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Latest Stories

December 09, 2018
Mystery Stories Wally Smith

Body of Evidence

Crime Scene Tours Ltd. had built their business, some would say, on the basis of appealing to people’s morbid curiosity for grisly acts of murder, and Liz and Colin Stevenson therefore had no qualms at all about conducting tours around the scenes of the most…
December 02, 2018
General Stories John L. Yelavich

Aesthetic Shock

Allie is delicate and gentle, waif-like in her presence. Her luminescent smile frames an image that seems so lighthearted. A sense of reality cannot disguise my enamored, whimsical feelings. I rhapsodize her essence in my affectionate mind excursions. She…
December 02, 2018
Fantasy Stories Vidal Martinez

The Purpose of Life

The front door slowly creaks open just as I reach to touch it with my cold, stiff hand. I stand still, hesitant, wanting to walk away, but finally I peek into the house, and through the darkness of the old Victorian home is a shadow of a flickering light from…
December 02, 2018
Fantasy Stories Pat Tyrer

It's All Relative

Before I get started talking about what I did, and why I did, what I did, I need to explain that Harold was no prize. He retired from John Deere because he couldn’t get along with the guy who worked next to him on the line. Not the supervisor, mind you, but…
December 02, 2018
Crime Stories J.D.Plummer

What Goes Around Comes Around

It was 12:45AM on a Tuesday. The old TV in the corner was playing some idiotic sitcom rerun. The ball game had gone into extra innings, but had basically ended a half hour before. There was a couple sitting at the table in the corner, having wandered in…
December 01, 2018
Crime Stories Nicholas Tomsko

Special Delivery

“BE THERE IN 5 MINUTES”...Tammy hit the SEND button and tossed the cell phone. It made a thud as it bounced off of the passenger seat. She hated the feeling of things in her pockets and never used a purse. Cruising the highway during a mild September…
December 01, 2018
Fantasy Stories Marie Anderson

Epiphany

After the meeting, Leo hurried back to his office and filled his briefcase and pockets with everything that mattered. His company mug brimmed with cold coffee. He poured the coffee over his PC’s keyboard, then threw the mug at a framed portrait mounted on the…
December 01, 2018
Romance Stories James Ross

Bones

‘Park here,’ Leo said, ‘We’re early and I’d like to sit in the sunshine for a while.’ Michael parked the car in one of the empty bays and went to purchase a ticket. When he got back to the car Leo was standing by the door grinning broadly. 'See!' he said.…
December 01, 2018
Mystery Stories Virginia Revel

The Shape I'm In

“Good morning, Mr. McCord.” “Good morning Dr. Porter,” I say, inclining my head slightly in his direction. His answering nod pays tribute to my quiet self-possession. I show him no hostility, but I do not pretend he is my friend. There will be no heartiness…
December 01, 2018
General Stories Jesse McKinnell

Hi, My Name is Mark

The drug store stretched out in front of Mark like a fun house, dizzying in its array of colors and textures and smells. Racks filled with Halloween candy, masks and plastic pumpkins sat in front, requiring shoppers to battle through their compulsions before…
December 01, 2018
General Stories Roger Ley

Harley

“It’s in here,” said Martin as he unlocked the door of the old, dilapidated wooden shed. “My dad lets me use this as a garage.” The shed was sited on the edge of the golf course that his father’s family owned. They went inside. It didn’t smell too bad, and it…
December 01, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Matt King

In Formation

Honking, the geese fly overhead in a giant V as the sky reddens in the late September dawn. Tralley watches them for a moment before continuing to unload the pickup truck outside the transmission tower high on the hill. Rucker fixating on his smartphone in…

 

 

Keith Kellerman entered his brother’s house, quietly, searching for the corpse.  He found it in the front parlor.  His brother, Robert, was sitting slumped over in his favorite chair.  It was evening, dark now, and Kellerman hadn’t bothered to switch on any lights.  The room was in shadows, yet Kellerman recognized Robert’s outline perfectly.  That was his older brother there, slumped over, dead.  Robert was an old man, seventy-nine years old, yet he’d been healthy before this.  Kellerman wasn’t far behind his brother in age: himself seventy-five, yet now it looked as if he’d be the last.  Moving closer, he knelt down next Robert.  He felt for a pause.  Nothing.  He felt for a breath.  Nothing.  Yes, Robert was truly gone.

Kellerman grinned.

_ _ _ _

 

Over the years, the great many years that made up their lifetimes, Kellerman had grown to despise his older brother.  For as long as he could remember, Robert had been the stand out.  Robert was always the smartest.  Robert was always the fastest.  Robert got whatever he wanted, while Kellerman lived in obscurity, forever in second place.  It was Robert who was sent to the best schools.  It was Robert who gained success as a wealthy industrialist, while little Keith Kellerman had to tag along on his brother’s heals, contending himself with being his brother’s servant.  He’d done just that, spending the

best years of his life serving his wealthy older brother, constantly playing second fiddle and hating every moment of it.

Kellerman had sworn that he would someday live to see his brother buried.  Then two months ago, he’d gotten the word from his doctor that he had cancer.  Cancer!  Sure enough, Robert, though older, was still in perfect health.  All his life, Kellerman had lived for the day when his older brother would be dead, and gone, and he’d be the only one left.  Now it seemed as if Robert was also going to enjoy the privilege of being the last to go.  Kellerman couldn’t allow that.  Somehow, Robert would have to die first.

 

_ _ _ _

 

Kellerman had been extremely careful in sorting out the details.  After all, he didn’t wish to spend his final days, his only days without Robert, under incarceration for murder.  Ironically, it was Robert’s way of life that showed Kellerman the way.

Robert didn’t get to the top of the business world without learning how to eliminate some of the competition along the way.  Whenever a rival businessman would try to muscle in on Robert’s territory, Robert would have them killed.  During these occasions, Keith Kellerman always had a hand in helping his brother set it up.  Over the years, he’d learned to be somewhat of an expert in setting up contract hits.  He knew just the right people to contact, who was safe and who wasn’t.  For Kellerman, the task of choosing and hiring the proper assassin for the proper job was an easy one.  No matter where you go, you can always find the proper killer for the proper price.

Over the years, it was amazing to Kellerman just how many decent people with good paying professional jobs also moonlighted as murderers.  Those were the people he looked for, people with double lives who wouldn’t risk jeopardizing their primary careers by doing a shoddy job of murder.

That’s the kind of person that Kellerman had solicited to assassinate his brother.

As he could see, the killer had followed his directions quiet well.  Kellerman didn’t want his brother’s death to be messy or particularly violent.  He wanted it to be clean, and as far as he could tell, it was.  Looking over Robert again, he didn’t see any blood or any other signs of a struggle.  The killer had been quick and professional.

That was good.  Despite his confidence in this field, Kellerman was always nervous during the moments before an assassination was made.  He couldn’t help but be apprehensive, worrying that something might go wrong.  It wasn’t until the deed was done that he could relax, that he could be sure that things went according to plan.  He felt this way because he never actually got to meet the killer in person.  All transactions were done through correspondence in order to further distance himself from the crime.  So far, this policy had served Kellerman well.

The killer was told to come to Robert’s house at exactly eleven o’clock that night.  He was given Robert’s description: an old man with bright gray hair, dark eyes; he always carried a gold pocket watch with him, even at night.

The pocket watch.   Robert never went anywhere without it.  He even took it to bed with him.  Searching through his brother’s pockets, Kellerman found it, and took it.  The pocket watch had belonged to their grandfather.  It was an antique, a priceless heirloom.  Grandfather had giving it to Robert shortly before he died so many years ago.  Kellerman had always been bitter about that.  Why did Robert always get everything?  Throughout his life, Robert had cherished that watch.  He kept it with him constantly, for good luck, and good luck was all he’d ever had.

Kellerman had always seen that watch as a symbol of success.  Now it was his.  Holding in his hands, he looked it over with great satisfaction.  He checked the time, just a little after eleven o’clock.  Robert had kept it in working order all these years.  Satisfied, he placed it in his pocket.  It’s mine now.  Mine.

Just then, the front door bell rang.  Jolted, Kellerman swung towards it.  Someone’s here, probably a neighbor or a servant coming to check up on Robert.  That’s perfect, he decided.  Now he could play the part of the distraught brother who just found his older brother dead, which would further illustrate his innocence.

Going to the door, he opened up, not recognizing the man standing at the threshold.  He wasn’t a servant.  A neighbor perhaps.

“Mr. Kellerman?” the man asked.

“Yes.  Please come in.  I’m afraid something terrible has happened.”

Kellerman allowed the man to enter and shut the door.

Turning, he noticed that the man was looking at the watch chain that dangled from his pocket.  The man was wearing a pair of leather gloves, and grinning.

Before Kellerman could gasp, the man reached out with his gloved hands and gripped him tightly around the throat.  No, he tried to say but couldn’t.  You’ve got the wrong man!  Struggling, Kellerman tried to shout, to let the man know that Robert was in the other room.  Dead.  But how?  If this is the assassin, how did Robert die?

Kellerman was old.  The killer was not.  It only took a few seconds for Kellerman to die.

_ _ _ _

 

Later afterwards, both Robert and Keith Kellerman were placed side by side in separate storage lockers at the county morgue.  The head medical examiner was there along with his assistant, putting the finishing touches on the autopsy reports for both brothers.

It was found that the oldest one, Robert Kellerman, had died naturally of heart failure while reading in his chair.  Not a bad way to go.  The youngest brother, Keith, had died a much worse way.  Affixation.  Death by murder.

“Pretty strange,” the assistant said.  “Two brothers on the same night.  One died naturally.  The other killed.”

“Yeah, it’s a weird one,” the medical examiner agreed.

“The cops will have a hell of a time figuring this one out.”

The medical examiner shrugged.  “We’ll let them worry about it.  Come on, let’s get some lunch.”

While following him, the assistant asked, “What’s that gold chain you have hanging out of your pocket?”

“What, this?” the medical examiner took a gold watch from his pocket.  “Here, have a look.”

The assistant looked it over and whistled.  “That’s real gold?  Wow.”

“Yeah,” the medical examiner said.  “It’s an heirloom.”  Complements of my night job, he thought but didn’t say.

 

The End

 

Author Bio: George Ebey is the author of Broken Clock; Dimensions: Tales of Suspense; The Red Bag and Widowfield. He is a graduate of The University of Akron with a bachelor's degree in History, as well as from Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in writing. George is a contributing editor to the International Thriller Writer's web-zine, the Big Thrill. He lives with his wife, Gail, in Northeast Ohio.

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