The Final Act

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
This a Mystery and Crime Short Story

Submitted: October 25, 2016

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Submitted: October 25, 2016

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The Final Act

 

He watched the sun set. Matt Baker put his hands in his pocket and took in the smell of sea salt. It always brought him solace to come here. The feeling of the sand in between his toes, watching the waves hit against the rocks and the birds flying just low enough to catch their unsuspecting prey. It was calming, like nothing else in the world. An escape from reality. His reality. He moved along the beach, his footprints leaving a trail in the sand. The ice cold water touched his feet before swiftly retracting into the ocean again. When he looked up ahead, a figure appeared next to the rocks. The little light only allowed him to see a shape. The curves of a woman lying on the beach. Intrigued, he moved closer. She lay flat on her stomach, her head turned away from him. The water covered half her body as the waves moved back and forth. She wore a pink short dress which was now soaking wet.

 

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said Matt, now standing right next to her.

 

Silence. Okay, so she wasn’t friendly. Maybe she thought he was a pervert. It was late and there was no one else on the beach. After all, she did have a beautiful body, from what he could make out. It was hard for him not to look, especially with the thin cloth now stuck to her pale skin. After a minute, a big wave cut through the rocks again. She didn’t seem to care though. She didn’t move.

 

“Hey Miss, I think you should find a spot further up now. The tide is getting high.” he said.  Again silence. She was sure snobbish, he thought. He kneeled down and gently touched her shoulder.

 

“Miss, look, the tide is high now. I’m not kidding.” Still nothing. She didn’t move a muscle. He swallowed hard and gently turned her over. Frozen, he just stared into her cold dead eyes.

 
 

Lindsey Stone. The cop with the huge protruding pot belly told him that was her name. Of course, the ‘Chief Wiggum’ lookalike, didn’t have to tell him her name. Everyone in town knew her. The new rising star of Hollywood. Well, not exactly Hollywood, but TV land. It was really all the same to him.

 

The beach was now swarming with police cars. The red siren lights still flashing. Matt watched as ‘Chief Wiggum’ slowly headed back to finish his line of questioning. It was really slow since the man actually struggled to walk on the beach sand. He finally came up to him. Matt was sitting on a ledge near the stairs which lead up to the hotel. The hotel where he was staying.

 

“Miss Stone was murdered” said the Chief.

 

“Murdered?” said Matt. He assumed she drown and just got washed up on the shore.

 

“Yes, it’s a shame. Did you notice anyone else around when you found the body?”

 

He thought about it. He was embarrassed to say it, but he didn’t actually take his eyes off her. “Uh...not that I recall.”

 

The Chief shifted his eyes from the notepad he was busy scribbling on to Matt’s face. “Mr Baker, please try and answer with a yes or no.”

 

“Okay, then no. I didn’t see anyone else.”

 

“That’s all for now. Don’t leave town.” said the Chief.

 

“No problem Chief. Room 201.” Matt tilted his head towards the Hotel. The Chief understood and nodded.

 

The next morning the sun crept through the blinds. Matt slowly opened his eyes. There was a knock on his door and a lady yelled “room service”. He rolled out of bed. She stood with her hand on her hips chewing gum. She must have been in her late forties.

 

“Morning Sir. Sorry we have to make an early sweep of the rooms” said the lady.

 

Matt thought she didn’t look sorry, but irritated. “Why, what’s…” He stopped when he saw the men in uniform standing down the hall.

 

“Didn’t you hear? The actress staying in that room was murdered last night. It’s sad. I heard she left that TV Show she was on for some big movie deal.” said the Lady and quickly got on with her chores. He didn’t even realize that Lindsey Stone was staying right next to him. If that was the case then he may have an idea of who killed her.

 

A few hours later he headed downstairs. The receptionist at the main desk was busy trying to calm a man down. He sounded angry.  As Matt exited he overheard her say to the man  “Mr Stone. I’m sorry but I am not allowed to give you that information.

 

As he walked down the street, he noticed that the poster for the movie Lindsey was going to act in was already plastered all over the town.

 

The Chief’s office was cramped.  Matt was seated on a brown leather chair. A light dangled just above his head. The stale food smell lingered in the air.

 

“So you think that Mickey the notorious mob boss killed Miss Stone?”

 

“I’m not sure. I saw him banging on her door several times the night before. He seemed upset with her.”

 

The Chief leaned back in the flimsy chair and rubbed his beard.  “But why?”

 

“I don’t know. Isn’t that your job? I am just telling you what I saw.”

 

He popped a mint in his mouth and gave Matt a fake smile “Fine. I will take care of it.”

 

Matt needed a drink after he left the station. It wasn't the best idea, especially with his history, but a dead body should be a good enough reason. The image of her dead eyes was burned into his memory. He found a small Bar near the beach. The news showed pictures of her. He watched on the small TV mounted on the wall in the Bar.

 

“Tragic” said the man who sat next to him. He ordered a beer. Matt chickened out at the last minute and just had a soda.

 

“Yeah it is.” said Matt.

 

“I think the husband is involved. Well ex husband. Philip Stone. She still kept his name after the divorce.” He took a sip of his beer.

 

“Lover’s quarrel?” asked Matt.

 

The man glanced up at the television again. “The word around is that he caught her cheating and went crazy.” Filed for a divorce. My guess is he needed the money too. He owed some scary people money.”

 

“But then why kill her if he got what he wanted?”

 

For the first time the man turned and looked him straight in the eye. “Maybe it just wasn’t enough.”

 

More than a month later Matt had forgotten about the mystery behind Lindsey Stone’s murder. He checked out of the Hotel. The Hampton's had it’s appeal but he couldn’t stay there forever. The news showed officers escorting Philip Stone to a police car in handcuffs outside his home. Although, there was something that didn’t make any sense to him, why would the killer return to the scene of the crime?  When he got home, his mother was glued to the screen, she barely even looked at him.

 

“Hey mom, what are you watching?”

 

“Shhh….It’s my favorite show.”

 

Matt rolled his eyes and picked up his luggage. So they didn’t miss him. Before he carried it up the stairs he noticed the actress on the screen. It was Lindsey. But that’s not possible. She had left the show.

 

“Are these old episodes?” he asked.

 

“No dear. These ones were  previously recorded but unaired. After her death, she’s become the biggest star of the show.”

 

“That’s very convenient for the show’s creator, don’t you think?”

 

She was not paying much attention to him and clicked her tongue “I don’t know what you going on about?”

 

“Nevermind” he said and carried on up the stairs.

 

A few months later Matt took his new girlfriend to the premiere of a movie. He wasn’t interested in watching it but he also didn’t want her to think he was a bore. He held a giant popcorn in his hand and waited while she went to the ladies. The crowd was buzzing. People were all dressed up. A celebrity was going to make an appearance at the cinema. Matt felt kind of odd now in his plain blue jeans and white shirt. The crowd cheered. A man dressed in a suit stepped out of a black limousine. His face looked very familiar. Matt saw a young girl and asked her “Who is he?” She gave him a look like he was from Mars.

 

“He is Gregory Fisher.” He looked at her blankly and she rolled her eyes. “The famous TV producer. He produced this film.”

 

Then he recognized him, but not for his fame. He was the man at the Bar. Matt shook his head as he saw him  wave to the crowd. Gregory was definitely better at acting than Lindsey Stone.

 


© Copyright 2017 Louise Cornelius. All rights reserved.

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