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Jamie Thomas, 03 Aug '12

Detective Hale grunted as she slammed the car door shut. The first responder's face was a picture, both shocked and frightened by the big scary detective who he had woken up on her day off. She half growled a question at him, and he quickly responded by motioning to the crime scene she was here to investigate. As they walked towards the fluttering yellow tape, the police officer spoke, his nerves showing in his wavering tone. Hale had this affect on people.

"The body is just off the road, past this bush and down a ditch. Prostitute, strangled to death."

Hale was the essence of efficiency. "Dressed in the usual fine clothes and makeup?" Her short temper was still obvious.

"Umm, well no. This one just looks like an ordinary prostitute. To be honest, it probably isn't even linked to your case." The young policeman failed to make eye contact, and Hale struggled to reign in her temper.

"So you woke me up for a dead whore, who isn't even linked to the Prestige Gang."

Before she could carry on ranting, she zipped her mouth and ducked under the security tape. She had not slept a wink last night, since the newly revealed duo had been dubbed "The Prestige Gang", or "The Prestige Boys", or even "The Prestigious". The idea of two killers had frightened her enough the night before, when the failed detective and his little girlfriend had unveiled them, but now the media frenzy was heightening, and she knew that the papers would only follow the internet and plaster the word "prestige" across every single front page in Britain. Prestige came from the way the killers "upgraded" the social class of the prostitutes, and also by the way they made such a reputation for themselves. Whatever reasons the papers used, Hale could still not help but associate Prestige with something positive.

It made her sick to her stomach, but she put on a brave face, and walked up to the dead body who lay face down in a pile of late autumnal leaves. The girl was definitely a prostitute, cheap leather skirt, cheap broken heels and a tacky fur coat. the fur coat was damp from the morning precipitation, and there were clear scratches all up and down the girl's legs. As Hale leant in closer, she saw that the girl may have been older than Hale had presumed. The legs were well toned and shiny from frequent waxing, but they were clearly the legs of someone over the age of 25. Hale had seen enough dead bodies to know these things.

She pulled on her latex gloves, and checked the ankles and wrists. There were ligature marks, but also lacerations in places, like the woman had been bound with piano wire. She reached forward, brushed the leaves away from the victims neck and examined the mark. Her neck was also slightly lacerated, but the lacerations were surrounded with severe bruising. Getting a firm grip on the shoulder of the body, Hale used a technique she had once been taught, and she turned the body over. As it flopped onto it's back, Hale let out an involuntary gasp. Uncertain of what to do, she let go of the body and fell backwards and began scrambling away from the face she had seen as quickly as she could.

A name came to her lips, but her voice didn't cooperate, and she turned away and got to her feet. She took deep breaths, and tried to compose herself. It was an impossible task, because the woman who lay in the dirty leaves behind her was her close friend Helen Carter. Wife of the failed detective Ken Carter. Hale had spoken to her only the other night, when she had told her that her husband was sleeping with prostitutes. Now the woman was dead.

Hale pulled her phone from her pocket with a stammering hand, and called the second person on her speed dial.


"What could it mean? Carter, what the hell could it mean?" Barb was a mess of angst and worry.
"I don't know Barbie doll."

Carter stared blankly at the phone screen. It was for nothing, because the words "PEACE OFFERING" were etched into his mind. He was about to agree with Barb, that it must be from the "Prestigious Gang", when his phone suddenly sprung to life in his hands. The person on the other end of the phone call was the last but one person that he would like to have called him.

"Hello, Detective Hale?" he answered bleakly.

Barb watched Carter's face contort into a menagerie of emotion as the phone call waged on, not once making a contribution. When the call was over, Carter slumped on to the moth eaten, mangy bed, and curled up in Barb's arms. He wanted to cry, wanted to sob and regret and feel remorse and commemorate, but he just couldn't. His childhood sweetheart was dead, but their romance had been dead for years.

He began explaining to Barb what had happened, sharing with her the most dramatic points of Detective Hale's phone call. His voice was weak, almost defeated. Although it seemed that his reaction was due to the death of his wife, Barb had a sneaking suspicion that he was trying to wrap his head around the idea of the peace offering. The Prestige Gang had killed his wife, as a peace offering, and this was a monstrous philosophy to comprehend.

Suddenly, the sharp ring of the cheap motel telephone broke the silence in the room. Time slowed as Barb picked the up the phone and held it to her ear. The voice on the other end was suave, yet cold and laced with malice.

"Hello Barbara. Are you happy with our peace offering?"

Barb froze with fear, locking Bambi eyes with Carter who was now alert and wide eyed as well.

"We have gone back to our old ways of hunting, since you proved to be so dangerous. But be warned Barb, we will come after you eventually. My friend and I have picked out the most exquisite Armani suit for you to wear."

A cackle could be heard in the background before the phone clicked off. Barb dropped the receiver, mild horror now painted onto her face. Carter was speed dialling Detective Hale before Barb even began explaining.

Comments · 3

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  • Jamie Thomas said...

    This is the fifth instalment in a series following Barb and Carter.
    The fourth can be read here:
    The fourth burrst has links to the first three if you haven't read those yet either.

    I hope you all enjoy this burrst, and I hope it isn't too full of angst and dramatics. I'm not sure how long I will continue this story for, maybe for another three burrsts. Just be prepared for a lot of dramatic things to start happening. Don't worry, it won't quite turn into a crack fic. Im open to any comments or criticism as always :)

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Daniel Williams said...

    Ah, I didn't realise this was part of a series until I got the end. My crit was going to be that it was interesting writing, but it didn't feel complete.... I'll go and read the others and it'll make more sense..

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Angela Watt said...

    The plot thickens. Thanks for continuing with the Barb Burrsts. Still intrigued to find out what's going to happen.

    • Posted 7 years ago