Flash Fiction Challenge: Snowman

downeast snow Jan 1988State Trooper Tom Dewitt pulled up on what he thought was a vehicle that had gotten stuck in the snow and abandoned by its occupants. The vehicle was no longer running and he couldn’t see anyone inside.

He didn’t want to stop, fearful that his own car might become stuck as well. He drove slowly by, and craned his neck to look into the other car.

The two occupants were slumped toward each other, and from the blood splattered on the headrests, Tom knew the serial killer they called the Snowman had returned. What Tom did not know was that the Snowman was still there…

 

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Snowman”

  1. There is a reason that this serial killer was called the snowman. First was he always struck when it is snowing. The other reason Trooper Dewit didn’t know or he would have been even more careful. The serial killer often hid in the snow to watch the after effects of his killings. He would dress in all white. One time he disguised himself as an actual snowman. Trooper Dewitt looked all around and saw nothing, not even a snowman. But that didn’t mean the serial killer wasn’t there watching. Trooper DeWitt thought nothing about the pile of snow after the snow plow had been through not long ago and there were piles all along the road. It was by accident that DeWitt discovered the snowman’s hiding place. As the trooper turned his car around he hit a patch of ice sending his car spiralling into one of the piles of snow. As the screech of his tires died down he became aware of another sound. Trooper DeWitt got an accommodation for capturing the Snowman. When asked how he did it he was reluctant to answer that he ran over him.

  2. sitting in the back seat of the car. Terror coursed through Tom’s veins when he realized the Snowman spotted him. He lost focus on the road and slid off into a snow bank. His patrol car thumped into an oak tree. He glanced into the rearview mirror in time to see the Snowman climb out of the car and stomp through the waist deep snow toward him. Tom’s heart thumped in his chest and his throat constricted; he couldn’t breathe. He unlocked his seatbelt with trembling hands and reached for his revolver. Tom gripped the cold wooden handle and tried to pull it out of the holster, but it didn’t move. His eyes bounced between his gun and the rear view mirror; the Snowman was closer and he was running out of time. He thought about calling for backup, but there wasn’t any time and the closest unit would take over an hour to reach him.

    Tom suddenly realized why his gun wouldn’t come out. He unsnapped the safety strap and slid the cold steel out of the leather holster. Before he could think about taking aim, his car door flung open and the barrel of a gun pressed firmly into his temple. His cold breathe fogged the windshield.

    “Drop it or die,” a deep voice growled.

    Tom released the gun and it bounced off the leather passenger seat onto the floorboard.

    “Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” was the last thing Tom heard.

    Jerrid Edgington
    jledgington@yahoo.com

  3. Tom cautiously brought the police cruiser to a safe stop just behind the SUV and radioed for back up. He got out of his vehicle slowly, raising his nine-mil as he approached the vehicle containing the two bodies. Just as all the other times, there were no tracks in the snow around the doomed truck. Peeking inside he saw that the two men had been shot through the head, the stains on the headrest were not entirely from blood. Tom choked back the strong reflex to vomit, but not before the taste made its presence known.
    Tom heard the howls of the coyotes being carried on the ice cold wind. Even though it was freezing, the scent of death here would not be missed by the hungry predators this time of year when hunting was sparse and the need for calories high. There was another sound, much different and much closer. Something like the sound of flour being sifted. Before Tom could turn around, something hard and heavy struck him on the head hard enough to topple him but not so severe as to knock him out.
    Tom looked up to see a man staring down the barrel of a rifle at him. Then just before he blacked out, the man was swept away by a pack of snarling hungry coyotes as Tom’s vision tunneled to blackness.

  4. Realizing what he just saw, Trooper Dewitt backed up to the vehicle, and after doing
    a visual search of the surrounding area, stepped out of his patrol car, and cautiously approached the “abandoned” vehicle.
    When he was close enough, he saw the two bodies were both males. One appeared
    to be in his early twenties, the other in his late forties. The two men were slumped towards one another, like they were sharing some kind of dark secret with each other.
    His first instinctive reaction was to check for any signs’ of life in either men.
    Reaching the passenger’s-side door, he was relieved to find it unlocked. Opening the door, he placed two fingers on the passenger’s throat to check for signs of life, and to his shock and amazement, he felt a perceptible pulse. “This ones’ still alive!” he uttered to himself. He dashed back to his vehicle, retrieved a medical kit and an emergence blanket, and quickly made his way back to the car. He pulled the young man’s limp body from the seat and wrapped the blanket around him.
    His attention was then directed to the driver. He leaned across the seat, and as before, checked for a pulse. This time however, there was none to be felt. He turned to focus his attentions’ on the passenger and was struck by shock and terror to find himself looking into the muzzle of a handgun. The young man smiled and said, ”Looks like the “Snowman wins again.”

  5. It was a grisly scene, indeed. Trooper Dewitt solemnly shook his head. More bodies. More blood. When would it end?

    The more snow they got, the more murders occurred. It seemed like the victims were chosen at random. Was the Snowman a hitchhiker? Tom couldn’t understand how else the killer would have had access to so many different victims. He didn’t need the crime scene investigators there to tell him these two were just like the others: shot at close range.

    Tom pressed the radio call button on his shoulder. “Got two d.b.s on Route 1 West, mile marker 246.”

    “Roger that.”

    “Permission to wipe away the snow from the bumper so I can check the plates?”

    “Roger that. Get a couple of photos first. Watch your six, Tom. I’ll radio for back up.”

    “Thanks. 10-4.” Tom released his radio and shuffled over to his cruiser. He could feel the acid surging in his stomach. A sneer curled his lip.

    He was about to pop the trunk when he saw movement reflected in a tail light. The trooper spun, drawing his weapon in one fluid motion. When he realized he was face to face with the dreaded Snowman, he froze.

    A sinister laugh came from the fluffy, white-costumed Snowman. Tom couldn’t believe it. He’d driven past snowmen resembling this a hundred times. Could he…have missed him? The pristine white of the costume was splattered with crimson red blood. Tom squeezed his trigger. The Snowman fell backwards onto the snowbank.

    Tom growled. “That’s for ruining a perfectly good Saab, you freak.”

  6. Someone Like Us
    by Sara Stark
    250 words

    Tom enjoyed working with his partner Tommy. They seemed to share something, some deeper understanding he’d never had with other partners. Tommy, normally called Tom, went by Tommy on the job so it wouldn’t be so hard for the other officers to differentiate between them.

    But even having Tommy in the car with him didn’t make what Tom was seeing any easier. Two bodies bathed in blood and frozen stiff, yet clasping each other as if seeking solace in their final moments, a sight gruesome enough to turn the most seasoned officer’s stomach. The Snowman, that bastard, had claimed two more.

    “You okay?” Tommy said.

    “Just makes me queasy. They’re the first ones I’ve had to report.”

    “You want me to—”

    “No. I got it. Thanks.”

    Suppressing the urge to puke, Tom called it in. With the knee deep snow, they’d need a truck to haul the car to the station.

    “What kind of person could do this, Tommy?”

    “Dude, maybe it’s an illness. Like maybe the guy’s a schizophrenic or someth—”

    “That’s no excuse. There’s a world of difference between being a psycho and being a monster.”

    “I’m just saying. He could be sick, inside. Yet… Yet, look totally normal, like us, on the outside—”

    “Give it a rest, alright.”

    Tom turned the radio up, and the two waited in silence.

    Forty-five intolerable minutes later, Jameson tapped on the window.

    “Tom, you okay?”

    Tom nodded.

    “Man, it must have been creepy sitting here all by yourself.”

  7. Dewitt cursed. I gotta stop. I can’t ignore a front seat full of DBs.

    He radioed for help. He cursed again. It’s gonna be dark soon. With the downed power lines, I’d better be sure where I’m going.

    Rather than chance driving forward, he backed up a few feet, and angled his squad car so that its headlights illuminated the lifeless vehicle.

    He waded through the snow, snapping photos with his cellphone.

    Click. Click. CLICK.

    Dewitt knew the click of his camera; but he also knew the click of a cocking gun.

    He dropped onto his back in the deep snow. He drew his SIG. He waited with quivering anticipation.

    A voice whispered from somewhere nearby. “Nothing’s as dangerous as resting when you’re walking in the snow. You doze off, and die in your sleep.”

    Dewitt recognized the Wittgenstein quote. Is this guy toying with me? He twisted in the direction of the voice. “We build statues out of snow, and weep to see them melt.”

    “You think you’re going to melt me with your heater, cop? I see you—but you can’t see me.” The voice edged closer as it began another quote.

    Dewitt heard a sudden buzzing sound. Saw a dazzling flash of light. Smelled the nauseating reek of electrocuted flesh.

    He waited.

    Silence. Cold. Darkness.

    He stood. He shone his flashlight at the heap in the snow. He recognized the killer. “Hmph. Town librarian. Wonder if he was murdering book borrowers who had overdue fines.”

    Dewitt cursed.

  8. Tom flicked on the warning lights of his patrol car and parked on the street. “Dispatch, looks like we have a homicide in a vehicle stuck in the ditch on four mile road,” he said into his radio. “We will need a crew out here to check it out and pull the vehicle.” He left the car running as he stepped out into the brisk winter air.

    The cold air and a chance to stretch his legs helped break up the long night. With only a half hour left of his shift he didn’t want to get too caught up with this situation. He trudged through the snow to look through the driver side window.

    Like victims in the past these two died forehead to forehead with a hole driven between both skulls. Gruesome way to die, he thought. But like the other victims the no murder weapon was left at the scene.

    Tom noticed something odd about these two. From what he could tell they were freshly killed. At least within the past couple hours.

    The driver’s seat was wet with more than fresh blood. A pool of water had not absorbed into the leather seat.

    He thought nothing of the cold breeze that blew up the bottom of his coat. The cold chill air woke him as he thought of his warm bed waiting at home. The last thing he felt was the cold bite as the icicle cut through the back of his head.

  9. Snow crunched under his feet and bitter cold wind threatened to knock him over as Tom slowly approached the vehicle. He knew the procedures, knew he should’ve called in the find before advancing, but ignored his gut instincts and proceeded anyway.
    To be the one to catch The Snowman or unravel a clue as to the killer’s identity would be a huge bonus for him in so many ways; maybe even a promotion. Thoughts of stardom danced in his head as Tom moved up to the driver’s side.
    Using of his flashlight, Tom scanned the interior. Two bodies in the front seat and nothing but clothing and a blanket piled onto the backseat. It seemed relatively secure so Tom opened the car door for a better look.
    He craned his neck to view the gun shot wounds. The man took a bullet to the left side of the head, yet closer to just above the eye. Strange. With his curiosity heightened Tom closed the door and trudged through the deepening snow to the other side of the car.
    Tom leaned in to the passenger side and examined the woman. Same thing, only opposite side. He pondered on this. It was almost as if The Snowman had reached around from behind them. Hmm, reached around – from – behind. That would mean –
    His heart skipped a beat as he shined his flashlight to the back seat, but The Snowman was upon him. In a blinding flash his dreams were abolished.

  10. With the wind howling, the officer took several tentative steps. Just a few feet from the car, movement off to his left flashed in his peripheral. Whirling, he reached for his service revolver and yanked . . .
    “Cut, CUT!” the director yelled. “What’s the problem, Brad?”
    “Christ! My gun is stuck again!” Brad threw up his hands and rolled his eyes. “How am I supposed to give a serious performance when I can’t get the gun out of the . . . thingy?”
    A bald man carrying a long machete lumbered out from behind a drift of fake snow. “Take it easy. You won’t have time to worry about a serious performance.” He chuckled and waved the machete in Brad’s face.
    Brad let out a girlish yelp and ran behind the director’s chair. “Leave me alone, you BRUTE!”
    The female passenger in the car, her face sliced open and covered with blood, peaked up from over the dashboard and licked some of the red goo off her upper lip. “When did they start adding cherry flavoring to the fake blood?”
    The driver leaned back, careful not to dislodge the knife in his back, then lit a cigarette and took a long drag. “Can we get on with this? I’m due to be killed by a zombie in studio seven in less than an hour.”
    “Can everyone just get back in position?” The director pleaded. “Okay, cue the audio.”
    “State Trooper Tom Dewitt pulled up on . . . “

  11. On our last Agency undercover assignment Bill caught a bullet leaving him wheelchair bound. Bill and I quickly tired of retirement and did something about it. Down, not out. We devised a plan whereby Bill’s disability became an asset. It could be our undercover cover.

    The Justice Department saw the potential but wanted to test the theory. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) won the lottery. Thus Operation Streets-Weeper was born.

    Originally we thought to target drug dealers in a specific county. The county’s High Sheriff had another idea. His target list multiplied our original objective, exponentially. Specifically, he wanted ‘Snowman,’ who, as it turned out, was the illusive ghost DEA and Immigration had wanted for years.

    When modifications on our house (surveillance cameras, hidden rooms and disability provisioning) were finished, we moved in, mingling our rhythm into the community’s. Two years later we were ready to sweep the streets. The sweep netted ice cream truck and boom-box-car vendors, door-to-door evangelists and preachers. Immigration nabbed Coyotes and human traffickers. Internal Affairs detained cops and county officials on the take. Sadly, Snowman remained faceless slipping through the web again… or so we thought.

    Angry, pissed-off and buying into his own invisibility propaganda, Snowman blinked. He declared war, called his goon-squad army and U-turned back to us. With good behavior he may be out of prison sometime in twenty-second century.

    Bill and I watched it on television with great satisfaction.

    Operation Streets-Weeper Retirement and Relocation Program! Criminals beware.

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