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      Vincent considered himself an excellent judge of character. He'd met lots of people through his job and when he met Will on a flight to Seattle, he took an instant liking to him.

      Will told Vincent he was a successful chef who had run several kitchens in some of the most popular restaurants in the world. He was on his way home from Europe after a culinary tour of European cities. When Will was talking about Europe, Vincent noticed the more Will drank the more he seemed to get confused about the locations he’d been to. Will was slamming his drinks down and Vincent just assumed that was the reason he was confused.

       Two hours into the flight the Captain announced that they were going to have to divert to Spokane because of an issue with the plane. He said there was no need to worry. Vincent noticed Will looked nervous.

      Thankfully the landing was uneventful and they emptied the plane into groups. All passengers were taken to nearby hotels. 

 During the night a storm hit Spokane and dropped several inches of snow. It was still snowing heavily the next morning as Vincent was making his way to the breakfast buffet. As he inspected the varieties of food he heard a familiar voice.

        “Hello Vincent.”

       Vincent turned around to see Will sitting in front of a plate of pancakes, covered in butter and syrup.

      “Hello Will, how are you?”

      “Wonderful. I slept great. Are you eating? The food here is fantastic.”

      “Well if you, the successful chef, say the food is fantastic, then it must be.” 

“What? Oh yeah, yeah. Why don’t you join me?”

After helping himself to coffee, eggs and bacon, Vincent sat down to eat with Will.

      “So what's your next move?” Will asked as he scooped pancakes into his mouth. Vincent noticed syrup rolling down Will’s chin and dripping onto his tie. 

      “My what?”

      “Your next move, because between you and me you won't be able to get on a plane for a few days, maybe longer.”

      “What makes you say that?” Asked Vincent. 

      “Well look at it this way. The weather forecast said this storm is going to last all through today into tonight. They’ve already canceled lots of flights and are going to cancel more. That means lots of people whose flights have been canceled are stranded here like us. Lots of people will want to catch a flight as soon as possible. Every seat on every flight out of here will be booked up quickly.”

      “Well, what do you suggest?”

      “Drive. Let's rent a car, it's only a four or five hour drive to Seattle.”

       “Are you going to Seattle?” 

      Will scoped the last of his pancakes into his mouth, “I'm going to Japan, maybe even stop at Hawaii for a while, Seattle will have plenty of flights for me to catch.”

      “I don't know, I was just going to wait it out until I can catch a flight home.” replied Vincent.      

“Okay, if you change your mind, I'm in room 307 on the third floor.”

      Vincent watched Will walk out of the dining room and looked out the window. The snow was showing no signs of letting up and he really wanted to get home to his wife Maria. He needed to get back to work by Monday but a long drive with someone he barely knew didn’t appeal to him. He decided for now to hold tight and see what tomorrow brings.

The snow stopped in the early hours of the next day. When the sun came out the temperature rose above freezing and the snow began to quickly melt. Vincent called several airlines and tried several travel websites but he couldn’t get a flight anywhere. After a frustrating period of searching, someone knocked on his door. When he opened it Will was standing there.

“Hiya Vincent, how you doing?” 

“Will, come in.”

Will entered the room, walking around, complimented the room, “This is nice, a lot nicer than my room. So I was wondering if you had reconsidered my idea? Have you tried to get a flight?”

“It’s like you said, all booked up.”

“Well I can pay half for the car, the gas, the insurance, everything, I don't even mind doing all the driving. I just need to get out of here.” Will seemed impatient.

“Sure, can we go today?” asked Vincent.

“I’ll get on it, get ready to leave, I’ll have you back in Seattle tonight.”

While Vincent packed, Will took care of the transportation. They ate a quick breakfast and stocked up on snacks, sandwiches and coffee for the trip. Will rented a SUV which he had no problem driving all the way to Seattle, claiming he doesn’t get to drive much and rarely anything so nice. Vincent dozed most of the trip but awakened just before they arrived in Seattle.

When they reached Vincent’s house he insisted that Will spend the night with him and Maria. Will accepted and insisted on cooking. He prepared spaghetti with marinara sauce. The food was okay but Vincent expected better from a successful chef. 

Will was his most charming self as he regaled Maria with stories of his life and his experiences. Eventually the evening wound down. Will was exhausted and excused himself to the spare room where Vincent and Maria could hear him snoring as they made love. 

Several hours later Will stood over the dead bodies of Vincent and Maria, rubbing their blood over his face and naked body. He exhaled deeply.  

A few hours earlier a news report had broken in Spokane. A mutilated body had been found a mile away from the hotel Vincent and Will were staying at. Police hadn’t confirmed if the murder was related to another murder under similar circumstances three months ago.    


Jason Smith writes out of the Pacific Northwest. He is married and the father of a special needs boy. He has previously been published in, The Yard Crime Blog and Mystery Tribune.



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