Mystery and Crime Fiction posted March 2, 2014

This work has reached the exceptional level
Fatal Beauty

The Woman in Red

by lancellot

The Detective is Caught! Contest Winner 
Pain pounded behind my eyes like a kid with his first drum set. My lips were cracked and my tongue was coated with something I didn’t want to identify. I didn’t take long to notice that I was strapped to my office chair and couldn’t move.

The good news was if you’re ever in a bad way then it’s a plus to be on your own turf. The bad news was that I wasn’t alone. The acrid scent of cigarette smoke brought my attention to the sofa in the corner. Sitting there glaring at me with intense eyes was a woman I had never seen before. She was beautiful, full red lips, long shapely legs and a red dress that hugged her body like a happy lover.

For several seconds we did nothing but stare at each other, me with the bad taste of vomit in my mouth and her with what I knew was the smooth flavor of a Marlboro between her lovely lips. Not wanting to be rude I thought it best that I speak to the lady who was a guest in my humble abode.
“You know, when I first noticed I was tied naked to my chair, I thought I was having a flashback to my college days, but when I saw such a classy and beautiful lady sitting across from me, well…I am too much of a gentleman to relate what my immediate thoughts were, and if I weren’t so tired I ‘m sure you would be able to see them manifest for yourself.”

I thought it was a good line, not too long, not accusatory, and with a touch of sophomoric humor. It wasn’t my best, to be sure, but I expected to illicit at least a little smile. She raised a brow and then slowly stood up. Like a cat she sauntered across the room, never once taking her hypnotic eyes off mine. Remember, I was completely naked, and despite my fatigue was beginning to get a bit aroused.  Sadly, my growing pride never drew so much as a peek from her. I’m not a bad looking guy. The notches on my bedpost aren’t for show, but the lady was a smoking hot ice queen.

She stopped before me and leaned her face down to mine. I could feel the heat coming off her body in waves that penetrated by flesh, as I desired to do to her.  The sweet fragrance of her perfume drew in my mind and clouded my reasoning. She slowly parted her ruby lips and blew a thick stream of grey smoke into my face. I couldn’t help it. Tired or not my manhood stood up proudly like a mighty Redwood. When her crystal eyes finally looked down at my straining member, I wanted nothing more than to rejoice in attaining her attention. If she had kissed me at that moment, I would have lost it, but sex was not what she wanted.

“Now that the drugs have clearly worn off, Detective Durant, we can get down to business.” She looked down at my hardness, and then back up at my eyes. “And, no, I’m not talking about that sort of business, I’m sorry to say.”

I didn’t know if she meant it, but I was a lot sadder than her. Still, since she wasn’t going to ravage my body, I felt I had better pay attention or hers could be the last pair of legs I saw.

“I assure you, my dear lady, the disappointment is all mine. Since you’re not here to send me to Heaven, I can only guess I have to ticket on that southbound train for some reason.”

She turned and walked back to the sofa. Like a trained puppy my eyes followed the rhythmic sway of her hips as she glided away. The woman was clearly too perfect to be natural. I suspected a rich benefactor had paid for man to enhance what nature began.

“Mr. Durant, yesterday you questioned Congressman Monroe in his home. The Congressman was very forthcoming during what should have been a simple conversation.”

“Yes, he is man who should never drink with an Irishman.”

“Indeed. The people I represent do not care about why the Congressman confessed to you, but they are very concerned that he did. We know that you recorded the interview, and we know the tape is not at your home.”

“How do you…oh, I see.”

“Yes, I’m afraid your housekeeper will be quite busy for some time. Mr. Durant, I won’t insult your intelligence by threatening to kill you, or cutting off what clearly means a lot to you. It is quite impressive by the way.”

“Thank you,” I said, but despite the compliment, the damage was done. There are only a few things a woman can say that will cause instant shrinkage, and she had mentioned two of them. “So, you’re not going to kill me?”

“Oh yes, I most certainly will kill you after I’m done here. I only meant I would not lie to you about it. Your choices are simple. You can give me what I want and die quickly and alone, or you can hold out, and, Mr. Durant, I promise… you will not die alone. I think you know what I mean.”

What could I say? I knew full well. If she had been through my house, then she knew all about my ex-wife and my daughter. Despite her striking feminine form, the lady in red had none of the kind virtues of a woman. I knew she would kill my family without a hint of remorse.

“Okay, the tape is in my safe behind the picture on the wall over there.” I nodded toward the picture of a smiling Betty Page.  My would-be-killer walked over and removed the painting from the wall, revealing the combination safe behind. “If you untie my hands, I can open it for you. It's better if I do it.”

For the first time, she smiled at me. Instantly I felt a warm bolt of lust shoot back to my loins. I knew that last look of her perfect face would haunt my dreams forever.

“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Durant. I’m sure there’s no gun in here, but a woman can’t be too careful, can she? Just give me the combination, please.”

I took a moment and lowered my eyes to the floor. I tapped my foot a few times to appear conflicted.

“It’s thirteen to the left, twenty to the right, and… ten to the left.  My daughter is only nine-years-old. She doesn’t know anything about what I do. There is no reason to hurt her.” I put as much strain and pleading in my voice as possible. “You could just walk out now and change your life. I’ll even help you.”

“No thank you, kind knight, and we have no interest in your child.” She turned the dial with expert precision and the lock clicked open. “For her sake I will put your clothes back on after you’re dead. So you will be found with dignity.”

She opened the door, and a massive explosion of steel and flame consumed her once flawless face.

It took the cops and the fire department fifteen minutes to arrive. It took several hours downtown to explain my kidnapping, how a headless woman came to be in my office, and in the end they still considered charging me for the booby-trapped safe.

The police ran fingerprints and searched her purse, but she had no Identification on file or on her person. It’s not easy to make a person disappear, but it was clear whoever her employers were, they had power.

I get threats to my life all the time. It comes with the territory, which is why I keep a booby-trapped safe. That the headless woman was willing to bring my kid into this was more than I wanted to deal with. I gave copies of the Congressman’s confession to the F.B.I. and to the New York Times.  Since there were people willing to kill to keep it quiet, I figured the best thing to do was to shout it to the world.

I gave my housekeeper the night off and set to cleaning my house alone, but that was how I liked it. It was just one more day in the life of Alex Durant, detective for hire.

Writing Prompt
You are a clever detective. You are in your room. When you wake up, you're tied to a chair. What happens next?
Any form of literature is allowed: poems, novels, etc.
Length 500 ~ 2000 words.

The Detective is Caught!
Contest Winner


The sexual innuendo is how Alex Durant deals with fear. It is a common ploy for some people.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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