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The Naked Eye

The Naked Eye

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Main Tropes

  • Locked Room
  • Isolated
  • Long-Held Grudge


A resort guest is dead. But the killer is bound to still be there since no one can leave during the blizzard.

Lieutenant Davis was unintentionally stranded by the weather. He didn't plan on working a crime scene without back up and he certainly didn't know he would be the only one in the group without an ironclad alibi.

Can Davis solve the crime before the blizzard ends, the local cops show up, and he becomes a suspect?

If you enjoy mysteries of how they did it, then Angela Kay's short story is sure to entertain!

Intro to Ch. 1

Lieutenant Davis snapped on his gloves and kneeled to study the body before him. She lay sprawled on the floor, her long blonde hair spilling over her face. At first glance, there were no markings, no hint other than the absence of a pulse to show she was dead.

The harsh gust of the wind outside stole his attention for a moment, reminding him of the devastating Aspen weather. The room grew a few degrees colder as he carefully moved the body onto her back, brushing her hair from her face.

He pushed out a long breath as he looked down at the girl’s face. At twenty-three years old, Lauren Crusher had hardly begun living. She recently received her undergraduate degree from Western State College of Colorado and joined a group of her friends on a trip to the ski resort to celebrate. Her celebration cut short, though, after she’d been found dead only fourteen hours after arriving.

Davis shook away the thoughts of Lauren as he continued his investigation into what had happened to this otherwise perfectly healthy girl. According to her friends, she had no severe health problems—at least none that she’d come forward about.

Her makeup was left undisturbed, as if she’d just put it on. She still wore her blue jeans and a thick brown turtleneck sweater.

Lauren wore no jewelry other than the Apple watch on her wrist.

“What happened to you, my dear?” Davis said underneath his breath.

Scrutinizing her body further, he noticed the skin around her throat and mouth had broken out in a rash and was severely swollen.

An allergic reaction?

Using the camera app on his phone, Davis snapped a close-up photo of her face.

Next, he checked the rest of her skin but found no pinpricks, cuts, or other injuries. Digging in her jean pocket, he pulled out a crumpled paper.

No, not paper.

A photo of Lauren with her friend Krystal. The picture was carefully torn in two.


Davis pushed to his feet with an inward groan. The cold air did numbers to his aging bones. He looked around the room. The comforter on Lauren’s bed was pulled up, undisturbed. When she’d gone to her room, it was to be for bed.

A cup half-filled with cocoa sat on the table next to the bed, over a folded napkin as a makeshift coaster. The mug had a personalized greeting: Lauren’s Coffee House.

He removed his glove and touched his finger to the liquid. Cold.

Replacing his glove, he picked up the mug and sniffed the contents. He didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary. He set it down and used a notepad from the table to cover the contents. It would take some time for the cocoa to be sent for analysis, but Davis needed to preserve anything and everything Lauren may have touched.

His mind spinning, he dropped to all fours and checked underneath the bed. Nothing.

Davis looked over at the closet where her suitcase lay. Her clothes were thrown awry, spilled onto the floor. A diary lay underneath her makeup bag. Thumbing through it, he found a page which seemed like it may have been a letter. The words were scratched out, but looking closely, he was able to read them.

Dear Mary Jane—

I know we’ve had our differences, but you’re still one of my best friends. There’s no doubt in my mind. This is why I’m writing to you. There’s something about Jesse you need to know.

Was the letter finished? He couldn’t tell. Taking the journal, Davis made a mental note to ask both Jesse and Mary Jane.

He continued to scan the room.

Footprints, including his own, littered the carpet, so he wouldn’t be able to tell if someone had entered during the fourteen hours she’d been alone in her room. However, the door had been locked from the inside. Her friend Bridget used a credit card to enter when Lauren didn’t respond to her desperate attempts to get a response.

As he often did when he was working on the clock, Davis tried to imagine Lauren’s last moments before her heart stopped beating for good.

Before heading to bed, she heated a cup of cocoa, then entered her room. Lauren shut the door, locked it, then set her cocoa on the bedside table.

Considering the scenario, he traced her footsteps, mimicking what he imagined her actions to have been.

Davis slid the table drawer open to see an Advil pill bottle. He unscrewed the top and looked inside.

Only two pills left.

He studied them in his hand, but saw nothing worth noting. It would be a rare occurrence for someone to die from taking over-the-counter medicine, and even then, it would have to be in a rather large quantity.

He looked back at Lauren’s body, a fleeting thought that she may have committed suicide passing through his mind. But he quickly pushed it out. Lauren had so much going for her. Why would she consider killing herself?

Davis replaced the cap, set the bottle on top of the nightstand, and returned to where Lauren’s body still lay.

He looked at every part of her skin a second time, hoping he could find a definite cause for her death, anything he may have missed the first time.

A bee sting. A spider bite.

But there was nothing.

Again, feeling the pain in his bones, Davis walked to the window, shivering as he did so, and gazed through the frost at the raging storm outside. It was early evening, though the sky was darkening fast. The snow fell with a vengeance, thwarting anybody from entering or leaving the Aspen lodge.

Two other cabins were nearby, the lights dim against the blistering snow. The ski resort seemed to be a ghost town, killed off by the blizzard.

Davis checked the window to find it locked tight, with no way for anyone to exit or enter. The room was on the second floor, which made it difficult to climb either direction.

With a shake of his head, Davis turned back to face the body. He felt the frustration growing inside his belly as each second passed.

How could a perfectly healthy twenty-something-year-old be fine one minute, then be gone from this world the next?

Was her death natural, or was she murdered?

One problem he faced was that with the roads now closed, there would be no hope of getting Lauren to the coroner for an autopsy. Not in a decent amount of time, anyway. And the longer her body rested in this room, the sooner the evidence faded.

If she’d been murdered, there were ten known suspects, including himself.

And finally, if the doors were locked from the inside … how was Lauren Crusher murdered?

A chill encircled him, forcing a shiver.

Davis went to the closet, grabbed a wool blanket, and covered Lauren’s body. He said a quiet prayer for her spirit, crossed himself and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

He made his way down the stairs, each step creaking under his weight. Lauren’s friends were still in the den where he’d left them. The women huddled together on the couch, eyes bloodshot, skin red and dry, the men pacing the floor.

It was a cozy room with thick leather chairs, a glass coffee table, and wooden walls. By the door were ten sets of skis and poles, eager to take to the slopes, but with the current weather, that was impossible.

The only sound he heard was the wind continuing to groan against the outer walls and the popping of the fireplace.

“Daddy?” His daughter, Bridget, set her bag of almonds to the side and rose, walking toward him. Her big blue eyes peered at him, shining with tears. “Daddy, she’s not really … she couldn’t be … could she?”

He placed his hands on her shoulders, knowing it would do nothing to console her. He knew she’d been friends with Lauren since they met freshman year in college. Although he didn’t know Lauren that well, he knew her enough because his daughter often spoke of her.

“It’ll be some time before we can get help,” Davis announced to the group. “The weather is getting worse, and I realize it may be boring for you kids because you all came to the resort to ski, but I have to ask you to stay inside the cabin.” He paused, rubbed the nape of his neck, and sighed. “In the meantime, while we wait the storm out, I’m going to have to ask each of you some questions regarding Lauren.”

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