The following is a collaborative effort between myself and my ten-year-old son. The initial concept was his. He was two pages in when he said he’d written himself into a corner. I was impressed with what he’d come up with and didn’t want to see the story wasted, so I pitched in. The following is the result.
I believe every writer can learn a lot by reading what children write. As children we are much less crippled by convention. In many ways, growing up wrecks us. This process has helped me grow legs again. Without further ado, I give you Blue Deception.
A swift gunshot flew swiftly through the air, aimed at the criminal. However Ashley’s shot missed. After that, another shot from Derald, Ashley’s friend, flew and hit him right in the center of the criminal’s chest.
“You need to work on your aim, Ashley,” Derald said. “Remember, this is a dummy, the real criminal has a gun.”
The criminal Derald was talking about was Zane Bold. Zane was proven of murdering someone. After Derald spoke, a man with sunglasses walked up to Ashley and said, “You were selected as a spy to help find Zane. You must be transferred to the headquarters as soon as possible. Ashley didn’t argue and ran to the headquarters and as soon as she got there she ran into her boss.
“Congratulations!” he said as he handed her a walkie-talkie. “Your job is simple, track down Zane and report him to us.”
Ashley walked out and got a call; it was her sister. She answered to hear her sister crying. “What happened?” Ashley asked.
“Mom got murdered!” Sister said.
“Yeah, Mom was killed!”
“Okay, I’ll sort this out.”
“Okay, goodbye.” And then her sister hung up.
Ashley didn’t know what to do. Her heart sank as a tear went down her face. Her hand went limp, and she almost dropped her phone in the gutter as she walked the sidewalk in front of Headquarters. She was lost in the shock of learning her mom was dead.
“Momma,” she whimpered, and the tears continued to fall down her face. It’s true what they say––no matter how old you are, even if you’re a trained police officer in charge of a special task force to catch a wanted killer, you still feel like an orphan when your mom dies, especially if your mom was senselessly murdered. “You were always there for me, Momma,” Ashley said. “I swear, I will find who murdered you and make them pay!”
Just then, her phone vibrated in her hand. She held it before her as though she’d forgotten what it was that she had in her hand. It was a Snapchat message. Ashley was confused at this because she didn’t remember installing Snapchat on her phone. She tapped the message just as she read the name of the sender.
The message was from someone named ZaneKils4giggles. Ashley’s body went cold as the message loaded on the screen. A man’s face popped up, unrecognizable beneath a snap filter that gave him puppy dog ears and nose and a long doggy tongue. When the puppy dog face spoke, his voice was altered to make him sound like he’d sucked on a balloon full of helium.
“Hee hee hee! Lookit me! I just killed your momma, and that makes me so happy, I could pee! Yippee!”
“Zane Bold! I should have known!” growled Ashley, and she raised the phone to throw it on the pavement in anger, but she stopped herself.
There was something in Zane Bold’s Snap message that was familiar. Ashley played the message again to make sure she hadn’t imagined what she saw. Instead of smashing the phone on the sidewalk, she used it to order an Uber. She knew just where to go.
Waiting for the car to arrive, she breathed in the scent of jasmine flowers growing in front of Headquarters. Beautiful, she thought, and strange something should smell so good on a bad day like today.
Ashley’s Uber stopped in front of a rusty old downtown apartment building. “Thanks for the ride,” Ashley said to the driver, a nice old gentleman who smelled of Old Spice and listened to Vivaldi as he drove. “I’ll be sure to give you a good review,” she added as she exited the car.
Her steps were heavy as she entered the building and made her way to the stairs. She thought, How could he do it? How did he fool us all for so long?
On the third floor, she turned down the hallway and walked to the third door down. She knocked three times. The door opened to the rustiest apartment unit in the rustiest building in the whole city.
“Hello Ashley,” said Derald, who stood inside the apartment with a smug look on his face. “Welcome to my home.”
Ashley said, “Hello Derald. Or should I call you Zane Bold?”
Just as she said that, Derald held out a gun. Ashley tried to dart away for her life, but Zane shot, killed her, and laughed about it.
What Zane didn’t do was take care of the security camera. Which brings us to Mike, part of the building security team. As Mike saw Ashley die, he quickly called some cops to help.
“911, what’s your emergency?” the operator spoke.
“Someone murdered another person here,” Mike said.
“Okay, we will be there quickly. Hang on.”
“Okay,” he said with a deep breath. “Bye.”
Not long after, hoards of police cars and officers came to arrest the murderer. Many officers came rushing up the stairs with many confused citizens looking out their doors. One officer knocked on Zane’s door. As the door opened, the officer took Zane’s gun. Seconds later, Zane was arrested.
Zane didn’t even make a court trial. He knew he had no evidence to prove he was innocent. One day after, all of Ashley’s family got in their cars to attend her funeral.
“The afterlife’s not so bad,” Ashley said to her newly met friend, Francesca––a former figure skater who’d been murdered by a rival skater with a raging temper and a debilitating inferiority complex.
“Not bad at all,” responded Francesca as she sipped a glistening glass of sweet tea with peach infusion.
Ashley and Francesca were in a special place that people who’ve been murdered go, a wide space with a babbling stream and lush trees and bottomless sweet tea. There were no cell phones allowed here.
Ashley was about to ask for a refill of her own sweet tea––infused with strawberry rather than peach––when she was approached by an angel in a blazing white three-piece suit and sunglasses.
“Ashley, I need you to come with me right away,” the angel said. “We have another assignment for you.”