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Low Budget Mystery Story

by Eric Cline

About the Author: Eric Cline's stories have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Analog, Galaxy's Edge, and other publications.


If this was a movie, it would be very low budget.  One INTERIOR MAIN ROOM, in a dilapidated hunting cabin-slash-hideout. 

One character, MALE IN MID-30S, sitting in a wooden chair, clutching his stomach in one hand, his shirt soaked in blood, his other hand shakily grasping an iPhone. 

Two dead bodies lie on the floor, clutching guns.  (Non-speaking corpses are paid less.)  Our protagonist’s own weapon is discarded on the floor as well.

No need for voiceovers by the recipients of the phone calls.  (A V.O. would be paid less than the bleeding guy, but more than the corpses.)  

You just need to hear his side of it to understand what’s going on. 

“Bobby, I’m in a bind.  No don’t pleasegoddammitdont hang up!  It’s not money it’s much much worse.” 

A little squawk, almost inaudible, as Bobby asks a quick question.  And then a long pause as our boy goes silent, looking back and forth, blood seeping between fingers as he presses into his stomach.   

He is able to talk.  Just doesn’t want to. 

Then another squawk on the phone.  Its tone comes through as urgent question, urgently repeated. 

Our boy: “If I tell you—”  

Angry squawk.  A demand. 

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