Saturday, 23 March 2013

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge for March - Driven to Murder

Driven to Murder! 

Welcome to Romantic Friday Writers Monthly writing challenge for the month of March. This time we are invited to write a story or poem using 1000 words or less, that must have these two elements: lovers and murder

This is how this challenge is described om RFWers' Challenges Page:

Anyone up for a bit of murder and mayhem; the intrigues of conspiracy and betrayal, either for political gain, money, or even - true love? RFW invites all stories of prose or poetry, up to 1000 words, with the theme that pays homage to the Roman God Mars (Greek equivalent Ares), patron of war and agriculture. Mars is depicted as a cold and impersonal God, caring more for the battle itself than the outcome.

To honor Mars (March) your characters will plot and/or implement a deceitful act under the guise of love. We're looking for motives; what does the lover hope to gain by the nefarious or altruistic act. We want to see themes of vengeance, manipulation, self sacrifice.

Any POV, any genre; just be sure your MC's are in love and have a self serving reason for the plotted course of action.


Here is my text:


Caroline Smith opened the front door and found two policemen showing her their IDs and a large photograph of a fashionably dressed young woman with long flaming carrot-red hair.

'Sorry to bother you at home like this, Ms Smith, but we have reason to believe that you may know this woman.'

Caroline stared at the image of this all too familiar face and was debating whether or not to say that she knew her, but decided to tell the truth.

'Yes, that's Ramona alright, Ramona Slope.'

'Do you know her well?'

'I used to', mumbled Caroline, remembering the last time they met; how Ramona barged in at her home and immediately began rummaging through her clothes-closet, trying on different garments, laughing at Caroline the whole time. Then Ramona wandered out to the kitchen wearing one of Caroline's favourite outfits, spilling wine on it and cackling like a witch. Caroline had to take Ramona's billfold and threaten to keep her ID, credit cards and cash, if she did not return her clothes and leave. 

'Yes, I used to know her, but I don't see her any more.'

'When was the last time you saw Ramona Slope?'

'Oh, that was several months ago. We had a falling out, and I told her that I never wanted to see her again,' said Caroline, 'Ramona had stolen some of my things and I didn't feel that I could trust her anymore.' But Caroline did not reveal the most important item that Ramona had stolen: Caroline's former boyfriend, Emil Klinger. It hurt to talk about Emil.

'We may need to ask more questions later. Will you be available this week?'

'Yes. I'm usually at home. Why are you so interested in Ramona? Has something happened?'

'Her parents have reported her missing, so it is important that you tell us what you know. Here's my card. Call me if you think of anything,' said one of the policemen and gave Caroline his card.

Ramona, thought Caroline. Maybe someone got tired of her insane laughter and practical jokes. What a waste. Such a beautiful woman, with no common sense or morals. A few minutes after the police had left, Caroline thought: But if Ramona is missing, where's Emil? Maybe I should have asked about Emil.

Caroline hated Ramona as much as she loved Emil.


In another part of town, Emil Klinger was hiding in the cellar of his grandparent's house that was emptied and up for sale. Emil still had a key. He also knew when the estate agent was to bring prospective buyers to look at the house. Emil took out his cell phone and dialed a number:

'Hi Caroline! It's me, Emil!' 

'Where have you been, Emil? There were two police officers here just now asking about Ramona. Have you seen her? Where is she?'

'Can't talk on the phone. Could I see you to talk?'

'Alright. Where shall we meet?' 

'I'm at Belle Avenue. You know what I mean.'

'I'll be there in five minutes.'

Caroline lived near Emil's grandparents house. She knew it was up for sale and instinctively checked the cellar.

'Oh Caroline, I've missed you so', said Emil kissing and embracing Caroline, 'Something terrible has happened.'

'Does it have anything to do with Ramona?'

'Yes', replied Emil looking down at his feet, still holding Caroline's hands. Emil went on to confess how he accidentally killed Ramona during a heated argument, and where he hid the body.

'But they're looking for her. Wouldn't it be wiser to turn yourself in and hope for manslaughter rather than a murder charge?' suggested Caroline. 'One of the police officers gave me his card. I'll go with you. We could tell them how terrible she was.'

'Yeah. But would they believe it? Would they believe me?'

'I believe you, Emil.'


Emil had trouble deciding what to do and Caroline did not want to act behind his back. Caroline returned home while Emil spent another night hiding in the cellar.

Margaret Thompson was an early riser and always went out with her dog every morning. This time her little Jack Russell became very interested in something buried under a hydrangea bush. 

'Come on, Sandy, don't dig up any old bones here. We should be getting back', she told the dog as she crouched down on the ground to see what was so interesting. Sandy, the dog, had uncovered a human hand with green nail polish on the fingernails. Margaret phoned emergency services on her cell phone and was then told to stay there until police arrive. In the shallow grave, the body of Ramona Slope was found. 

Caroline received a phone call from the police asking her to identify a body that might be Ramona, as her parents had requested to not have to do this.

Caroline took Emil with her to the police station. 'We have something we need to tell you', began Caroline after viewing what was left of her friend. 'This is Emil Klinger. Emil has something to say'.

'Hello, I'm inspecter Michael Hopper. Please, come into my office'.

'I think you may need to get a tape recorder for what I have to say', said Emil.

'Oh, I see.' 

A half an hour later, both Emil and Caroline were in tears. They told most of the long sad story of how Ramona had manipulated them and stole their money. Inspecter Hopper listened with a poker face, not certain what to believe.

'Can you prove any of this?'

'Show him the bank statements, Emil', said Caroline. 

'But this doesn't prove that she took your money', replied Hopper dryly.

It suddenly dawned on Caroline what a precarious position that they had landed in. 'I think we need to get legal council before we proceed, Sir.' 

'Alright. We can take a break. You are allowed one phone call'.


[Text copyright 2013 Christina Wigren] 

Word count 999 ('NCCO' No Critique, Comments Only)

P.S. Part of this story was a post for 'How I hate my beautiful friend' from September 20th, 2012.

Best wishes,


First commenter:

Donna Hole


dolorah said...

I thought I recognized the opening :) This was a great murder mystery Anna. It had a nice, crime story flow to it. I love crime stories. These two certainly do need legal council.

Well done.

Thanks for participating with RFW this month.


Charmaine Clancy said...

I think Emily and Caroline are in trouble now!

Yolanda Renée said...

Good going, Anna!

Poor Caroline, she never should've answered Emils phone call. She's in it up to her eyebrows!

You've got a novella, if not a novel here, especially if Emil turns on Caroline to save his own skin.

Wonderful,I love that you continued a former story from the RFW challenges!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Anna

I'm sorry I'm late in visiting. I've been by a few times and you didn't have your story up and I wasn't able to get back onto the computer until now.

I think you have the bones of a good story here, but it sounded a little flat. You could have made more of the doggie and lady finding the body I think...and in real life, I wonder if Emil would have docilely followed Caroline to the police station? Just wondering.
However, you've left this wide open. It can go anywhere now.

Perhaps you can continue the story for another prompt as I think we'd like to see the outcome.

What do you think?

Thank you for coming up with a murder story for our March challenge.


Nilanjana Bose said...

I remembered the opening and it was cool to read on beyond the earlier flash. The idea of taking a previous RFW flash and reworking to fit a new prompt is neat, liked that much.

Sally said...

They are in a rather precarious situation now, thinking they've done the right thing by going to the police and then realising they can't prove their point.

Unknown said...

Monday March 25th, 2013

Hi Donna,
Thanks for your kind words. I wanted to post something and had already written 4000 words of two other stories that I decided not to use this time. I have always thought of expanding the story about Ramona & Co.


Hi Charmaine,
Yep! You are so right. Emil and Caroline are in trouble! I had a motive for these two, following your advice about creating a clear motive for the crime. Romana is an annoying person for many people. But I haven't worked out all the details. The word and time limit made me stop.


Dear Yolanda,
Yes indeed. Caroline should never have answered the telephone when Emil called. Her love for him will bring her down. She could be charged with being an accessory. She should have taken Emil to a good lawyer before going to the cops. She could also have simply identified Ramona's body without mentioning any knowledge Emil's part in this crime. She is completely innocent.

Yes, Emil could turn on Caroline to save his own skin, but I think he really loves Caroline.

Thanks for your encouragement. Maybe I'll rework this, maybe not. We'll see.

Dear Denise,
Thanks for stopping by.

Yes this story may seem a little flat, which is why I wrote 'NCCO' beside the word count. I wrote two other stories that hade a lot more 'colour' and discription and play with contrasting themes etc. I just did not have the time to do more with this. It's a great prompt, so I am sure you can offer it again at some later date.

Your observations about the weaknesses in this text are noted. There are other flaws too. Caroline should act more surprised and even hurt when Emil calls her. She hasn't seen or heard from him in months. She should even be a little angry with him. She could refuse to see him let alone help him.

And yes, Emil shouldn't be so willing to follow her to the police station.

I know I could do more with the woman with the doggie, but that take's time and words that I didn't have here. If I were to just write freely, I could do several fun things with this dog-lady.
Dear Nilanjana,
Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your encouragement.
Dear Sally,
Thank you also for your encouraging words. Yes, I think I painted poor Emil and Caroline into a corner. I may just rewrite the plot and have Emil continue to hid out in the cellar while Caroline goes to the police, identifies the body and pretends to be ignorant of what actually happened.

Thank you all for taking the time to comment!

Best wishes,
Anna said...

You've really got into those characters and the lead up to the crime. Well done.

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