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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Crime/Gangster · #2201825
The ending to the mystery of the librarian hostage at the Founder's Day Celebration.
Written for "The Bard's Hall Contest. The prompt is as follows...

Bard's Hall Prompt

Officer Jones knocked on the library door for the third time, worry sneaking signs onto his face as he fiddled with the key that Captain O'Leary had retrieved from the unhappy mayor. (1)

The lock clicked and the door finally opened a crack and someone in a red motorcycle helmet slipped a black motorcycle gloved hand through the crevice, palm up as if waiting for the key. (2)

"Not until you release Mrs. Stone." (3)

The door slammed shut and the glass rattled in complaint. After nearly a minute, Jones raised his knuckles to knock again just as the door was yanked wide enough for Mrs. Stone to stumble through, straight into his arms, then the door closed again, all except the slice wide enough for the gloved hand which waited, palm up, fingers curling impatiently as if to argue that Jones was taking too long to place the key in their clasp. (4-5)

Jones placed the key in the greedy grasp, then wrapped an arm around Mrs. Stone to guide the shaken woman down the stairs as he heard the door slam and lock behind him. (6)

"The collections!" Mrs. Stone cried. (7)

"Don't worry about them, Ma'am, but can you identify the person who held you captive?" Jones asked as they reached the police line where the whole precinct's complement stood, including retired detective Fife, who was supposed to be watching the headquarters, but then, there was a reason he had been "advised" to retire. (8)

"Well, I can tell you it is a woman because she dragged me into the ladies room when she had to go." (9)

Just then, Officer Smith ran up, clearly out of breath from the jog from her cruiser, but then, she'd always enjoyed more of the munchies during the quiet evenings of chess she and Jones tried to share when things were supposed to be quiet downtown. (10)

"Captain O'Leary, I've got the owner of the red Harley Davidson motorcycle--Mayor Writon's first wife, Shirley." (11)

"Shirley Will-Writon-Wall...Well, I'll be," replied O'Leary, rubbing his palm across his chin, "I wouldn't expect this kind of trouble out of her, but I guess it's been a long time since she and I have crossed paths so we'd better bring the Mayor here, Smith, because maybe he's had more recent contact with her than I have." (12)

When Smith and Mayor Writon returned, O'Leary handed the Mayor a megaphone with instructions to do his best to talk his ex-wife into coming out without hurting herself or anyone else...or anything in the library, most especially the Retired, Yet Valuable Books storage room. (13)

The Mayor had been talking for several minutes without a sound returned from the seemingly empty library when finally Parker Barker, who had wandered into the standoff from the Founder's Day celebration, spoke up. He'd been serving community service at the library for unpaid library fines, but had proven to be anything but a model employee, often being found in the basement near the storage room when he's supposed to be upstairs shelving books and now O'Leary, who had suffered through Mrs. Stone's many complaints about her unwilling helper, questioned Barker's reasons for spending so much time down there. (14-15)

"I could go in, pretending to bring her some food and drink," Barker said, "But you guys could put something in it to put her to sleep, then you can just walk in and arrest her in a few minutes," he offered. (16)

It became instantly clear to O'Leary--Barker's willingness to do community service in the library which can barely hold onto paid employees because of Mrs. Stone's obsession with the perfect care of each book, Barker's frequent visits to the basement where this treasure map is supposedly held, Shirley's sudden reappearance and now crime, and the rumor that she'd been caught cheating on her most recent husband with a much younger man, which seemed to be a habit for her--Parker Barker was in cahoots with Shirley Will-Writon-Wall to get this treasure map. (17)

After arresting Parker Barker and finally talking Shirley Will-Writon-Wall out of the library, they were taken to the 19th Precinct and questioned where the surprises continued--Barker was planning on sneaking the map out when he returned from delivering the drugged food to his partner without telling her about the drugs, a double cross, but she was planning a double cross of him as well, and it turned out that the thing that "rightfully belonged to her family" wasn't the treasure map at all, but actually the Mayor, who, in her twisted mind, belonged to her and she believed that seeing the lengths she was capable of going to in order to get him back would impress him enough to take her back--spoiler alert: It didn't. (18)

As Smith and Jones walked back to their cruisers, Jones spoke, "You know, nineteen police precincts in a town this small is proof that crime is just too rampant here--I've been thinking about leaving," he said as his hand tentatively reached across the open space for hers. (19)

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