Apr 10, 2010

Murder Scene Blogfest

I just wrote this scene for Anne Riley’s Murder Scene Blogfest, from the point of view of a home intruder. I’d say “enjoy” but I don’t think that’s appropriate for a murder scene.

**I also wrote the murder scene for my critique group’s tandem story on our blog, Critique_This_WIP.**

Honest people don’t think in terms of dishonesty. They think any old lock from Home Depot will do; might as well buy the cheap one. A lock was a lock, right?

Wrong. Any thief will tell you they can pick any-old-lock, and most of them can even pick a decent one. But honest people just don’t think that way. They don’t expect to be the victim of a home invasion. Robberies happen to other people. They’ve got their guard dogs and a faux, home security sign posted in the window. They’ve got their flood light over the front door—a “deterrent” to keep away robbers.

Ha. These people don’t know the first thing about real safety. Bluffs, all of it.

I’ve been casing the place for three days, now, not that I needed to wait that long. I learned everything I needed to know on day one. First, those guard dogs were three, prized Pomeranians. I saw them in the backyard chasing squirrels around the swimming pool. Second, that Brinks Home Security sticker was from at least ten years ago. The corners had started to peel back from the window, but even if I hadn’t caught that detail, the residents of 722 Briar View Lane never paused long enough in their doorway to enter a code into a key pad. They were probably in too much of a hurry to bother with their alarm.

The flood light was the hardest part to get rid of, and even that was child’s play. I printed out some door to door fliers and slipped them in the doorjambs of all the houses on the street. When I got to 722, I made sure no one was looking, then reached up and unscrewed the bulb, just enough to cut the power to the light. Easy as pie, and two nights later, the bulb above the front door was still dark. Fools, they probably thought the light had burned out—if they even noticed.

But tonight was the night. I’d make a nice score off of 722. This was a wealthy mark; not too rich as to have the sense to buy a working security system or proper guard dogs, but wealthy enough to keep plenty of expensive jewelry around Mrs. 722’s neck.

Pulling the ski mask over my face, I said a prayer to the God of Thieves, then screwed an illegal silencer onto my 9mm pistol. After slipping it into a holster at my side, I grabbed the black cloth bag and slipped into my waistband, then slid from my van into the cold, dark night.

The lock was an embarrassment to Kwikset locks everywhere. I’d picked it in under ten seconds. It was so easy, I actually thought about trying to find a different point of entry, just to give myself a bit of a challenge. Poor 722; these marks were naïve, childlike in their trust of a fifteen dollar lock. Pitty. My next job would be tougher, I promised myself.

I entered the house and closed the door behind be, but no dogs awaited me on the other side. Of course, I thought, the prized Poms would be sleeping with mommy. I passed up the faux artwork on the walls of the living room, passed the plasma screen TV, and made my way stealthily to the master bedroom at the end of a long hallway.

The dogs had heard me coming and were barking on the other side of the closed door.

“Jim, let them out to pee, will you?” Mrs. 722 groaned, sleepily.

“I told you not to feed them table scraps. Christ, my stomach can’t handle your cooking. Why would theirs?” Mr. 722, Jim, growled.

Mrs. 722 came back with an insult, but I couldn’t hear it over the barking of the dogs. Not wanting to wait any longer, I drew my pistol and opened the door to their bedroom, shooting a hole through the first little beast to lunge at my leg. It went down in a ball of bloody fur. The silencer’s pif didn’t scare the other dogs away like a loud shot would have, and the second and third dogs followed their friend to doggie-heaven in the next moment.

“Scream and I’ll shoot your husband next,” I threatened the wife in a cold, calm voice, as I pointed my gun at Mr. 722.

“Who are you? What do you want?” Mr. 722 demanded as he tried to jump out of bed.

That’s the thing with men; they don’t like another dog pissing in their food dish. They feel some kind of unstoppable need to muscle the intruder out. They always tried to get up, to negotiate with the person who’d just broken into their house and shot their three prized pooches.

As usual, I was ready for this insanely male reaction and fired a warning shot…right into his left leg. He fell to the ground in a scream of pain, clutching his injured leg. Mrs. 722 screamed with him, then jumped off the bed toward her husband. She let out a string of profanity directed at me, but I ignored it, giving them both time to absorb the gravity of their situation. After a few seconds had past, I cleared my throat and looked to the Mrs.

“I’m a good shot. I think I’ve proven that by killing your dogs and wounding your husband. But I’m not that good. I might have nicked his femoral artery—there sure is an awful lot of blood there. If I did, he’ll bleed to death in a matter of minutes. The faster you get me what I want, the faster I’ll be gone and you can call for an ambulance.”

“Just take what you want,” she spat. “Take it and leave and get out of my house!”

“No, I’m not doing the taking. You’re going to take this bag and go empty your jewelry box into it. Then you’re going to open that safe I know you have, and dump its contents into my bag. If you try anything, I will kill your husband, then you. Do you understand?”

She looked at me with a hatred I’d seen from others before her. It didn’t faze me; I didn’t care what they thought of me. They would cease to matter once my job was done…once she’d opened the safe. The wives always opened the safes while their husbands lay in a pool of their own blood.

In a matter of minutes, she’d done what I asked—had completed her task and was now, once again, kneeling beside Mr. 722 on the bloody carpet beside their king sized bed.

I didn’t warn her, didn’t tell her to say goodbye or tell her I was sorry. I’ve found, over the years, that it’s much more compassionate to just shoot them, not letting them know they were about to meet their maker. It had to be this way and I accept that.

Two shots later, Mr. and Mrs. 722 lay slumped in a heap on their blood stained carpet, a matching bullet hole in each of their foreheads. Now I'm free to move about, collecting the rest of the valuables in the house.

Question for the readers: Is the intruder a man or a woman?


  1. This is great! I love the voice of the intruder, and the way he refers to the people as Mr. and Mrs. 722! I mean, okay, it's kind of awful what with the murdering, but the characterization is awesome and so is the scene!

  2. Ugh. Grisly. I like the cold calculation, though!

  3. I initially thought woman, but I'm not sure why. Probably because the man might feel more able to attack a woman?? Nicely written.

  4. Nicely done! I think a woman too only because it had a whole paragraph talking about men and what they do in that situation. It just dripped with disdain and almost loathing. Great stuff!

  5. I was pulled right into this--the calculating coldness of the narrator and the precision of the work. Good job.

  6. Stone cold killa, baby. Is it wrong of me to feel a tiny bit of grim satisfaction when the little barking dogs are offed? Yes? Okay, then I totally didn't feel that... (Kidding, of course. I wouldn't want angry Pomeranian owners starting flame wars in my comment section.)

    You definitely captured some wonderful details in this. Very thief-like voice. Well done, good lady!

  7. This has such great voice. I've been reading all evening, and this is my favorite so far (even though I hate that the dogs were shot. Why does shooting a pet always seem so much crueler than shooting a person? Weird). Love being inside the perps head. Love the way the victims are depersonalized by using a number instead of a name. It all works. Outstanding submission!

  8. Very nice! I love how you captured the thief's voice and his/her disdain for Mr. and Mrs. 722.

    I thought it was a man until I got to the paragraph where the thief talks about men...that made me think it could be a woman.

  9. This was amazing! I loved the whole tone of the piece. Especially how the killer distanced him/herself from the couple. I was particularly interested in how the killer hid his/her identity (the mask), but knew all along that they were going to kill the couple. Smart killer. In the beginning I think it had a 'Burn Notice' feeling to it, but only slightly. Also, I felt as though it was a woman. I don't know if that is because it is in first person or because of the attitude. The -they think it only happens to other people- part makes me think female. However, the "they don’t like another dog pissing in their food dish" makes me think man.
    Anyway Great JOB! Maybe a first person crime piece in your future...

  10. Very cold and calculating indeed!

  11. You always post such great scenes. I loved the voice, the flow and the pov. Great job!

    Sorry my comment may feel generic. I'm on a commenting mission for the murderfest and am almost ready to murder my keypad. LOL I really did enjoy this and it is in my top 10.

  12. Definitely male: That’s the thing with men; they don’t like another dog pissing in their food dish.

    A man treats another man differently. Still, I may be showing gender bias here because I feel men are more likely to commit solitary crimes like this as their normal source of income. Everyone has to earn a living, right?

    This was excellent writing; and I loved the POV and voice. His very coldness makes him a compassionate person; no torturing or unnecessary platitudes. Just a job.



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