Sunday, August 7, 2011


For contest rules, go here

Lanette Kauten
Fantasy Mystery

The lifeless body taunted me with its secrets. “Male. Three feet, two inches tall. Post-mortem weight ninety-six pounds. Ligature marks on the neck suggest strangulation.” I turned off the voice recorder and leaned on the exam table.
A dead leprechaun. That’s what I have to work with. A dead freakin’ leprechaun. At least with a dead vampire I could start with DNA testing and find the family members of his most recent victims, but how was I to find the killer of a leprechaun? Investigate The Gold Exchange?
Searching both of his pouches, I learned two things. One: whoever it was must have known that the single gold coin was nothing more than a decoy because it remained in the leprechaun’s pouch. Two: the silver shilling was gone. It was my first break in the case. Once the shilling returned, I could place a reverse trace on it to… to do what? No one uses shillings any more, not even the creatures I investigate in the Mythological Victims Unit.
The sound of the door swinging open interrupted my thoughts. “Alright, Cutter.  Whatcha got?”
“Shit, Frank. That’s what I got. Shit.” I turned to face my supervisor. Normally, I didn’t mind Frank’s cocky swagger, but this time everything about him irritated me from his neatly combed hair to his shoes which seemed permanently shined.
He looked over my shoulder. “Good thing he’s dead. He might be offended to hear someone call him shit. Respect the dead. He’s a leprechaun.”
“I know, and that’s the problem. Leprechaun murders are nearly impossible to solve.” I turned back to the body to continue processing it.
“That’s why I put you on the case, Cutter. You’re the best coroner I have.”
“Yeah, yeah. I'm your only coroner.” I dismissed Frank and selected a small brush and a Petri dish from the metal table beside the victim. Carefully, I brushed a small amount of gold-colored dust off of his shirt and set the dish aside. 
“What do you have there?” Frank stepped closer.
“Probably gold dust. Nothing unusual for his species,” I muttered while unbuttoning the victim’s shirt. His chest bore no marks, but I took a few pictures anyway. I asked Frank to roll him over. His back looked clean.
“That’s what we have. Ligature marks and gold dust.”
I removed his finely crafted shoes. The supple leather and exquisite hand stitching could have only been done by one of his kind. Frank picked them up and whistled. “I need a pair like these.”
“Next time I see a live leprechaun, I’ll ask him to make you a pair.” I tugged on the creature’s pants and pulled them off.
“Oh, God! Cutter!” Frank threw up.
I looked to see what had made Frank sick. “Men can be such pansies about certain things.”
Blood caked where his scrotum should have been. The red hairs on the inside of his thighs were matted with a scant amount of the sticky body fluid.


Lindsey R. Loucks said...

Wow, this is good! I love the idea, and the MC's voice is great!

A few tiny nit-picks, but feel free to ignore them: How about a new paragraph with 'Searching both of his pouches' to break that large paragraph up?

Also, when Bones looks to see what made Frank sick, consider putting what she saw before her dialog. That way the reader sees what she sees exactly when she sees it.

But otherwise, good job! And good luck!

Michael A Tate said...

An interesting concept, and I'm intrigued to learn more. But as the occasional viewer of network TV, a couple things jumped out at me as kinda 'fan fictiony.'

The Mythological Victims Unit, feels a lot like the Law and Order Special Victims Unit. And calling your MC 'Bones' made me think of the show 'Bones.' I think she's a corerner as well...not sure since I never watched it...but I think that's a pretty close guess.

I think if you cleaned up a couple of those things, your story would really start to shine, because like the previous poster identified, you have a strong voice.

petemorin said...


Great opening - you have a dead leprechaun, I have a dead drug dealer. Dead body on page one.

You have a "blood" echo in the last line. Other than than, I love it.

MarcyKate said...

Love this! Also, EWW!

I agree with Michael - Bones is kind of overused for doctors, to the point of being cliched. From Star Trek to the current Bones show on Fox, it's the default nickname for doctors (next to "doc" of course :))

Otherwise, this was fantastic - Good luck!

Tom Hoefner said...

Really vivid imagery, and that's great. Interesting back-and-forth regarding the dead leprechaun and I liked her thoughts about how much easier it was to ID vampires.

The first line is to poetic for a forensic scientist. I'd lose it. Frank throwing up and her comment following struck me as cheap jokes at the expense of men. Took me out of what little I already knew of these characters. You absolutely have to change your protagonist's name from "Bones". It feels too much like TV-based fanfic otherwise.

Good work!

Lanette said...

Thanks for everyone's comments. I don't even watch TV, so until I put up a snippet on another blog a couple of weeks, I didn't know about the show "Bones". Changing a nickname is not a big deal.

As to Dr. Grey's snarky comment about men being pansies, that was added after my critique group mentioned that there was no way to identify her in the first chapter as female, so I put that in there as both a gender identifier and because it fit within her personality to make fun of her captain. In the original draft, they both got sick.