Burden of Proof (for Trifecta)

It’s Trifecta Weekly Challenge time and this one was especially difficult for me personally. Perhaps it’s because the prompt exposed two of my Achilles heels: brains and computers. Sad, huh? RULES: All entries must be between 33 and 333 words and need to include the following word using its third definition (both listed below).

* * * * * * * * * *

Burden of Proof

* * * * * * * * * * 

“Keep digging.” Riggs pleaded.

Murtaugh could hear the desperation in his partner’s voice. It had only been six months since he lost Victoria. He was too close to these crimes. “You’re grasping at straws. Police combed the area for days. There’s nothing left.”

“How can you be sure?” Riggs protested. “We both know he killed all six of them but we’ve only got enough to get him for that last one.”

“Riggs, we don’t even have bodies, let alone evidence to link him to those women.”

Riggs kept digging. “What about the waitress?”


“The girl we questioned last month. The only one who got out alive. With the piercings … and tattoos, remember? “

“Please. I’m still having nightmares,” Murtaugh laughed.

“Yeah, she was rough … but smart.” Riggs agreed. “That’s what saved her. She paid attention to his schedule, knew when to act. She said he recorded everything on his computer … pictures, clippings, videos. Apparently, he liked showing them to his newer captures. I just wish she hadn’t waited to report him. It gave him too much time.”

“Then, tell me again. Why are we here?”

“They found the last victim here, right?

“Yes. And?” Murtaugh persisted.

“He knew it was his last kill for a while, thanks to the waitress. So, he had to dump everything .. the body, the tools and …”

“The computer,” concluded Murtaugh.

“Exactly,” said Riggs, just as his digging fingers hit the metal hard drive in the dirt. “His brain. I’ll bet everything’s on here. The girls, the methods, even the dump sites. And these barcodes will lead us right to him.”

Murtaugh interrupted. “Why wouldn’t he have destroyed it?”

“Because he’s one of them. The monsters who keep these grisly souvenirs. Usually the key evidence in their convictions. When Bundy was asked why he photographed his victims, he said, ‘when you work hard to do something right, you don’t want to forget it.'” Riggs turned to collect himself, wiping his eyes. “Let’s go nail his ass to the wall.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

Anyone recognize my characters? Points go to the first one who leaves it in the comments.

And that Ted Bundy stuff? It was real. I did a little terrifying research by myself late last night during one of the worst thunderstorms in recent history. It’s a good thing the power didn’t go out or I’d still be holed up in the back of my closet clutching a butcher knife and a vial of holy water. (A girl’s gotta cover all her bases, from the mortal to the supernatural.) Anyway, this link was the most disturbing one I read. It’s not for the faint of heart, especially that second paragraph.


33 responses to “Burden of Proof (for Trifecta)

  1. Totally got the Lethal Weapon nod… Great piece 🙂

  2. Yeah, recognized the characters too.
    Love the story – very well done! And go you for doing research. That couldn’t have been fun.

  3. Scary. Nicely done.

  4. Great piece! I always think about those investigators and when they really do come across the remains of a victim. I can’t even begin to imagine what a mentally tough job that must be. I mean, seriously. How do you not bring that type of image home with you?

    On a side note: I regret clinking on that link. I have my holy water and butcher knife at the ready.

  5. This kind of stuff gives me the creeps but in a good kind of way. Great story!

  6. Excellent work on the prompt, but now I want to hear the rest of the story! 🙂

    Staying Connected

    • Thanks, K. Perhaps there will be a “rest” at some point. I’m actually working on expanding another previous Trifecta entry as we speak. I guess that’s the nudge that we get from these little exercises.

      • Boy that’s the truth ODNT. I have so many characters running around in my head at any given moment and they ALL want to be in the spotlight 😉

        One at a time.

  7. I wish Murtaugh had said, “i’m gettin’ too old for this shiiiiii….”

    I like how you gave rough/tough girl smarts and character. Maybe Helene can hire her for her new bands.

    Loved the dialogue and the prompt delivery.

    • Damn. You’re right. I totally missed that Murtaugh moment. I’m losing my touch.

      But it would’ve been seven extra words. And I already had to shave this entry down from a whopping 590 words to (exactly) 333. Not easy.

  8. Lethal Weapon Trifecta style.

  9. This was chilling. Great writing. I didn’t notice the “Lethal Weapon” connection because I was too engrossed in your plot and the way you told it. I love how you included so much and still left us with a story that feels whole, at least to me. This is how it’s done. Wow.

  10. great scene – right out of a murder mystery 🙂 and the character who is so determined to find something has so much tense energy in him, really works out well.

  11. They’re getting too old for this sh*t.

    Your storyline is already better than the last two LW’s, and gave the first two a run for their money. Well done – you know you can keep the story going if you wanted and we asked nice with pretty pleasses and cherries on top.

  12. I love a good mystery/horror tale. You’ve done it well here. A little grave-robbing and a little monster movie-type story makes for an excellent entry. Well done.

    Good luck on the challenge!

  13. Wow, really well done! YOU get extra points for the research; real “quotes” add flair to your great tale!

  14. This was a great story and I would love to read more. My only question is: Murtaugh says they don’t have bodies…but they are digging where the last victim was found? How does that work?

    BTW, my finger is itching to click that link…

    • First of all, you are hired as my proofreader from now on. It’s that kind of attention to detail and fact checking that I need in an editor. 🙂

      Secondly, please allow me to try to answer your question. There are six murders total. R&M only have “enough to get him for that last one” because “they found the last victim here” (the story’s setting). The first five victims are still missing but suspected to be dead by the hands of the same man responsible for the sixth death. Does that make sense?

      I hope so. A crime scene investigator I am not.

  15. Nice story. I didn’t catch the Lethal Weapon link in it, though. Ted Bundy was freaky. I made the mistake of reading his biography (written by Ann Rule) while on a business trip one year. That’s not the book one should read while traveling alone – I was afraid to leave the hotel room 🙂

  16. trifectawriting

    Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. If you haven’t already done it, you might be interested in clicking on the “Meet Your Fellow Trifectans” tab on our site and introducing yourself there. Hope to see you back on Monday for the new prompt.

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