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The Unfinished Manuscript

Part III

By TestPublished 5 months ago 3 min read
The Unfinished Manuscript
Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Shadows enveloped the street. It was late at night as Sarah Parker was walking down the street to her apartment on Madison.

She had her phone out: she was in her early twenties, with bright red hair and a beautiful mini-skirt, her black high heel boots clickety claicking as she walked.

Suddenly, she heard a gunshot. She looked up a second too late to see a man she recognized falling to the ground.

She saw a woman with long blonde hair holding a gun and zoomed in as quickly as she could, acting like she had no clue what was happening.

She managed to snap a photo without putting herself in danger, then continued on her way.

She arrived at her apartment on Fifth Avenue.

Breathing heavily, she took her jacket off along with her red scarf.

Immediately, she took out her mobile and called 911.

"Hello? It's Sarah Parker," she said breathlessly.

"I just saw a murder on the corner of Madison and Fifth Avenue. I have a photograph of the killer."

"Thank you, ma'am. What is your address?"

"I'll go to the station first thing in the morning tomorrow."

"Okay. Thank you, Sarah Parker."

***

The next morning, 9:00 a.m.

***

Sarah Parker went to the station immediately, and Richard Jansen was waiting for her.

"Who was killed last night?"

She scrolled through her photos. She had captured an image of the man as well as she'd been walking by.

"Robert Quine, I think it is. I've read one of his books. Caged Bird."

"That's right. That's him. And the woman?"

She showed him the picture.

Jansen gulped, examining the picture and performatively behaving as if he didn't know the first thing about the woman.

Jansen quickly sent the photo to his own phone.

"Thank you, Sarah. I will take it from here," he said, too quickly to be convincing.

"Alright. Thank you, sir."

Sarah Parker walked home, handbag in hand, wondering who exactly this woman was.

Richard Jansen stomped back to his office after his conversation with Sarah, sat down at his desk, and put his head in his hands as he nursed a headache.

The woman in the photograph was Candy, and he'd been hoping to see her tonight, engaging in more transactional sex to temporarily escape the ever-increasing void in his soul.

Shit. I can't just not turn her in. That prostitute is a killer. A coldblooded killer.

Richard Jansen was completely silent for the rest of the day.

He said nothing about the Robert Quine case. Nothing about the killer. Nothing about the extremely condemning evidence that he had just been given.

His lips were sealed.

At the end of the day, Richard Jansen drove home in his Ford. He parked outside his empty home and went inside, staring at old pictures of his wife.

He still remembered the good times.

The walks in Central Park, the all-night-long talks, the making love until the wee hours of the morning. Coffee naked. Her beautiful laugh as she lit up a room. Elaine had been his everything until she'd died in the car accident. His everything.

He yearned for Candy's beautiful body and long blonde hair, yet it was still a permanent reminder of his loss. Of what he did not have. Of what he could not have.

Don't do it, Richard. Don't do it. She could kill you. The woman killed a man.

After chugging two bottles of beer and thinking about the enormously risky business of inviting a coldblooded killer to his home, Richard Jansen decided against it.

I have to learn to enjoy my own company, after all. I can't just keep numbing the pain.

He thought to himself, too depressed to even mutter about his dealings.

Tomorrow, he would turn her in. The case would be solved, and his sexual companion of five years would be gone. Forever.

By Jon Ly on Unsplash
By Jay Rembert on Unsplash

MysteryFiction

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