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News & Features » February 2014 » “Where Did You Go, Buffalo Bill?” by Nicholas MacDonnell

“Where Did You Go, Buffalo Bill?” by Nicholas MacDonnell

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, Nicholas MacDonnell’s detective mournfully wonders what happened to Denver, Colorado. Next week, Nathan Ward’s 1935 Manhattan crime reporter tries to get a glimpse of a young murderess.

Nicholas MacDonnellWhere Did You Go, Buffalo Bill?
by Nicholas MacDonnell
LoDo, Denver, Colorado

Cow town? Fuck. You could call it that till the crows came home, still didn’t make it true. Maybe once, long before that pissant reporter had even been born. Shit, nowadays, Denver was further from cow town than anyone on the squad was from ever solving this case.

Driving down Park Avenue toward LoDo, Detective Brian Murphy stubbed his cigarette out in his overfilled ashtray. His mouth tasted like ass, and the lukewarm coffee he tried to wash it out with didn’t help. It was a shitty day, and it was fixing to get a whole lot worse. Looking at the crinkled newspaper on the front seat of his squad car, Murphy felt like he was going to vomit.

Cow Town Killer Strikes Again. Fucking punk. Story never would have gone national if that last girl hadn’t been a somebody. No, until her, this was just a Denver problem. Now every goddamn network had a reporter in town. And for what? Chief was feeding them a line of bullshit, but Murphy knew better. They were no closer to catching this guy than they had been the day he found the first girl.

Turning down Blake Street, Murphy looked at the long line of bars surrounding Coors Field. LoDo used to be the skid row of Denver. Nothing but pimps, dealers, and bums. He was probably one of the only ones in town who missed those days. They might have cleaned up the city, but at what cost? Punks in popped collars, girls dressed like whores. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still going to stink in bed.

The giant bars rolling past on Blake stood like cathedrals for assholes. A bar used to be just that. Now, every one of them had dance floors, table games, and a whole bunch of other useless crap to keep the yuppies from getting restless. Murphy knew he was getting old, but being old didn’t have any consequence on how he viewed LoDo. It was what was wrong with the city, hell, wrong with the whole damn country.

Turning down 15th, Murphy crawled past the trendy restaurants and bars littering the neighborhood. He did not drive far before seeing the flashing red and blue. A uniformed rookie lifted the police tape as he turned down the alley. The vultures hovered by the Dumpster waiting for him.

This girl marked the fifth. Five dead girls. They didn’t notice a pattern till the third. The first had been a mess. The only similarity between her and the second girl was they way they had been taken. That was the link between all of them.

Saturday night. Out drinking with friends in LoDo. One minute they were there, the next they were gone. The guy was smart. Murphy couldn’t take that away from him. They didn’t turn up for a week or so, but when they did, there was no sign of him, other than his calling card.

They all had his mark, save the first. Murphy had a suspicion she was the first person he had killed. She was beaten mercilessly, identifiable only by dental records. After her, the killer refined his technique. They had all been the same since then. Murphy stepped out of his car and made his way to the Dumpster. He knew what he was going to see even before the nightmare revealed itself.

The neighborhood, hell, the whole city should have been paralyzed in fear. But no, despite all the warnings, despite the police presence and tightened regulations, when the weekend came, kids still went out. Didn’t help that the Rockies were first in their division, or that fall had come early and September had been so nice. Kids kept going out and girls kept disappearing.

Denver had been a quiet town once. A real nice place. It wasn’t Chicago, it wasn’t even Kansas City. The lure of the mountains had made the city boom. It had grown wild, though, and it had changed. Now Murphy barely recognized the streets that Bill Cody once road down. Yuppies, hipsters, and a whole other load of garbage had taken over his city. And for what? All he saw was five dead girls.

Where had the West gone? It certainly wasn’t here. Murphy rounded the Dumpster and saw the girl. Her face had been peeled clean off, nothing left but flesh and bone. He vomited. What happened to you, Denver?


NICHOLAS MacDONNELL is a young writer currently living in Denver, Colorado.  He likes to write fiction that explores the boundaries of reality, often times using locations in his native Colorado.  He is currently finishing his first novel and short story collection.


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

—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.
—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: Feb 24, 2014

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