Archive for October 17th, 2011

17th October
written by amber

The Crash

Black rubber calligraphy wrote a brief sentence on the pavement, ending with a broken guardrail.

“The body’s in the car at the bottom of the cliff,” my men told me.

A rough trail lead steeply down from the far end of the guardrail. I started down, noting footprints from the various medics and police who’d already made the descent. When I arrived at the car, I circled, peering inside.

The eyes of the man in the driver’s seat were closed as if he was asleep, but that was the only peaceful thing about him. The progress of the car from road to cliff bottom had involved at least one crushing blow to the driver’s side. Roof and floor had been pressed toward each other, with only the firmness of the steering wheel and the softness of a human body attempting to hold them apart.

The man’s legs disappeared into a metal embrace, his head was bent and twisted unnaturally, emerging from an unholy combination of crushed metal and protruding bone. A thin trail of red ran down from a round hole in the man’s forehead.

“Looks like some kind of a hit,” my men told me. “They ran him off the road, came down to make sure he was dead. The passenger side door was open and that gun was lying on the passenger seat.”

“No, it was a mercy killing,” I told them.

“Mercy killing?” I could hear the skepticism.

“The only skid marks up there are his. I figure he hit the gas instead of slowing down coming into the corner above this cliff. Maybe his passenger was distracting him. When he tried to brake, it was too late.”


“Sure, the air bag on the passenger side deployed. They don’t do that in this model unless someone’s in the seat. She wasn’t hurt, but he was dying, in unbearable pain. He probably begged her, maybe even paid her. See his wallet on the floor? Looks like his cards are still there, but the cash is gone. The glove box is open and a box of bullets that match this gun’s inside – I bet you’ll find the gun belongs to him.”

“So where is she?”

“Unless one of you police or a medic is wearing high heels, she’s the one who left the prints going up the hill. If she was any kind of friend or relative, she would have stuck around, so she’s probably a professional.”

“How do you know it wasn’t just robbery? Why do you think it was a mercy killing?”

“She didn’t need to shoot him to rob him. And she closed his eyes.”

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.