Writing Prompt: Instincts

The writing prompt was: Half the names on the list had already been crossed off. As usual 15 minutes of writing. Go!


Half the names on the list had already been crossed off.

She glanced around the room. Normal couch. Normal TV. Normal art on the walls. Just normal. She looked again. The couch was almost new and the pillows could have come with it from the store. The TV was just a TV but there were no game consoles or DVD player: just a TV. She looked at the art on the walls, from one framed picture to the next. They were too normal. They could have come from any shelf in any store.

A theory was forming in the back of her mind. She looked at the list again. Too normal usually meant completely abnormal. Was this a hit list? Her stomach churned at the thought.

“Just about ready!” she jumped as his voice echoed from the hall behind her.

“F…fine!” she managed to force out. Quickly she replaced the list of names back on his desk. She moved away from the desk chewing on her thumbnail. The last thing she wanted was to be caught snooping.

What if he was serial killer? Was that why he was so nice?

She knew he was too good to be true. She should have run him through the NCIC database at the precinct before agreeing to go out with him. At least if he was in the system she would have had some warning. She should never have said yes to this date. She glanced around looking for some sign that he was normal and that she was wrong but there were no personal items. No family photos at all. Not even a coffee cup. Was this even his house?

Her eyes were drawn back to the sheet on the desk. It wasn’t really glowing; it had to be her imagination.

“Sorry I took so long. I…” He smiled as he emerged from the hall. She jumped and tried to cover it with a smile.

“Are you alright?” He looked at her curiously.

“Fine.” Her instincts were on full alert. “You were saying?”

“I was just going to say that I’m not unpacked yet.” He smiled sheepishly. “That’s why I took so long.”

“Unpacked?” She tried to contain her cop instincts.

“Yeah,” he gestured around the living room. “I just moved into this place. Lucky for me it came fully furnished.  I really had nothing left after the divorce.” He nodded toward the desk. “I thought coming here would help but most of the people I knew have moved or changed jobs.”

She glanced at the list. People he knew? He was trying to restart his life and she had jumped to the conclusion that he was a serial killer. She shook her head feeling stupid. Her lieutenant was right she needed a vacation. Her instincts were getting out of control.

“Ready for dinner?” He picked up his jacket.

“Yeah, I am now. I think.” She smiled.


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