Night Shift Parts 1 and 2

Overlook of a harbor, light clouds & blue sky


From Jenne Gray and C.E. Ayr’s photo prompt. The Unicorn Challenge (05/26/23). No more than 250 words in length. Otherwise, let your creative flag fly!

This two-parter is a snippet of a longer story that needed editing. Hope it pleases!

Night Shift Part 1

Sophie gazed out the kitchen window. The small harbor town below was glazed in apricot and rose, as the sun climbed the sky. She sipped her second cup of coffee.

Taking a sip of my own, I turned to Sophie. “What happened?”

“There was a collision: a single engine plane that shouldn’t have been flying at night. You know those people who can afford to fly to the remote lake properties often have more money than good judgment.” She spat those final words.

I stepped closer, but didn’t smell intoxicants emanating from her pores. There would have been if she’d fed. My sense of smell is acute, another of the gifts that come with my curse.

“Stop, Reggie!”  She pushed herself up from the table and stepped away from me. “Pilot and passenger are critical, not dead. They’ll probably survive. There was another victim.”

I waited.

“A kid, wandering the ridge top alone. Flying a drone with a flashing light. What he was doing flying that drone past midnight is beyond me. Anyway, the drone must’ve distracted the pilot. There was a collision, plane on kid on ridge top. The kid wasn’t quite dead when I found him.”

She wheeled around, limned in the window’s light. “He had a backpack, with undies, a Zippo, a half-dozen Twinkies, and a Spiderman canteen filled with chocolate milk. Taking inventory didn’t stop me from finishing him off. He couldn’t have been more than eight.”

“Oh Soph’,” I reached for her. She stiff-armed me.

Night Shift Part 2

“You should’ve been on the night shift, Reggie!” She was angry. “You would’ve heard the call from dispatch and come right away. You could’ve talked me down, before I…”

“I’m trying to keep us low profile.” I stepped backward, hands raised in protest. “This is our best home yet.”

“Well it isn’t anymore,” she wailed. “There was so much blood.”

“Any remains of the boy?”

“No.” She got her breathing under control and shrugged. “I was hungry, he was small. When Rescue got there, the Carrion Crew — the normal wolves, foxes, crows, and that species of beetle…”

“Did the pilot and his passenger see you?”

“No, they were passed out. From booze, drugs, the impact…I don’t know! Still alive when I left, though.”

“Did anyone else see you?”

“I ran off when Rescue’s Flaherty and Bigtail came tramping through the woods like a herd of rampaging moose.”

I rolled my eyes. Nice guys, but not exactly silent and fleet of foot.

“I carried the backpack and dumped it in the harbor’s north end. With the wind and waves, the tides should pull that backpack out and sink it in deep water.” She looked at me, anxious again. “I’m small enough that they might have mistaken me for a normal wolf, and not noticed the backpack. We should be good.”

“I’ll visit the station later and have a talk with Flaherty and Bigtail, after my shower.” My eyes flickered red. “Just to make sure they didn’t see a thing.”

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2023)

17 thoughts on “Night Shift Parts 1 and 2

  1. Fascinating characters you draw there, Liz. I ended up thinking they were-wolves. (Sorry, dreadful, I know!) But whoever/whatever they are, and despite the gruesome event, you make them so likable, with their own relationships and moral dilemmas. As i said, fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I coulda done it in two posts, separately, to be technically correct. This is more honest. It reduces the number of clicks for the reader, and lets me polish & share: win-win! 😁


      • Senior colleague?
        We have a senior colleague?
        Oh, me…
        Hi Liz, I enjoyed your stories, as I always do, but I agree with my (equally senior) colleague.
        I understand your reasoning, and one person writing twice as many words might not seem a lot, but if one does it, then why not the others?
        And then we fail in our objective, which is the challenge of writing a story in 250 words or less.
        (Also, he has the attention span of a gnat!)
        Hope this helps.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, further clarification: one submission of 250 words or less. If there is another submission based on the same photo prompt, unrelated, might be fine, but related, I can write it & post it on my blog site, just not mention on the Unicorn challenge link-up. Whew!

        Liked by 1 person


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