Snow on the Gate

Paul Morgan via Creative Commons

Randy left cold Chicago with flashes of red and white pulsing in his aching mind. Sadie laughed at the trunk full of party favors, like something out of a Hunter S. Thompson tale. Six days into the stash and Randy stopped understanding the world as a place with rules and laws; not just the kind enforced by police but the kind enforced by cosmic forces or deities. He floated and spoke to creatures from other dimensions, he and Sadie made some kind of love in vats of marshmallow fluff and beds of shining light.

Something told him the red and white wasn’t Christmas. The half-memory, half-hallucination made him think of Santa Claus, but the shiver in his spine and the empty passenger seat where Sadie usually sat was less festive. He was coming up on Springfield and the snow was coming down. The snow was white, and fluffy, and it reminded him of something they might have fought about. The sky was gunmetal gray, and that reminded him of something, too.

The backfire from the truck brought back the sound of the gun in his hand, and the puzzle fit together. The cold, white snow. The red blood.

Flashing Red Light

Thomas Hawk via Creative Commons

The officers ignored the protests of innocence as they loaded the woman into the car. “Oh shit, here comes Knave,” one of them said as a slouching man moved from shadow into the dancing red light.

“Gentlemen,” said Jonah Knave, “a moment?”

“Make it quick.”

“How many bullets left in the gun?”

The officers exchanged glances. The smaller one volunteered, “Three.”

“And how many wounds in the victim?”

“One,” the larger said, impatience hanging around him like a stink.

“I see. Thank you, officers.” Knave moved up the walk. He stood in the door, staring past the cooling body just inside, beady eyes focused over the crouching medical examiner at the wide glass pane at the back of the room.

“You’re gonna catch hell if the captain finds you here, Knave,” the M.E. remarked.

Knave grinned but didn’t look down. “Perhaps the captain should be more concerned about finding the shooter.”

“How’s that?”

Knave looked at the door to his right, cocked his jaw and ran his gaze the length of the frame, squinting at last at a pair of small holes near the hinge. “The real perp shot from, and fled through, the backyard. You have the wrong woman.”