From our guest writer: Cassidy Childs

(Here’s what happens when we let readers imagine how a scene will play out.

You can still see the regular Chapter 13 by clicking here.)


“Location! Pinpoint the location!” Brown shouted across the room. A detective started frantically entering codes into the computer. The sound of the type was loud and the pace was rapid. Adrenaline started setting in. The man looked up with a distressed look.

“I can’t, he’s moving too fast! I need more time!”

“We don’t have time! We’re going to lose him soon,” said an exasperated Brown.

He slammed his hand down when the line went dead. The room went quiet as it echoed into silence. The connection was dropped and they couldn’t track him anymore. Brown sighed in disappointment. They missed their chance; a vital opportunity. The killer slipped away and out of their reach yet again. Investigators and other detectives reported the useless information they had collected. Brown edgily listened, but already knew what had taken place. He had failed miserably. He sank into his chair in defeat. This guy was clever and quick. He was deadly and unpredictable. Brown felt like a mouse in a cat’s cruel, sick game. He needed to find a way not to be a pawn in this man’s fatal game.

“We found where he was when he called, but he could be anywhere now… He was on Highway 101.” A young officer with a sharp voice interrupted Brown’s troubled thoughts. Brown dismissed everyone from his office when there was nothing more to be said.

The door closed heavily behind everyone, and the room now had a vacant, eerie aura about it. A fan slowly cruised under the dim lights casting faint shadows. In the corner of the room a clock ticked. In the window, shone the last rays of sunlight and the city lights flickered on in a hazy orange color.

A dead feeling filled Brown and it left him with a tired, uncreative mood. A heavy pressure weighed him down. He wanted to give up. But Brown had people depending on him. He had the family of the victims waiting for news. He owed Sandra an explanation and he had his own dreams to live up to. But he had hit a dead end. So where was he suppose to go? Knowing he was getting nowhere, he sighed and got up. He walked slowly to his computer and started entering in the insignificant information he had collected today. Not that there was anything essential to be recorded. He allowed his mind to wander, but whatever possibilities that crossed his mind were quickly demoted. His passion and determination were clouded by frustration.


Sandra stared blankly at the phone. What had she done? Why did she have to rush into something as stupid as that? Torments about failing taunted her mind and shattered her poise. Her thoughts were scattered and she was on the verge of insanity. She needed to get away from all of this. She ran out of her office, ignoring the stares she received, and started her car up. The freedom of being able to go anywhere was tempting. If only she could drive away to a place no one could find her. Not even Brown, or the serial killer, or anyone who had their own expectations of her. But now she was stuck in a web of complications. The more she struggled, the more she was stuck. Wherever she turned, it seemed like she did something wrong. But she couldn’t just stand there and wait till some miracle came up, could she? So she drove to a place where she could think. She pulled up to a hiking trail and hiked to a place where no one would find or disturb her. After a few minutes, she pulled out her phone. The wretched device that had caused these unfortunate events. And then she did the only thing she could, she called Brown.


A high-pitched, shrilly ringtone pierced the air. It startled Brown out of his reverie. In a sluggish movement he picked up the phone.


“He’s out to kill again…He’s coming back and it’s going to be deadly,” a feminine voice that Brown recognized as Cordero spoke faintly. The tone was broken, fragile, and desperate.

“Tell me everything.” Brown spoke carefully. He listened to her story and took notes on every detail in hope it could lead to something. His mind raced with promising ideas and thoughts. He looked at his calendar and circled in red, was an event that night. A free concert in Windsor at the Town Green.

“Well, Sandra, I think we might have something here.” So he gave her his plan, and told himself he might not have hit a dead end after all.

Later that night, Brown was ready for this game-changing evening. He had police patrolling the streets and security alert on the Green. He pulled into the Town Green around 6 p.m. The wind had just started to pick up and it caressed everyone with its freezing tendrils. Brown hugged his coat closer to himself and continued to walk toward the lively concert. He stood on the street corner watching as the night progressed. Nothing seemed out of order and nothing particularly stood out as suspicious activity. No patrols called for help and it made Brown even more skittish. He felt as if he was missing something very obvious. He knew there was something very significant he wasn’t noticing or seeing that should have come to his attention. It made him more nervous than actually coming face to face with the murderer. So as Brown observed the crowds, he stood there wondering whether he was making a mistake or not.

And from a distance, a hooded figure watched for a moment, then disappeared into the night.

Congratulations to Cassidy, one of two readers whose versions were selected to be highlighted as worthy alternates for Chapter 13. Cassidy is a student at Herbert Slater Middle School in Santa Rosa. She has a twin with sister, Bridget, who also wrote a very nice version of Chapter 13.

Cassidy said this about herself:  I enjoy playing sports such as soccer, cross-country, and track. I recently had my bat mitzvah this year. I have a great passion for music and play several instruments…  My favorite thing to do in my free time is listen to music and read.





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