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News & Features » July 2017 » “White Reaper” by Nolan Knight

“White Reaper” by Nolan Knight

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays. 

This week, Nolan Knight shows how a simple click of a mouse can end a life.

White Reaper
by Nolan Knight
Playa del Rey/San Pedro, Los Angeles, California

Raindrops glistened about Sue’s minivan the day she left. She took the girls with her; she took my world. Everyone else followed suit once the accusations hit news outlets. I can’t blame Sue. She didn’t bring this about.

But neither did I.

*

Monica had been missing for three weeks when they found her body. Some wetlands near Playa del Rey. She was an employee of mine. Police came to the office and questioned the whole staff. They left with as much info as they came with. Said there were more folks to interview—a neighbor of hers. We all prayed for Monica’s soul, and for those responsible to be damned.

*

Sue was shaken by the ordeal. She made us a large turkey dinner over the weekend, clearing her mind. Never did know the girl though. I kept thinking about Monica, how fast her fingers typed, the smell of her conditioner. She would never answer a conference call for me ever again. I’d start looking for a new secretary after the burial.

What a beautiful soul.

*

I didn’t see what was posted online; I was too busy to dally in such vapid things. When the police showed up at our home, Sue let them in. We sat around the dinner table, the one Sue bought at a swap meet before we had the girls. The detectives had received a tip from some anonymous snoop. This person was aware of Monica’s murder and had hacked into her cell phone. They’d set-up a Facebook page, bringing awareness to her case, publishing suspicious finds. Detective #2 slid a large picture before me, one of Monica and me in a questionable embrace. Sue grabbed her chest as I began to explain. It was from the company Christmas party, last year. Sure, it looked some way but that wasn’t the case. They said this “source” was supplying them with more intel and that if I was fabricating my story, it would resonate.

I was now included on their short list of suspects.

Sue bawled on the loveseat once they left. I wanted to touch her shoulder, but instead I yelled for the kids to get back to bed. I poured the first glass of scotch I’d had in months.

*

Sue left with the girls the next day, but if you ask me, she’d been looking for a reason for years. I can see why: my long hours, our most intimate exchanges mere hellos and goodbyes. No sex, not since she’d received that misdiagnosis. We sued the doctor, but Sue’s sudden shake of mortality had gears grinding upstairs. I could tell she had one real regret.

And when I say no sex, I include myself as well. I never fucked Monica.

Didn’t kill her either.

*

A stupid drunken picture is what unraveled it all. A photo that would’ve gone unnoticed had it not been for Carl Everett Hall—some keyboard vigilante, only twenty-four years old. I’d hired a detective after being let go from my firm.

Carl, you lousy fuck.

He lived in San Pedro at his grandma’s; she died last spring. His Twitter and Instagram told his tale: Kanye was a fool, vegans were faggots. Said America needed to be “cleansed”.

I agreed it needed to be cleansed of Carl.

*

The reason I wore a white suit was jotted on a note in my breast pocket. It symbolized innocence: me, heavenly as an angel. Closest I’d ever get to purity. I knocked on Carl’s door, the Vincent Thomas Bridge tall and emerald up ahead. He was home: unemployable, bleeding grandma’s inheritance.

The door cracked and I pushed inside.

The way his eyes grew, he knew exactly who I was. The pistol in my fist told why I’d come. There are no laws against internet slander. Cops couldn’t do a thing even though Carl had destroyed my world. Zero accountability. That’s why I came here: reparations for a life lost. The monster zit on Carl’s gobble-chin trembled—exploding once I squeezed the trigger.

All hatred fled my brain at that instant. I thought of Sue, the girls . . . Monica. Happy moments we’d all shared. As the barrel pressed into my heart, I made peace and conjured a heaven . . . one that I knew could never exist.

***

Nolan Knight is a fourth generation Angeleno whose short fiction has been featured in various publications including Thuglit, Plots with Guns, Shotgun Honey, Beat to a Pulp and Needle. His debut novel The Neon Lights are Veins was published by 280 Steps. He currently romps Long Beach with his wife and their two kids. Peep more at NolanKnight.com / @Nolan_Knight_

***

Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jul 10, 2017

Category: Mondays Are Murder | Tags: , , , , , , , ,



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