G IS FOR GATE

Dahlia Larsen hurried through the gate. Her breath froze in white clouds as she crunched through the snow. She lifted the heavy garbage skip lid and threw the black plastic bags of rubbish inside before heading back.

Sorrisniva, the igloo hotel in Alta, in the north of Norway, had closed the previous week as the winter season ended. Now the temperature began to rise ever so slightly and the days began to last longer than a few precious hours of sunshine. Dahlia had spent the last ten winters working there as chambermaid, waitress, receptionist and porter. Most of the staff had already left for their summer employment. Dahlia had stayed on to complete the end of season duties. This year she planned to take the summer off and escape on a holiday of her own. She hadn’t been abroad in a decade. The plane tickets to Oslo and on to New York had arrived this morning.

She returned through the gate to the small apartment that sat next to the hotel and housed the staff. Only Astrid and Christian were still staying there. It was nice to have a bit more space and less people to have to share the amenities with. Astrid was curled up on the sofa watching television. A fire crackled in the hearth.

‘Where’s Christian?’ Dahlia asked, stomping the snow from her boots in the hallway.

‘Kitchen,’ Astrid replied. Dahlia walked through the room and into the adjoining kitchen. Christian was standing at the sink, washing the dinner dishes.

‘Thanks for cleaning up,’ Dahlia said, coming up behind Christian and wrapping her arms around his waist, pressing herself into his warm body.

‘It was my turn,’ Christian replied. ‘Before you get too comfortable, you left the gate open.’

Dahlia looked where Christian pointed with his scouring brush. ‘I was sure I closed it.’

‘Better close it before a reindeer or wolf wanders in.’

‘Not likely,’ Dahlia said, but she let go of Christian and headed back to the hall. Even though it was getting warmer, it was still impossible to go out without a winter coat on at this time in the evening. Dahlia pulled her jacket on quickly and went back out the door.

She shuffled across the snow as fast as she could and reached the gate. She pushed it closed. It didn’t click as it should have. Don’t tell me the latch is broken, thought Dahlia. That was all she needed. It was unwise to leave access to the wildlife of the Arctic overnight. As much as it was unlikely, there were tales of polar bears and wolves straying into backyards.

Dahlia looked at the latch. Odd, she thought. It wasn’t broken, it had been ripped right off, as though someone or something had busted right through the gate. Why would anyone do that? She looked back to the apartment. The light in the kitchen clicked off and she saw the silhouette of Christian heading into the living room.

The feeling that she was not alone crept up on her. Her body shuddered. She sensed movement. Air being inhaled. Her senses alerted she picked out the soft crunching of snow behind her. She spun round, letting go of the gate. Before she could scream the man put his hand over her mouth. At the same moment Dahlia felt the cold steel of the blade slice through her coat, jumper and t-shirt and enter her stomach.

She felt herself being laid down on the ground. Before she lost consciousness she felt the knife cut through her abdomen, upwards towards her throat. She didn’t feel the pain, only the cold of the snow and the air around her. Light flakes of snow drifting down from the black sky where the last thing she saw. The creaking of the swinging gate was the last thing she heard.


A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]

This is part seven of my A to Z Challenge 2017. More information on the challenge, and other stories and blogs taking part in it, can be found HERE.

Thanks to everyone who has read and commented through week one. Detective Sand will be back on Monday for the next installment.

Throughout April I  hope to publish a section a day, relating to a letter of the alphabet, which in the end will make up a continuous story, all based round the objects found in this children’s jigsaw:

3570513_R_Z001A_UC17690531

Other entries in the challenge, and a version of the final complete, joined up story can be found here: A TO Z CHALLENGE 2017.

66 responses to “G IS FOR GATE”

  1. Waiting for detective Sand to come and throw some light on this murder………

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It will have to wait until next week! Have a good break day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written piece today, Iain. Really enjoying this theme & having your basis in that children’s puzzle is a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim, glad you are enjoying. Hope you will be back next week for more!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. A little murder for the weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess we found our ‘D’. This web is getting more and more tangled. I wonder if Sand will recognize her, or find a familiar connection…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have indeed. All will be revealed – Sand has a lot of work to do! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We have indeed. All will be revealed – Sand has a lot of work to do! Thanks for reading.

      Like

    1. Thanks – I think! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was a good scream! I want more! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m enjoying your series – now I have to wait until Monday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sally, glad you are enjoying it and sticking with it. Not too long to wait for more 🙂

      Like

  5. I have to wait for detective Sand now, is Dahlia dead? I guess she is. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so, I don’t see her coming back from this 😦 Sand will be back on the case on Monday.

      Like

  6. Eeooowwww! G is for Good Job! Nice build up. There’s nothing better than getting to know a person and then ruthlessly killing her. Er . . um . .in writing, that is.
    http://www.SorchiaDuBois.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, yes. This is all fiction, no real people were harmed in the writing of this story! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  7. Good God! (Gets up to check the locks on her house)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apologies, hope it doesn’t give you nightmares! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Gruesome! I like how you took us through her hopes and dreams before snuffing them out. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Addison. It’s nice to get to know a character before getting rid of them suddenly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh damn! Just when she was looking forward to a lovely holiday 🙁 Sanders, you better solve this and catch the person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s on it – after a day off tomorrow of course!

      Like

  10. Aw poor girl. No vacay for her. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Afraid not. Maybe subconsciously I was thinking about the fact I can never get on a holiday like that!

      Like

      1. Then Iain, you really need to get out of town! I don’t want you to end up dead like your subconscious alter ego.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Let me tell you this is truly chilling. So it’s going to be a game for this killer, isn’t it?

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aren’t they the best killers? 🙂

      Like

  12. Aaww poor Dahlia, I’m very excited for Monday now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, it’s not too long to wait!

      Like

  13. I was randomly searching A to Z Challenge posts and found G is for Gate… I had to go back and read all of the chapters in this story. Compelling! Excellent work. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad I managed to keep you hooked. Hope you come back for more next week 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bookmarked your blog so I likely will! (Or I’ll miss a few days and binge. 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Binge might be the best way, just catching up on your blog posts for the challenge too, great reads 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks!

            Well, my mom had surgery yesterday. Prior to that, I had no time for blogs. Now I’m doing a lot of sitting around while she heals. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hope she is recovering well!

              Like

              1. So far, so good! I’ve gotten a lot of editing done!

                Liked by 1 person

  14. Great first week, Iain. I’m hooked. Looks like Detective Sand is gonna get a distraction again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John, he’s going to be busy.

      Like

  15. really like your writing. i could feel the cold. good work!
    Lightheaded: Retiring at 8300 feet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nancy, much appreciated.

      Like

  16. *gasp* Why would anyone hurt this poor woman?! Oh how shocking! And how is she connected to everything else that’s gone before? Hmm.

    Great job so far! It’s very engaging. 🙂

    My “theme” – A Thirty-Word Story, revealing one word of the story each day of the challenge.
    #AtoZChallenge The Letter G

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, glad you think so. Hopefully all will be revealed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. D is for Dahlia Larsen then. Now what’s the connection between her, Camilla, Bjarne, Eckberg and of course Sand? Hope Sand enjoys the Sunday off and his brain is as sharp as a razor when he resumes on Monday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all your comments and reading, much appreciated. Glad you are enjoying it. Hopefully Sand is on the case tomorrow! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a very clever way to manage the challenge! I think you’ve got something fun going.

    Sharon E. Cathcart
    Award-winning Author of Fiction Featuring Atypical Characters
    #atozchallenge

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharon, look forward to reading more from your blog on the challenge too.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m assuming Dhalia is a dead flower now, but knowing you Iain, it’s unwise to jump to conclusions! I’m guessing you are having as much fun with this as we the readers are!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith. I don’t think I’m giving too much away by confirming Dahlia doesn’t make it. I have to confess I am enjoying the challenge and writing this story an awful lot 🙂

      Like

  20. *Shiver* (No pun intended.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing wrong with a good pun. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. When Dahlia was a school girl, her adult lover was slain in a ritualistic manner. As an adult, she too is killed in a horrible way. Same killer and what does this have to do with Sand’s case of the mutilated cat?

    Like

  22. An ingloo hotel–saw that in a James Bond movie. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure if the one in the Bond movie was real, but the one in my story is an actual place you can go and stay in. Doesn’t strike me as a particularly enjoyable holiday, but would certainly be an experience! Thanks for reading.

      Like

  23. Poor Dahlia. Why, oh why, couldn’t her name have been Beatrix?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because it’s the A to Z challenge of course – everything has to fit! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but it might have saved her life, no matter what her connection turns out to be, because “B” was already dead. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  24. I realized that I read out of order (still have to learns my abcs) but fortunately it didn’t mess me up for this. 🙂 Very nice job of setting it up. Raised suspense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, that could be a very different read if someone read them in a random order! Thanks Sascha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Oh no! Poor Dahlia! Hope Detective Sanders can sort this out soon enough or will many other victims have to suffer!?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Now this time I guessed the D as soon as the story began. Self pat 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I’ll bet she wishes she hadn’t chosen her middle name Dahlia over the first name Zoey now! I want to find out why she is a target and her connection to Sand.

    Liked by 1 person

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