Friday, October 5, 2012

Detective Johnson...A Short Story

This Week's Writing Prompt Story!

So all you writers out there. You should really give this writing prompt a chance. Just go to this website: HERE. Check out the picture, write a flash fiction story of 500 words or less, post it to the same website: HERE, do it by next Tuesday, and use these five mandatory words:






Once again, here's my entry to this week's prompt. Enjoy!


            “Johnson?” the name of the 20-year veteran of the Twin Falls, Idaho police force cracked over the radio.
            “I’m here,” Detective Johnson responded. He held the black walkie-talkie in one hand while holding a pair of binoculars to his eyes with the other. “I’m just west of Arlin Falls…I haven’t seen anything yet, but I just got here. Glad the weather cleared up.” Only 20 minutes earlier a cloudburst hit the area, an area where witnesses saw a raft carrying four college kids overturn half a mile upriver. Three kids made it to shore—one didn’t.
            “Check,” came another static-filled message from the police radio. “We’re going to re-check where the raft flipped. There’s some killer undertows in that area…maybe something got stuck under there.”
            “Roger that,” Detective Johnson said. “I’ve got a good view from here. I’ll notify you if I see anything.” The voice on the other end agreed. The radio went silent.
The aging officer checked the river, the rushing water created an ambient sound to the stillness of the woods. Those four stupid kids, Detective Johnson thought. The same witnesses who saw the raft flip saw several beer cans float down the river…underage drinking and water—a recipe for disaster. The thought brought a lump to the seasoned man’s throat. Many a name etched into granite headstones in the Twin Falls Cemetery belonged to a good kid who made a stupid mistake and paid the ultimate price.
“Detective?” The voice came not from the radio, but from Agent Coles who hiked the three hundred yards from the road to find his fellow officer.
“To you left!” Detective Johnson yelled without taking his eyes off the water.
“Got it!” came Agent Coles’s response. A moment later the younger man arrived.
“What brings you up here, Agent Coles, that couldn’t have been said over the radio?”
“Here,” Agent Coles said as he reached for the binoculars. “I’ll watch the river while you read this.” Detective Johnson lowered the binoculars for the first time since arriving. He reluctantly handed them to Agent Coles and took the single piece of paper being offered him. Immediately Agent Coles applied the field glasses to his eyes and resumed surveillance.
“I just got if off the printer in the car and thought you should see it first—thought it shouldn’t go out on the radio,” Agent Coles said.
Agent Coles’s words froze the blood in Detective Johnson’s veins. A message too sensitive for the radio meant one thing…it was personal, and personal to him. A shaking hand brought the message up so the worried man could read the words.

Names of recovered individuals: Heidi Summers, Sarah Cawfield, William Phelps. Rafters identified Timothy Johnson as the missing victim.

Detective Johnson dropped the paper. It fluttered in the humid air and came to rest in the wet grass at his feet.


  1. Nice work, I really felt the panic the detective must have felt just before he read the paper. A lot came through here in just a short piece.

    1. Thanks Heather! My dad was a cop and I wonder what things went through his mind at times. The job fascinates me. Thanks for your kind words!