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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: 24 Hours (01/27/11)

TITLE: The Force
By william price


What would I do for love?


My service revolver was aimed at center mass. I begged him to touch his weapon; a legal reason, at least on paper, to kill. I knew what a good officer would do. I knew what a man over the edge could do. Decisions were difficult at 3 a.m. in a darkened alley behind a bar.


The crime scene was gruesome. One body, a 25-year-old female, brunet, about five feet four, 120 pounds, beaten and a single bullet wound. Blood splatter indicated the murder weapon was fired from short range. A struggle had apparently started in the kitchen; shattered dishes, a spilled bottle of white wine on its side. She lay lifeless in the living room on stained white carpet. It was six in the morning.

I knew her. She was my partner’s daughter. They had lifestyle issues and hardly ever spoke to each other; issues which lay unresolved, silent, and cold next to a neo classic smoky glass coffee table. Homicide Detective Maria Lopez had been my partner for five years. We were very close. I was glad she wasn’t there.


Maria called while I was fighting the snooze button for more sleep.

Her voice sounded panicked, “It’s Tonya. We need to get to her place, now.”

I tried to wake up. “Did she call you?”

“Yes, she was hysterical. Just get there.”

I asked if I should come get her, but she had hung up.

While racing to Tonya’s riverside apartment I heard over the emergency channel an officer was involved in a car crash. I tried to phone Maria; no answer.

I turned my sedan toward the scene of the accident. Another call squawked over the radio; possible gunshots at the Riverside Apartments. I slammed on my brakes and skidded sideways to a stop blocking traffic in two lanes. I looked east toward the accident. I turned my head west to Tonya’s apartment. Impatient drivers honked their horns. I sped off to the west.

I called dispatch from my cell. They verified Maria’s vehicle did crash; details didn’t sound good. My eyes watered. I tried to pray and drive at the same time. Tears blurred my vision. I had to save her daughter.

Adrenalin had my pulse sprinting, but the next two radio calls nearly stopped my heart. Responding officers reported signal seven at the accident and a signal seven, possible signal five at the apartments. I ran over two garbage cans on the side of the road before regaining control.

They're both dead?

Tonya was possibly murdered. I became angry. I somehow made it to the Riverside Apartments. First responders had already arrived. I walked inside the yellow tape.


“Where’s Tonya’s boyfriend?” I barked at a pale faced patrolman as I swallowed back some bile.

“You knew the vic, sir?”

“She’s not a vic. She’s my partner’s daughter. Now before I get relieved from this case let’s try to get a read on his whereabouts. His name is Eddie Hodge. He’s a white male about 25-years-old. He’s probably high…”

“We’re canvassing tenants, Sir. I’m sorry.” He gave an awkward, sympathetic look.

I started working the crime scene. Tonya’s face had been battered. Her fingernails were bloody. The drawer to the lamp stand was open.

Maria had given her a pistol for protection. Maybe Tonya had tried to crawl to the living room to get it? If that were the case, I had hoped Hodge was still running around with a 9 millimeter Beretta.

Within 30 minutes my Captain arrived. He assigned other detectives to the case and told me to go home or back to the station.

“It’s too personal,” he whispered in my ear.

Hodge wasn’t in the apartment, but had been. He’d dropped his socks on the bedroom floor. I left the apartment as ordered, but didn’t go home. It was personal.

In one day my soul had been ransacked. No more talk of weddings or second chances. I wanted justice. My pistol was fully loaded.

I found Hodge with Tonya’s Beretta early the next morning at a bar. I yanked him outback.


It’s 6 a.m. after the worst day of my life. I sit silently in the sanctuary of Maria’s Sunday cathedral searching for God’s forgiveness. I wanted to kill Hodge. I ask God to tell Maria I’m sorry her daughter’s killer is in jail and not a morgue.

He had pleaded for mercy, and somewhere inside me, I had found it.

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This article has been read 622 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 02/04/11
This is a gripping assessment of what police officers have to deal with as part of their jobs. When it hits on a personal level, how much harder their jobs become.
Laury Hubrich 02/05/11
Wow! What a fast-paced story. Very sad. So did the partner die in the car crash? I'm sure this is a story that many big city policeman face. Nice job.
Glynis Becker02/05/11
I was totally hooked and had to know whether he was going to pull the trigger or not. Very well done!
Colin Swann02/06/11
I expect this is the trauma most police officers go through - thanks for giving us a look at when it all becomes personal and the need for stepping back. A thriller indeed!
Rachel Phelps02/07/11
I love the layering here - the opening was powerful,and it just kept building. Excellent!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/07/11
I'm glad you MC made the right choice, but I was surely conflicted with him. You have a good touch with suspense, for sure
Virgil Youngblood 02/07/11
Choices, and living with them, have eternal consequences. The end of this story is yet to be written. Well done.
Loren T. Lowery02/07/11
Tense and gripping. I could never have written this and those writers who are capable of telling such stories are special. I really liked the way the opening and closing paragraphs sandwiched your conflict and resolution so well together.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/11
What a powerful piece! I think you could write for some new cop shows. Amgoing characters, great impact.
Gregory Kane02/09/11
A thoroughly satisfying conclusion. I found the time shift at the very beginning rather confusing
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/10/11
Congratulations for placing both 11th in Masters and overall!
Valora Otis03/07/12
Always a pleasure to read the writings of a master. You can still move me with your description and how you breath life into your character and asses the moral reality of their actions. Excellent read my friend!