Weekly Shorts

Story Chain

The Story Chain was set in motion by Dian Bowers, founding member of Wordsmiths Alliston and this idea of hers, proved to be very popular amongst the writers. In this challenge, our first story of the series, the participants were divided into three groups. The story was written by 13 authors in total, each one only aware of the previous chapter and using that to craft their part of the story.

When you take part, you can direct the story whether or not it is established. So, sway it in the direction of your own imaginings…when you have the control that is. But if you are not the last in line be ready… it may not have the ending as you imagined.

If you are intrigued and might be interested in a challenge of this kind, let us know.


The prompt for this story chain is: “The inspector let slip that the body was well preserved, but missing an appendage, which had been cruelly severed while they were still alive.”

The first story in this chain will be presented in four chapters over the next five weeks and written by:

Chapter 1 – Mike Crompton, Chapter 2 – Isolde Ryan, Chapter 3 – Mary Penner, Chapter 4 – Erin Frey and Chapter 5 – Joannie Kavanaugh

The title is…

Murder, Murder, Murder – chapter 1

by Mike Crompton

Photo by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.com

The call came in to police headquarters at about 9 am. Detective Inspector Paul Simons was told a well-preserved body had been found in the alley just off Simpson Street. Detective Paul was not pleased, he was suffering from a huge hangover from the night out at the local bar and strip club. It was his best friend Bill’s stag party and everyone had tied on a complete blinder.

Arriving at the scene Paul saw the body of a man, around 30 years old, dressed in a suit and showing no obvious signs of trauma. He cordoned off the scene, took several photographs and measurements making sure that none of the potential evidence was disturbed or destroyed. The alley was dark, even at that time of the morning, and had a smell of rotting garbage. He noticed a couple of surveillance cameras that could have recorded events in the alley if they were working during whatever had taken place.

Satisfied he had got whatever he needed from the scene he called the coroner to take away the body. He then approached the back doors of the businesses that opened on the alley. The first was a nightclub that in the daylight hours lost any of its dubious charm. The manager of the club said that there had been an altercation between two guys that had erupted into a fight.  He had security kick both of them out into the alley. He didn’t know what happened after that.

The next business was a dance studio offering, at highly inflated rates, dance moves to guys with two left feet that were guaranteed to knock any girl off her feet. The impresario owner told Paul that last night had been very busy. The studio was very crowded, so he opened the back door to let in some air and allow the hot and sweaty men to cool off. Since they had all paid in advance he didn’t care if they left after cooling down or having a ‘smoke’.

The last business was a Chinese restaurant that stayed open 24 hours. Waiters, cooks and family members of the owner often went out in the alley for a quick breather. Last night the owner had called on several members of their local Tong or gang to confront a rival family. They were bent on taking over the lucrative Chinese food takeout business. Brandishing clubs, they rushed into the restaurant yelling and screaming that they were the new owners. The Tong members and family confronted them with vicious- looking Chinese knives and chased them into the alley.

All this left Paul with several obvious scenarios that could have led to the murder of the dead man in the alley. He viewed videos from the surveillance cameras that thankfully were operational on that night. Although grainy and jerky, only taking one frame every couple of seconds, he was able to see the confrontations that had taken place through the night. None of them led to any conclusive evidence of the murder or perpetrator.

Now it was the footslogging mind-numbing work of finding, interrogating and eliminating or charging the identifiable men in the videos.

It was at this time that Paul got the call from the coroner. It completely stunned him and left him tottering on the edge of disbelief. The body was that of Jim Hollinger an ex-lover of Susie, the soon-to-be-bride of Bill, Paul’s best friend. His naked body had been stabbed viciously many times, then dressed and obviously dumped. The most shocking thing was that his penis had been severed and was nowhere to be found. The list of suspects had changed drastically.

You can follow the story in the ‘Archives’ section under ‘Story Chains’


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