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December 2006 Archives

December 4, 2006

Welcome back, 1955

An unanswerable question from a consumer survey of all places:

It is important that women should have a career outside of the home.
a) Strongly agree
b) Agree
c) Neither agree nor disagree
d) Disagree
e) Strongly disagree

I find a lot of questions like this on opinion surveys - ones for which I could pick an answer and have it vaguely approximate my feelings, but know that it's subject to extreme misinterpretation - that my reasons for choosing the answer would not be the same as the reason is was offered as an option.

December 6, 2006

Workshop Assignment

This month's assignment was a scary ghost story. My way too long for the requirements draft is below. I'm taking it to workshop to talk about tonight, but if you've got any feedback, I'd love to hear it.

The brass were determined to demonstrate an appropriate and forceful reaction to the situation so they had every available officer on site, making Patrol Officer Caswell one of about 3 dozens cops crowding Craigie Alley. Since that was about 2 dozen more than were necessary to the investigation, and a dozen more than were needed to keep the media away from the site, she was reading the engraved memorial plaques that hung along the brick wall of the Stafford Building.

She'd started with Carter Grayson, born March 19th, 1970, died December 7, 1996. Apparently he'd been a loving father and a proud soldier. She remembered when he'd been stabbed to death. Then there was Cassandra Lincoln, born April 12th, 1980, died December 7, 1986. A beloved daughter. At least until she'd been strangled.

She read Alexa Donahue (b. July 26, 1943 d. December 7, 1976) and Maurice Maissoneuve (b. April 11, 1918, d. December 7, 1966 ) and James (Jamie) Jameson (b. January 4, 1923, d. December 7, 1956) and Maya Ling (b. June 29, 1912, d. December 7, 1946). Shot, shot, stabbed and thrown from the roof, if Caswell recalled the summary from the papers.

In the waning light, she couldn't read the ones further into the alley, but like every child who'd grown up nearby, she knew that they ended with Calvin Westmorling, born September 9th, 1817 and hung by an angry mob December 7th, 1876.

"Caswell," the Detective in Charge waved her over. "It's too dark to do anything else here tonight. You've got the scene until the morning." He gestured towards the journalists crowded near the cordon line, "Keep the riff-raff out."

"Yes, sir!" she replied smartly. Guarding a crime scene wasn't exciting, but she'd long ago promised herself she'd be as helpful and enthusiastic as she needed to be to get promoted out of uniform.

The body had been removed hours before, so the scene cleared quickly once the detective called a halt. It wasn't long until Caswell was alone on the corner. She parked her patrol car in front of the alley and stared into the darkness.

She thought about the plaques. About the names and about the dates. Every 10 years like clockwork, someone died in Craigie Alley. A serial killer, the papers screamed as the anniversary approached. A serial killer, sure, but a serial killer that had been killing for 130 years?

Still, the local media had been playing it up for the last month. They'd done stories on the history and on the theories and on the investigations. And after they'd whipped up a frenzy of fear, they'd done stories on that, too, interviewing people at the airport and the bus station on the way out of town. Finally, when they ran out of even invented news to talk about, they hauled out the psychics and the crazies to talk about how the Alley was haunted.

All Caswell had was a police radio, but she didn't need to have a TV to see the story. She could picture the frothing mouths of the reporters as they wildly speculated about what was going on. A day early! The Craigie Alley Killer had come a day early. What could that mean to all the theories about ghosts and serial killers and unusual psychic energy readings? The reporters had been on scene all afternoon asking questions for their 6 o'clock news broadcasts, pretending the theories that had been shaken hadn't been their own.

It was just past midnight when she'd finally had enough of the stuffy air in the car. She got out for a stretch and a closer inspection. Peering into the alley, she could barely make out the markers left by the forensics team. There was a little placard where each bullet had been found, and numbered flags where other evidence had been collected.

She stretched her arms above her head, mentally checking her form as her yoga teacher had taught her. Breathing in and out to a four count, she brought her arms back down. As they dropped, she saw a spot of light in the alley. She raised her left arm again, twisting it to see if she could recreate the flash with a reflection off her watch, but that didn't seem to be the source. Turning back towards the car, she saw the flash again.

Careful of the evidence markers, she ducked under the crime scene tape. As she stepped past the main blood spatter, she heard a voice behind her.

She whipped around to look, knocking over an evidence flag in the process, but there was nothing there. "Probably just the radio," she muttered as she bent to right the flag. It was stupid of her to be back here, especially without a flashlight. Even stupider was the fact that she was actually sort of scared.

From ahead of her came another voice. This one she heard clearly. "Welcome."

"I heard that," Caswell muttered as she stepped deeper into the alley.

"Welcome," came a deeper voice from somewhere further back.

"Welcome!" A little girl's voice this time, from behind her. She startled and turned and saw nothing.

"Welcome." An old man.

"Welcome." A French accent.

"Welcome." Very quietly behind her.

Caswell was spinning in circles now, following the voices. She drew her gun, but as she thrust it forward it connected with something solid. In the darkness, she stumbled and fell.

Laying on the ground was almost a relief from the dizziness she'd felt, but soon the voices crowded nearer. "Welcome." "Welcome." "Welcome."

As the chorus grew louder, the light she had first been chasing reappeared. It grew larger, dimming as it spread. Soon, all she could see was hazy grey and the voices overwhelmed her. She fired two shots at the nothingness around her.

--

It was a media frenzy again two months later when people gathered in Craigie Alley for the memorial. The Mayor gave a speech. He didn't mention the bullets or the pool of blood, but the reporters wasted a lot of film pointing out the details of the now clean crime scene anyway. They focused especially hard on the dent in the Maya Ling plaque where the bullet had ricocheted. Finally, he revealed the newest memorial plaque.

Allison Caswell
Born October 9, 1981, Died December 7, 2006
Beloved Daughter, Faithful Protector

December 7, 2006

Stephen Harper is a l0s3r...

...in more than just the usual way.

MPs defeat bid to reopen same-sex marriage debate.

About December 2006

This page contains all entries posted to acho que não in December 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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