Ghostboard pixel

NaNoWriMo: Day Seven

Joe Hale 6 min read

I'm writing a novel in 30 days. This is a continuation of the story, in terms of words from day six; You should enter here or start from the beginning.

This post picks up in the middle of chapter 5, or about 15,718 words. It finished off chapter 5.

Remember, this is a Draft 0, unedited, simply writing as quickly as the story comes to me and making myself accountable by putting the words here.

Enjoy. 👇

"Ok, so add all this to the boot print, blood smear, and the witness statement," Ash said, motioning to the screen and looking at Tom, "It's pretty clear he was murdered. But the insulin and the blood pressure switch point to two different killers."

"Or attempted..." Christina pointed out.

Tom nodded in agreement, then said, "Let's go talk to his neighbors and see if they can give us any information on who would want to kill this guy."

Ash and Tom left the station and drove to Daniel's tiny house. As they went through the neighborhood, they saw trendy restaurants and shotgun-style places on the verge of gentrification.

Daniel's house was one of these. The paint was peeling, and the front steps were crumbling. Ash and Tom got out of the car and walked to the front door. Ash was about to use the key from Daniel's van to open the door when an elderly woman answered the door.

"Can I help you?" She asked.

Tom was leaning against the wrought iron railing and turned in surprise. Ash was still holding the key in her hand like she was going to still attempt to unlock the door when Tom said, "Is this Daniel Moody's house" and held up his badge.

The woman looked at Ash. "And you?" The woman questioned.

Ash put the key away and held up her badge.

The woman looked at them both for a second, then stepped back and opened the door wider. "I'm Joan Kappas; I live next door. This is Daniel's house. I was coming to check on him; I didn't see his van and wondered if everything was alright."

Joan Kappas was in her late seventies and was dressed in loose jeans and a cardigan sweater and wore pearl earrings and a necklace. She was the picture of a sweet old lady, but Ash could see the cunning in her eyes. She answered the door, not like she expected anybody there but like she was leaving.

Ash scanned the entryway and could see into the small side study. Papers were spilling from drawers, drawings were piled up all over the couch, and the coffee table was overturned.

"What happened here?" Ash asked, walking into the entry and brushing Joan to the side.

Joan looked at Tom, past Ash into the study, and then at Ash and Tom. "I don't know," She said, walking back into the entryway. "I don't come over often, but it's usually moderately tidy when I do. I mean, his drawings are everywhere, but not like that."

Tom pushed off the railing, stepped into the house, and looked around. Ash could see him tense as he took in the scene. "How long have you been in the house, Mrs. Kappas?" He asked.

Ash stepped into the house, keeping her eyes on Joan Kappas as Tom walked into the study and looked at the papers on the couch and desk. She didn't want to let Joan out of her sight, but she also wanted to see what Tom had found.

"I just came in. I have my key," Joan said, holding up a key on a lanyard around her neck. "I was going to leave it on the counter."

Tom walked back into the entryway, and Ash could see him tense as he looked at Joan. "Did you touch anything?" He asked.

Joan's eyes narrowed, and she took a step back. "No, I didn't touch anything." She said her voice hardening. "I was going to leave a note."

Ash stepped closer to Joan, and Tom stood next to Ash. They both stared at Joan for a beat before Ash said, "Daniel was found dead late last night."

"We're here investigating his death," Tom said as he gestured for her to come to the living room on the other side of the hall and followed her.

Joan sat in a living room chair. Ash watched her reactions as Tom asked her routing questions. She looked genuinely distraught, but she could just notice the slightest tick of happiness at the edges of her eyes every time Tom mentioned Daniel's name.

"I'm so sorry to hear about Daniel," Joan began, "he was such a nice man."

"Did you know him well?" Tom asked.

"No, not really. This was his aunt's house up until just over a year ago," Joan said. "She and I were good friends. When she died, Daniel moved here to take care of the house. She was going to sell it to me, but Daniel didn't honor that."

Joan bristled and said, "I'm so sorry to hear about his accident."

Ash and tom looked at each other, and Tom said, "What makes you think he died in an accident?"

Joan looked surprised and then a little flustered. "I don't know, I just assumed. With all those power tools and ice, I was just sure he had an accident."

Ash meandered around the room, looking at the photos and papers on the tables. Tom stepped toward a chair and sat down. "Did you hear or see anything yesterday or in the last few days that were out of the ordinary?" He asked.

Joan shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I was in bed early because I had to get up early to exercise."

"Mrs. Kappas," Tom paused. "Daniel was murdered. Do you know of any reason someone would want to kill him?

Mrs. Kappa's eyes widened, and she darted her eyes to a desk drawer in the study. Ash caught the glance and looked into the study.

She hesitated for a beat too long and said, "I don't know. He was a nice man. I can't think of anyone who would want to hurt him."

Tom and Ash looked at each other again. Ash could tell that Tom was thinking the same thing she was. Joan Kappas knew something but wouldn't tell them what it was. Ash stood up and handed Mrs. Kappas her card. "If you think of anything, please give us a call."

Mrs. Kappas took the card and nodded.

Tom stood up and said, "If you'll excuse us. we're going to have a look around."

Mrs. Kappas hesitated but stood and said, "of course." And walked out the door.

As they watched her walk down the front path and to her house, Ash said, "She's lying about something."

Tom nodded. "Yeah. Run her through the system and see if anything comes up."

Ash nodded and made a note in her book.

Ash turned and said, "I'm going to look around." She walked into the study and looked at the papers on the couch; she walked over to the large desk on the side, opened the drawers, pushed papers around, shutting them, and did the same to the other drawers.

She found a stack of invoices piled in a small cardboard box; all looked like they were marked paid. "Maybe one of his past clients?" She said as she handed the box to Tom, who took the box and started glancing through the papers.

Ash looked around the room again and turned to where Mrs. Kappas was sitting. She rotated one hundred eighty degrees and saw a small desk behind the couch. She walked around the sofa and opened the top drawer. A small plastic pharmacy bottle rattled as the door slid open.

Ash took the bottle out and read the label. It was the same blood pressure medicine that Christina mentioned. She rattle the bottle getting Tom's attention, and then bagged it.

Tom pulled out a paper and held it up so Ash could see. "Guess you lied about what he was paying Daniel? Tom said.

Ash took the paper and saw it listed Richard Thaliard as the customer and a series of four sculptures with their cost next to them.

"These costs are a fraction of what these other invoices list." Tom said, "But that's not the worst part." He said, pointing a the paper's side margin.

Two words were written in blue ink across the side margin: 'Buy MGLS' with a date and time over three months prior.

"This is going to be hard to prove," Ash said. But Tom cut her off.

"Maybe, but this gives us several lines of motive," Tom said.

His phone rang, and he put the invoice back into the box.

"Allen," Tom said and listened to the call. His brow furrowed, and then his eyes got wide. "On our way."

"What is it," Ash asked.

"Another murder. A florist in Capital Hill," Tom said as he put the lid on the box.

They locked the house and called for a patrol car to drive past a few times that day to give Mrs. Kappas an incentive to stay away from Daniel's home.

They got into Tom's care and pulled away from the house.

More from Joe Hale

I'm writing a novel in 30 days!

Join me as I write a 50K novel in 30 days, starting November 1, 2022. I'll send you updates as I make progress.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Joe Hale.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.