LEGACY OF DEATH:
THE DYSON’S COMET KILLER
By Richard Paolinelli
© 2019 Richard Paolinelli . All Rights Reserved. No copying or any other reproduction of this story is permitted with written permission.
It was a typical morning in the Bay Area. The fog had rolled in on schedule just before sunset the day before, leaving the air chilly and damp.
With just an hour of darkness left before the first dawning light of a new day, only a few people were going through their Sunday morning routine. Others were sleeping in late while many were out-of-town and not due back until later in the day.
Of those precious few who had ventured outside, hardly any had taken notice of the fire engine red Mustang as it passed them by. They would not have thought twice about the convertible’s top being down, this was California after all and they’d seen stranger things here, nor would the sleeping woman in the passenger seat covered by a large overcoat, have caught their eye either.
If anything, only the wooden expression on the face of the car’s driver would have caught their attention. His eyes looked hollow, staring straight ahead out into space, never seeming to look to either side. He’d been that way for hours now, weaving his way through city streets, crisscrossing all of the area bridges at least once throughout the night as if lost, looking for something that could never again be found.
He started across the Golden Gate Bridge toward Marin County for the second time as the fog unexpectedly started to lift. As he neared the midway point of the decades-old span, he pulled over to one side and turned off the engine.
A slight breeze was blowing away the fog, ruffling the folded-up newspaper lying between the car seats. Glancing down, he saw the huge headline above the pictures of himself and the woman next to him. His whole world gone to dust in one tragic night and less than six hours later it was on display for the entire world to see. He could imagine what the talking heads on television would be saying and he was glad he wouldn’t be around to see what the next day’s papers were going to look like.
Getting out of the car, he walked around to the passenger side and looked at his traveling companion. She was a lovely woman, just barely into her thirties, with strawberry-blonde hair that lightly brushed her shoulders
He removed the old tan overcoat that covered her and tossed it into the back seat. Anyone who’d seen them pass by would assume it was being used for warmth, but it had only served to cover the gaping wound in her chest. The wound had been caused by the passage of a large-caliber bullet, a bullet fired by him with the gun she had bought for him as a present less than a year ago. He was too stricken by grief to appreciate any irony he might have normally felt about that.
He took out his wallet and tossed it on to the driver’s seat along with the keys to the car, neither noticing nor caring that the wallet fell open to reveal the badge and identification of a San Francisco City Police Inspector.
As far as he was concerned, MacKenzie Bolton had ceased being a cop the instant he’d fired that fatal bullet. He drew his gun from its holster, then leaned over and gently lifted his victim out of the car. He quickly stepped over the barrier and leaned back against it as he glanced out toward the East Bay, waiting for the first rays of the sun to peek over the Oakland Hills as gentle waves of water from the Pacific Ocean splashed against the supports below.
* * * * *
Old Roscoe had been fishing in the same spot in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge for years. He found it peaceful and surprisingly quiet no matter what time or day he came. Every once in awhile he’d actually catch a fish, but as far as he was concerned that wasn’t the point of being out here at all.
Here he could sit and enjoy an up-close view of the bridge his father had helped to build and, when the weather was right, he could enjoy one of the best panoramas in the world, watching the ships passing by and not worrying about the daily grind of life.
This past week or so had been especially nice. Up until the day before, the fog had stayed away and he was able to come to his favorite spot and watch Dyson’s Comet setting in the east just before the sunrise.
The last time the comet had passed Earth was the same year that Roscoe’s mother had delivered him to this world. It was, to him, very much like an old friend dropping by to say hello and catch up on the past.
Roscoe had been disappointed to see the fog come back since the comet was fading away and would soon be out of sight again, but he’d come out anyway to fish and to just enjoy the day.
When the wind picked up and the fog started to thin, he was surprised and happy. He was overjoyed when the fog broke to the east just enough to reveal the dim light of the comet just before the sun broke over the hills.
“Hello, old friend,” Roscoe said aloud, grinning from ear to ear.
But before he could sit back and enjoy the last few moments of the heavenly view, his attention was drawn to motion on the bridge where there shouldn’t be any motion at all.
Roscoe squinted up toward the middle of the bridge and was able to make out what looked like the figure of a man, holding some type of bundle in his arms, standing on the edge of the bridge.
Before he could shout out a warning or call for help, the figure suddenly tumbled forward and plummeted down toward the water below. Roscoe could only watch in speechless horror as the bundle he’d seen in the man’s arms separated from the man’s grasp and Roscoe realized that the bundle was, in fact, another body.
An instant before the pair struck the water, the popping sound of a gunshot reached Roscoe’s ears and the old man knew he’d never again find any peace in his favorite fishing spot again.
* * * * *
This was the first chapter of a 10-chapter weekly series. Come back next Saturday for Chapter Two.
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