To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on the first Monday of every month. At the end of the month, I’ll take the story down and post another.
December is the time for holiday stories, so here is a seasonal murder mystery for you to enjoy. And it’s not just any old murder either – no, the victim is Santa Claus himself and he first tried to rob a jewellery store, too.
So follow Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd and her team, as they deal with the mysterious case of the murdered Santa in…
A Bullet for Father Christmas
Detective Inspector Helen Shepherd wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or relieved when her cell phone rang, calling her away from the pre-Christmas shopping rush.
By the time she reached the crime scene, she had settled on annoyed, at least partly spurred on by an unseasonal downpour that had drenched her to the skin.
“Afternoon, boss,” PC Walker greeted her, an entirely too cheerful grin on his freckled face. He held up a paper cup. “I got you some latte. With cinnamon.”
“Thank you, Constable.” Helen took the cup, though truth to be told, she preferred her coffee plain, black and definitely without cinnamon. Honestly who in their right mind would pour cinnamon into coffee anyway?
“Oh, you’re going to love this one, boss,” PC Walker said, his face so full of jolly good cheer as if he was planning to give Father Christmas a run for his money, “Dr. Rajiv says he’s never seen anything like it.”
“It’s two days to Christmas, I’m wet and cold and on top of all that I’m supposed to get a Dancing Groot toy for my niece, whatever the hell that may be…”
“It’s a tree,” PC Walker volunteered, “A dancing tree. From the movie, you know?”
Helen glared at him and he shut up.
“…and now I’m being dragged away from the vital quest to procure that Dancing whatever toy. So no, I’m very definitely not loving this case.”
Helen scowled at the building. “Wilkinson & Smythe, Fine Jewellers,” the discreet gilded letters above the door read, “Established 1753”.
She ducked under police tape and stepped into the shop. The interior was as posh as the exterior suggested, all mahogany and chandeliers and a thick fluffy carpet that was currently marred by the body of Father Christmas lying on his back, blood staining his beard and the fur trimming of his suit, dead eyes staring up at the stuccoed ceiling.
“All right, this is… different.”
“See, I told you you’d love this,” PC Walker said, until a glare from Helen quieted him.
“He’s not the real deal, in case you’re wondering.” Dr. Rajiv pulled a thermometer from Father Christmas’ liver. “The beard is fake for starters.”
“Do we know who he was?” Helen asked.
“Kris Kringle…” PC Walker exclaimed. Helen glared at him.
“Uhm, sorry, boss,” PC Walker excused himself, “Actually we don’t know who Father Christmas here was, since he wasn’t carrying any ID. It’s probably not required at the North Pole.”
Helen sighed. It was going to be one of those days.
This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in A Bullet For Father Christmas. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.