Writing Challenge #4: 3 Minutes (Part 4)

A woman’s life changes drastically in the next 3 minutes. What about it in 500 words.

At this point, I’m going to make all my main characters women so it still fits the prompt. Charles will be the only male in this series.

Prudence

Approximate time of death: 1 AM
Cause of death: multiple lacerations to the body, resulting in severe injury and lack of blood
Underlying cause: sharp object

Prudence sat at her table and read through the coroner’s report. It was nothing different from her own notes but the details of the report made her stomach uneasy. The report included a diagram of where the victim was repeatedly stabbed and slashed. There was no doubt that it was an act of rage, because no one in their right mind would do such a gruesome crime.

According to the report, the victim was most likely a seaman or a person working at the port, judging on the high boots and the overalls. He could be a fisherman’s apprentice, assigned to haul the catch of the day into crates before sending it to the market. Or he could be a seaman, responsible for docking the ship properly and managing the action at the bottom of the ship.

Who would be so angry at a portman?

She asked around to find clues on who the killer could be. Prudence rounded up the people who worked at the port and asked their alibis.

Alfred, a fisherman, was home with his wife and kids. “We were all asleep. I had a long day at sea, so by 9, I was snoring like a log.” The other fishermen were also with their families. They were known to sleep early because they had to be at the port around 4 in the morning to start fishing.

Clarisse, the clerk who notes the deliveries at the port locked herself at home as well. “After hearing the news of the first death at the town square? I never went out at night again. No, ma’am. I ain’t dying next.” She shook her head and denied any relation to the crime.

John was a seaman in charge of the deliveries. He said he just came from a holiday and was surprised that the port was temporarily closed that morning. “I was away for three days and I come back with a fatality? This is what happens when I’m not around!” He exclaimed as he banged his fist on the table.

Tony, the guard who opened the gates at the port and who first saw the body had an alibi. “My momma always wakes up the same time as me to cook a meal for me to take to work. We woke up around 3 in the morning because our darn rooster always clucks at that hour.” He shuddered as he recalled seeing the body.

All the people who could possibly be connected to the crime were cleared. What else could Prudence be missing?

When Prudence arrived at the scene this morning, she made sure to scan the area for a murder weapon. The coroner did not find anything sharp near the body during his initial examination so Prudence went to check other areas. She ordered to see all the knives used in the port, but all of them were accounted for and safely locked in a shed. Morning activities usually start at 5 AM when the fishermen arrive from being at sea. That is also the usual time that the shed is opened for the workers to use.

So it must’ve been a different weapon. What was it and where was it hidden?

The hunting dogs searched every nook and cranny of the town for a bloody murder weapon. They didn’t find anything that matched the scent of the victim, except for a small and dingy room near the gates of the port. It was the victim’s quarters which only had an old cot and a small bag with his clothes.

Prudence returned to her notes. She had a feeling that the clue that she needed was just right under her nose.

She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. She tried to imagine the mangled body, which was her only clue. What else could have casued it if there wasn’t a murder weapon that could tie the murder to the killer? It was as if someone suddenly transformed into a giant beast and ravished the poor victim like he was prey.

Then it hit her.

Maybe, just maybe she wasn’t looking for a person. But an animal.

Prudence quickly stood up from her chair and sprinted out the door.

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