Home - Contact Joe
romance - crime - comedy - spy/thriller -science fiction - short reads - long reads

How far would you go for the dead?


by Joe Reister © 2016

“You can do this,” the woman heard, tracing the numbers on her badge and wiping away a tear as a homeless man approached her.  “You all right there, Daniel?” she said, pulling out a $10 bill. 

“Thanks,” he said, taking the money without looking at her.  “You’re one of the good ones, Officer Nunn.”

“We all do what we can, Daniel,” she said, waving him along as she looked down the street.  “Buy a sandwich with your beer and get to St. Mary’s tonight, okay?  It’s dropping below freezing.”

“Right,” Daniel said, shuffling away.  “And I’ll say a prayer for you too.”

“I could use one.”

“I’ll try to remember,” he said, not looking back.

She didn’t either, pulling out her phone and looking at an old text and photo.

‘Joan:  You’re the law and I’m halfway to the order.  Can’t wait to join you.  Love, Vicky.’ 

She smiled at the happy young woman and frowned at the tight-lipped man with his arm around her.  Then she pocketed the phone to see same man walking down the street and pulled out her pistol, keeping it hidden as she crossed. 

“Joan,” he said, noticing her and losing half a step.  “I didn’t know you had moved to my neighborhood.”

“Don’t worry, Michael,” she said, walking right up to him.  “I haven’t.”

“Of course not,” he said, stopping and checking her out with a smile.  “You haven’t changed a bit since….”

“I had a few questions about Vicky.”

He frowned and then started walking again.  “I don’t have anything left to say, Joan.  I already told the detectives and your mother’s private investigator everything I know.”

“You were the last person known to see alive,” she said, matching his pace.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” he said and stopped again, looking her in the eye.  “So, why don’t you go home and…”

“We’ve run out of leads.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said and noticed that they were the only people on the street.  “But Vic left my apartment happy and healthy, and where she went from there is anybody’s guess.”

She stood right in front of him.                                    


“I don’t believe you,” she said.  “Neither does Homicide, the district attorney, nor...”

“That doesn’t matter…”

“I know things weren’t good between you two.”

“And whose fault was that?” he said, looking at her.  “You broke up with…”

“Don’t start.”

“We’re a little past that,” he said, now searching the buildings around them.  “I don’t know what happened, okay?  I expected to see Vic that night, but she just disappeared.”  He shrugged.  “You know people don’t want to be found sometimes.”

“Not my sister.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” 

“You slept with her for three months and you don’t report her missing, Michael.”

“That doesn’t mean I wasn’t concerned, Joan.”

“My family needs to know what happened.”

“Maybe she didn’t want them to know.  She certainly wasn’t the little girl your family thought she was.”

“I don’t think so.  I think that…”

“She was into some weird stuff, okay?” he said and pulled out his phone, backing away from her.  “It would be better for you and your family to just move on.  Trust me.”

“That’s not going to happen, Michael,” she said, boxing him in.

He started dialing.  “I’ll have your badge if...”

She cold cocked him with her pistol, knocking him to the ground.

He coughed, pushing himself up from the sidewalk and kept dialing.  “I’ve already been through this with the detectives…”

She kicked him hard and stepped on his phone, crushing it. 

“You can’t…”

She kicked him two more times, driving him into an alley.  “You’re not going to hide behind the law anymore, Michael.”

He reached for her, trying to steady himself, and she broke his nose.

“What happened to Vicky?”

Blood dripped from his face.  “You’re done being a cop.  You’re…”

She hit him again and leveled her pistol at him.

“That gun’s the only reason I haven’t kicked your ass.”

“Where is she?”

“I don’t know.”

She pulled the trigger and he screamed, grabbing his arm.  “You God damn cun…”

“You’re going to tell me what happened, Michael,” she said, standing over him. “Right now and...”

“You can’t…” 

“The cops won’t be here for at least two minutes, even if someone calls in that shot.”

“I don’t know what happened to her.”

“Yes, you do,” she said, putting the pistol against his forehead.

“I can’t tell you what I don’t know.”  

“Shut up,” she said and cocked the gun.

He went pale.  “I swear I didn’t kill her, Joan.  I swear.”

She looked into his eyes and he started to cry.

“Kill him,” she heard her sister’s voice say. 

She blinked.

“Please don’t,” he said.  “I didn’t…”

“Kill him,” her sister’s voice said again.  “Kill him now, wipe down the gun and walk away like you were never here.”

“No,” she said in a whisper.

“He deserves it,” her sister’s voice said.  “You know he does.”

She kneeled down next to him, the tip of the pistol resting on the bridge of his nose.

“He’s never going to jail, Joan.  You know that.  He’s too good a lawyer, and he destroyed any evidence that I was even there.”

Her eyes teared up.

“Do you know that he beat me up after you told me about you two,” her sister’s voice said.  “And that he killed me when I said it was over.”

She stared at him, noticing the bruises and blood on his battered face.

“This is the only way he’ll pay for what he did, Joan.”

Her finger tightened on the trigger as tears streamed down his face.

“Where is Vicky, Michael?” she said.  “What happened to her?”

He closed his eyes.  “She wanted to go away, figure some things out,” he said and looked at her again.  “I gave her some money, Joan.”

She wiped away his tears, staring at him.

“I am so sorry,” he said, sobbing.  “I thought she’d be back by now.  I swear…”

“He’s lying,” her sister’s voice said.  “I would never just disappear: not in a million years and you know that.”

She nodded, pulling away from him. 

“I always made curfew, never missed Mass and didn’t even drink coffee until I was twenty-one.”

“I know,” she said, wiping the tears off her own face. 

“What?” Michael said, looking at her.  “Who are you talking to?”

“I know you killed my sister, Michael,” she said, leaning forward, her eyes right on his.  “Then you got rid of her body and all of the evide…”

“No.  I swear…”

“The body, the weapon, everything.”

They heard a siren. 

“I didn’t kill Vicky, Joan, no matter what you think.”

Another tear ran down her cheek as a second siren wailed, closer than the first.

“I didn’t do it,” he said, trying and failing to get up.  “I couldn’t...”

“Yes, he could,” her sister’s voice said.  “And he almost did it to you too.”

She nodded, looking him in the eye again, and pulled the trigger.

He collapsed to the ground. 

The sirens got closer as she stood up, staring at his body.

“Thank you, Joanie,” her sister’s voice said.  “Thank you so much.”

Her face sank as she turned to the approaching sirens and saw Daniel standing behind her.

He looked at her and then Michael’s body, and she raised her pistol again.

Daniel didn’t move.

“No, Joanie,” her sister’s voice said.  “Don’t do that.  Just drop the gun and get out of here.  There’s still time.  Just go.”

She heard a cop car turn down the street and watched Daniel step away before looking at Michael’s body again. 

“No,” her sister’s voice said.  “No.  Don’t…”

She fired, her pistol and badge clattering to the pavement, the voice gone.


All material copyrighted by Joe. Please contact him at joe@joestories.com if you have any comments, queries or questions.
Home - Contact Joe