dawn, Zach, the regular jogger started jogging and saw something he could never unsee. A lifeless body was nailed to the big shadowy tree. The blood dripping from the body had merged in with the fresh neon blue paint. He took out his phone with shaky hands and dialed 911. A team of the best detectives of New York Beckket, Ryan, Esposito, Dr. Sturgis, and a few NYPD officers arrived at the scene.
“From the lividity, the time of death was between 10 pm and 2 am last night,” said Dr. Sturgis as he noted down in his notebook the possible cause of death. The detectives were canvassing the surrounding area when the officers started asking questions to the poor jogger. Dr. Stugis took the body to the precinct and the detectives further continued their investigation. The victim’s name was Taylor Weller, she was 27 years old and worked at a pharmaceutical company ‘IPCA’. They went to her workplace and questioned her boss and her colleagues. They came to know that she has a best friend that she was super close with - Josie, who hadn't come to work. As she wasn’t picking up her calls, the team went over to check in on her.
Josie wasn’t opening the door. They kicked open the door ‘detective style’ and walked inside. She was listening to music on her headphones in the kitchen preparing soup for herself as she had come down with the flu. Upon seeing someone breaking into her house, she was very scared. Beckket was relieved that she was okay and comforted her. She introduced herself and told her about Taylor’s death. “What? How? Who did it?” Josie exclaimed as she dropped the spoon she was drinking soup with. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out. Did you by chance know what she was doing yesterday evening?” asked Ryan. Josie said that Taylor was finishing writing a story that she was working on for the past few days. “Story? What story?” Esposito added. “You guys don’t know? She is an AMAZING writer but kept it to very few people. She had the talent and she was working on a book that she wanted to publish.” Josie replied.
“Well I don't think she can anymore…” said Ryan.
The detectives thanked Josie and left her place. Ryan got a call from Doctor Sturgis, saying that the bullet used was a 9mm caliber. Beckett was relieved Josie was safe but wanted to nab the killer. They went to Taylor’s place to see if they could find any clues.
They sure did find something, her roommate. She was leaving for Chicago. They told Donna, her roommate about Taylor’s death and asked her if she knew anything about her whereabouts yesterday. Donna was clueless and shocked. She told them all the information she could about Taylor and left as she had a flight to catch. Ryan found written papers of Taylor’s stories. They bagged evidence items and left. They called it a day and decided to meet early in the morning.
Beckket was lying on the bed but couldn't sleep. She was thinking about the murder. She woke up and decided to go through the evidence. She got up and went to the office and opened the evidence box. She could not find anything relevant. She looked at the clock, it was 5.00 am. She looked at a pile of Taylor’s stories and decided to read them. In one of the stories, a murder mystery is played out exactly the way Taylor was murdered. It was as if Taylor had written her own murder. Was it just a coincidence, definitely NOT!
As soon as Esposito and Ryan got into the office, she told them both about it. They went to the whiteboard and listed down possible suspects and things to investigate further.
Ryan called Josie to know about who all would have known about the stories. Esposito went to the forensic lab to examine the blue paint found at the murder scene and on Taylor’s body. It was a unique paint only available in select stores. She called up the stores and asked them to send over a list of people who bought that specific colored paint in the last one month. Till then Ryan and Esposito figured out that only Donna or Josie could’ve known about Taylor's writing hobby. They matched the list suppliers shared and Donna’s name popped up. They asked Donna to visit them.
Donna arrived within a few hours and was taken to the interrogation room. Donna was responding to all questions and said she was at home the night of the murder. Detectives decided to play their cards and showed her the paint evidence, Taylors story about Neon Blue Paint and Donna turned Blue. She started stammering and shouted, “Taylor deserved this.”
Donna confessed “I just wanted her all for myself, but Taylor was spending way too much time with Josie and other friends. She was either keeping herself busy with writing stories or with her friends. I became obsessive and confronted her to spend time with me. She ignored me on more than one occasion and I started to fall apart. I used to read her stories once in a while and came across the “Neon Blue disaster”. I once again told her I love her but she ignored me again and I decided to teach her a lesson.”
Beckket pounded on the table, “Killing your friend isn’t called teaching a lesson. You never deserved her.” The handcuffs clicked and she was looking for a lifetime in jail.
Detectives found clothes soaked in paint and blood, and a gun in the dumpster near the crime scene.
Beckett called Josie to visit them and informed her all about the investigation. As Josie thanked her and started to leave, Beckett gave her Taylors stories and a publisher's number. Josie thanked her again and wished “Hope it will be a New York Best Seller”.