WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction

Fiction Novel excerpts, short stories, etc.


Police Reconstruction, third draft

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 07-07-2008, 06:54 AM
IanG (Offline)
The Next Bard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 484
Thanks: 15
Thanks 104
Default Police Reconstruction, third draft


Police Reconstruction
Third Draft

They found her in a gully, eyes staring lifeless at the sky, crows circling above her, shadows of pine branches on her skin. Rain had washed away vital clues like DNA in the night. Her T-shirt carried a logo of a flamenco dancer. There were bruises on her neck and her fingernails were stained with blood.


Days earlier
Alison looked across the main square of the town, at dark balconies that contrasted sharply against stuccoed walls. Snippets of German mingled with the native Spanish around her. Alison noticed a T-shirt bearing the image of a dancer and headed towards it. She reached the young woman who wore it and spoke in English.

‘Excuse me, could you tell me when the new British night club is due to open?’

The other woman replied in English but with a Spanish accent. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know. I won’t be going there; it’s mostly tourists who will.’

‘Oh, I’m sorry; I thought you were a tourist.’ Alison glanced at her T-shirt.

The local woman was a little embarrassed. The T-shirt was a present from her mother, who worked in a shop that sold them, but it wasn’t her favourite. To her it meant a dull little town she’d be happy to leave. Alison thought ‘I like it.’ For her it evoked sunshine and romance. The local woman transferred a shopping bag to her left hand and pointed. ‘The tourist information centre is down there, on Calle Miro. Straight on out of the square, where that red car is going. If you go to this club, avoid the Piazza de Palma, its not safe for a lone woman at night.’

Alison replied ‘thanks for telling me.’ She was working behind the bar at a local disco, but hadn’t been there for long. This information would be useful to her.

They parted with a wave and a smile. A group of young men turned to look at the Brit. She quickened her pace and was lost in the crowded square. She was accustomed to male attention, but wanted it on her terms.

The Spanish woman, a student of law called Inka Romero, passed a terracotta roof. She was envying Alison the freedom of being away from home. Inka had wanted to be a policewoman, but her mother had talked her out of it.

‘But you work too,’ Inka had said.

‘In a shop, not a man’s job, and I had to when your father died. I didn’t choose a job that needs physical strength. You know you’ll face a lot of prejudice in the police.’

For a while Inka had stuck to her decision, but eventually she had given in. Since law didn’t require brute force, her mother had supported her decision to study for it.

Alison walked on, to a promenade of yellow and pink flagstones. The beach and sea were on one side, gardens and pools of tall hotels on the other. Then hotels gave way to shops, restaurants and kiosks with thatched roofs and open sides. She called at a souvenir shop with an open front facing the beach. Here she bought a T-shirt like Inka’s. Soon afterwards, Alison was found dead, still wearing it.

Julia Romero switched the radio off and carried on ironing. ‘Isn’t it awful,’ she said. ‘This would never have happened under Franco.’

‘Mum…’ said Inka.

‘I don’t support Franco but its true, it wouldn’t. In those days I walked kilometres on my own and I never thought it might be dangerous.’

‘You couldn’t have at night could you, there was a curfew,’ Inka retorted. ‘If, when they catch whoever did this, I’ll be able to go out any time.’

‘They won’t stop looking ‘till they find him,’ said Julia. ‘They’ll scale it down after a while but they won’t forget.’

‘She set off from a crowded disco and she must’ve driven or been driven some distance,’ Inka deduced. ‘Somebody must’ve seen something.’ She slumped forward and buried her face in her hands.

Inka tried to blot it out by reading a book on modern art. She focused on photographs of abstract sculptures. Their polished stone and smooth metals gleamed like the backs of dolphins. Her mother thumbed through a magazine, lingering over a feature on an exhibition of seventeenth century paintings. ‘Do you want a look?’ Julia asked.

‘No thanks,’ her daughter replied. To Inka Baroque seemed over-elaborate.

Soon after Allison’s murder, Julia sent Inka to buy food and drink. She set out in the evening, for the shop observed siesta. She walked past whitewashed homes and palms with bark like crocodile skin. Hills bearing white scars could be seen in the distance. Landslides had exposed limestone.

There was an advertisement outside a newsagent. It read ‘Allison’s guilty secret.’ The article implied that she had been too friendly with male customers. She had met at least one man furtively near her disco. ‘Poor woman,’ Inka thought. ‘What must her parents be thinking?’

There was a long queue at the shop, longer than Inka had expected. She finally got out and began walking home. At first there were people around her. Most were locals but that blonde couple looked like tourists. A baby cried somewhere behind her. She left the town centre and walked uphill. There were wide steps in the hillside for pedestrians, and an austere church stood nearby. She passed shops that had now closed. Dusk was falling, making it hard to see inside them, but she knew they sold clothes, toys and souvenirs.

Suddenly, Inka realised she was alone. At first she thought little of it, for she was still in town. Then she realised young man was walking behind her. His shorts and baseball cap reminded her of British tourists. She was alarmed. ‘Don’t be silly,’ she told herself. She glanced at the shops, hoping to see someone locking up, but there was no one. As she continued homewards he was still behind her. Inka’s muscles tensed and she began to pant. She broke into a run.



Back at home, Julia entered the bathroom. She noticed an empty shampoo bottle that had been left out by the shower and grumbled silently. That was Inka’s not hers, so Inka could tidy that up when she got home. Julia glared at scum in the shower, and then left her bathroom to watch the news.



Inka ducked into a shop doorway. A rack with casual jackets on was just visible through the window next to her. She gripped a shopping bag tighter, ready to lash out with it, and peered out. The man turned away from her, across a small square and past a table where, hours before, people had eaten outside.

Inka felt a surge of relief, but humiliation quickly followed. Why had she panicked? Then again, why should she not? This wasn’t like murder on T.V. where there were limited numbers of obvious suspects. This killer could be anyone. Was he someone she had played with as a child? Somebody she had kissed as a teenager? She hurried on towards home. Her shopping was starting to pull on her arms.

When Inka arrived home, her mother stormed up like a snow leopard and began shouting ‘why don’t you tidy up after…?’ Then she saw the look on her daughter’s face and her anger faded. ‘What’s wrong?’ Julia asked. Inka dumped their shopping on the kitchen worktop. They went into the sitting room and crashed onto the sofa. Inka lay down with her head in Julia’s lap and an arm around her waist, and then explained.



‘Darling, I’d no idea you felt like that or I’d never have sent you out,’ said Julia.

‘It’s not your fault; I didn’t think it had got to me like that.’

‘How did you get like that?’ mother asked. ‘Why should anyone want to kill you?’

‘Why do it to Alison, or anyone else come to that? Maybe that’s the most frightening thing of all, not knowing anything about it. How can you know you’re safe when it could be anyone with any motive? There might not be a rational motive, what if he’s mad?’

‘Darling, the police are trying hard to catch this person. Surely they’ll get him before long,’ Julia began. ‘They’re going to stage a reconstruction of Allison’s last night, to jog peoples’ memories, so they’re trying new ideas. It was on T.V. They want a member of the public to play her.’

‘Why?’ Inka asked.

‘Because none of the women in the force are the right age. You don’t have to look just like her, they’ll tell people you don’t, but you’ve got to be a similar height and build.’

For a moment Inka lay still, then she raised her head and asked ‘do you think I should volunteer?’

‘Why not?’

‘How do I know I’ll be right for it?’

‘Well nobody will unless they go and volunteer.’

‘Thanks Mum, I’ll go to the police station tomorrow.’

*

Even in the toilets Inka could hear Abba from the dance floor. She pulled a T-shirt over her head. It was identical to Allison’s. She pulled her hair from under cotton, chestnut locks falling on coffee skin. She made her way to the bar. Dancers parted for her. Some of the men eyed her hungrily, any other time they’d have blocked her way or pinched her bottom, but not tonight as police officers were watching from the bar and floor. Inka rounded a youth in Union Jack shorts and took her position behind the bar. She served a few drinks. She had practised earlier and did well for a beginner. Lights whirled in front of her like demented fireflies.

The disco wasn’t as full as Inka had expected. She wondered if people had been scared away by the murder. Then a thought occurred to her. ‘If tourists are frightened away, Mum could lose her job.’ Inka’s fear turned to anger.

It was time for Allison’s shift to finish. Inka said goodbye as she did, crossing the smooth dance floor. She passed a cameraman from the local news. Soon she was out on the pavement in a crowd of tourists. She walked on, past signs advertising fish and chips and German beer. When the girl reached another police officer she stopped.

‘How did it go?’ Inka asked.

‘I think you did well but the question is did you jog any memories? Let’s go back and ask.’

They walked back to the disco. Near its exit, the man in Union Jack shorts was talking to police officers.

‘What did he look like?’ an officer asked.

‘Early twenties with dark hair and a goatee beard. He met her over there.’

‘Can you describe his bike?’

Inka was tempted to whoop and punch the air. She resisted as the killer was still free. Her mother came up and embraced her. Inka released some emotion with a hug that was longer and tighter than usual.


*

Julia was hanging washing out on their balcony. Inka was on the ‘phone. ‘Thanks for telling me, bye,’ she finished. She turned to Julia and announced ‘that was the police, they’ve got the killer.’ They sat down just inside, with their balcony doors open.

‘Alison Hall was a drugs pusher,’ Inka began. ‘She went off with her supplier and they quarrelled over her share of the proceeds. She wanted more, of course.’ He said he was the brains behind it all, she said she took bigger risks, called him a coward and suddenly his hands were round her neck.’

‘Is it true she slept around?’

‘Not that we know of. People assumed it was a crime of passion you see. Well it was spur of the moment but not a lovers’ tiff that got out of hand.’

‘Well I’m glad he’s behind bars,’ said Julia. ‘Did your reconstruction help?’

‘They say it did.’ They discussed the case for a few minutes, feeling half sad and half relieved, and then Inka wanted to think of something more cheerful. She went to a magazine rack and pulled a magazine out. It was the one with an article on old masters in it. What had once been boring was now reassuring.



Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-09-2008, 01:47 PM
Daedalus's Avatar
Daedalus (Offline)
The Few, The Proud.
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,525
Thanks: 12
Thanks 61
Default

Originally Posted by IanG View Post
Police Reconstruction
Third Draft

They found her in a gully, eyes staring lifeless (lifelessly) at the sky, crows circling above her, shadows of pine branches on her skin. Rain had washed away vital clues like DNA in the night. (By re-wording this sentence, you can achieve active voice, whereas now you're currently speaking passively. Try this: During the night, the DNA clues were washed away in the downpour.) Her T-shirt carried a logo of a flamenco dancer. There were bruises on her neck and her fingernails were stained with blood.


Days earlier
Alison looked across the main square of the town, at dark balconies that contrasted sharply against stuccoed walls. Snippets of German mingled with the native Spanish around her. Alison noticed a T-shirt bearing the image of a dancer and headed towards it. She reached the young woman who wore it(,) and spoke in English( ‘Excuse me, could you tell me when the new British night club is due to open?’

The other woman replied in English but with a Spanish accent. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know. I won’t be going there; it’s mostly tourists who will.’

‘Oh, I’m sorry; I thought you were a tourist.’ Alison glanced at her T-shirt.

The local woman was a little embarrassed. The T-shirt was a present from her mother, who worked in a shop that sold them, but it wasn’t her favourite. To her it meant a dull little town she’d be happy to leave. Alison thought ‘I like it.’ (I was always of the opinion that thoughts were better italicised. You see, Commonwealth English uses single quotation marks for present-tense speech and double ones for past. It's the other way around in American-English. To avoid confusion as to whether someone is thinking or talking, authors use italics to indicate a character's thoughts. The other way is perfectly acceptable, mind you, but just my two cents.) For her it evoked sunshine and romance. The local woman transferred a shopping bag to her left hand and pointed. ‘The tourist information centre is down there, on Calle Miro. Straight on out of the square, where that red car is going. If you go to this club, avoid the Piazza de Palma (-) its not safe for a lone woman at night.’

Alison replied(,)(T)hanks for telling me.’ She was working behind the bar at a local disco, but hadn’t been there for long. This information would be useful to her.

They parted with a wave and a smile. A group of young men turned to look at the Brit. She quickened her pace and was lost in the crowded square. She was accustomed to male attention, but wanted it on her terms.

The Spanish woman (is this a new person or the same one?), a student of law called Inka Romero, passed a terracotta roof. She was envying Alison the freedom of being away from home (I'm not sure what you're saying here. She was envying Allison's freedom? Your sentence is slightly confusing). Inka had wanted to be a policewoman, but her mother had talked her out of it.

‘But you work too,’ Inka had said. (Again, if you write in Commonwealth English, double quotation marks are used for past-tense speech. Earlier, you used single for present, so here you must use double.)

‘In a shop, not a man’s job, and I had to when your father died. I didn’t choose a job that needs physical strength. You know you’ll face a lot of prejudice in the police.’

For a while Inka had stuck to her decision, but eventually she had given in. Since law didn’t require brute force, her mother had supported her decision to study for it.

Alison (You're changing characters again here without any prior warning. This can become confusing.) walked on, to a promenade of yellow and pink flagstones. The beach and sea were on one side, gardens and pools of tall hotels on the other. Then hotels gave way to shops, restaurants and kiosks with thatched roofs and open sides. She called (in.) Without this word, the sentence literally means "she called at a shop". In other words, she was yelling at a shop.) at a souvenir shop with an open front facing the beach. Here she bought a T-shirt like Inka’s. Soon afterwards, Alison was found dead, still wearing it.

Julia Romero switched the radio off and carried on ironing. ‘Isn’t it awful,’ she said. ‘This would never have happened under Franco.’

‘Mum…’ said Inka.

‘I don’t support Franco but its true, it wouldn’t. In those days I walked kilometres on my own and I never thought it might be dangerous.’

‘You couldn’t have at night could you( there was a curfew,’ Inka retorted. ‘If, when they catch whoever did this, I’ll be able to go out any time.’

‘They won’t stop looking ‘till they find him,’ said Julia. ‘They’ll scale it down after a while but they won’t forget.’

‘She set off from a crowded disco and she must’ve driven or been driven some distance,’ Inka deduced. ‘Somebody must’ve seen something.’ She slumped forward and buried her face in her hands.

Inka tried to blot it out by reading a book on modern art. She focused on photographs of abstract sculptures. Their polished stone and smooth metals gleamed like the backs of dolphins. Her mother thumbed through a magazine, lingering over a feature on an exhibition of seventeenth century paintings. ‘Do you want a look?’ Julia asked.

‘No thanks,’ her daughter replied. To Inka(,) (Without the comma, it reads "To Inka Baroque." As if it's her name.) Baroque seemed over-elaborate.

Soon after Allison’s murder, Julia sent Inka to buy food and drink. She set out in the evening, for (this reads as though she set out in the evening for the shop observed siesta. Change this to "because". It will avoid confusion.) the shop observed siesta. She walked past whitewashed homes and palms with bark like crocodile skin. Hills bearing white scars could be seen in the distance. Landslides had exposed limestone.

There was an advertisement outside a newsagent. It read ‘Allison’s guilty secret.’ The article implied that she had been too friendly with male customers. She had met at least one man furtively near her disco. ‘Poor woman,’ Inka thought. ‘What must her parents be thinking?’

There was a long queue at the shop, longer than Inka had expected. She finally got out and began walking home. At first there were people around her. Most were locals(,) but that blonde couple looked like tourists. A baby cried somewhere behind her. She left the town centre and walked uphill. There were wide steps in the hillside for pedestrians, and an austere church stood nearby. She passed shops that had now closed. Dusk was falling, making it hard to see inside them, but she knew they sold clothes, toys and souvenirs.

Suddenly, Inka realised she was alone. At first she thought little of it, for she was still in town. Then she realised young man was walking behind her. His shorts and baseball cap reminded her of British tourists. She was alarmed. ‘Don’t be silly,’ she told herself. She glanced at the shops, hoping to see someone locking up, but there was no one. As she continued homewards he was still behind her. Inka’s muscles tensed and she began to pant. She broke into a run.



Back at home, Julia entered the bathroom. She noticed an empty shampoo bottle that had been left out by the shower and grumbled silently. That was Inka’s(,) not hers, so Inka could tidy that up when she got home. Julia glared at scum in the shower, and then left her bathroom to watch the news.



Inka ducked into a shop doorway. A rack with casual jackets on was just visible through the window next to her. She gripped a shopping bag tighter, ready to lash out with it, and peered out. The man turned away from her, across a small square and past a table where, hours before, people had eaten outside.

Inka felt a surge of relief, but humiliation quickly followed. Why had she panicked? Then again, why should she not? This wasn’t like murder on T.V. where there were limited numbers of obvious suspects. This killer could be anyone. Was he someone she had played with as a child? Somebody she had kissed as a teenager? She hurried on towards home. Her shopping was starting to pull on her arms.

When Inka arrived home, her mother stormed up like a snow leopard and began shouting ‘why don’t you tidy up after…?’ Then she saw the look on her daughter’s face and her anger faded. ‘What’s wrong?’ Julia asked. Inka dumped their shopping on the kitchen worktop. They went into the sitting room and crashed onto the sofa. Inka lay down with her head in Julia’s lap and an arm around her waist, and then explained.



‘Darling, I’d no idea you felt like that or I’d never have sent you out,’ said Julia.

‘It’s not your fault; I didn’t think it had got to me like that.’

‘How did you get like that?’ mother asked. ‘Why should anyone want to kill you?’

‘Why do it to Alison, or anyone else come to that (This doesn't make sense, and really doesn't do anything for the sentence. You can omit it.)? Maybe that’s the most frightening thing of all, not knowing anything about it. How can you know you’re safe when it could be anyone with any motive? There might not be a rational motive(.) What if he’s mad?’

‘Darling, the police are trying hard to catch this person. Surely they’ll get him before long,’ Julia began. ‘They’re going to stage a reconstruction of Allison’s last night, to jog peoples’ (people is already plural, therefore the apostrophe goes before the s: people's) memories, so they’re trying new ideas. It was on T.V. They want a member of the public to play her.’

‘Why?’ Inka asked.

‘Because none of the women in the force are the right age. You don’t have to look just like her, they’ll tell people you don’t, but you’ve got to be a similar height and build.’

For a moment Inka lay still, then she raised her head and asked(,)Do you think I should volunteer?’

‘Why not?’

‘How do I know I’ll be right for it?’

‘Well nobody will unless they go and volunteer.’

‘Thanks(,) Mum, I’ll go to the police station tomorrow.’

*

Even in the toilets(,) Inka could hear Abba from the dance floor. She pulled a T-shirt over her head. It was identical to Allison’s. She pulled her hair from under cotton, chestnut locks falling on coffee skin. She made her way to the bar. Dancers parted for her. Some of the men eyed her hungrily(.) Any other time they’d have blocked her way or pinched her bottom, but not tonight because police officers were watching from the bar and floor. Inka rounded a youth in Union Jack shorts and took her position behind the bar. She served a few drinks. She had practised earlier and did well for a beginner. Lights whirled in front of her like demented fireflies.

The disco wasn’t as full as Inka had expected. She wondered if people had been scared away by the murder. Then a thought occurred to her. ‘If tourists are frightened away, Mum could lose her job.’ Inka’s fear turned to anger.

It was time for Allison’s shift to finish. Inka said goodbye as she did, crossing the smooth dance floor. She passed a cameraman from the local news. Soon she was out on the pavement(,) in a crowd of tourists. She walked on, past signs advertising fish and chips and German beer. When the girl reached another police officer she stopped.

‘How did it go?’ Inka asked.

‘I think you did well(,) but the question is did you jog any memories? Let’s go back and ask.’

They walked back to the disco. Near its exit, the man in Union Jack shorts was talking to police officers.

‘What did he look like?’ an officer asked.

‘Early twenties with dark hair and a goatee beard. He met her over there.’

‘Can you describe his bike?’

Inka was tempted to whoop and punch the air. She resisted as the killer was still free. Her mother came up and embraced her. Inka released some emotion with a hug that was longer and tighter than usual.


*

Julia was hanging washing out on their balcony. Inka was on the phone. ‘Thanks for telling me(.) Bye,’ she finished. She turned to Julia and announced(,)That was the police( they’ve got the killer.’ They sat down just inside, with their balcony doors open.

‘Alison Hall was a drugs pusher,’ Inka began. ‘She went off with her supplier and they quarrelled over her share of the proceeds. She wanted more, of course.’ He said he was the brains behind it all, she said she took bigger risks, called him a coward and suddenly his hands were round (either 'round or around) her neck.’

‘Is it true she slept around?’

‘Not that we know of. People assumed it was a crime of passion(,) you see. Well it was spur of the moment but not a lovers’ tiff that got out of hand.’

‘Well I’m glad he’s behind bars,’ said Julia. ‘Did your reconstruction help?’

‘They say it did.’ They discussed the case for a few minutes, feeling half sad and half relieved, and then Inka wanted to think of something more cheerful. She went to a magazine rack and pulled a magazine out. It was the one with an article on old masters in it. What had once been boring was now reassuring.

Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Write Here > Fiction


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Police Reconstruction Second Draft IanG Fiction 3 07-03-2008 02:57 PM
Short Story 'Police Reconstruction' IanG Fiction 3 06-24-2008 02:25 AM
Conceited DanielleDoll Fiction 2 09-20-2006 08:35 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:09 AM.

vBulletin, Copyright © 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.