The Hands Tell: A Short Prose

180410120013 / A

Summary: A woman is found murdered which sends a detective on a search for a lust killer while the evidence links to the detective’s landlord.

A dead body was found in Harlem Park, West Baltimore. I got call from Captain Robert to go over the crime scene, to look over a blonde woman found behind shrubs with multiple wounds on the chest and white lilies sprinkled on top of her body. There were no pieces of clothes but blood spatter all around her body. She suffered in the hands of her killer, who tied her up with rope and chopped off her hands.

“Tell me what you see,” said Robert.

“Multiple shallow stab wounds to the chest, a complex rope bondage, the bruises on her body… It’s a rape.”

“Stella Marin. What could you tell about her cut-off hands?” asked Detective Kate.

“He must have had his own…” I continued, “well, fantasy.”

“Geez. What about the lilies?” she asked.

“That’s the thing. He used symbolic flower trying to expose his sense of fragility, but he did not prepare much on his game. Supposed it was nice to spread the flowers on the victim, making it look like a respectable murder. But he was wrong. He did not realize it would give us the leads.”

The next day I met Walter Smith when I walked out of my building. He was my landlord and he lived upstairs. He asked me to come over for dinner so we could get to know each other. I just moved there about a week ago. Everything was much better than my old apartment. The beautiful diamond patterns on the walls looked really nice.

We talked much and I began to know him. He owned a laundry business located on the next block. Moreover, he also liked to cook. He cooked me an amazing dinner – pork loin roast flavored with garlic cream sauce, and it was really delicious that I could still remember the taste in my sleep. He was a very nice man, and also looked young at his 45.

After we had our dinner, he went to the bathroom. I looked around the living room and saw lots of bondage DVDs on the wooden bookcase. I chuckled. Then I saw Claire Florist logo printed on a shopping receipt near the books but I couldn’t see clearly what it said. Walter had already stood behind me.

“What are you looking at, Detective Jeff?” he whispered against me.

“Nothing, Walter.” I pretended. “You startled me. I didn’t know you’re there. Well, I better leave now. I have to finish my paperwork.”

Bondage? Flower? Was it just a coincidence?

After two days, Detective Kate and I questioned Russell Fitz, a boyfriend of Stella Marin.

“What happened to you and Stella?” I asked.

“She found out that I was actually a gay.” He lighted his match. I could see a long stem rose tattoo with letter F on his middle finger. “She was depressed and I felt so sorry for her, but I had nothing to do with her death. One night before she died, in the night we had our last fight, she told me there was a man named Walter Smith flirted with her many times at the bar…”

“Walter Smith?” I was surprised.

“What, Jeff?” Kate asked.

“They met in the bar. He was nice at first. She refused to go out with him, so he bothered her when she was supposed to serve drinks, and even threatened her since then. And he…”

I couldn’t hear it anymore. I knew it was right. I knew it was.

I had to find a way to go back to his apartment. I asked Kate to wait at our office, in case I needed help. The next day I brought him food to return his favor. He asked me to come in and I sat on the sofa. When he went to the kitchen I looked around the bookcase but the DVDs and shopping receipt were not there as I saw it before.

“Jeff, could you bring me the mustard?” he called out.

“Sure.” I went to the kitchen. I opened the fridge to grab the mustard, but I didn’t find it.

“Hold on,” I said. It was a full-of-food fridge. I looked it up and down and I opened each drawer. When I accidentally opened the meat drawer…

“Oh, there you are,” said Walter. “It’s in the cabinet. Sorry to make you busy, Jeff.”

I choked up. I couldn’t believe what I saw. My heart skipped a beat and I was extremely shocked and frightened that I could not say anything at all. I came back to the living room.

To: Kate

URGENT. Bring the police. My apartment, 3rd floor, 312. Found the chopped-off hands. Hurry up.

After the dinner I went to the bathroom. The flesh of human fingers and the bloody chopped hands were still ringing in my head. I calmed myself down and I stepped out of the bathroom.

“What did you see, Detective?”

Walter leaned against the wall and grinned at me like he wanted to skin and slice and eat me like what he did to his victims.

“How many more, Walter?”

He approached me slowly with his hands behind back. He hid something there, I knew it. I imagined the sharpness of his frenzied knife rushing up to me.

I pulled my gun on him. “Put your hands behind your back!”

He ignored it.

“Don’t play with me, you sick butcher. I know what you hide. Do what I say. Put your hands behind your back!”

“You mean, this?” He draped and threw a pale corpse chopped-off hand and it rolled down to my feet. I was terribly shocked by the tattoo on its middle finger. He killed Russell.

“You’ll burn in hell, won’t you?”

“We’ll all burn in hell, Detective.” He laughed. “Just like my mother who never stopped slapping and torturing me horrifically when I was a kid. May the lilies help her rest in peace.”

And the police came.


Hitchcock, A. (1972). Frenzy. United States: Universal Pictures.

Frank, Pinzi (Dir.). 2004. Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Want. United States: National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Fuller, Bryan. (Creator). 2013. Hannibal; Season 1. United States: National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Word count: (986)

Link for work dramatization.

5 thoughts on “The Hands Tell: A Short Prose

  1. 180410120010/A

    Writing a thrilling story is not as easy as people think, but you can do it! I have always been attracted to the murder story, and after reading “The Hands Tell”, I think I’m in love with your story. The story is quite thrilling and terrifying. I like the part when Detective Jeff came to Walter Smith’s house and found the bloody chopped hands inside the meat drawer. I think that is the most exciting part of this story. I can feel the “panic attack” which is felt by Detective Jeff.

    In conclusion, your short story is great, mate. You can “pull” me to go into the realm of your story and force me to feel the tension inside it. If only this story could be written even longer, I’m sure, this story would be more interesting. (137)


  2. The characters of Stella and Walter in this short story are building the plot and the plot keeps me wanting to read the story more and more, since it’s about murder case and it’s interesting. But after I finished it, honestly the ending for me is too simple, because commonly murder case story has an unpredictable ending and complexity. But overall “The Hands Tell” is great since writing a murder case in a very short story is not simple. And at last is about the work dramatization. The idea of giving such a tense background music is splendid but I think it overtakes narrator’s voice a little bit, so I cannot really hear all the words that the narrator said.

    word count: (120)


  3. 180410120016/A

    First of all, this story is written in chronological order, which is good because it will not drive the readers into confusion. The main character—I think it is Jeff—described the things well, such as the dinner he had in Smith’s (that seems so tempting..) and every another thing that he saw. I can tell that he was a skilled detective. Jeff’s suspicion about Smith grows along with the readers’ suspicion, and so does mine. I was expecting a twist in the ending, so I did not trust my suspicion at first. So, right after Jeff found the chopped-hands in Smith’s, it somehow felt like my suspicion said, “You should have believed in me!”
    Overall, this is a neatly written murder story which can drive the emotion of the readers.

    (131 words)


  4. 180410120012/A

    The limitation of words I think makes this thrilling story kinda lame, as third commenter said, there is no plot twist (I know plot twist is not obligatory in thriller) but atleast, I mean … like the main culprit suddenly showed off in first investigation which is seems okay if there is an actual plot twist even among of those coincidence clues.

    The second flaw is in my opinion; the logic behind the idea of the lilies, I know the flower is sign of the deceased and I know the culprit is insane trough his past. But he uses lilies as an excuse for “revenge” to her mother action yet spread them to the victims, just… why ?

    Other than that, is actually a good read, seriously… I even feel the tense and it almost chill my spine.
    (130 words)


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