October 31, 2018

A Halloween Treat: Mortal Musings and Murder

You may have seen a post circulating around social media (for a couple years now, on and off) that asserts any book's first line can be improved by making the second line:

"And then the murders began."

I tried it with a few of my own first lines, and the results are pretty fun. One I particularly liked was the one from Mortal Musings, partially because Brett is a mystery writer. So I wrote a quick (dark!) flash story set in an Alternative Universe of Mortal Musings, mixed with murder. My Halloween treat for you. 😉


Writer’s block had walled him in. Again. And then the murders began. 

A football player strung up to bleed out on the goal posts, found at early-morning practice.

The stay-at-home mom injected with a fatal paralytic then positioned at her kitchen counter, prepping the ingredients for that night’s stew. Toppled by her four-year-old’s hungry nudge.

The garbage man chopped into pieces and scattered around neighborhood compost bins.

Gruesome, senseless death. And as far as the police could tell, unconnected. 

Brett scoured the news, glued to any live updates, all saying the same thing: No one knew anything. Not one clue had been found.

On the fourth night, Brett woke, heart pounding from nightmares of wielding a long blade, eviscerating a trio of restaurant servers before trussing them up in the freezer. 

Unable to face the darkness, he staggered to the light switch then landed in front of his computer. His hands came to the keys.

The authorities might not be able to catch the killer, but Brett’s detective could. Piecing together the puzzle behind grisly deaths was what Pete lived for—why he’d been created. And now, Brett knew what puzzle Pete would solve.

As the dark turned to a timid morning gray, red and blue lights flashed outside Brett’s window—a new ineffective patrol. He shook his head and blinked the grit from his eyes. The blurry lines of text on his screen came to 6,863 new words.

Brett sighed and leaned back in his chair. A rustle in the silence spun him around.

Formidable and fearsome, his hallucination stood wiping blood off a broadsword. Her gleaming red hair fell smoothly to her waist, miraculously avoiding the myriad weapons secured to her curves.

“Well?” she asked, her blade catching the light as it wove deftly through the air. The tip landed beneath Brett’s chin, tilting his face up to meet the challenge in the apparition’s astoundingly green eyes. “Aren’t you going to thank me?”


  1. Nice and gruesome...just the way I like it.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. I was thinking about you when I posted it haha. This version is much more up your alley than the original. :D