Submitted by throwthisoneintrash t3_10mkudk in WritingPrompts

##Welcome to Follow Me Friday!

Happy Friday! Let's solve a mystery!

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##Here’s How It Works

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1. Every Friday a new post will be pinned at r/WritingPrompts with a 200-ish word starter for your story.

  • There will be a variety of themes and genres to work with. After the initial “prompt” portion of the story, it will need a “Middle” and an “Ending”. That’s where you come in.

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2. Every participant must write a 300 word “Middle”.

  • You must have a top-level reply to the post that is 100 to 300 words and continues the story without ending it. Leave room for the next writer to add their creative touch.

  • You must title your comment with the following: <2/3>.

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3. Once you have written a “Middle” you are qualified to write an “Ending”.

  • You may reply to someone else’s “Middle” section with an “Ending” to the story. It must be 100 to 300 words and finish the story.

  • Title your comment with the following: <3/3>.

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4. Comments can then be placed on the “Ending” section.

  • Non-story comments can only be placed on the stickied comment thread or after an “Ending” as a reply.

  • Top level or second level comments will be removed if they are not story sections.

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5. “Middle” comments are due by Tuesday 11:59PM CST. “Ending” comments are due by Wednesday 11:59PM CST

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​ ##Are There Winners?

​ Yes!

​ Use comments and upvotes to identify your favorite thread! Reply to the Ending comment with your feedback and that thread will be considered for “Commenter’s Choice”.

​ There will of course be my favorite thread as well: “Cheetah’s Choice”.

That makes a whole lot more sense if you join our discord and see my profile pic.

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##From Last Week’s Thread ​

##Commenter's Choice

Middle by u/London-Roma-1980

Ending by u/blackbird223

##Cheetah's Choice

Middle by u/bookworm271

Ending by u/ShikakuZetsumei


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#This Week’s Story Starter

&#x200B; ​ Rocky pulled up the collar on his trench coat that protected him from London's torrential rains. He was late, but that didn't stop him from slowly walking up to the crime scene, his eyes taking in ever detail of his surroundings.

"Looks like a double," Agent Harris remarked. They both stood over two bodies strewn out over a cobblestone path. They appeared to be arranged in the same shape. The arms of both victims pointing north, legs bent and pointed the same way, as if the bodies were running.

"I just don't understand people like this," Harris said, sipping his coffee. Rocky nodded politely. But there was a problem.

He did understand the killer's mind. And he knew just where to look for them.

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​ &#x200B; ​ ##Subreddit News​

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mf9769 t1_j63w1ua wrote


He'd seen the signature before, multiple times over the last thirty years. Before he was a consultant.

Hell, even before he'd been the greenest recruit at Scotland Yard.

"Harris," said Rocky, very, very softly. "Pull your men back. Tell them to make it look like they're looking for evidence."

To his credit, Harris didn't bother asking him why. He just did what he was told, turning around and making his way toward one of the other investigators.

Rocky took a knee next to the closer of the two bodies. They’d been cleaned before they were posed but he could still see the residue of the vomiting that had likely been the dead man’s first sign that something was wrong.

He pulled on a glove and dug into the man’s pockets.

Rocky found what he was looking for almost immediately, his fist closing around a pen as he pulled it out and examined it more closely.

“Savoy Hotel, London.”

He had to give the killer her due. The object mimicked being a hotel branded pen extremely well, and unless you knew what to look for, finding the radio transmitter was nigh impossible.

He’d seen it before though and as he carefully took the pen apart, the wire connecting the battery inside its plastic barrel to the microphone hidden at the top was apparent.

“I know you can hear me, mum,” said Rocky.


SlightlyColdWaffles t1_j64q8ro wrote

<3/3> The pen's one way transmitter had a short range, maybe 5 kilometers at best. If she was listening, she was close. If she was close, it was likely that she was watching us. And if she was watching us, then most of the officers on site were already dead.

"This is between us", I said to the pen. "Leave them out of this".

The pen declined to respond.

"I'm going to make up some excuse to leave. Follow me out, we can talk face to face-"

My monologue was interrupted by a soft whistle, followed by a loud CRACK. I dove to the ground, trying to use the bodies as cover. "SHOTS FIRED!" I shouted into my own radio. "ALL UNITS TAKE COVER!"

A cacophony of whistles and cracks erupted around me, with a chorus of screams and the thuds of falling bodies accompanying the performance. One by one, each officer at the scene changed roles from police officer to murder victim. I saw Harris on his stomach, crawling towards me with his service revolver in hand. It was useless against mum's rifle at this range, but its presence may have brought the agent some small sense of control of...

Harris' body jerked and stopped just as quickly, and settled back onto the ground. His lifeless hand still gripped the emotional support weapon.

The barrage of sniper fire ceased, which meant that all of my colleagues were dead. I tried to slowly crawl back to my car through the mud and puddles, but it was a futile effort. A boot stepped on my right hand, pinning me to the mud below.

"Your crimes end now" my mother growled. I chuckled.

"Do you think the Mob will give up just because I'm dead?"

"No," she said. "But I will."



bookworm271 t1_j66pilz wrote


A few hours later Rocky pulled up to a nondescript flat. He was welcomed in by a woman with a sly smile.

"I wondered if I be seeing you," she laughed.

"Why must you always make my job so difficult, Rosie?"

He knew it had been her since the moment he felt that twinge of  their twin telepathy hours ago, when the murders were being committed. It was his sister who left the two murder victims. Her mind he understood.

"I feel I actually make it easier. Less bad guys on the streets."

"Who were these guys?" Rocky asked.

"Remember the student who escaped her abductors last month? She told your men that she didn't have a description of her captors. She told me differently. Not my fault some prefer to work with my style of justice over yours."

He sighed. "Be careful, sis. I can turn my head to some things, but only if there's no evidence. "

"Which there won't be. I know how to keep things clean.

There was a sudden knock at the door, and the twins exchanged glances. "We're you followed?" Rosie asked as she gave the door a wary look.

Rocky shook his head. "I checked for a tail, didn't see one." Even so, he kept his hand on his weapon as Rosie went to answer the door.


DmonRth t1_j6aq35d wrote


Harris stood in the door looking like a kicked puppy for a full five seconds before he stepped in, eased the door closed and took a seat.

“Right pocket Rocky.”

Rocky fished out a listening device then glared at Harris. Harris held up a recording device in answer, overtly clicked it off and ejected the tape.

“How long?” Rocky grunted.

“Few months. The scumbag that hung himself using a block of ice.”

“Where did I slip?” Rosie said it like she was thanking him for a gift.

“You didn’t. It was in Rocky’s eyes that day and a few times since. He was worried. It was always the jobs so tight that they were destined for the cold room. Person doing them knew too much though. Almost like an inside job. Your turn to talk Rosie. I know Rocky wasn’t feeding you.”

Rosie grimaced, “I figured out how to pull one way. Sorry.”

If it hurt, Rocky didn’t show it.

“What now?” Rosie pointed at the tape.

Harris broke it in two. “Insurance I don’t think I want anymore. I.. I don’t hate what you’re doing. It kills me to admit it, but I don’t. Twenty years and this city keeps getting worse. But this thing, it’s gonna catch up, we need to get ahead of it.”

Rocky sniffed, “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying we go after a big fish. Someone… untouchable.”

“Shayla. How?”

“It’s impossible to plant clues on the scene after the fact, right? But. What if they were planted during. Subtlety.”

Rocky whispered, “Fabricating evidence?”

“Truth laced lies, Rocky. It’s not the justice I want, but it’s what we can get. Right Rosie. That’s what you’ve been doing. Getting what you can get.”

Rosie nodded.

Rocky nodded too, albeit slower. “Let’s bring down a mountain.”


DmonRth t1_j67opnw wrote


Rocky stuffed his hands in his pocket and turned to head back down the path.

Harris shot him a look, “Leaving already?”

“Gonna grab a tea and mull this.”

“Mull what? You been here two minutes. Can I buy a vowel?”

Rocky decided to give him a little bite to keep him busy, something that he wouldn’t call crazy talk, ”You were more right about the double than you know. Slap a mustache on the one in with the nice shoes and they’d almost be twins.”

Rocky tossed the more… eclectic clues he’d noticed around in his head as he made his way through the streets. Someone had tried their hand at a ritual. That someone had been sloppy. Real sloppy. And fortunate. Not only had they positioned the bodies pointing the wrong direction, they had also inverted the runes they’d carved on the surrounding trees. Hell, they’d even gotten the timing wrong. Last night had been a wanning crescent. A hack job like that could’va ended up getting a whole lot more people killed.

The more he thought about it the more it didn’t add up though. The ritual they had attempted wasn’t something you looked at a book and copied. It was something that gets locked into your mind’s eye as you progress from binding lesser demons to middling ones and so on. It took time, patience, and precision.

Rocky bent down to tie his shoe, not because he needed to, but because he was feeling vexed by the whole thing.

Opposite moon, reversed direction, inverted runes, almost twins. Why or who on earth would…

And then, while his fingers were making bunny ears with the laces, the answer hit him like a trolley with no brakes.



NicomacheanOrc t1_j69wyba wrote


"Rocky, what are we doing here?" Harris's voice was level, but his eyes were wide. "This place's all wrong."

"No," said Rocky, "it's almost right." The candles guttered low, their green-tinged bodies looking sickly below their flames. The runes were etched into the walls, this time; Rocky's wrists still hurt from the strain.

"It took me a long minute to get it," he said to Harris. "I hadn't connected the Running Men to the other murders lately."

Harris had stopped in the middle of the room–just as Rocky knew he would. "Those MOs were completely different," he said shakily. "Mutilation, spatter everywhere. Why would you?"

Rocky loosened his kris from his sleeve. "Ever thought about the trolley problem?" he asked his counterpart.

"Pull the lever, become a murderer, save lives?" asked Harris. "What the hell are you getting at? This place is scaring me, Rocky."

"The Running Men were a summoning," said Rocky.

"Cult shit?" asked Harris.

"Cult shit," confirmed Rocky. "But I couldn't figure out why the killer botched everything so badly. And then it hit me: it was a trap. Everything was so close, close enough to bait the mass-murdering, soul-eating demon from across the city...but off just enough that it could all be collapsed." Rocky took a deep, steadying breath, "It's how you catch a demon," he sighed, "and how you finally kill one."

"So the loony thought they were pulling the trolley lever, murdering two to save dozens?" asked Harris.

"And getting themselves damned for murder in the process," said Rocky. "Both sides of the dilemma covered."

"Rocky, please, what the hell's your point here?" Harris begged, from the center of the pentagram.

"The greatest good for the greatest number," said Rocky sadly, and his kris kissed red.


DmonRth t1_j6adgo4 wrote

Absolutely wonderful. Just perfect. I love it. I didnt even think about the trolley problem when i wrote my part, so its awesome that you used that as the tie in. Thanks so much for the 3/3!


NicomacheanOrc t1_j6aksnq wrote

My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed, and thanks for teeing that up!


SlightlyColdWaffles t1_j644jq2 wrote


"Why does he always pose them like this?" Harris said, walking carefully around the pair of corpses.

"For the same reason they're always killed from behind" I said, "stabbed in the lower back. Leaves the face and hands undamaged."

Agent Harris looked up from the crime scene, staring at me from the other side of the circle. "Huh, I didn't notice that bit" He said, taking another sip of his coffee.

The forensic photographer stood nearby, taking pictures of the bodies from every angle. "Hey kid" I said, getting his attention.

"I'm 24, I'm not a-" the kid began.

I grunted dismissively, in the way only a decades long smoker like I could produce. "Do you have access to the other crime scene photos from this case?" I asked.

"Um, yeah, back in the car" the kid said. "Why?"

I gave the kid the silence that question deserved, staring him down with an iron gaze until he took the hint. "I'll, uh, go get them, sir." He stammered, before leaving the scene.

"What..." Agent Harris began, but I cut him off with a wave. We waited in silence until the kid returned, handing me a thick manilla envelope. I took it without comment, and began sorting the other victim's photos by date. I held the photos by the top edge, and began to slowly flip through them. All of the victims were posed in the same shape... although there were subtle differences, only a few inches here or there...

"My God", Agent Harris gasped as he watched over my shoulder. "Its..."

"A flipbook" I finished for him. "Sick bastard's using corpses as characters in a flipbook".


NicomacheanOrc t1_j65d4vq wrote


Rocky sighed his way into a chair and a rocks glass of bourbon. London wasn't cold, exactly, but wet and cold were kissing cousins in meatspace.

He leaned back in his chair and Leaned Back into the Green. R0cky was waiting for him.

"They make it alright?" asked Rocky.

"They're whole," answered R0cky. "Fucked up, but whole. Not that it wouldn't fuck you up."

"Well, that's something," said Rocky. "Seems like the new transfer array is working faster. Like, a lot faster. They fell sideways into running positions–damn scene looks like an Egyptian mural."

"Hey, a fast pass is a safe pass." R0cky scratched his virtual nose. "These two are pretty quick on the uptake; they'll adjust in a few weeks. I was able to pull the feed from the alley and show them their murderer; it always helps to see evidence you were going to lose your monkeysuit one way or another."

"Glad to hear it," replied Rocky. "Therapists don't seem to die fast enough to keep up with post-death counseling demand."

"Your lips to Death's ears," said R0cky. "Hey." He turned his virtual eyes to his progenitor's. "Do you ever regret keeping your wetware?"

Rocky's body sighed again–it was an old conversation. "Yes and no," he said, as he had said many times before. "I'm glad I made a copy, I'm glad you exist, I'm glad the Green will keep us all alive forever, all of that is good. I'm excited to see how y'all turn a secret cybermind holding tank into humanity's future paradise."

"But..." prompted R0cky.

"Out of all of it, I just wish I could tell somebody without seeming like the worst mass-murderer in human history."

His erstwhile copy copied his sigh, and they sat together listening to the real rain echo the virtual.


theLesserOf2Weedles t1_j69ndz4 wrote


"We're going to make a special visit to Ebenshire. Specifically, a permanent occupant in D block cell, I think, twenty somethin'," Rocky said.

Harris grimaced as he burnt his tongue on his coffee, having been emboldened by his previous sip. Rocky's words sank in, and Harris looked puzzled, then confused, and finally settled on annoyed. "Kelley? Wallace Kelley? You think he inspired a copycat?" Harris gingerly smoothed his tongue against the roof of his mouth.

"I think Kelley inspired Kelley."

Harris started to speak, caught himself, and rubbed his eyes. Rocky toed the grate he stood on with the rubber sole of his shoe. His leg felt numb from the cramped ride over.

"Ok, first, Kelley's MO was always young men, but only a single individual, never pairs, and the way he positioned them was, well, dammit I don't wanna say artistic but not something simple like this. But, and here's the real problem here," Harris lifted three fingers off his coffee to point with them for dramatic emphasis, "Kelley has been in a fucking cement cube for at least a decade now."

"I didn't say that Wallace did it. I said that he inspired Kelley. A Kelley. Look at our victims again. Green eyes. Cleft chins. Ring fingers longer than index fingers. Moles just behind the hairlines of both men."

"You think they're related?"

"Closely related."

"Ok, but what does that mean for the killer and Kelley?"

"They're related. Closely related."


oracleofaal t1_j6c0bl9 wrote


The bodies were pointing north and if he were a crow, he would fly directly into the British Museum. They had a large collection of Egyptian artifacts of which many had come from tombs that were claimed to be cursed.

Rocky had seen this once before at the beginning of his career. At the time, he didn’t believe in magic or curses, but he had seen enough on that one case to eliminate any skepticism he ever had.

Rocky leaned down over one of the bodies and searched for evidence he hoped he wouldn’t find. But hope had flown with the crow and between the fingers of one of the victims was a small piece of cream-colored paper rolled up. He would bet his retirement that it wasn’t just any paper but actually made from papyrus.

“Who is taking photos?” he asked Agent Harris.

“Gil, bring the camera over here,” Harris commanded the forensic photographer.

As Rocky put on gloves, he gave specific instructions to Gil, “Take pictures of the hands where the paper is. I’m going to remove it and I want you to take pictures of it as I’m reading it. Understood?” Gil nodded and began taking shots.

With two fingers, Rocky gently removed the papyrus from between the fingers of the victim and unfurled it. The flash of the camera made it more difficult to read but the detective managed.


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harryyou t1_j64fdkq wrote

Sorry. For the starter, who is "he" in the last paragraph? Harris or Rocky?


throwthisoneintrash OP t1_j6893ms wrote

Good question! I meant for it to be Rocky, but if you can make your story work with it being Harris, there’s nothing wrong with writing it that way.