Finishing a Story: Reluctant Volunteer; My ending to 'A Different Type of Torture' for Frank Atanacio's Challenge

The Challenge

Frank’s challenge was to write an ending to his story at

http://frankatanacio.hubpages.com/hub/A-Different-Type-of-Torture

For all the details and rules go to:

http://frankatanacio.hubpages.com/hub/A-Writing-Challenge-for-you

I love a challenge; in fact, it’s more fun to have to keep to rules and a set of information as a basis so thanks to Frank for setting this challenge. My greatest respect goes to those who’ve already contributed their excellent versions.

Here goes!


Burnt Alive

Source

Reluctant Volunteer

Early morning, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Laura Kimber had headed back to the neighbourhood where, yesterday, a dead body had been found burnt in a horrific manner. Some sadist had wrapped his victim in a tarp, set the bundle alight and allowed a fellow human the privilege of watching himself burn, through holes cut in the tarp.

Since then, investigations had drawn up a list of similar homicides, most wrapped in that cold, calculated manner.


Living in Squalor

Source

No one had Dared

Detective Kimber’s thoughts turned to the poor of this outcast area, bunched together in filthy apologies for housing, lining the garbage-ridden streets where all she could smell was dope and excretia.

No one had dared show his face yesterday. Desertion breeds desertion; nobody wanted to be involved with this deed, nobody would own up to any connection with the burnt body whose charred remains still stuck to the floor where their owner had perished in slow, terrified consciousness of his last mortal seconds.


Fear

Kimber noticed a lone boy hanging around on the corner by the burnt building, half-heartedly toeing a football in an imaginary top league game. She wandered on over, smiled, “Planning on the big time?” “Yeah, as if. You police?”

“That obvious, eh? Yeah but you’re not in trouble. See, I gotta problem. I’m bothered about that body we found. Not right that someone gets killed like that, is it, you think?”

“Na,” his big eyes started to say something, then looked to the broken pavement.

“Nobody talks around here so I can’t do much to help and I want to. That’s my problem.”

The eyes again, quick glance all around and the boy’s rapid gunfire of words hit her, “Guy went in building. Big. Dark hair. White. With a pizza.” A blur of fear as he disappeared round the corner.


Drawn a Blank

Exhilarated, Laura’s mind clicked up a gear. Pizza delivery? We’d’ve never found enough evidence of that in the charred debris. Her phone flew out of her pocket.

“Chambers! Get me details of all pizza deliveries round the area of our victim.”

As Kimber was leaving, one of the firefighters from yesterday turned up. He’d lost his phone and thought it might be on the scene. Laura had taken a dislike to the fire marshall but this guy was pleasant enough. He went into the building, emerging a few minutes later empty handed.

“No idea where I left it now.” He gave her a wink and sauntered off. “Not bad,” she thought, “burly, dark, my sorta guy.” As he turned the corner she saw him kick a football back to an unseen source.

Her phone shrieked at her. “Hi, Chambers. Any luck?”

“No deliveries scheduled for that place. We’ve drawn a blank.”


I Killed Him!

A day at the office, clearing paperwork, was not what Laura wanted. She wanted results, she wanted answers for that lone body who must’ve belonged to someone, must’ve upset someone, must’ve known something he shouldn’t.

The phone rang. “We’ve got another... but it’s worse, Laura”, she could hear the hesitation in Chambers’ voice. “It’s a kid. And it’s the same building.”

Kimber flew. A churning stomach and pounding head told her she’d find what she feared most. A child, a boy, with a charred piece of rubber bearing a pattern like a football. “I killed him,” she yelled at Chambers. “I spoke to him and now he’s dead.”

He was confirmed as the boy who had shown enough courage to give her a little information, information which had cost him his life. The boy who was now a charred mass on the floor before her, his precious eyes bubbled out of their sockets, his hands on his head to protect himself, his torso cut to ribbons before it was torched, his mouth opened in extreme petrification, his legs unable to kick another football because they were chopped at the knees. No tarp this time. Did this sadist have a different approach to kids?

Coming out of the building, Kimber heard a woman approaching. Her wailing was a siren of death, her anguish torn from her body like the baby she’d borne who was now lying on that unforgiving floor.

“Why?” her words trailed on the air. “What did he do? What.... to deserve this?!” Her sobs shot from her and buried themselves deep in Laura’s consciousness. Laura held out her arms and accepted the heavy body of the boy’s mother heaving with the energy of her grief.

“We will find this killer. I will find this killer. He will not do this again. He cannot do this again.” Her voice repeated, echoed, but made no impression on this woman whose life was a living grave.


Pizza to Burn

Source

No Satisfaction

Back at the office, Kimber tried to find some sense to it all. What did she see there, what bits of evidence could be preserved in a scene such as that?

Forensics had come up with the small pieces of football, a few bits of part-singed cardboard lying around the building, bits of gravel from outside from the child’s shoes.... nothing of consequence.

“Hang on a minute,” she phoned the lab, “Could that cardboard have come from a pizza?” The technician made a note to check it asap.

Lunch time. A few of the team met in the canteen, sometimes with a couple of the firefighters. She recognised the cheeky fella who’d lost his phone. “Having pizza as usual, then?” said his mate, joking.

“Hello again!” Laura winked at him. “You can forget your pizza today. You’re under arrest.”

“Warrant for a search of this man’s premises asap!” she yelled. "I want every single pair of shoes matched for gravel and remains from that scorched corp’s building. I bet you anything this guy has a drug habit and our body in the tarp threatened to tell.”

There was no usual smile of satisfaction.



Copyright annart (AFC) 2014 (applicable to words & own photos) Not to be copied without permission; no changes to be made to the original words, photos and layout.



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Comments 36 comments

annart profile image

annart 20 months ago from SW England Author

ubanichijioke : Thank you for your kind comments; much appreciated. Glad you liked this.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 20 months ago from Lagos

I love the way you made me feel each description and the lines in the story. A very well written piece. Well done.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Shyron, for your lovely comment and for the votes. I hope it was the end but it's good to leave some leeway for the reader to wonder if there were any hitches! Great to see you today.

Ann


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Ann, this is some awesome writing, I did not expect it to end this way. Or did it end.

Voted-up ABI and shared.

Blessings Dear friend

Shyron


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

tillsontitan: Thank you so much for your comment and for the votes. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. It's great to see so many versions, I think, and great fun to do! Your visit is much appreciated.

Ann


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

This just keeps getting better and better. Twists and turns with a surprise ending, what more could we ask for? Great job done here.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Audrey. That is such a lovely thing to say and I'm honoured that you think so.

I too have enjoyed reading the varied responses. Amazing what these challenges bring about.

Lovely to see you here today. Best wishes to you and I hope you're having a great week.

Ann


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

I have so enjoyed reading these---You are such a strong writer--it is a pleasure to read your work


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Genna, for your lovely comments. Glad it had some impact. Good to see you here.

Ann


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

(I posted my comment before, but it didn’t seem to take.) I loved the smart dialogue. You really kept our attention with the pace, and the creative, dark imagery. When we read, “it’s a kid,” we wanted to hit the streets and help Laura find this guy. Literally. Well done, Ann!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you so much, Faith, for your wonderful comment. No need to apologise for not being here before! We all have more important things to do and it's good to get away from time to time. I'm happy to hear from you at any time.

Glad you like this and thanks for the compliments and the votes; you're very kind. Have a great week!

Ann


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Wow, Ann, you have surpassed this challenge with excellence in writing and your descriptive use of words sticks in one's mind! My heart was pounding throughout this read. The flow is great and I like how you summarized Frank's initial hub in your first paragraph and then it reads so well with your great alternate ending.

You are a natural in this genre.

Up +++ tweeting, pinning and sharing

I am sorry I am just now getting to read this, as I have been away from HP for four days. Trying to catch up on all now.

Blessings always


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks again, Frank! You're very kind. I appreciate your encouragement.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Annart, what a great job you did.. this crime genre suits you so well... had to read it all over again bravo


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Wow! Thanks, Frank. Praise indeed! I'm so glad you like it as I was quite reticent to publish. Testing the water, so to speak.

Thanks again for a challenge to push my boundaries.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

I take a weekend holiday and I turn my comp on to a special treat..I like how you handled this annart.. in my words.. perfect!!!!!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, John, for letting me know; much appreciated. Glad I wasn't the only 'victim'! I was beginning to think I'd missed something vital. As you say, all seems fine now.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Ann, I noticed your pics were missing too, but back up now. I wasn't getting notifications either. Apparently HP was upgrading their server or something. Hopefully everything is fixed.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

MsDora: Thank you, I'm glad you liked this. I hesitated to use the boy but it seemed the only way Laura would get any info from the locals. Designed to make the killer look even worse too!

Good to see you here today; your visit's much appreciated.

Ann


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Great story-telling, Ann. I hate that the little boy died, but putting him into the story made it seem quite authentic.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Could be, Kevin! :) I think this hub has spooked me!


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Perhaps it is all about Halloween coming. :-)

Kevin


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Hi Jo! I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and your kind comment. Yes, it's great that people respond so well to these challenges though it would be good to see some different folk having a go too!

Anyway, it's great fun and keeps us on our writing toes, especially when it's out of the groove.

Have a great week ahead!

Ann


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Ann, I loved it! It's good to see more writers taking up the challenges. A job well done.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, Kevin, for reading and for the votes and sharing; very kind of you. I'm glad you liked it.

Don't know why the poll disappeared. Spooky things are happening on site for me today. Firstly, no pics, then that happening to you, I don't understand it! Will try to get to the bottom of it.

Good to see you here.

Ann


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was interesting Ann, you have me hungry for pizza now. lol I voted in both polls, but when I clicked on "vote" in the second one it just disappeared! I was writing in here (comments) what I read - Mysteries/Detectives, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, and sometimes Westerns. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, always exploring. I'm glad you liked it.

Thanks for telling me about the pics; I thought something was awry but I can't work it out; they were there to start with! Must be something to do with being in France! I might have to take the last two hubs off and republish when I get home; annoying.

I appreciate your visit and comments; much appreicated.

Ann


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Ann I loved your story, sadistically good! That poor little boy. sigh.. BTW your pictures are missing...


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, John. Your comment means a lot and gives me confidence. I enjoyed writing this but it didn't come as easy as some. Maybe that's what I need!

Worried about the photos not showing up though. I'm not getting hubpages notifications coming through on email either so I'm wondering if something's up with them rather than me?!

Great to see you today!

Ann


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thank you, Nell. I'm really happy that you liked it and I greatly appreciate you stopping by. My pictures seem to be missing! Were they when you read it?

Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Great work Ann, you are definitely not out of your depth with this genre. I thoroughly enjoyed every word. Gripping!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

This is the second or third I have read in this series, and I got to say this is really good! lol! I loved your take on the story, nice one!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, manatita, for your lovely comment. Not sure about the detective book, not within my usual stuff! I appreciate your support.

Ann


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

You are a strong writer, Ann. I noticed how good you are and well presented, too. A detective book, maybe? Much Mehta.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England Author

Thanks, bill, for your encouragement. You're very kind. I felt out of my depth with this one as I've never tried the crime genre before. Does me good to have a go out of my comfort zone!

Hope you & Bev have a great weekend too.

Ann


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

You paint some wonderful and yes, bleak, images in your story, Ann. This is beautiful writing. "Desertion breeds desertion"....love that phrase...and it's been a long time since I've seen the word "excretia." :) Very well done my friend.

Have a restful and relaxing weekend, and thank you for a wonderful example of excellent creative writing.

bill

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