Local News

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: The Creators
I found this writing prompt and it certainly helped pull me out of my creative slump. Hopefully the story is just as entertaining.

"Opening up the daily paper, you decide to catch up on the local news. When you check the crime log, you notice a familiar name: yours. The log says you’re wanted for a crime you didn’t commit. Suddenly, you hear three loud knocks on the door, followed by a man yelling, “Police! Open up!” What did the paper say and how are you going to get out of this?"

Submitted: September 27, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 27, 2016



I yawned as I stepped out of my bedroom, tired as hell and aching all over.  It seems that last night’s drinking is still affecting me, though thankfully there isn’t a hangover.  It’s been a rough week and I felt that I deserved some stress relief in the form of Friday night bar binging.  My dog was alternating between yipping and barking, and both levels of the sound spectrum hurt my ears.  I don’t know what had gotten into her, but it wasn’t the first time she had gone on a bark spree.  As a matter of fact, it happened almost every morning and made up for the fact that my alarm clock was busted.  I would have preferred waking up to rock ‘n roll instead of barking in my ear, but chances are I would have kept on sleeping and rocked out in my dreams.  Besides, nothing wakes you up like a hungry German Shepherd jumping into your bed.

Bastion, my puppy (whom I really think shouldn’t be considered at puppy since she’s practically fully grown at a year-and-a-half), was running around our circular kitchen table for whatever reason, and as soon as she saw that I was up and about she pranced over and nosed me.  I scratched behind her ears and the spot on her back towards her tailbone, and finished it off with a belly rub.  This girl had been waiting for me to wake up for the last few hours, so it was about damn time I did and got busy.

Bastion was still yipping and whining when I prepared my morning tea, and the frequency only increased as I prepared her breakfast:  a cup of kibble mixed with half a can of Pedigree wet food, and topped with four freshly warmed and diced turkey sausages.  Truly a meal fit for canine royalty.  As big as a pain in the ass as she was, I loved that pooch, and I admit that I may have spoiled her from time to time.

I sat down at the kitchen table and reached for the morning paper, allowing my tea to cool off.  I haven’t been keeping up with the local news lately since I just couldn’t bring myself to care about who said what about which presidential candidate, or either of the Lives Matter movements.  A part of me did care, but not enough to get angry about another death when it wasn’t my relative.  Besides there were plenty of angry people on both sides happy to scream about the injustice of it all.  I sipped my cool tea as my eyes skimmed down the columns, and almost immediately I spat it back out.  Bastion looked up from her breakfast and cocked her head to the side curiously.

Right there on the paper was my photograph, the one on my driver’s license that looked almost like a mug shot, and right next to it were the words that made my blood run cold:

“Wanted For The Murder of…"

I couldn’t process the rest of the accusation.  Murder? Me?  That couldn’t possibly be right.  I knew that I was capable of it – hell, all human beings were capable of causing pain and even death – but I had self-control.  Yes, there were times when everything was too much and I just wanted to bury a blade to the hilt into someone.  Yes, there were times when I fantasized about what I would do to people for fun, random passerby or someone who pushed me to the breaking point.  And yes, I wrote every one of these fantasies in a little notebook that I kept with me always.  But no, I have never committed a physical, realistic murder.  My friends, family, and psychologist were to thank for that.

Bastion’s booming barks suddenly snapped me out of my thoughts.  Someone was knocking at the door, or more accurately pounding at the door.  It was eight ‘o clock in the morning.  Who would possibly be at the door at this hour?

“Police! Open up!” My eyes widened further.  The police were here?! “We know you’re in there! Open the door or we’ll be forced to break it down!”

Oh no, oh no no no no no no! This wasn’t happening, it couldn’t be happening! I’ve never committed a crime in my life – okay, scratch that; I’ve parked on the street during street sweeping day, but it was only one time! – and here I was about to be arrested by the police for some crime that I never committed! And it was murder of all charges!

“Three! Two! One! Blow it!”

An explosion, not incredibly powerful but enough to make me feel the blast back, had me falling out of my seat.  I called for Bastion, hoping that she was okay and that whatever the police had done had not harmed her.  I should have focused on getting away because soon enough I was being pinned down on the rug in the dining room.  The real police were just as rough as I had seen in criminal dramas like Law and Order and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

“You’re under arrest!” The cop above me growled.  I almost wanted to wet myself I was so scared.

“B-but I didn’t do a-anything!” I whimpered.  Should I have acted tougher with the cops? No, that was a bad idea.  Even if I was innocent, I didn’t want to give the police any reason to use even harsher tactics on me.  “Why are you here? I didn’t do anything!”

“Tell that to the head honchos down at the station!” The cop said and hoisted me onto my shaky feet.

Thirty minutes later, I found myself forcefully seated into an interview room and cuffed to the table.  The room was chilly and I was still in my pajamas, something which embarrassed me to no end.  I was going to go down in history as the dorkiest criminal ever dressed in Futurama pajama pants and a “Planet Express” t-shirt.  How could I joke about this when the situation was so dire? It was easy when you were faced with the possibility of your life ending.  Life’s a joke, so why not laugh?

The door slammed open and in stepped two burly men flanking a smaller, thinner man with horn-rimmed glasses who took the seat opposite me.  He set down a folder and removed his glasses, producing a microfiber cloth from his jacket pocket and began to clean them.  Nobody said anything for at least five minutes.

“C…can I get my phone call?”

“Of course you may,” the man spoke with a surprisingly deep voice, “After you tell us the name of your next intended victim.”


“Your intended victim.  The person you intend on harming next.  Victim number X.  Am I making this clear enough for you?” I lost it then.


“You are wanted for the murder of --!”


“We have evidence that proves otherwise!” Oh, this had to be rich.  What kind of evidence could they possibly pin on an innocent person?

My blood ran cold when I saw the officer pull out a very familiar notebook with my name on it.  Oh, fuck me.  How had they found my journal? I was sure I had hidden it well in my bookcase, and it isn’t exactly made for entertaining.  This was going to get nastier than a brothel in Amsterdam.

“Right here.” The officer pointed to the first entry.  “‘I stabbed the pencils into his eyes and savored the sight of blood mixing with the eye fluids.  Aqueous humor, vitreous humor; it didn’t matter which it was.  I was just glad that this little fucker was finally learning his lesson about throwing pencils in the classroom.’ You wrote this entry about a student in your class, didn’t you? A mister Charles Ortega.  Did you know that he hasn’t been seen in over a month since you wrote this entry?”

“Look, that isn’t what you think it is.”

“How about this one? ‘It was about time Darlene learned the consequences about using her cell phone in class.  I swear, didn’t she know that her teacher became a psychopathic maniac when they had the final straw?’ I’m sure Miss Chappell would have found it interesting with how you label yourself.  I find it interesting too.”

“That writing isn’t --!”

“How about this most recent entry of yours?” The officer pointed to the last page I had written and I felt like everything was about to come crashing down.  “‘I was so sick and tired of Amber messaging me at work.  I once would have welcomed it, but now it just sickened me.  After all, who wants to receive threatening messages? It was after the third message that I had had it.’ What did you do?”

“Nothing! I swear!”

‘I went to her house; really the house she is currently staying in with Josh and Jacob.  I told her to come out and talk to me face to face, no more of this pussyfooting bullshit.  When she refused, I did what I did best – I jumped the wall into the backyard and walked in through the sliding door.’ What did you do after that?”

“Oh for fuck’s sake, that notebook isn’t real!”

“This next part seems pretty real to me! ‘We talked, or at least I tried to while Amber kept making threats saying that she was going to tell Josh what I really am.  What a fucking fake.  She doesn’t have the balls to back up her words.  It was when she grabbed my hair that I lost it.  I punched her first, making sure it was hard enough to send her kissing the floor; and then I climbed on top of her and started wailing on her like I wanted to so many times before.  It felt good, it felt great! I even returned the favor and pulled her hair hard enough to rip out bloody chunks.  I was going to savor killing this bitch that had put me through so much hell!’

I felt sick, literally sick.  This was all wrong, the police weren’t supposed to find my notebook.  My psychologist was the one who had presented the idea of cognitive therapy; he was the one who suggested I write the damn thing.  Didn’t the police reading my work count as a violation of doctor-patient confidentiality?

“Shall I continue, or are you ready to tell us who you were going to hurt next?” The officer didn’t have a look of satisfaction, something I was grateful for, but he did aim a hard look in my direction that made my stomach even more squeamish.

“Where…did you find that notebook?” I asked weakly.  The officer looked surprised.

“You mean you don’t remember?” I shook my head and he continued, “You were seen drinking at a bar the night before, writing in this notebook.  The bartender says you looked angry, that you kept muttering curses about Miss Amber Allen and the things you would like to do to her.  You left in a very intoxicated state with some friends and the notebook was left behind, to which the bartender retrieved it.  Thankfully the man had enough common sense to call us after reading a few pages.”

That’s right, I drank with my friends at the bar last night.  That’s when I wrote the entry about Amber, when I was so pumped with alcohol that I couldn’t think about anything other than my wanton fictitious “justice.” I thought I had stuffed the notebook in my bag before Josh and Jacob had to almost carry me to the car I was so wasted.

“Oh…fuck…” There was that sick feeling again.

“Are you going to cooperate with us now?” The officer asked me.  I didn’t trust myself to answer without throwing up.

And thankfully, I didn’t have to.

The door to the interrogation room opened up and in stepped several people at once.  I was so self-absorbed in my flurry of emotions that I almost didn’t register a blanket being draped over my shoulders.  I looked up into the eyes of the last person I expected:  Josh.  Jacob was standing right behind him looking equal parts relieved and angry.  I would have hugged them if I wasn’t still handcuffed to the table.  I was even surprised to see my psychologist arguing fiercely with the officers.  What was going on? All I remember from that encounter is finally throwing up everything in my stomach—which wasn’t much—onto the floor of that damned room and even hearing the indignant cries of what I hoped was the officer who had been interrogating me.

When I regained consciousness, I was back home in my bed.  Had that all been a horrible nightmare? Regardless, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be touching alcohol for the next month, hell the next century.  Josh and Jacob were sitting in my kitchen helping themselves to everything in my fridge, and Bastion was the first to greet me.  I guess it wasn’t all a dream.  For once, I didn’t mind being bombarded with doggie kisses and nips.  I was just glad that the police hadn’t done anything to hurt her.

As soon as I sat down, they started bombarding me with answers for questions that I hadn’t even asked yet.  What had happened yesterday had all been a complete misunderstanding—at that I felt like scoffing.  After the bartender had called the police, the officers had gone on to read my notebook for themselves and try to locate my apparent “victims.” When they couldn’t find them, they automatically assumed that I had killed them and disposed of the bodies.  That was when they decided to put my photo in the paper in case I decided to leave the country.  The Chief of Police had a team conducting an investigation for the missing “victims” while another team, the one led by that officer, was tasked with apprehending and interrogating me.  (“Lieutenant Detective Keegan Malory” I was told his name was.  Poor man.)

My psychologist had been contacted about my medical records, which he absolutely refused to give them and demanded to know the grounds for my arrest.  I was told he was up in arms about the whole thing and sped to the police station to clear things up.  Jacob was home at the time when he got the call about Amber being “missing and possibly deceased.” He told me he didn’t believe a word of it, and why? Because she had left the day before for a family vacation that was out of the country.  In fact, the police learned that many of my “targets” had gone out of the country—some leaving due to deportation, others on business trips and the like.  There was no evidence that I had killed anyone.

I was told my psychologist had to explain the purpose behind the notebook, the use of cognitive therapy to treat my anxiety and anger that was often fueled by my mildly psychopathic imagination.  For lack of better words, it was a shit storm.

Now here I was at home, safe and sound, with my two best friends and my furry ball of love.  My notebook had been returned along with a written apology from both the Chief of Police and Lieutenant Malory.  The latter had a more ominous tone to it as I read the line that followed the apology:  I’m keeping my eye on you.

I crumpled up the note and hoped that Bastion would dig it out the trash can and shred it.  What an asshole.


(Word count: 2,631)

© Copyright 2020 Dani Raines. All rights reserved.

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