The Thursday Writers

The Briefcase

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The Thursday writers meet weekly in a public library. We collect twenty minute prompts, mostly one sentence long, draw a prompt at random, then write furiously and read our work to the group. Sharing writing information such as workshops, books, and readings we've been to have kept us current on what's happening in our neighbourhood. Our focus as writers has grown and now this new venture with the Island Woman Magazine is very exciting. We plan on a once monthly submission, rotating writers throughout the year. We are having lots of writing fun!

There was nothing else in the briefcase. I set the gun down on the floor and checked more thoroughly. I ripped the lining out, ruining the briefcase in the process.

Why? I wondered. Why had they left me a gun but no instructions? What was I supposed to do with it?

I picked the gun up again and checked. It was loaded. I wrapped it in the torn lining and put it back in the briefcase.

Before I left the hotel room, I searched the closets and drawers, even the bathroom. Nothing, unless you counted the Gideon Bible in the bedside table. Damn. This wasn’t meant to be a guessing game, was it? The muffled voice on the phone had said “Go to the Windsor Hotel. Check into room 412 under the name Jane Smith. You will find a briefcase under the bed with further instructions.”

So – what were my instructions? Kill? Kill whom? And why? Why me? I wasn’t some hired assassin. I was a private detective. Maybe the voice had simply gotten the wrong number, and whoever the call was meant for would have known exactly what to do with the gun.

I sat down on the bed again and thought. Okay. If the only bit of writing in the room was the Gideon Bible, maybe my instructions were in there. I opened the drawer and pulled the bible out. I turned its spine up and shook it, hoping that a note would fall out. Nothing. I thought – Okay, guns are for killing. Maybe the instructions are written in the margin beside something about killing. Great. I’d have to read the whole bible. There was scarcely a page where somebody wasn’t getting killed. No, that idea was too far-fetched.

I gave up. I stood up. The voice was going to have to call someone else.

Just then, the door opened and a man walked in. He was tall and painfully thin. His eyes had sunk into their sockets, and he was obviously ill. He spoke, and now I recognized his voice.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked. “What is the gun for?”

“Where is the gun?”

“It’s back in the briefcase.”

“Get it out.”

I did.

“Now kill me. Please.”

I looked into his eyes. I saw his pain.

I took aim, and I fired.


By Sandra Leigh


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  1. Part of your upcoming novel, perhaps?

    • Oh dear. I hope not. There are no detectives in my novel and no guns – at least so far!

  2. It sent shivers up my spine. I couldn’t wait to see what the ending was going to be. Good for you to think of something so different and interesting.


  3. Wow! What an unexpected and powerful ending Sandra. An interesting and different story.


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