Solving Crimes in the Village

This is a short story inspired by a silly tweet I made while I was watching Sally Yates testify. Senator Klobuchar was asking her some solid questions, and I said I wanted fanfic of these two. So, here you go. As far as I know, this is the world’s only Yates/Klobuchar fanfic.

The village was a slip of Georgia by the ocean, unremarkable for anything except the views and the sheep.

(And, if they were honest with themselves, the murders)

Amy had opened a bakery. Sally had her sheep and her knitting—they had been astonished to learn how sheep could fill the hours—but Amy had driven fifty miles up and down the coast and couldn’t find a single apple crisp worth her time. As she refused to live in a world without easy access to a decent crisp, she found an empty storefront on Main Street, rolled up her sleeves, and got to work.

At first, the locals had stayed away, but Amy had taught herself to make a mean peach cobbler and brown sugar was its own reward. As the months passed, the bakery grew legs and turned into the community coffee shop. There was art on the old wooden walls and tables that she and Sally had hammered together from shipping pallets over a rainy weekend, and the coffee was as close to free as could be found.

Most mornings, she baked and talked law with those who needed it.

Some mornings, about once a month, the little brass bell over the door would jingle, and she’d look up to find Sheriff Taylor in full uniform, his hat hanging crooked over his face.

Amy loved that hat. She smiled every time she saw it. That hat meant murder.

Taylor had been coming in for coffee without that hat for the past few weeks, but he was due. As she went to bed, Amy decided to get up before the sun and open the shop early, just in case.

Sure enough, as as she flipped on the lights, that little bell jingled.

“Morning, Sheriff,” Amy said, as if the hat wasn’t looming ominously over his eyes. As if it was a normal morning. “How’s every small thing?”

The Sheriff nodded to her. He was a good and honest man, as such things were measured, and he appreciated the effort of pleasantries. “Senator,” he said.

“Just Amy, please. I’m retired.” She found a clean pie tin and set him up with some cinnamon crullers.

He stared at the plate.

“Oh,” she said, and went to wrap up the crullers in a plain paper bag. “I’ll call Sally.”

Easier than it had been, getting Sheriff Taylor to take her to the crime scene. Much easier. Whole worlds easier! Those first dozen cases had been like pulling teeth, but she and Sally were closing in on a full year in the village and the coffee shop was now Taylor’s first port of call.

On that morning, their second was the morgue.

The Medical Examiner was a thin man prone to dark humor. Amy had brought him a few pastries, and on a normal day he would have tucked in while walking them through the latest homicide.

This was not a normal day. He let them into his suite, then went to sit with his head between his knees.

“That bad?” Amy asked the Sheriff.

“That bad.” The voice came from the pool of light on the other side of the room. The woman who had spoken was tall and thin, topped by a crest of short brown hair. She stepped away from the autopsy table and removed a pair of disposable black gloves. With the gloves gone, Amy saw the blood speckled across the sleeves of her shirt.

“It’s not the victim’s,” Sally assured them. “Martin got stuck in the fence again. I locked him in the barn and came straight here.”

Martin was their truculent ram who thrived on self-inflicted injuries. He had good genes and nothing else, and Sally would have dumped him on another farmer long ago if he didn’t sire the healthiest lambs around.

“Tell me about the body,” Amy said to Sally, as she joined her friend in the light of the autopsy rig.

“It speaks for itself,” Sally said.

It did. There was not much left of what had once been a girl. The face had been split into thirds, the body into quarters. Tatters of once-white fabric lay in ruined strips across the corpse, a mix of dried blood and red Georgia clay flaking onto the steel table.

She and Amy each donned pairs of fresh gloves and went to work. They were lucky—the body had not yet been cleaned. Amy found a scalpel and used it to lift an especially clotty piece of flesh.

“No maggots,” she observed. “No insect activity at all.”

Across the room came the sounds of the M.E. vomiting into his garbage bin.

“Wha—The person who did this was strong,” Sally said, turning what remained of the girl’s right foot over in her hands. “The weapon has three blades, each between six to eight inches long.”

Amy moved her body to block the Sheriffs view, and then held up her own hand so Sally alone could see. She arched her first three fingers and raked the air, mimicking claws.

Sally nodded.

They completed their inspection. The body was starting to smell of rotten eggs, so they bid the M.E. good morning and went outside into the clean morning sun, Sheriff Taylor in tow.

“We’d like to see where she was found,” Amy said.

The Sheriff took them to a quiet grove in the woods they had visited a hundred times before. The spot where the girl had been murdered looked no different than any other grove in Georgia, but the stench of rotten eggs was here, too. Amy and Sally let the Sheriff grow bored and wander off on the pretext of a phone call, and then Sally took a vial of black powder from her purse.

“Iron?” asked Amy. “We’ve already tried iron here.”

“Obsidian,” Sally said, and opened the tube with a pop. “Earth didn’t work, so let’s try fire.”

The taller woman poured the powder into a miniature mountain, and dropped a lit match into its center. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, the mountain of volcanic glass shuddered and tipped sideways, a thin line of molten lava crawling due east. They watched the lava flow across the ground until it had exhausted its fuel. It pointed straight as an arrow into the heart of the small seaside forest.

“Finally,” Amy said. “A place to start.”

The soft sound of metal on leather lit the grove as Sally took out the silver dagger she kept hidden in her boot. “We need to find that Gate and close it.”

Amy’s own dagger was light and familiar in her hand. “We will,” she said, as they left the Sheriff and the town behind them. “We will.”

This story was originally posted for my Patreons, who have my ongoing gratitude for letting me write all of this weird stuff. Cross-posted to the A Girl and Her Fed tumblr.

Published by KBSpangler

A freelance editor who writes novels, comics, and repairs a disaster of a house in her spare time:

3 thoughts on “Solving Crimes in the Village

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s