TRACES SPRING 2016 - Page 68

With the thousands of people flocking in the streets and structures of The Crescent City, singing and dancing through the night thinking nothing could possibly make this celebration anything but flawless, trouble was bound to stir, and a bullet was going to be taken.

One of those people was going to be the killer, but Rustin Cooper knew exactly who it was.

The catch was that one of three of them was going to be the person with blood pouring out from the puncture that would be made from the metal, hobbled on the ground while they frantically searched for any pinch of air they could find. And it was going to happen in one of two places.

That much Rustin Cooper knew. Mustard, revolver, and either the hall, ballroom, and library were all that was left. The question was, however, who was Colonel Mustard? Rust played through all of the scenarios in his head as he rushed along Bourbon to the only place he thought could give him the answer.

The night lurked over the green, yellow, and purple lights of the city, trapping them in like a veil with no transparency. The damp pavement glowed under Rust’s feet as he neared the entrance to the bar. This was where she would be. Derek Carmichael told him that, and he would be the one to know best. Tonight, he ventured away from dressing in his typical suit and instead wore his faded jeans with a button up that was still wrinkled from the last wear. He reached into his pocket and rubbed his fingers against the glossy front of the photograph as a single tear trickled down his cheekbones. Rust stared at the neon lights, considering backing out of speaking with her, but he knew he had to. He took a deep breath and slipped through the swinging doors.

Inside, it was surprisingly calm for the occasion. Typically, people would be at the bars celebrating that night, but not there. There, everyone seemed to be sulking in some sort of misery. Rust cautiously walked in. He perused the place, searching for the woman he had seen in the pictures. Behind the people drowning themselves in liquor at the bar, a woman sat alone, fiddling the straw to her mixed drink between her wrinkled fingers. She showed remnants of blonde hair, covered now by mostly gray. Her face drooped down in addition to the multiple wrinkles, making her appear to be much older than she probably was. Rust recognized her as the woman he was looking for and slowly approached her table.

“Uh, excuse me, ma’am,” he said in his Texas drawl as she shifted her eyes up towards him. “Are you Mrs. Carmichael?” The woman nodded. “My name is Rustin Cooper, an’ I work for the FBI, do you mind if I sit down and talk to you about somethin’?”

Not All Men

by Susie Surmacz