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Mystery solved Here are the winners of The News' annual short story writing contest

Goat Island was the center of the universe for the 130-plus writers who entered the 2006 Buffalo News Short Story contest, which kicked off Jan. 3.

That's because the passage supplied by The News, which had to be incorporated in the works of fiction, took place at the statue of Nikolai Tesla on Goat Island. (The passage was written by News Niagara Bureau reporter Andrew Z. Galarneau, a great fan of mystery writing.)

This year's contest, which focused on mystery/suspense writing and was judged by News reporters and editors, elicited some truly clever plots. Of the grand-prize winning story, "Luna Island," one judge wrote: "The ending puts it over the top. Reminded me of Ellery Queen magazine."

Here, then, are the three winners, who will also receive gift certificates to local restaurants. Thanks to all those who put heart and soul into creating their mystery stories for our contest. Once again, they've proven that talent abounds in Western New York.

- Susan LoTempio

And the winners are:

>Grand-prize: Elizabeth Elliott

Lives: Lackawanna

Occupation: Just started as a volunteer for Americorps VISTA

Personal info: A native Western New Yorker, she is two courses shy from earning her bachelor's degree in English.

>Luna Island

By Elizabeth Elliott

"Which one are you looking for?" Diana asked as her husband pawed through her papers.

Paul waved a wad of stories at her. "The one about the kidnapping?" Diana plucked the story from the file. "Finally," he said, snatching the pages from her. "Detective Boyson is coming."


Diana followed Paul to the kitchen.

"I've something to tell you," he said. "Your brother's been kidnapped."

"Michael?" A stupid response since Michael was the only brother she had. "No."

"I got this," Paul said, handing her a piece of paper.

Diana was familiar with the words:

"The Bills make me want to SHOUT--" Angela hunted for the source of the song, clambering up the statue of Nikolai Tesla like so many Goat Island tourists before her, the bronze of the statue polished by their passing.

The cell phone in Tesla's lap was Michael's, of course. And as she reached for it, she remembered mocking his fan boy devotion when he played her the ring tone, that song.

"I see you were smart enough to listen, and come alone," the caller hissed, in a French accent as fake as Groucho glasses. "Now we shall see whether you are smart enough to save your brother's life."

"That's from my story 'Luna Island.' "

"I know. I've been getting excerpts from it."

Diana looked surprised. Did Paul expect her to believe he got 'excerpts' from her story?

Ridiculous. But it was pleasant to think that he remembered one of them; he always said her writing was a joke. It was nice to know the effort was finally paying off and . . .

". . . as you wrote it!" Paul was saying. Those moods! Every time he had something important to say she zoned out! Thank God he wouldn't have to put up with them much longer.

"I said," he repeated, "I got the first one on Monday, and a phone call saying that Mike had been kidnapped. And the kidnapper is doing everything just as you wrote it!"

"I'm calling Michael right now," Diana said.

The doorbell rang and Paul left his wife to make her call while he answered the door. He found John Boyson waiting anxiously.

"Does she buy it?" he asked Paul quietly.

"She takes a while to grasp things. She's calling her brother now."

"She doesn't suspect?"

Paul shook his head and smiled. Nice to know that new friends can be good friends, he thought, remembering his first encounter with Boyson. He liked the way John acted, how confident he was with women; Paul's life had grown dull since his marriage. Only the thought of getting Diana's money kept him going, and now that money was within reach.

"No answer," they heard Diana call. "On his cell or at his apartment."

She entered the living room but stopped short at the sight of the handsome man before her. "This is Detective Boyson. I called him when I got the call."

John Boyson cleared his throat, desperate to pull off his part in the charade. "Mrs. Myn, we didn't want to concern you until we were sure your brother was kidnapped. The man wants $100,000."

"Then they know about the account?" Diana asked.

"Obviously someone from your writer's group," Paul said. "You mention that money in the story."

Paul liked this touch. If the real police were notified there was a handy bunch of suspects in the writer's group. He pictured the police questioning that Henry Simon Diana went on about, or old Mrs. Berst. And if attention turned to him he'd be where the police couldn't touch him.

"I don't believe it!" Diana said.

"Michael is gone," Detective Boyson said. "He went out Sunday night, took a cab home and hasn't been seen since."

Diana suddenly regretted not spending more time with Michael. I haven't spoken with him in weeks, she thought sadly, and now I won't see him again. She shook off the notion.

Paul wondered what ruse he would have used to get the money if Diana knew that Mike had simply joined the Marines. Thank God he intercepted his farewell call when Diana was at her writer's group, probably going gaga over Henry Simon. But when Paul was safe, with a hundred grand in an Island bank (minus a little for John Boyson), Diana could spend every night with those nuts and he wouldn't care a wit.

"Mrs. Myn," Boyson said, "you mentioned an account?"

"She doesn't get it until she's 30," Paul said. "Her parents were afraid I'd take the money and run, I guess."

"The truth is they didn't trust me with the money," Diana said, obviously hurt. "But if Mike's in trouble I can get it."

"Then do it," Paul said. "We're getting instructions at 6." He retrieved Diana's story. "You make the arrangements while we read the end."

Paul and Boyson exchanged a smile and Boyson flipped to the final page of the story.

"Luna Island?!" he said, alarmed. "It's closed this time of year! It's dangerous!"

Paul hadn't thought about that. Diana's story took place in the summer.

"You leave the bag on the island," John said. "That island? In winter?"

"We'll manage," he said. "as long as the money stays in the car."

John nodded. "The money goes in the silver gym bag you keep in the trunk and the fake bundles go in the black bag, but double check them before you leave. Diana will retrieve the phone from the statue and I'll use that accent to tell her to take the money and head over to Luna Island. Won't your wife insist you stay behind, since she's supposed to come alone?"

"Let her insist. She's not screwing this up. She'll leave the bag and, according to the story, find information about her brother at the emergency phone at Terrapin Point."

"When she doesn't find anything," John said nervously, "she'll figure someone set you up. She'll come after me."

"Not right away. By the time she realizes her brother's not in danger, you'll be safe."

Diana returned. "I have to sign some papers but I'll be back before 6 with the money."

Almost there, Paul thought.

At 11 that night Diana climbed the bronze statue of Nikolai Tesla on Goat Island, which was bitterly cold and nearly deserted. Not even the thought of police on the island diverted her from her mission. She answered the phone and followed the instructions given to her.

Paul waited by the fence to Luna Island. He had checked the bags in the trunk and reassured himself that the black bag contained only newspaper bundles, then walked to the stairs.

Diana appeared a moment later, carrying the silver bag.

"Let's go," she said.

"You took the wrong bag," Paul said, his voice heavy with fear. "That's my gym bag."

Diana opened the bag awkwardly and looked inside. "No. It's money." She started down the steps.

"No!" Paul said. She eyed him suspiciously. "I mean, it's dangerous. I'll go."

"I have to."

If he ever got his hands on John Boyson . . .

"We'll both go," he said.

He slipped a few times in his haste, his eyes transfixed by the rushing waters. When he reached the landing he lunged for her but instead slid close to the water's edge.

Diana turned to face him. "So," she said.

"What's that mean?" he asked, righting himself.

"You were going to cheat me?" She raised the bag with difficulty. "Here it is, so close and yet . . ."

Without another word Diana lifted the bag over the fence and tried to throw it into the raging waters. Instead she lost her footing and slipped forward, her body bent over the rail, the bag weighing her down.

Faced with losing his wife's money if he lost his wife, Paul pulled at Diana's jacket and at the same time made a grab for the bag. As soon as he took hold of the silver handles Diana righted herself and let go. Paul was immediately surprised by the weight of the bag, thrown off his footing and pulled over the rail. In a split second he disappeared over the precipice.

Diana felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to find Detective Boyson.

"What was in there?" he asked.

"The iron he bought me, the griddle he bought me, the . . ."

"OK." He laughed and adopted a cheesy French accent. "Eets a sleepery climb."

"Promise me, Henry," she said to her fellow writer as they reached the top of the stairs, "Don't use that accent in the Cayman Islands."

"Why?" he asked.

"I just hate deception," she said. She pulled an envelope from her pocket.

"What's that?" Henry asked.

"From Michael. He knew Paul wouldn't pass along his goodbye so he wrote one."

"A family of writers," Henry said, kissing the top of her head.

They made their way to her car, and the $100,000 nestled in the trunk.


>First place: Erin Pierce

Lives: Snyder

Occupation: A nurse, who now stays at home with two daughters, ages 10 and 8.

Personal info: When she took college liberal arts courses, her teachers encouraged her to write. "I dared myself to enter this contest, and this time I did it."

>The Problem of Michael

By Erin Pierce

The roar of the water was a reminder of childhood, summer days flirting with summer flings, and the bittersweet promise of freedom implicit in every Senior Skip Day.

"The Bills make me want to SHOUT --" Angela hunted for the source of the song, clambering up the statue of Nikolai Tesla like so many Goat Island tourists before her, the bronze of the statue polished by their passing.

The cell phone in Tesla's lap was Michael's, of course. And as she reached for it, she remembered mocking his fanboy devotion when he played her the ring tone, that song.

"I see you were smart enough to listen, and come alone," the caller hissed, in a French accent as fake as Groucho glasses. "Now we shall see whether you are smart enough to save your brother's life."

"Let me talk to Michael." She was surprised at how calm her voice sounded. My late-night devotion to film noir is not a waste, she thought. A calm voice, and a request to speak to the victim. And if they don't let me talk to him . . .?

"Not yet." He sounded like Inspector Clouseau. Could Michael have somehow fallen afoul of Steve Martin? "First, let me assure you that this is a business deal. You bring the object we seek, and we release your brother without further harm." She froze. Further harm?!? Did that mean -- "Mademoiselle? Are you still listening?"

"Yes." Stay focused, she admonished herself.

"Then listen most closely. The object we seek is in your brother's apartment. It is in a manila envelope. Your brother will tell you exactly where to find this envelope. He will tell you this, and nothing more. Any attempt by either you or he to say more will have negative results. Do you understand?"

"Yes," she answered. She nodded at the same time, and then realized the caller couldn't see her. She remembered the voice complimenting her on coming alone. Of course! The voice was here, somewhere. She started to look around wildly, before remembering that Michael was going to give her detailed instructions. She needed to remember everything he said.

"Hey, Angie." Michael's voice was a little unsteady, and a little loud. Was he here, too, or was this a recording, or . . . Stay focused! "Use your key to get into my place. In the closet by the front door, on the top shelf, there's a large white box. In the box is the manila envelope. It's all taped up. Don't open the envelope. They're giving you 30 minutes to get it, then they'll call my phone again. Feed Brutus . . ." Abruptly, the call ended, but not before she heard a muffled "Ooof."

Angela looked around, staring at the tourists at the railing, trying to decide if any of them looked like Michael, or if any were struggling with their companions. She considered running along the small crowd, fantasizing about finding Michael right here and now. Her fantasy stopped dead. The clock was running. T minus 30 minutes. Move!

Pulling out of the parking lot, she headed onto the Robert Moses Parkway, driving south. On a normal day, she would have enjoyed this. She loved the river; she often stopped at the Intake Towers to just stare out, letting her thoughts flow with the water.

But today was not a normal day. When had this all started? When had Michael's life become dangerous? She hadn't liked the new crowd he had taken up with such enthusiasm these last months. They seemed so much older, with their cigars and bourbon and poker parties in private clubs. Michael was still very much a beer-and-football-pool kind of guy, and he hadn't smoked since that disastrous experiment in their parents' garage, which had ended in the volunteer fire company paying a visit and Michael paying for a new lawn mower.

But this new crowd was different. They reminded her of the "made guys" in "GoodFellas," all flash and good times, with a cruel streak underneath.

And Michael had been acting oddly these last two weeks, too. He'd been tense, nervous. He had started waiting for her to leave a message before answering. "Screening your calls, huh?" she'd teased him. "Hiding from a jilted girlfriend, or a jealous rival?" She realized now he had never answered. Was he really in so much trouble? Stupid question -- here she was racing to his apartment to retrieve a mysterious package to keep him from being harmed, and she was wondering if maybe he was in trouble.

With a shock Angela noticed she was turning onto Michael's driveway. When had she left the Robert Moses? Had she paid the Grand Island toll, or had she blown through it? She listened. No sirens. She must have paid. The State Police never let anyone get away with not paying.

Michael's apartment was the second floor of an old farmhouse on the Island. The downstairs tenant/owner was in Florida for break. She tore up the stairs and let herself in.

The apartment was sunny and quiet -- an anticlimax really. Had she been expecting to be attacked? To find Michael bound and gagged on his favorite tatty leather recliner? She didn't know, it just felt so -- normal. She shook her head, and opened the closet door.

The top shelf was too high for Angela, so she ran to the kitchen to get a chair. Once there, she remembered the last thing Michael had said. "Feed Brutus." Brutus was a Venus flytrap that lived on top of the refrigerator. She grabbed the chair and dragged it over to the fridge.

Brutus was there, looking a little too big for his pot. She supposed he looked hungry, too. She brought the pot down and placed it on the kitchen table. "What do you feed a Venus flytrap?" she said out loud, and she jumped a little hearing her voice, so loud in the empty room. She gazed around the room, wondering if she would find a bag labeled "Purina Flytrap Chow," and then saw just what she was looking for: a big fat dead fly on the windowsill. She grabbed it, feeling squeamish, and sort of threw it into the gaping "mouth" of the plant. The "mouth" started to close.

Feeling absurdly better that something had gone right, she grabbed Brutus to put him back on the fridge, and then she saw it. Under the plant was a hotel room key. Michael's Inn. Was this a clue? Had Michael meant her to find it? She stuffed it into her jeans pocket.

T minus how many minutes? Stay focused, she yelled in her head. She ran to the closet with the chair, and retrieved the box. Dumping it out on the floor, she found the envelope. It was legal-sized, grubby looking, sealed with what looked like an entire roll of masking tape. It was fat in the middle, like it was filled with -- money? Curious, she fished a dollar bill out of her jeans pocket, and compared it to the lump in the envelope. They were the same length and width.

She was stunned. This was not a good thing.

Back in her car, with the cell phone in her hand, waiting. Why weren't they calling? She was starting to get light-headed, holding her breath over and over again, anticipating the call.

"The Bills make . . ." She yelped into the phone, "Yes?"

"Do you have it?" The voice sounded the same.


"Then it is time to cross the border. Take the Rainbow Bridge. Tell the border guards nothing. Turn right after the bridge. Travel to a place called Michael's Inn. Park in their lot, and proceed to the restaurant. You will be contacted again once you are there." He disconnected before she could ask to speak to Michael, and a lump of panic started to grow in her chest. Was he OK? Was he unconscious? Why wouldn't they . . . Stay focused! She drove off.

Waiting at the bridge, she thought about all the movies she had watched that started with the girl going off without telling anyone, and ended with the girl's cold body being dragged out of the river. She had to let someone know. But they might still be watching her. She grabbed the pad she kept in her glove compartment. She started writing, barely looking at the page, trying to look like she was just staring ahead, waiting her turn.

Later, Angela couldn't recall what she said to the customs officer. He must have asked her birth place, destination, etc. She couldn't remember a thing.

In the lot at Michael's Inn, she glanced down at what she had written. It was legible (barely), and it had all the pertinent information. She was paralyzed for a moment, thinking about the next few minutes. Would she be freeing Michael, or stepping into a trap? She took a long, shaky breath. She got out of the car, stuffing the note into her coat pocket.

She wasted a minute in the lobby, feeling stunned again by normalcy. No one looked menacing or dangerous. As she walked to the table behind the hostess, she had what she hoped was a brilliant idea. About to sit down, she paused, asking for the bathroom. The hostess pointed, and Angela walked calmly in the same direction.

Once inside, she looked under the stalls for feet, feeling transported back to high school. You always checked under the stalls before you started talking; you didn't want to spill secrets to the wrong people. The bathroom was empty. She took the note out of her pocket, searching for a place to put it where it would be found, not just tossed in the trash. She settled for wedging it partially behind the mirror. She took a tinted Blistex out of her other pocket, and wrote, "Help!" on the mirror next to the note. She took another deep, shaky breath and had (she hoped) her second brilliant idea.

She left the bathroom, and headed for the stairs. She had noticed them as she had walked through the lobby. Hurrying a little, she grabbed the handle, went through, and flew up the first flight as fast as she dared.

She stopped to catch her breath, and to see if she was followed. Nothing. She fished the hotel key out of her pocket, and looked at it. One more flight, and out into the corridor. Checking the room numbers around her, she headed toward the one on the key. She tried not to think about what she'd do if she were wrong. What if the current occupant was a harmless tourist? What if the room was unoccupied?

Then she gulped, and tried not to think about what she would do if she were right. What if she opened the door, and the bad guys were there?

"Damn the torpedoes," she whispered. She opened the door.


Later in the evening, Angela finally cornered Michael.

"Tell me NOW!" She yelled to be heard over the music.

"I knew you would just jump in, both feet, no checking to see if the water was too deep." Michael looked smug and exhilarated. In a family that prided itself on its intelligence, he had often felt left out. He could never keep up with the games of Trivial Pursuit, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Balderdash, Outburst. He had never figured out a single Charade or Rebus. He had never beaten anyone to the buzzer in Jeopardy.

But now he had done it. He had pulled off an elaborate and intricate hoax, and had finally beaten his oh-so-smart big sister. "A surprise party is nearly impossible to get by a really smart person, but if you plan for months in advance, and get all your new friends from your amateur theater group to help, then you have a chance," he told her. "You were so worried about my new friends being too fast, too cool. John is so thrilled that you bought his "made guy" imitation he wants to put it on his resume!"

She smiled at him in disbelief. "How long . . . ?"

"Since when we were planning Pop's birthday. You said that anybody with any smarts could never be surprised by a party for their own birthday. And I started thinking about how to do it to you. First I thought about having it two months early. Then I thought about having it in an unusual place. Then I thought about having it be a scavenger hunt. And then I thought about combining all of those ideas. I told John about all those late nights you spend watching film noir, and that your favorite author in high school was Dashiell Hammett. He suggested that we let you be Nancy Drew for a day, and he helped me set up everything."

"I feel like Nancy Drew. Everything so dire, so dangerous, and then poof! It's party time."

"Happy birthday, Angie."


>Second place: Jim Howard

Lives: Amherst

Occupation: Retired last year from the Army Corps of Engineers; director of human resources for 25 years.

Personal info: He entered the 2005 Buffalo News short story contest, then decided he wanted to pursue the craft even though his entry "went nowhere."

>The French Disconnection

By Jim Howard

Angela's interview with the assistant DA was nearly over. After all, there were only so many ways she could describe the murder she'd witnessed last week. Identifying the assailant had been a snap. She'd seen the scarlet birthmark snaking down his neck as he turned and ran, right after he'd walked up to the car parked across from hers and gunned down the driver.

It had happened in front of her brother Michael's North Buffalo flat. Angela had dropped by unannounced, hoping to sneak a peek at Ginger, his latest squeeze - just a little reconnaissance mission her mother had sent her on. Thanks, Mom. And now she was the prosecution's star witness.

The accused, Denis Daigneau, was an American citizen living in Montreal, lending his expertise to some French Canadian relatives who trafficked in heroin. His job, which occasionally brought him to the Queen City, was moving large quantities of the product across the border from Canada to the United States.

The authorities could never amass quite enough evidence to convict Daigneau, but their luck was about to change, and the assistant DA knew it. He looked at Angela. "Now, you've agreed to testify when this case comes to trial, which should be sometime after the first of the year. In the meantime, we'll try to keep your name out of the public eye."

Angela stiffened. "Should I be worried about that? Like if his family finds out who I am? Will they . . ."

"Come after you? Well, what I'm hearing is that the rest of the Daigneaus have practically disowned their wayward American cousin." He snickered. "Apparently, executions are bad for the family business. Nah, your biggest problem won't be hiding from the Daigneau clan -- it'll be running from the media hounds."

"That's reassuring." Angela smiled thinly. "Are we finished? May I go now?"

"Sure." He reached into his breast pocket and withdrew a business card, which he placed on the table in front of Angela. "Call me at this number if you need anything. I'm here to help you in any way I can."

She slipped the card into her purse. And with that, their meeting ended.
Angela found the note early the next morning. Hand-printed in block letters and folded tightly, it had been shoved through the mail slot of her front door while she slept.


She swallowed hard, trying to loosen the icy tentacles of fear that gripped her insides. No time for panic, she thought. Things will only get worse if I panic. It's a hoax. Call Michael first. Then call the police.

But instead, Angela did exactly what the note directed her to do.


Goat Island's main parking lot was nearly empty. Angela left her car as close as possible to the pedestrian ingress, then walked directly to the monument and stood at its base. She glanced uneasily at her watch; it was nearly noon.

"The Bills make me want to SHOUT --" Angela hunted for the source of the song, clambering up the statue of Nikolai Tesla like so many Goat Island tourists before her, the bronze of the statue polished by their passing.

The cell phone in Tesla's lap was Michael's, of course. And as she reached for it, she remembered mocking his fanboy devotion when he played her the ring tone, that song.

"I see you were smart enough to listen, and come alone," the caller hissed, in a French accent as fake as Groucho glasses. "Now we shall see whether you are smart enough to save your brother's life."

A woman's guttural voice, but the false enunciation was undeniable. This was someone trying without success to sound French. But why?

"Where is Michael? I need to know that he's OK. And who are you? Please . , ."

"Enough questions. We want Denis Daigneau -- how do you say -- sprung from jail. You must not testify against him. You must forget what you saw, or your brother will die."

Angela extended her arm and squinted at the phone in her hand. "Unavailable" on the tiny screen meant that identifying the caller's current location would be impossible. No help there. She raised the phone to her ear.

"Angela? Are you there? Answer me." Once more, that bogus accentuation.

"I'm here. What do you want me to do?"

"Tell the authorities that you are no longer sure about what you saw, that you cannot identify Denis as the shooter. When Denis returns safely to Canada, Michael will be let go." "How do I know you're telling me the truth? Where's Michael now?"

A pause, and then Michael's voice came to her through the earpiece. "I'm here, Angela. I'm OK. But do as she says or I'm a dead man."

Another pause. "Listen to your brother. No harm will come to him if you refuse to testify. Adieu, Angela."

Adieu? Yeah, right. Angela stared at Michael's cell phone, cradled in her palm like a hand grenade. She tossed it into her purse, then trotted to her car and headed back to Buffalo. She needed to go somewhere to clear her head. She'd pick up Michael's spare key at home, then hide out at his apartment to think this thing through.


Angela slouched in her brother's favorite chair, clutching his cell phone and feeling utterly helpless. In desperation, she pressed the phone's menu key, and began searching for -- what? "First stop, call history," she whispered under her breath. Within seconds, she was gazing at a log of incoming and outgoing calls.

A single tap and she found the most recent call made to Michael's cell phone, the one from that Frenchwoman wannabe. The rest of the incoming calls on the list meant nothing to her. A few were local, but most had come in during the past few days from an unfamiliar area code.

Angela quickly located the record of outgoing calls. None had been made from this phone since Michael vanished. But -- there was that strange area code again. This list contained several calls to that same locale over the past week, calls that her brother must have made.

She bolted from the chair in search of a phone book, which she soon located on a rickety table in the hallway. A short flip through its pages, and she found it: the mysterious area code 514 was assigned to Montreal.

"What?" she stammered. "Montreal? Who does Michael know in . . ."

"Lots of people, Angela. My business partner, for one." Michael's voice, directly behind her, sounded hollow and defeated.

Angela spun and faced him. "What are you doing here?" Her eyes narrowed. "You've been here the whole time. What have you done, Michael?"

"You weren't supposed to be parked out front when Daigneau showed up. He came here to pick up some money that belonged to him." He waited for her reaction, but none came. "The shooting wasn't part of the deal. The guy in the car was a small-time hood from downstate, looking for a piece of what Daigneau was raking in."

"So he just killed him to get him out of the way." Angela was incredulous.

"Something like that. And then he must've panicked and ran when he saw you. But it doesn't matter now, does it? After you testify, Daigneau goes to prison for life. Of course, he'll try to plead down by naming Ginger and me as his associates."

"Ginger, too? This just gets uglier by the minute, doesn't it?"

"Who do you think called you at noon?" Michael shrugged. "The French accent was supposed to make you think it was Daigneau's family."

Angela laughed bitterly. "Tell Ginger her Francais needs some work."

Michael ignored her sarcasm. "Leaving my cell phone in Tesla's lap was a big mistake. We thought it would make my disappearance look more convincing. But then I figured someone might find those numbers in my call history, so getting my phone back was next on my agenda. That was before you showed up here."

"So now what, little brother? You know I'm still going to testify." She paused, then added, "My God, Michael, smuggling heroin? What were you thinking?"

He turned away from Angela and started down the hallway, then he stopped and faced her. "Ginger and I are leaving town. I'll be packed and gone within the hour." He disappeared into his bedroom.

Angela reached into her purse and retrieved the assistant DA's business card. As she walked out the front door, she entered his number and pressed the send button on her brother's cell phone.


>Honorable mention:

"Dark Brilliance" by Guy K. Hummel, Derby

"Nicolai's Legacy" by Denis G. Riley, Williamsville

"Twisted Triangle" by Dan Campisi and C. Carr, Buffalo

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