The A to Z Challenge for April kept me writing every day. The blog posts were a good warm-up for my novel writing sessions and I made progress on The Sanity of Strawberries.
Since I am a master procrastinator, the accountability of posting something online every day is a great motivator, and I need to keep at it a finish this mystery. So for this month I signed up for another challenge: StoryaDay, where the founder, Julia Duffy, encourages writer’s to design their own challenge.
For each day in May, I’ll post a snippet from my work-in-progress, a murder mystery about a murder at Fulton State Hospital, The Sanity of Strawberries. Here’s the first snippet.
The phone by my elbow rang, my direct line that by-passed the dispatchers.
“Bo, we’ve had some trouble at the Biggs building. Can you come over here?” Konner Dey’s voice, ordinarily mellow, was brittle with tension.
“Sure. Be right there.”
Trouble at the Biggs building? As the state’s only maximum security facility for the criminally insane, there was always trouble at Biggs. The unflappable Dr. Dey didn’t call in outside help for fights between patients or for staff with broken bones and smashed in faces.
This had to be trouble with a capital T.
I grabbed my hat and stuck my head into Communications to let the dispatchers know where I was going. Two minutes after Dey’s call I was at the entrance to the parking lot.
A county ambulance, red lights flashing, pulled out, just as I pulled in. Did that have something to do with the emergency? The lot was packed with cars and pickups, so I parked close to the door in the emergency spot just vacated by the ambulance.
Narrow barred windows and a twenty foot, two-layer fence topped with a three foot coil of razor wire made the old red brick building look more like a prison than a hospital. A newer, smaller building squatted directly in front of the old three story hulk. It housed security people and a secure sally port. Right inside the door the narrow hallway was blocked by a steel gate.
“You can’t bring that there gun in here.” A skinny, wrinkled old codger grinned at me from behind a glassed in counter on the right.
“I’m the County Sheriff.”
“It don’t matter if you’re Jesus Christ hisself. You can’t bring no guns in here.”
I pulled my Glock out and looked around for a place to put it.
“You got to lock it up in your trunk,” the old guy informed me. “Before you come in. Your knife, too, if you have one, and that shiny star, anything metal.”
“Maybe you could call Dr. Dey?”
“Nope. And don’t forget to take off that there belt, cause it has a metal buckle.”
When I came back from the car he made me hand over my keys, the only thing I had left in my pockets. I felt naked, but the old man finally pushed the magic button.