Archive for the ‘Writing Process’ Category

Chapter Two Part Three

SAC Evan Wyatt may have had no romantic designs on Investigator Greebler, but that didn’t keep him from noticing her appreciable assets and using them to his advantage, most notably when interviewing the young and impressionable Ian Bacwell.

It also helped to abate the somewhat hostile stance of the protective older man standing over Ian. The hardened face and features told Evan the man had seen too many bad winters and hard chores and not enough happiness (or sunscreen). Yet, here he was, Evan reminded himself, that’s what counted.

Evan deduced he could be more useful talking to the father and letting Ian impress the pretty investigator with his bravery and accurate recall of events. So he and Investigator Greebler approached the two together with the tactic of “divide and conquer”. Evan let Jenny do the talking.

She left no room for argument. “Mr. Bacwell, SAC Wyatt will verify your recollection of events, while I have a talk with your son.”

The tactic worked well. Evan gestured to Mr. Bacwell to take a seat on the other side of the waiting room. The man sat cautiously, still watching his son.

“That your youngest?” Evan asked to start the conversation.

“Nope,” he grunted, “still got two others at home.”

Evan was surprised. But hard living will throw off an age judgment. Mr. Bacwell offered no elaboration regarding his other children, so Evan moved on. “What time did your son, Ian, call you tonight?”

“Quarter after six.”

“He called the house?”

“No, he called my cell phone, thank God. I wouldn’t have wanted his mother to hear first.”

Evan nodded. “And he told you he hit a dead body with his sled?”

To his astonishment, Mr. Bacwell’s eyes began to water. The man cleared his throat and he roughly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “I would have called him out for making shit up, but Ian began bawling. You know, he’s a tough little bastard, so I knew he was telling the truth.” Mr. Bacwell closed his eyes and took a few cleansing breaths to recover his composure.

After a few moments, Evan continued. “So you called the police?”

Mr. Bacwell nodded. His head drooped quite a bit as he did so. Evan noted the stooped posture, probably from a lifetime of watching the ground. He wondered if his fiancé would inherit the same hunched back.

“I called from the landline in the milkhouse,” Mr. Bacwell continued. “I promised not the hang up the cellphone.”

“Then what?”

“Dispatch wanted me to stay on the landline until a deputy could come out and pick me up, but I told them I wanted to get to my boy, that he was hurt. I told them I’d meet them where the property line meets the road.”

“So you drove while talking to your son on the phone?”

Mr. Bacwell’s face metaphorically turned to stone for a few seconds. Evan knew he was expecting a lecture on the evils of distracted driving. “That’s right,” he confirmed with authority.

Evan ignored the reaction. “And you directed your son to leave the scene of the accident and meet you at the road?”


“And he reached you without further injury.”

“Ya, um,” Mr. Bacwell stopped and scratched under his cap around one of his ears. “He got spooked though.”

Evan raised his eyebrows. “By what?”

“He scared up something big near the treeline. Thought it might be a big buck or something.”

“Was it?”

Mr. Bacwell wrinkled his nose with slight amusement. “Na, it was just a horse. Looked to be a pony. It crossed the road in front of me.”

“Hmm,” Evan mused aloud. “One of the neighbor’s?”

Mr. Bacwell shrugged. “Guess it would have to be.”

Chapter Two Part Two

Bernice hung up the cell phone in her hand as she snuggled into the recliner. “That was Evan. He’ll be back tonight, but it’ll be late. He said to tell you he’d probably see you at breakfast. Bernice took a sip of her wine and gestured to the television with her glass. “Anything on the news about it?”

Cameron shook his head and yawned. “Nope, so I’m guessing it’ll be on the morning news. If it’s in a field somewhere, no way a camera crew’s going to get out there anytime soon. They might get permission for a drone in the morning.” He let his thought trail off as he rose. He looked to his wife’s backside in the kitchen as she continued to speak quite emphatically on the phone. “Hun! I’m going up.” Cameron received an annoyed wave back in response. He sighed and looked to Bernice. “Well, G’night, kid,” he winked and smiled at her and left the room.

Bernice nursed her wine as she watched the news, but it was virtually impossible not to be sucked into the excited one-sided conversation going on in the other room.

“It could be Murdle’s mother. That family’s so tight-lipped about everything. One of ‘em could up and keel over, and we wouldn’t hear a peep until the day before the funeral. Then everyone’d have to drop what they’re doing and suddenly whip up a dinner for God-only-knows how many on a moment’s notice.” There was blissful silence for a few moments, then, “Oh, really? Well, then I’d guess she’d be someone’s problem down in Florida then.”

Bernice shook her head and turned her attention back to the local news program. She was waiting for the weather forecast, so she’d know if it would be nice enough to check out any properties the next day. It wasn’t looking good. The temperature was above zero but the wind would be whipping up. There was a front moving in, making way for an Alberta clipper in the next 48 hours. Bernice silently deduced that new snowfall would impede Evan’s outdoor investigation. She could feel herself having trouble staying awake for the weather. The wine was kicking in.

She sat up to rouse herself. And just as the meteorologist was getting around to what to expect for the week, Darlene hung up the phone and walked in from the kitchen, saying, “It’s gotta be somebody. We just can’t figure out who.”

Annoyed at having the one piece of sought-after information interrupted, Bernice turned to Darlene. “Are you really that concerned about someone in the congregation dying, or are you just so bored, you’ll grasp at anything to get up in arms about?”

Bernice’s pointed question was met with a scowl. “Like you haven’t been in here the whole time wondering about Evan’s case.”

Bernice stoutly shook her head, “Nope, I’ve been sitting here with my phone looking at properties and trying to decide if I have enough gumption to look at anything this week with below zero wind chills and a snowstorm coming.”

“Well, you already know how I feel about that whole deal, so I won’t bring it up again.” She raised her head, as if she was above any more quarrelling.

“Evan burned all our mutual stuff. We need to start over in a place that is just ours.” Bernice drained her glass and walked past Darlene into the kitchen.

She was followed. “Number one, I’d be downright pissed if Cameron burned perfectly good stuff, when he could have just donated it to Goodwill.”

Bernice sighed. Apparently, the argument was being brought up again, regardless. “It was symbolic.”

“It was stupid.”

“It wasn’t your stuff.”

“Secondly,” Darlene continued unheeded, “I don’t see why you have to go traipsing all over the county on a wild goose chase, when we have a perfectly usable farm here that Cam and I are more than happy to divide up with you.”

“You’re missing the point again,” Bernice argued.

“Thirdly, I know damn well you’re just using this real estate nonsense as an excuse not to settle in and plan your wedding, like you should have been doing for months now. And the fact that your fiancé hasn’t uttered a discouraging word about it only makes me think you’re both gonna back out.”

Bernice had been shaking her head for the entirety of Darlene’s conclusion, and she felt that was enough. “I’m going to bed.”

The exit didn’t halt Darlene’s parting comment. “You know I’m right.”

Chapter Two

Chapter Two


The flashes of the ME’s camera felt intrusive in the cold, dark environment, almost like they were disturbing some secret tomb, which was somewhat fitting.

“Well, that must have been a rude awakening,” DCI Agent Evan Wyatt remarked as he took stock of the crime scene a few paces away. “Is the driver able to be questioned?”

County Investigator Jenny Greebler was barely recognizable as a woman in her Carhart snowsuit. She held up her smart phone with her gloved hand. “The driver’s name is Ian Bacwell. He’s a minor, sixteen. His father is with him at the hospital.”

Evan grimaced. “Is he hurt bad?”

Jenny shrugged. “He broke his arm, and he’s pretty shook up.”

“I’ll head over there after we’re done here.” He looked over to the medical examiner. Because she was a multiple county medical examiner with a higher pay grade, Dr. Melonie Hildigaard’s outdoor gear was more North Face and less Carharts. Of course, that just made her look like a pricier well-dressed snowball, especially as she bent over the corpse to take numerous photos. Evan couldn’t help but observe the quilted expanse of insulated fabric and ponder the preferential proclivities of men referred to as “chubby chasers.” Bernice was certainly no waif, but he would never consider her size described as more than “curvy.”

Dr. Hildigaard stood up with her camera and trudged over to the investigators. “There’s probably going to be some damage to the body, once the sled blades are extracted. And the body is too frozen to probe for an internal body temp. I did observe, however, that she was suffering quite the nasty gut wound when she ended up here.”

“It’s a woman then?” Jenny confirmed.

“The body fell in such a way as to expose a bra strap, and her shape would re-enforce my conclusion. I won’t swear by it until the actual autopsy, but I’d say it’s a fair bet.” Melonie relayed this information as she thumbed through the shots on her digital camera, and leaving them to analyze the information.

“Well, whatever the gender, it doesn’t explain how the body ended up here.” Evan looked around them. “Other than the snowmobile tracks and the driver’s movements in the snow, I see no other signs of vehicle or human.”

“Could she have been dumped here from a snowmobile? Maybe the kid uses this field enough to leave a path?” Jenny suggested.

“Quite unlikely, or the body would have been found sooner,” Evan pointed out, scowling at the desolate landscape. “Besides, this would be a very weird place to dump a body to begin with, all out in the open like this. The question of discovery is too random for a dump. No, I think somehow the victim ended up here on her own steam.” He shook his head as he drew the conclusion. “There’s just no way to determine it in this dark. Maybe we can hunt down some tracks in the morning.”

“When do you want me here?” Jenny asked automatically.

Evan looked to the younger officer. She seemed a bit too eager for his taste, but he detected none of the infatuation that he usually dreaded when working with female co-workers. Perhaps he was finally reaching an age where that wasn’t going to be such a problem anymore. The thought made him more irritated than it should have. Nevertheless, “My CA will be here in the morning. That way I don’t have to drain your county’s budget running up your overtime. However, I’d be happy to meet up with you at Mel’s office when she calls.”

Jenny nodded, and her demeanor stayed the same. Evan released a breath of relief. Then he thought of something. “Would you mind going with me to talk to the driver? He might be more responsive with local law enforcement.”

Jenny nodded again. “Are we done here? I can meet you over there.”

“Yeah, we’re done.” He whistled to the ME and waved. She managed a quick wave back, but she was busy dictating to the two young deputies kneeling around the front of the snowmobile. It looked like they were in the process of removing the blades from the sled, rather than the blades from the body. Evan guessed the ME felt more comfortable with that particular process in the well-lit and heated environment of her morgue.