Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn – Part 18

This entry is part 18 of 56 in the Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn

Written in 57 minutes.

PCPD: Squad Room

In the margin of his autopsy report copy, Lucky scribbled a note to himself to investigate just how common the type of cord found around Georgie’s neck was. The cord itself had be a signature, didn’t it? Whoever had murdered the girls had brought with him — the only question was —

“What do you have?”

Lucky clicked back into the room around him and found a red-eyed Mac standing by his desk. He gestured for the commissioner to take a seat. “The preliminary autopsy report is in,” he said. When Mac flinched, Lucky cleared his throat. “Are you sure you want to do this, Mac? I can ask the lieutenant—”

“No. No. She was my baby. You understand, don’t you? If this happened to your boys, it wouldn’t matter about blood—”

“No, it wouldn’t. All right. Preliminary autopsy came back for both victims. And I have a prelim from the crime scene tech. I have some more interviews to do with the partygoers, but I have a basic picture. Georgie and Chelsea went to a party at a fraternity. Spinelli met them there. They hung out for a few hours, but Spinelli left early—”

“Did he?” Mac said, his eyes narrowing. “Where did he go?”

“Home. I got complete cooperation from him Mac — and from Jason, including the security tapes from the Towers. Spinelli is logged in hours before the last sighting of the girls. And nothing of him leaving—”

“He’s a computer hacker—”

“I know that. And I’m sending the tapes for more analysis to be sure, but my gut says no. I told him myself, Mac, because I needed to know. And he was shattered. I’m not saying he’s not acting, but I have nothing at this point to say otherwise.” Lucky paused, but Mac said nothing, only clenched his jaw. “While the tox screen is going to take a bit more time to be sure, both girls had alcohol in their bloodstream—”

“What—” Mac swung back, his eyes wide. “My—Georgie never drank.”

“I don’t think she had more than a beer, Mac. Maybe just to be social. Chelsea was over the legal limit — some of the wits say she was drinking heavily which wasn’t like her. Neither of the girls had a reputation for that. They were well-liked and known for having a good time, but not for being partiers. My sense is that until last night, they were both just social drinkers. But Chelsea drank more.”

“That’s something.”

“It is. The campus hasn’t turned over their security footage yet, but the security doesn’t think there’s an angle that will help us. That corner is a dead spot. Still, we want to pinpoint the time better so I’m waiting on that.”

Mac dragged his head down his cheeks. “What about other injuries?” he asked. “Was it just—”

“No signs of a sexual assault,” Lucky said gently. “Georgie was first — and that makes sense. Chelsea was likely too drunk too realize someone had grabbed her. There were drag marks on the jeans —we think they were both grabbed from the path and dragged into the bushes.”

Mac exhaled slowly. “What else?”

“Georgie had more defensive wounds. She fought hard, Mac. I don’t know if that brings you comfort—but she got a piece of the guy. There’s skin under her nails. We’re sending it away from analysis. Chelsea has some broken nails which means she fought, too, but not as hard.”

“Too drunk,” Mac murmured. “God, maybe it’s a blessing. She might not have even realized. But Georgie—she fought. She knew—” He drew in a sharp breath. “She knew.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Is that it? Is that all?”

“After four days, yes,” Lucky said. “We need more canvassing. More testing. But a DNA profile is a good sign, Mac—”

“Why haven’t you finished the canvassing?” Mac demanded. “What else do you have to deal with? You should be out doing that now—” He jerked to his feet, his eye catching the corner of some other paperwork. “What is this?”


The commissioner snatched it up. “A custody petition—you’re working on your damn divorce? What about my daughter?”


“Are you too distracted?” Mac demanded.

“No.” Lucky took the petition back. “That’s been there since Friday. Since before.” And he’d scarcely given it much thought outside of that tense scene with Jason after interrogating Spinelli. “I’ve done what I can for that — it’s the hands of the lawyers. Georgie and Chelsea have my focus, Mac.”

The older man closed his eyes, the flush of anger fading, leaving him pale and wan. “I want her back. I just—”

“I can’t imagine what you’re going through. And you know I can’t make promises about finding this guy. But I will do everything I can. I knew Georgie, Mac. She was a great kid. And she deserved so much better than this.” He set the papers on his desk. “Go home. Be with your family.”

Queen of Angels: Chapel

“Thank you, Father Coates.” Robin shook the priest’s hand. “I appreciate everything.”

“Of course. My condolences to your family. Everything is arranged for tomorrow.” The priest disappeared into the backroom, and Robin turned to find Patrick in the double doorway separating the main chapel from the anteroom.

“What are you—” She drew her brows together. “What are you doing here?”

“I stopped by the house, and Anna told me you’d be here.” He tipped his head. “When did your parents get in?”

“Late last night.” Robin rubbed her arms. “They didn’t know Georgie very well, but they were close to Frisco and Felicia, and of course, my uncle—” She rubbed her arms. “I still don’t—”

“I wanted to see if you needed anything, but Maxie was fighting with a woman I assume is her mother, and Anna was trying to mediate everything — and then I found out you were here arranging the funeral.” He paused. “Alone.”

“It’s easier this way.” She moved past him, into the anteroom to retrieve her coat and purse. “Maxie grieves wildly, you know. And she’s got a right to be angry with her mother. I love Felicia but she’s barely been around the last few years. And Frisco has never been a factor for her.” She smiled grimly. “I know what that’s like. To have parents who love you and put you at the center, then disappear without a trace.” She sighed when Patrick helped her on with her coat. “Mac went to the police station—and, well, someone has to do this.”

“You could have called me.”


“Or Emily. Elizabeth. Lainey or Kelly. Anyone.” With a finger under her chin, he tilted her face up so their eyes met. “We broke up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t count on me.”

“I think,” Robin said delicately, stepping back. ‘That’s exactly what breaking up is supposed to mean.” Her voice trembled. “You didn’t want to be counted on, Patrick. Remember?”

“That’s not—”

“I appreciate you being around the last few days, but it’s not fair to make it harder for me. You don’t want forever, Patrick.” Her eyes burned. “And that’s your choice. But I can’t get used to leaning on you. I can’t rely on you. I can’t turn to you to make things okay. One day, you won’t be there. I don’t want to wait for one day. Wasn’t that what we decided?”

“Robin—” He dragged his hand through his dark hair, leaving it disheveled. “I wanted—” He broke off, looked away. “You’re hurting. I can’t stand it.”

“And I’ll hurt for the rest of my life. My little cousin, this precious, beautiful girl I watched grow up—she’s gone.” A hot tear streaked down her cheek. “Someone ripped her out of this world, and I don’t know why. There will never be an answer good enough to explain it.” She took a deep breath. “Thank you. For thinking of me. But it hurts too much to keep doing this. I need you to leave—”

“So you can keep doing this alone? You won’t call anyone. You won’t lean on anyone.” He scowled at her. “Let me call Lainey or Kelly—”

“There’s no reason. I’m done here. I’m going home to be with my family. You didn’t want to be my family—”

“That’s not true—”

“You didn’t want to make that family bigger, Patrick. And you get to make that choice. You get to not want children.” She pressed a fist against her heart. “It makes this harder, you see. To know that we love each other. To know that you love me but not enough to take a chance—”


“And you’re here, worried about me, because you love me. And now all I can think is why can’t you see how much it hurts? You don’t want children with me, Patrick. You don’t want the dream I had for us. I need to do this without you.”

He cleared his throat, then nodded finally—a short jerk of his head. “Fine. Fine. Do it without me. But promise me you won’t do it alone. You’ll call someone. You’ll give yourself space to feel.”

“I promise.”

GH: Nurse’s Station

“How does it feel to be back at work?”  Emily stepped into the nurse’s station, reached for a chart. “I see they have you on scut work.”

“My favorite thing,” Elizabeth murmured, checking off another box for a blood test. “Epiphany said it was just for a few days—the new schedule comes out in a week. And it’s fine — I need to get back into the swing of things.” She tapped her pen against the form. “It was harder than I thought to leave the boys. I barely let Jake out of my sight longer than a few hours.”

“Well, of course not. You could always put them back into daycare downstairs—”

“I will probably at some point—” Elizabeth reached for another form. “But until the custody hearing is resolved, it’s better for them to be at home. I don’t know what magic Jason performed, but Sonny and Carly never call him. He’s basically—” A smile flitted across her face. “He’s basically a stay at home dad.”

“I bet he loves it,” Emily said, propping her elbow on the counter and resting her chin on her first. “You know, my brother was his happiest playing with Michael as a baby. I’m glad he gets to do that for good now.”

“Yeah, me, too. I feel a little less guilty knowing that Jason gets all this time with Jake — it won’t give him back the months he lost—”

“But he was in jail for most of that time, which has nothing to do with you,” Emily reminded her. “So give yourself a break. You made a mistake, and  you’re fixing it.” She hesitated. “But  you’re—things are good? I mean, it’s  been a few days since you moved in—”

“Things are good. Mostly. Um—” Elizabeth bit her lip. “We’re not—I mean, we share a bed. But we’re not—not yet. Which feels stupid, I guess.”

“It doesn’t.” Emily tilted her head. “Are you not ready for that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. I mean, it’s also—Kelly wanted me to wait after Jake—after all the complications, you know? I didn’t even get clearance until last month. But—” Elizabeth touched her abdomen. “I guess it’s silly, really. I’ve got a scar—”

“He’s got them, too. And you know Jason is the last person to worry about that.”

“I know he is. It’s just a mental thing. I’ll get past it. But it’s great, you know. Waking up, having breakfast with the boys. When you stop thinking about the custody and the divorce and poor Georgie, there’s a lot to be grateful for. More than I thought I’d ever get.”

“Then concentrate on that.” Emily squeezed her hand. “You got a second chance. Enjoy it.”

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

Jason hadn’t realized how indomitable toddlers were until he’d met Cameron Webber. He’d lost custody of Michael before that, and he hadn’t been around Morgan every day — he hadn’t been responsible for bedtimes and meals and keeping him alive—

Cameron had begged for his motorcycle to be dragged down from his bedroom, and Jason thought it was a simple request. But then Cameron had run over Jason’s toes three times, nearly knocked over the bassinet where Jake fitfully dozen, jarred awake every time — and then he’d taken a turn too sharply and the bike had tilted over, spilling Cameron to the floor — which wouldn’t have been a problem except Cameron hit the side of his face on the wall—

Jason scooped him up as the toddler exploded into tears, crying for his mommy and then his daddy—that last one cut hard. Jason couldn’t deliver on either, of course, but especially on the second. And it killed him to hear Cameron crying for a man who’d walked away.

Lucky regretted it, of course — Jason had seen as much in the other man’s eyes at the PCPD, but Jason didn’t care. Kids didn’t understand adult issues and they didn’t care about your regrets. They just knew how you’d made them felt.

Jason stroked a hand down Cameron’s back. “You’re okay, buddy,” he said. “Do you want some ice?”

Cameron sniffled, laid his head on Jason’s shoulder. “Ice?”

“Yeah. Your cheek is red—” Jason touched the soft skin. “It might help.”

“No Mommy?”

“She’s at work.”


Jason grimaced, went into the kitchen. Said nothing. What could he say? Cameron was a smart kid — he knew he’d had a father, someone who had been there from the start. Just because Jason was ready to throw the asshole off the cliff, Cameron wouldn’t understand that.

He reached into the freezer for a miniature ice pack stuffed inside a covering shaped and colored like a pig’s face — a boo-boo pack, Elizabeth had called them, when she’d stocked the fridge. He pressed it to Cameron’s cheek.

“Is that better?” he asked.


“Good.” Jason sat at the kitchen table, holding the pack to the toddler’s cheek. “You know, Mommy says you have to slow down and watch where you’re going.”

“Want Daddy.” Cameron sniffled. “Where’s Daddy?”

Jason exhaled slowly. Tricky, this. And he wished like hell Elizabeth was here. She always knew what to say. “He’s at work,” he said finally, because it was likely true.

“Never see him. Daddy don’t like me no more.” Cameron sniffled, then pressed his nose into the crook of Jason’s shoulder. “Snelli don’t have dad either. He said.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“No mommy, too. Sad. Mommys are good.”

“They are.”

“Snelli said it okay. He got you.” Cameron looked up then, his blue eyes wide, damp, his cheeks stained with tears. “I got you, too?”

“Yeah.” Jason kissed his forehead. “Yeah, you got me, too.”

“Kay.” Cameron snuggled back into Jason’s arms. “I got Jake. I gots Mommy. Snelli, Grams, you. I okay.”

“We’re all okay. Let’s go check on your  brother.”


  • My heart was breaking for Mac, Robin and Cam. I hope Cam’s face doesn’t have a bruise on his face when they go to court. I hope the dna testing on Georgie comes back with the results of who the killer is.

    According to Carla P on June 10, 2023
  • Very lovely scene with Jason and Cam. Jason handled it all perfectly. I’m liking a supportive Emily. I feel for Mac and Robin, they have been totally gutted. Kudos to Patrick for wanting to help. Lucky was actually somewhat tolerable. Excellent chapter.

    According to nanci on June 10, 2023
  • You had me crying for when Cam wanted Lucky and get to realize that his father doesn’t want him. Georgie dying is so heartbroken. I hope they find that person and string them up. Great update.

    According to Shelly on June 10, 2023
  • What a sad beginning of this chapter. I feel so horrible for Mac and Robin. She needs to lean on her friends if not Patrick. I get why she can’t with him. The conversation between Cam and Jason was so precious. I love how you write him. Yes, he got Jason!!

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 10, 2023
  • I feel sorry for Mac this has to be so hard on him. Jason is the perfect dad and knew just what Cameron needed. I love this story!!

    According to Becca on June 10, 2023
  • Sad chapter.
    Not sure who I felt worse for Mac or Cameron. Robin was right Patrick made a choice but he still loves her.
    Lucky is a poop head.
    hope Lucky gets to good evidence
    loved it

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on June 10, 2023