Avery’s back! She’s got a new m-m story to start this week. I hope you’re excited. It includes murder in a small town and an ex who’s also the Assistant Police Chief. Juicy, right? Well, Avery sure hopes so *grins*
Remember, the flash fiction stories have to be 500-1000 words in length and be based on a writing prompt. Avery’s prompt for this week was a picture:
Now, I realize this is a just a canoe, but give the story a chance *wink* To give a little background, this story was part of a flash fiction class. Unfortunately, the story is more a scene from a larger work, rather than a standalone piece, but I’m excited about the characters and the prospects for the story. Be sure to let me know what you think!
Here we go…….
Murder, Myles, and Me
I expected the small community center in Pine Creek, Colorado, to be abuzz with activity. After all, this was search headquarters for town resident and bar owner, Adrian Sommers, who was missing and presumed dead. Rumors circulated that Adrian had been murdered, but why?
This was my first trip back to the hill-billy town since I graduated high school eight years ago. I didn’t want to be here, but Adrian—Ad to me—was the big brother I never had. He looked after me whenever my dad went on a bender. Or when my old man decided my only purpose in life was to be his punching bag.
Most of my memories of high school were bad. Ad was the one person who made my life bearable. Well, next to my bestie, Kelsey. We’d played in the band and were the only two gay kids in school. Yeah, life held some big challenges back then.
I strode into the main meeting room of the center. My steps faltered, my jaw dropped. What the hell?
I thought I’d walked into someone’s office at lunchtime. Several posters of Adrian dotted the walls, while a table filled with landline phones sat unmanned. A handful of volunteers, who should have been digging up leads, scurried back and forth from the coffeepot to a cluster of couches. Two police officers talked in hushed voices at the front of the room.
Maybe I was mistaken. Had they moved the command center? Maybe they’d received a hot tip and were out searching? Nothing else would explain the total lack of activity. He’d only been missing three days; this was a crucial time.
“Oh my God! Gavin, you’re really here!” Kelsey enveloped me in a warm hug.
“It’s so good to see you!” I gave her a squeeze and pulled back. “But…where is everyone?”
“Let’s walk down to the lake and talk.” She scanned the room before pulling me toward the front door. “Fewer ears,” she whispered.
I shrugged and allowed her to lead the way.
Adrian hadn’t been the most popular guy in town. Some of Pine Creek’s residents weren’t happy that his bar, One More Beer, drew such a crowd. When the lumber mill closed, a number of folks lost their jobs. Depression settled like a wet blanket over the town. Some people spent more than they should’ve at the bar. With Ad’s simple lifestyle, he managed to amass a good bit of money. Hell, maybe someone killed him to put the bar out of business? It was still too early to tell.
“Where’d you go?” Kelsey poked my side, bringing me back.
“Just thinking about Ad. I wished I’d have kept in better touch with him.” The moment I left for college, I never looked back. Even though Ad remained, I had no desire to visit, to relive any of the old memories. I guess I always assumed I’d have time to reconnect with him.
“Don’t worry about it.” She linked her arm through mine. “He wasn’t upset about it. Besides, he of all people understood why you left.”
“I suppose.” Time to quit dwelling on the past. I needed to focus on what we knew about Ad’s disappearance. I sure as hell intended to find my friend.
“Look, don’t give up yet. Between the two of us, we’ll figure it out.” We stopped and waited for the stoplight to change so we could cross Main Street. It was short walk to the lake, only a couple of blocks. “Oh, remember that old canoe? It’s still there.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You can’t be serious! That thing barely stayed afloat back in the day. How many times did it flip us into the water?”
She giggled. “Wait…remember that time Ad caught us drinking vodka on the pier?”
I grinned. “I’ve never seen him so pissed. I thought he was going to throw both of us in the freezing water as punishment.” My smile faded. “He really cared about me.”
Kelsey nodded. “He sure did. And, obviously, you still care about him. You’re here.”
I kicked a stone. What was with this town’s lack of response to Ad’s disappearance? I didn’t get it.
“Look out—” Kelsey started right as I collided with a large man in blue.
“Hey, bud, you need to watch where—Gavin, is that you?”
I looked up into clear sky blue eyes, short blonde hair gelled into place. Muscles stretched the arms of his polyester uniform. I didn’t need a name badge to confirm his identity. This man was my first kiss, my first sexual exploration. Myles Fisher. Oh, and did I mention he’s straight? Of course, he didn’t figure that out until he broke my heart. Asshole. Although, given the passage of time, I could be cordial, right?
“Officer Fisher. You haven’t changed at all.” I wasn’t about to apologize. Just skip the small talk and continue to the lake. I threw up a hand in a casual wave. “Uh, good to see you. Take care.”
“Whoa, Gavin. Hang on.” He grabbed my arm, stilling my flight. “First off, it’s Assistant Chief Fisher, and second, when did you get back in town?”
I grimaced. “Congrats on the promotion. And today.” I motioned pointedly to Kelsey. “We were just taking a walk, catching-up.”
He looked me up and down, lingering a little too long south of my belt. Finally, his eyes returned to mine. “We should talk…you know. About Sommers. I remember you were close to him.”
“Right. Sure. I’ll catch you at the station. Sound good?” I stepped away from him. Conversation over, okay? Kelsey remained silent during this awkward exchange.
“I’m off at five. Why don’t I meet you for dinner at Rosa’s? Might be more comfortable than the station.”
Good God. What to say? Kelsey quickly smothered a smile and turned away. She was in so much trouble when we got rid of Officer Friendly. “Um. Sure. That’s fine.” Wasn’t I just spineless?
He grinned and waved. “See you then, Gavin.”
to be continued…
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Be sure to check out pieces from the other Wednesday Briefers: