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Lindsey dragged herself up to her second-floor apartment after her overnight shift at the ER. The key slid comfortably into the well-worn lock of her door. She stepped inside and let out a sigh.

Home,” she said softly, almost to reassure herself.

With a practiced nudge from her hips, the door closed behind her. Keys into the bowl on the side table, purse on the couch, she headed to the kitchen for a fireball and apple cider. Lindsey stopped at the kitchen and twitched her nose. An unusual smell? Iron? Blood?

She looked down at her scrubs. Did she change before leaving work? Yes. Clean scrubs. Then at her shoes. Also clean. Her nose led her down the hall to the bedroom. She flipped on the light and saw him tied to the bed. Blood dripped onto the floor from the near edge of the mattress.


Lindsey stumbled backwards and used the wall to brace herself. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Now composed, she surveyed the scene and estimated that eight pints of blood had drained from his sliced femoral artery. There was no need, but she went to the body and checked for a pulse anyway.

Jack was in her bed, dead. Jack was her ex in every sense of the word.

Lindsey took a deep breath and walked to the couch, dug around in her purse, pulled out her phone, and dialed 911.

Three minutes later, two female police officers arrived.

I’m Officer Collins,” said the shorter brunette. “My partner is Officer Robinson. As first on the scene, I will secure the apartment while my partner waits with you.”

Robinson stood by her while Collins went down the hall. After a few minutes, Collins reappeared and said, “Clear.”

The three sat at the kitchen table. Robinson looked at Lindsey and asked, “You know the deceased?”

Lindsey nodded. “He’s my ex, but I was at work all day. You can check my patient log. I was nonstop all shift.”

How long have you been divorced?”

A month today. We separated long before that, but Jack pressed the proceedings until the judge ordered him to stop deposing witnesses and wasting everyone’s time and money.”

Nasty, huh?”

The worst. We had very limited joint assets and no children. He stretched it out for almost two years; it went to a jury trial of all things. Jack’s parents footed his bill, I filed for bankruptcy. I wanted out of the marriage, he wanted to hurt me.”

Robinson stared into Lindsey’s eyes. “I feel you. I left a controlling narcissist, and he made my life Hell. My partner here had it worse. Thought she would have to shoot her ex when he broke into her apartment. All I can say is that it doesn’t look like he is going to bother you anymore.”

Lindsey looked up. There were no tears to wipe away.

Is there somewhere you can stay for a few days? The detective will be here shortly, followed by the crime techs and the coroner.”

My sister lives on the other side of town, I could stay with her.”

You should go there. Please leave her name, address, and phone number with me. We’ll let you know when the apartment is cleared and you can return.”

Collins rose when a knock on the front door announced the arrival of the detectives.

Collins stepped outside the apartment to speak with the detective. “Robinson and I were first on the scene, Detective Rush. I secured the scene while Robinson waited with the woman. The vic exsanguinated on her bed. He’s her ex.” I came in and observed the vic dead, tied to the bed, so suicide is doubtful.

Thanks, Collins, I’ll take it from here.”

Collins and Rush entered the apartment to find Lindsey standing.

Officers, I’m okay. I can get to my sister’s house. I’ll be fine. You have my sister’s contact details.”

The three watched Lindsey walk out the apartment.

Collins looked at Detective Rush and he gave a slight cock of his head.

You two can leave. Don’t dawdle on the report.”

Yes, sir,” Robinson said as she headed to the door.

Collins, Robinson, good work,” Detective Rush called to them as they were leaving.

The two nodded to him and left the apartment.

Safely in their squad car, Collins was shaking her head.

Robinson glanced over. “What’s that about?”

Robinson, nice touch tying him to the bedframe. But I picked up one of your hoop earrings from the floor.”

Robinson touched her left ear. “Shit.”

You got that right. You’ve never left anything with the body before. Are you getting sloppy? But don’t worry, this will never stick on the ex-wife. So, any real doozies in the divorce court this week?”


NT Franklin writes after his real job hoping one day to have it be his real job. He writes cozy mystery short stories, nostalgia short stories, and Flash Fiction. He has over 120 publications in ​​Page & Spine, Scarlet Leaf Review, Fiction on the Web, Madswirl, Postcard Shorts, 404 Words, 101 Words, Freedom Fiction, Burrst, Entropy, Alsina Publishing, Fifty-word stories, Dime Show Review, among others. When not reading or writing short stories, you might find him fishing or solving crossword puzzles.


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