Subject: Shifting POV
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Due: This Month
So here’s something I tossed together this month. It’s probably longer than 500 words. My intent was to find a way to go third-person to second to first to second to third, but that didn’t really pan out with the story I had in my head. So it’s third to first to second to third to something to third. It also doesn’t read as perfectly as I might want it to, were I to try to publish it. If I were to do that, I’d definitely go back and clean it up a lot more and add some flavor (build the scenes out more, establish a bit more of the characters, etc.).
Frank frantically knocked on Jean’s door while simultaneously trying the door knob. Jean got up from her desk and calmly opened the door.
“Come on in, Frank,” she said with an exasperated tone. She knew what was going to come out of his mouth before he even said it. She didn’t want to do this, but she knew it was finally coming.
“Jeannie! Thank God you’re here! The cops are after me and they say they’ve got proof I did it! But I ain’t done nothin’! You know that! They won’t stop chasin’ me ! Come on, I gotta go! I’ve gotta get out of here!” Frank’s mouth could barely stop running as fast as his heart beat.
Jean went back to her desk and sat down. “Pull up a chair, Frank. I gotta tell you about what I’ve been doing,” she said as slow and calm as she could. She knew he was on edge and was ready to run at any minute. “You hired me to investigate this case and that’s just what I’ve done. The last day has turned up a lot…”
After you told me about your trip back to your father’s house and how you found Sharon there rifling through Tom’s desk, I figured Tom’s will might not have actually been with his lawyer.
I took a late night trip to Tom’s and decided to do a little digging. It surprised me that even though Tom’s been in the ground for two weeks now, Sharon still hasn’t bothered to change those locks on his office door. That’s kinda dangerous since Tom’s killer is still on the loose, but I guess Sharon isn’t too worried about it.
Tom’s desk didn’t reveal anything new, which makes sense. The cops did a pretty good job going over that. The only new thing I could find was a few pictures of your father and Sharon in a drawer mixed in with older love letters between him and your mother. It was a shame to see her go, but it was good to finally see him happy and moving on. When he would smile, everybody in the room would feel it. And he hadn’t smiled much since Helen’s death, had he?
Sorry… I’m getting off track, it’s just that your father was a great man and whoever did this must’ve had a serious grudge. Anyways, I took a step back from the scene and realized that if he really wanted to keep that will a secret then he wasn’t going to hide it in the first place anyone would look.
So I headed downstairs. None of you have wanted to go into that basement since Helen died down there three years ago, so it made sense that if he really wanted that will hidden, the basement was the best place to go. There were cobwebs and dust over everything. There’s so much of Helen down there that all of you have tried to hide to help get over her. But there was one thing that looked odd.
In all of that dust and dirt it’s easy to follow someone’s tracks. A pile of boxes looked like they had been drug out of the corner and then pushed back into place. I pulled them back and found the concrete underneath had been torn up and replaced. I tossed the concrete chunks to the side and dug through a few inches of soil and found everything I needed to close this case.
Still not following me, Frank? Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but he was on to Sharon and he had me trailing her even before he died. But here’s the thing, I also discovered something I didn’t get a chance to show him before he died.
Now don’t get all worked up, Frank. Calm down. It’s over now. Officer Pendleton is actually over there in the other room. I’m the one who told them about you. Sharon has already been brought in for her part in this, but they weren’t completely sure about you, so that’s why we set this little meeting up.
Not gonna fess up yet, Frank? Well, let me walk you through it.
You weren’t a big fan of Sharon when she first started dating your father. She was half his age and seemed like she was just there for the money. But after a while, you came to like her.
The two of you were even starting to get kinda close. You started taking walks around the grounds together and taking canoes out on the lake. Tom noticed it too, but he didn’t want to say anything. That’s why he was such a great guy. Even if things were falling apart around him, he’d do what he had to to keep his family happy.
So you and Sharon kept getting closer. Close enough to end up in bed together. At the rate you were going, you were never going to move out of your father’s house. But you also couldn’t stand the idea of sharing the same woman, could you? And she must have confessed that she was really in love with you around that same time because that’s when things started getting colder between the two of you and him.
It was around two or so months ago that the two of you started looking into his will. He was already talking about changing it and you both got suspicious. You wanted to know who else could be involved in getting his money, so you started snooping around.
It was that night he caught you searching through his desk that it all came to a head. You were both shouting, he told you that you needed to get out of the house and then you lost it.
Sharon came down while you were both yelling and knew it wasn’t going to end well for either of you. She went to your gun safe and got your revolver. Then either you or her took that shot as Tom started to walk out of the room. Both of your prints showed up on that gun so the only question that remains is who pulled the trigger. What we do know is that you must have been the one to run the gun back to your safe because you knew the staff would show up soon.
So when everyone came in, you both played it innocent. Sharon had already cracked the back door to make it look like someone ran out, so everyone thought they were looking for some outside party.
“It was a pretty good crime,” Jean said, lighting her cigarette. “You both could have gotten away with it if it weren’t for what I’d found in the basement. You thought he still had the original will with the lawyer, but he’d taken it out a few days before to start making changes.” She dropped the documents on the desk in front of her. Officer Pendleton had come out of hiding in Jean’s bedroom and stood behind Frank, but Frank was in too much shock to even react.
“That’s… that’s… No. We loved Dad. You don’t understand. I’ve never touched Sharon.”
Jean dropped three photos on the desk. One showed Sharon and Frank out on the lake in a canoe. Another had them walking around the grounds and talking. The third showed them both sitting on a bench. Sharon had her head on Frank’s shoulder.
Frank stared in amazement. “These are completely out of context. Why would you have these?” He asked.
“Like I said, he didn’t trust you two.” she said in an almost apologetic voice. Officer Pendleton stood Frank up and put handcuffs on him. “No. This doesn’t make sense. He was there too. He should have been in these pictures!” Frank was practically yelling, but at no one in particular. “Come on,” Officer Pendleton said, “we’ll go over it all at the station. Thanks for your help, Jean.”
“No problem, Jack,” she said, still sounding sad. “I’m so sorry about this. About how it turned out.”
Officer Pendleton just nodded at her in agreement and escorted Frank out the door.
Thank you for everything you’ve done for my family. You’ve always been there to help with business concerns and to look into anything suspicious for me. You were always a trusted friend to both Helen and I.
And when you comforted me after Helen died, I just felt
Well, that’s when I started to fall in love with you. But you knew that already, didn’t you? That’s when you fell for me too. The time we had together was special and I’ll never forget how tender and loving you were to me.
But we both knew it couldn’t last. Frank had been smitten with you since he first laid eyes on you. Hell, sometimes I think he tried to find things for you to investigate just so he could see you again. It was because of Frank that we kept it all under wraps. And maybe that’s why we started fighting. I know we never said it, but under the surface of those fights were your frustration with us not being open about it.
Some of it was that it seemed too soon after Helen’s death. At least it was for me anyways. 36 years with someone and it’s only 4 months later that I end up in your bed. But you were so good to me. And I’ll never be able to thank you enough for that.
Which is why it hurt so much to end it. It was best for both of us and I thought you understood. You were sad (I was too), but you said we could still be friends. I believed you when you said that.
But what’s been happening since then is troubling. I’ve seen you taking pictures of me and Sharon. And I know you’ve been looking into her without my asking you to. When I came to you and told you that you had to stop, you said it couldnt. I know you think she’s not right for me, but she really is a wonderful person. Even Frank likes her now and I thought that would never happen!
So here we are again. I’ve asked you repeatedly to leave my personal life alone and stick to the work I need you for, but you can’t, can you? I suppose it’s got to be hard for you to, when there isn’t much else going on in your life.
So that’s why I’m terminating your work contract as well. You’ve done good work, but this can’t keep happening. I’ll talk to my legal team on monday and tell them and HR to write up some cancellation documents. They’ll want to collect all information you’ve found for us (that was part of the initial contract you signed when you started working for us) and then you’ll have what you truly need. Some space.
Space from me, Frank, Sharon, the business, all of it. Maybe with time and a new focus in life you can find a way to get past us and get over me. I hope you can build something stronger and healthier for yourself and just leave all of this behind you.
Tears streamed down Jean’s face and hit the pages. They were only slightly damp as she bundled it back together with his other love letters, the pictures they had taken together, and the pictures she had showing the full scenes of what she had shown Officer Pendleton and Frank. The pictures had Frank and Sharon together, that much was trues, but she had cropped the photos and taken Tom out.
She put her cigarette to the edge of the bundle and held it there. After a few seconds the letters started to burn and the pictures were beginning to warp. Jean tossed the pile into the trash can, then pulled out another set of pictures. They were distance photos of Sharon, Frank, and Tom at their outdoor shooting range. Tom was firing his revolver in a few of the photos and Sharon in some of the others.
Once the fire started to consume all of the evidence, she stood up and walked to the liquor cabinet. She grabbed a bottle of vodka and drank straight from it, taking large gulps. It burned her throat as it went down, but what she had done was tearing her apart worse than the alcohol ever could.
Jean scribbled a quick note to her landlord about needing to go see her sister in Chicago, stuffed it into an envelope with the rent, then she packed up her clothes in a suitcase and headed toward the door.
She took one last look around her apartment/detective agency. She couldn’t stop seeing Tom every time she glanced around the room. She wanted to stay and lose herself in the memories, but she knew it was time to go. Pendleton may have bought the story she crafted, but there was still a chance it could come back around to her. She gave a final sigh and then she turned away. It was time to finally get what she believed she needed. Some space.