His Own Dark Chambers


Looking west out of the break room window, Detective Nathan Chambers watched the fall sky fade to a rich blue as the yellowish orange light of the falling sun slipped behind mother nature’s skyline. Chambers finished his fourth cup of coffee in just under twenty minutes. He pulled a Punch© cigar out of his breast pocket and lit it up. A thin curl of acrid smoke followed him as he walked back to his desk and opened up the Cheska Rivera file 072191.

Missing for almost two weeks, there was only one choice of direction, head to where she was last heard from. If that led to a blind avenue, he’d still have to continue the search. Chambers knew the 24 to 48 hour rule. A grim shade lowered over his mood as he extinguished his cigar into a Styrofoam coffee cup. He had to blink to keep his vision from clouding with the memories of past child abduction horrors, and to keep a forward positive lens on his future concentrations.

Cheska was such a cute young girl, with a rich light brown complexion. Her mother said she had this friendly demeanor and was quick with the laughs when she heard something amusing. She was simply a wonderful girl with a promising future. Her reply to a text message was the last time anyone heard from her. Cheska replied to a joke with a jajajajaja instead of hahahaha, which made her unique.

Detective Nathan Chambers felt the aloneness in the break room the same way he felt cold in the winter, all over, every inch of his body, just cold. A uniform detail stood behind him without saying a word. They watched Chambers for a few minutes and then they left the room, leaving him with dreaded thoughts in his own dark chambers.

Chambers thought about the other wonderful girls who lost their lives to a madman and he couldn’t beat those memories down. They slapped him around until his head hurt. Beating down a shudder, he picked up the phone mostly to hear someone else speak besides his own thoughts.

“Anything else on the Cheska case?” he spoke into the receiver.

“File 072191?”

“Cheska Rivera! She has a goddamn name!”

“I’m sorry, Nathan, nothing yet.”

The detective slammed down the receiver breaking the small piece of the plastic handle around the receiving end. The bell from the land line phone kept ringing in his ears several minutes more after it stopped.

Detective Nathan Chambers paused briefly to settle down a bit. He sat with his back against the south wall that separated the homicide and robbery offices. He started staring at the frost building up on the corner of the window. On the desk in front of him was a brown binder with the file number 072191 stamped on the cover. He turned away from the frost and stared at Cheska Rivera’s file with malevolence, and that binder stared back.

He knew that if a missing person hasn’t turned up in 48 hours it was bad news, and it was way more than 48 hours for Cheska. Instead of trying to find her alive, this might just turn out to be a search for her body. He tried to tell himself that this was a new situation, with a stronger child. He clung to the chance that the stronger child could fend off the hideously savage abductor, therefore making the situation different, but memories of dead children had him by the throat. Not just memories but experiences as well.

A Uniform female officer broke his concentration and stood directly in front of him.

“Nathan, we got it!”


“Cheska Rivera, we have her alive and well!”

“What happened?”

“That private eye Nick Barnum found her over on Jackson Street off of Madison Avenue being held captive by that twisted freak that got off with an insanity plea last time we grabbed him for child abduction.”

“Chester the molester,” he whispered.

“Yep, Detective Laura Kimber says that Nick Barnum beat Chester up so bad he might not live.”

“Arrested him?”

“Yeah, Nick was arrested and Chester was taken to Bridgeport Hospital.”

Chambers stroked his chin as he thought about Barnum’s arrest. “Are we planning something?”

“O’Brien says Nick should have let the police handle it and shouldn’t have taken the law into his own hands,” she paused. “He’s gotta pay the Piper.”

“I would have killed that son of a bitch,” Chambers said. “Get Kimber on the phone, we have to make something up to get Nick off the hook.”

“You think she’ll go for it?”

“Just have her come see me.”

The uniformed looked at him as if he was crazy, but she understood the hatred in his heart. She also wondered if having that hatred in his heart compromised his position as a Detective.

What ever happened to just going by the book? She thought.


© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 30 comments

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I had to vote every button but funny. I love the way you just grab us by the throat and shake us around a bit before putting us down, kind of like a dog playing with a rag doll!

I love that this one had a happy ending and that Chambers wants to help out Nick. I know there's black and white in law, but sometimes you gotta let a little gray in.

Superb my friend, as we have come to expect from you!

Also pinned and shared.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Superb is a good word for this. When I finish reading you I just always want to go on with the story and that is the best compliment you can get from me...I don't want it to end. Up and shared.

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Frank, your a superstar!! You have a special gift Frank, you should consider writing a novel or book if you haven't already. I always expect a great story when I browse by and you always deliver. Voted up, awesome, interesting, and shared on FB.

Scarface1300 profile image

Scarface1300 3 years ago


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

An awesome story. I do like Nick. I like all of your cops, and this is just another shade of black.

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SandCastles 3 years ago

Good as usual! I like your vivid descriptions.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Excellent write here, Frank. This one is particularly engaging and I am glad for the happy ending on this one!

Up and more and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much Jackie, Til, Becky Katz and Thelyricwriter and you too Sandcastles, and Faith my dear Faith and Scarface for stopping by and checking out my Chambers

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

I must say, you getting better with each new adventure into your skill. thank you

Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

You evoked your characters very skillfully. I am really glad this one was a happy ending.

Excellent writing :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Mhatter and Anna for reading my Chmabers

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Among everything else going on in the story, your last statement made me smile. I was just settling down and you pulled the screen -- but on a very good note. Thank you.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much for reading Msdora

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Another great story. I like the good guy Nick, he may just have saved her life. Hard to resist such gut reactions in such situations.

I had to smile though when I read ' distinguished his cigar into a Styrofoam coffee cup' I think you meant extinguished

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

yeah you're right Rosemay good looking out and catching that..bless you girl

Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I always look forward to your stories. I shivered a bit when I read that Cheska had been missing for two weeks. And it was fall…cold outside. You could feel Nathan’s aloneness and the sinister memories about the lost girls with every sentence – every word. “Cheska Rivera! She has a goddamn name!” Thank goodness, she was found alive. Again, we are presented with the choices these people make every day, the horrors they witness, and what happens to the innocents when the system doesn’t work. “What ever happened to just going by the book? She thought.” Then I remembered DaGreek, Marlene Berios and Sanchez. Excellent, Frank, as usual. Up ++.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Genna for sharing your thoughts on my dark chambers

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Valleypoet 3 years ago

Great story writing Frank, love how you brought your characters together for this one:-))

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Masterfully done. :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Valley, and tobusiness for stopping by :)

Lisawilliamsj profile image

Lisawilliamsj 3 years ago

This was awesome! I love reading your stories you have such a wonderful way of grabbing the readers attention from beginning to end!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Lisa :)

mylindaelliott profile image

mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

Very nice, it caught my attention and kept it.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you mylinda :)

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Yet another great mystery story.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Vin :)

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Every time I read your work Frank--I am always amazed--you are such a skillful writer!!

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Audrey

LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 3 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Thank goodness Cheska did not die am glad she was found alive :) very nice short story.........

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Lady :)

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