avatarMatthew Donnellon

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Fiction

Cold Case

A holiday themed mystery

Photo by Chase Fade on Unsplash

I walked into the coffee shop.

It was slow, only a couple patrons mulling about. “Jingle Bells” was playing in the background, and there was a young elf dressed in a black turtleneck reading poetry.

“Hi, Jackson,” the barista said. She smelled like peppermint and mistletoe.

“Good morning Holly.”

“The usual?”

“Nah, I think I’ll try a coffee this morning.”

Her jaw nearly hit the counter, “Really?”

“Just kidding. I’ll take a hot chocolate.”

“That sounds more like it,” the small elf said.

She handed me the paper cup, decorated with white snowflakes. After a few seconds the snowflakes started moving.

“Haha I like the new cups.”

“I thought you might,” she said, winking.

That’s when I realized she was using her magic to do it.

I was sitting in the corner reading The Polar Daily when my phone buzzed.

“Detective Snow,” I said.

I listened for a bit and then hung up.

“Something wrong?” Holly asked.

“Yeah something happened out at the reindeer farms I’m heading out there now.”

“Do you think I could tag along? My shift’s almost over. Danny lives out there and my parents have been wanting me to check on him.”

“Yeah, I don’t see why not.”

“Cool. Let me just tell Cindy I’m leaving for the day.”

“I’ll be outside.”

We piled into the old police sled. Years ago, we still had reindeer pulling them, but now they ran on magic.

“Are you going to run the siren?”

“No. It’s not an emergency.”

“It’s not?”

“No Snow Patrol’s got it covered. I’m afraid by the time I get there sirens aren’t necessary. All the exciting stuff is over.”

“I see.”

Holly looked disappointed.

I pointed to a button on the dashboard. “You can run it for a few minutes.”

“Cool.”

It was about a half hour out to the reindeer fields.

When we arrived there were at least a dozen sleigh’s by the barn.

“Stay in the sled,” I told Holly.

“Ten four.”

I got out and the senior officer came over.

“Captain Pine, Snow Patrol,” he said, extending his hand.

“Detective Jackson Snow, NPPD. What do we got?”

“It’s a grisly one. Three elves stabbed to death.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I’ve seen anything like it in a long time.”

“I know. It’s pretty quiet out here.”

“That’s not the worst part.”

“It’s not.”

“I’ll let you see for yourself.”

I entered the barn. The reindeer had been scattered and it was just the three bodies.

I knew immediately what the Captain was referring to.

Each elf had a candy cane sticking out from their chest. To make matters worse. Holly’s brother Danny was among the deceased. I was going to have to tell her. I didn’t relish that conversation.

Kringle,” I swore under my breath.

The Captain walked up behind me, “That’s what I said.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“I thought he was gone.”

“Me too. I’m going to have to call this in.”

Luckily, I had a direct line. It wasn’t one I used often, but he needed to know right away. I punched in the number.

“Hello?” the jolly man said.

“Nick, it’s Detective Snow. I have some bad news.”

“Oh boy.”

“It’s him. The Candy Cane Killer. He’s back.”

“Humbug,” he swore. “Keep me updated. I want him caught this time.”

“Will do.”

As I hung up, I heard a muffled sound behind me.

I turned to see Captain Pine going down.

That wasn’t the worst part.

Holly was there holding a bloody candy cane.

“I’m sorry Jackson,” she said.

Then it was suddenly very cold.

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