2017 minus 61: Thinking Allowed

Posted: 1 November 2016 in 2017 minus, elephantwords, fiction
Tags: , ,

As I’ve mentioned previously:

Elephant Words was a fiction site to which I contributed stories, on and off, for several years. The idea behind the site was simple, based on the old tale of several blind people describing an elephant based only on touch; one described the animal as a long snake, another that it was hard and bony, still another that it was like a tree trunk. Every week, one of the participants would put up an image, and over the following week, people would write a story inspired upon the image alone.

Occasionally, a story didn’t need the image to contextualise the tale, but I always tried to use it to the point that if the image wasn’t there, I’d have had to change something about the story.

Here’s another one of them; an image, and the story it inspired me to write.



Thinking Allowed

He shut the file and lay back on the bed, stretching out his long legs.

Closing his eyes, he let his mind wander back through the photographs he’d seen, moving them around inside his head, enlarging, merging, overlaying.

This wasn’t unusual and witnesses to the process often thought that he was dozing. But outward appearances to the contrary, the most deductive mind in the building sifted evidence and sorted out the wheat of information from the chaff of data.

One by one the suspects were eliminated in his brain until there were only three… then two… and then, finally, just the one suspect, the only person who as well as the means, motive and opportunity, had the sheers balls to pull off the murder.

The eyes opened and betrayed both satisfaction and disappointment as he knew he could never, would never, reveal the murderer to the authorities. Never again.

His eyes glanced around the place in which he spent twenty-three hours a day; it was a small, small room, kept spotlessly clean, though good hygiene was difficult to achieve and maintain in such a place.

The arrest had been unexpected, the conviction a shock; and yet the police and prosecutors had been adamant: the only way he could have ‘solved’ so many murders with so many different suspects, would have been to frame the alleged perpetrators. Anyone good enough to solve thirty-seven ‘impossible crimes’ was also accomplished enough to have committed them, and then to ensure that someone else took the blame.

And so now, in his cell, he solved murders for his own satisfaction, getting information not from his police contacts (he still vividly recalled the look of resigned contempt on the face of his former friends in the department upon his arrest) but from newspapers and magazines.

He missed being allowed to smoke; hell, he missed a lot of things. But never the puzzles.

He glanced at the window. The message had been there since the day after he had been assigned the cell.

A simple message, written on glass. Four letters, one punctuation mark: HELP!

Written on the outside of a window on the eighth floor of the prison block.

He stared at it once again.

And closed his eyes.

© Lee Barnett

See you tomorrow, with something a lot more fun. It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow, and I get to embarrass him. Come back and see how.

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to 1st January 2017. You can see other posts in the run by clicking here.

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