ticket2write Yahoo Group
ticket2write Bulletins
Children's Stories
Crime & Thriller
Historical (fiction)
Travel (non-fiction)
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Plays & Scripts
Writer's Guides
Fiction Market
Poetry Market

Click to subscribe to yahooclubs

In Association with Amazon.com

In Association with WD





Crime & Thriller


A. Francis




‘The Ice Maiden’

The Ice Maiden

The magistrate peered down over his gold-rimmed spectacles at the man and the  woman standing in the court before him.

“Is it any wonder” he admonished them “that the world is in such a state of conflict when neighbours such as you two are unable to co-exist in harmony. I intend to be lenient with you this time. You sir, will pay for the damage to this lady’s door and you madam, will keep your noise to an acceptable level. You will each pay your own costs and will both be bound over to keep the peace. Case dismissed


Perhaps Joe had hammered too hard on her front door for he hadn’t intended to break the ornate leaded lights. He’d got off on the wrong foot at  their first meeting. Well, how was he to know Sadie preferred the company of other women. They ought to go round with a badge of some sort, or a tee shirt ‘I love ladies’on the front. If she’d worn that, he wouldn’t have tried to chat her up but she was a tasty piece and he fancied her something rotten. All he said when she first moved in next door was: “Did you hurt yourself when you fell out of heaven”. The look she gave him would have frozen Old Nick himself. Ever after that he referred to her as the ice maiden.


Sadie had been in residence less than a week before another female started to call round during the daytime. It was then that the music would blare out full volume. Perhaps the newcomer was deaf he thought. It wouldn’t have been a problem except that he was on night shift and was trying to catch up on lost sleep. A gentle hint that they turned down the volume brought no response. Was she deliberately trying to alienate him just because he’d made a simple pass?

And then suddenly he knew the answer: during a lull between the CD changing  tracks he heard it: the swish of a whip and the moan of the recipient as the lash contacted bare flesh with a crack. Had the music not faltered, he would have been none the wiser. The ruddy dykes were sado-masochists. Well, everyone to his or her own preferences so long as it didn’t disturb his sleep. That’s when he hammered on the door and broke the glazing and that’s why they both ended up in court.


It was on the Sunday, a week after the court hearing that Joe strolled down to a secluded cove with binoculars to study a pair of choughs that looked as if they might nest up in the cliffs. A rare event indeed and one which he would keep to himself. But there was another event taking place at the waterline. He swung his glasses around at the sound of feminine laughter. “Good God”, he said out loud to himself “Can’t I ever get shot of those two bitches”. It was his neighbour and her girlfriend larking about in the surf. Suddenly the seventh wave crashed over the pair and the ebbing current dragged in Sadie. Obviously unable to swim she was dragged out of her depth and was frantically calling to her friend, also a non-swimmer. With no other soul in sight, Joe rushed down to the water’s edge, discarding his clothes on the way, flung off his shoes and dived in to the rescue.

When he finally got her ashore she appeared to have lost consciousness.

She had a pulse but wasn’t breathing so he applied artificial respiration by mouth to mouth. A sudden cough, and a spurt of seawater ejected from her lungs. She was alive but dazed and unable to comprehend what was happening. In the meantime her friend had alerted the rescue services and a helicopter whisked  Sadie and her friend off to hospital where they were informed that but for the swift action of their unknown saviour Sadie would now be in the morgue.


It was a month before he met them again. He couldn’t avoid them, they were walking arm in arm towards him on the same pavement. As they passed, Sadie deliberately turned her head away but her friend stopped and said to him “You’re him aren’t you”?. “Sorry” he said “you must be mistaking me for someone else.” “Wish you hadn’t done that” said Sadie. “That’s the rat from next door.  I hate his guts”. “I know it’s him”, said her friend “he’s got that dagger tattooed on his right hand the same as the man who saved your life”. “You’re imagining things. He wouldn’t pee on me if I were on fire. Let’s get home and have some tea”.


Night shift at the morgue again. Must be serious. Home Office pathologist down special. Joe dragged out case number 332 from the freezer cabinet. A young woman. Suspected murder. Assailant unknown. Cause of death: to be ascertained. They pulled off the sheet to expose Sadie Joe’s next-door neighbour. Even in death she was beautiful. The full lips that Joe had contacted during resuscitation, when, even though salty, were as velvet to the touch. The firm breasts his hands had contacted whilst trying to expel the water from her lungs. The smooth curve of her hips; the perfectly formed legs and delicate feet. If there was such an entity as a perfect woman, she was laying in front of him on this cold slab. Sir Bernard addressed Joe: “Pass me that fine toothed comb laddie”. It was the type of instrument Joe had seen used by the nit nurse at school.

Sir Bernard proceeded to gently comb through Sadie’s pubic hair. He passed through it a couple of times and then exclaimed “Eureka, a ginger hair by god, we’ve got you now matey”. He placed the single hair in a plastic bag and proceeded to swab the vagina for any signs of semen. The swabs came out clean. “No juices at all” said Sir Bernard “I would definitely say she did not consent to intercourse and her attacker wore protection. Right let’s have a look at her last supper”. During all his years as a mortuary assistant, Joe had never got used to the sound and sight of the electric saw slicing through bone. When he first started they would break through the rib cage with giant secateurs. Nowadays it was the buzz saw throwing up crumbs of bone like sawdust.

As they pulled the rib cage apart, the sucking sound was like a Wellington boot emerging with difficulty from a quagmire. Delving his gloved hands inside the body cavity, Sir Bernard withdrew the stomach, sliced through the pyloric canal just short of the gall bladder and let it drape over the left side into a dish. Having lanced through the stomach wall, he then scraped out the inside with a spatula and proceeded to sift through the contents. “Nothing out of the ordinary here” said Sir Bernard “but better get it down to the lab and check it out for drugs. What evidence have you to suggest murder anyway. Slight contusion to the throat but not enough to restrict breathing. No signs of violent injury.  Nothing under the nails to suggest a struggle with an assailant. No rope marks on wrists or ankles. At this stage I would say it was a case of non-consensual sexual intercourse possibly inducing severe shock, causing cardiac arrest and death. So unless the lab comes up with something, there’s little more for me to do. I suggest you look around for a boy friend with ginger hair.”

The regular pathologist assisting Sir Bernard interrupted with “I understand, she was a lesbian Sir Bernard and also a masochist judging by the contusions on her buttocks and upper legs”. “Well there you go then. With some of the games these girls get up to it could well be a case of aeroembolism”. He turned to Joe “Stick it all back laddie and strap it together. I’m off for a cup of coffee and a bun. We’ll have the ticker out later. Should have this tied up before morning. Got a game of golf tomorrow afternoon. That’s the only reason I came down here really. Invite from the chief constable for 18 holes at his local club.

Joe returned Sadie to the freezer; hosed down the slab and floor; tossed his gloves in the waste bin and went to the wash room to clean up, thinking to himself ‘why didn’t they notice that tiny needle prick on her bottom. Couldn’t spot it because of all the bruising I suppose’, but who was he to tell Sir Bernard his job. Silly old duffer must be going blind. Blind drunk like as not.

Standing in front of the mirror he took out his comb, glanced at the reflection of the dagger tattoo on his hand and smiled a secretive smile as he pulled the comb through his mop of ginger hair.