A Murder in Cryerseville - Chapter 1 (Saturday Blues)

A Murder in Cryerseville - Chapter 1 (Saturday Blues)

Kayan is fed up with her life in Cryerseville.


Crime / Suspense / Mystery / Thriller


Aisha Mahmood (United Kingdom)

A sharp slit roused against her finger and the paper slipped inside the envelope. Kayan dug the letter inside her worn pocket and buried her hands inside shortly after.

The fog drowned the streets with a slight breeze and sprinkles of fallen snowflakes. Kayan sprung her footsteps into the soft sheet of white frosting, the pavement slowly brought to surface as her shallow stamps uncovered the stoned path. The air bit at the tip of her flushed nose and her frown flipped around when the shining of the red postbox hit her pupils.

Before Kayan even moved an inch on the pavement, she was appalled by a young man suddenly sliding into sight. He sped up through the fog but locked focus with Kayan’s wide eyes. Her elevated eyebrows didn’t bug this lad, so she resorted to skipping him from view. She uneasily darted her gaze as if she’d been handed raisin cookies instead of chocolate chip. To make matters worse, he halted directly in front of her. Awkward.

This unfamiliar passerby actually dared to engage in interaction. Never interrupt strangers before 8 o’clock, even Kayan knew that. Given that she was relatively new in this stodgy town, Cryerseville made sure to teach her that early mornings meant quiet time. Truth be told, early mornings are the worst, but that’s just how this nightmare began.

The man wore a brown tweed suit beneath a formal coat, even through Kayan’s uninviting expression, he spoke.

‘Quite a decent morning, isn’t it?’ He stood tall, white crystals nesting onto his dark curly head.

In the most respectable way, Kayan answered, ‘Yeah it’s nice.’

‘You wouldn’t happen to know where the locksmith is, would you?’ In all his innocence, Kayan could tell by the way his hands fiddled at his pockets and the slight crunch of his eyebrows, he was distressed.

‘There’s a blacksmith,’ she spoke with an undertone. ‘I think his name is Whitlock.’

‘Close enough,’ He dipped his head back and patted down at his pockets once more.

‘Continue this way,’ she gestured ahead of his current path, ‘take the first left.’

Kayan watched as he sprinted past, into the breaking fog and rising sun. To her right, the bakery lights flickered on and eventually illuminated her groggy face. She squinted at the array of desserts boasting on display, fresh croissants to layered cakes lined up behind the glass counter. Kayan reminded herself of her mission and scrambled her hand into the lint of her pocket. A few snowflakes melted on her sandy skin as her slick fingers emerged from the forest green of her jacket.

Five short steps away, that’s when she noticed someone following her. A light tatter on the crying snow. A silent crunching coming from behind her rigid body. Wisps of her black hair frayed in the wind, resting on the lapels of her jacket.

‘I’m here!’ Her friend unnecessarily called out, picking up her pace. As the sight of Adeline’s cream coloured coat evolved into lanky arms and legs, Kayan grasped the envelope and slid her finger across the seal, promptly dropping it into the abyss of the empty postbox.

Adeline wiped a smile onto her pale face, brushing off a handful of powder from the sky. She crinkled the hazel of her eyes at Kayan’s hidden palms.

‘You didn’t get it?’ Adeline’s mouth dropped and her mood deflated.

Guilty, Kayan returned a dejected look.

Adeline nudged her, ‘Come on then.’

If the cool breeze hadn’t already slapped Kayan awake, Adeline certainly did.

Now she felt it. The air was frostbite and the sun was frowning, not the best impression to start an average Saturday. Kayan had been swifted into Adeline’s life ever since she joined the small world of Crysereville, nearing a year ago. Although Kayan wasn’t the most welcome to begin with, Adeline tasked herself with finding a place for her in this countryside folk. Somewhere in this snow globe, Kayan had the perfect role waiting for her, she just couldn’t see it.

Adeline folded down her hefty sleeve and translated her watch: 08:32, great.

‘Terrifying Tales of Nature starts in half an hour,’ Adeline reported. ‘Quickly, let’s get to Snack Attack.’

The neon sign outside read ‘Open’ but the interior said otherwise. It was unusually silent. To their advantage this meant there was no queue, just a vacant store tiled in toneless harlequin. Kayan bulged her eyes at the adolescent sitting behind the counter. Just as she had expected, it was Barry.

There are only 14 shops in the town shopping centre and so many left for Kayan to get fired from. Needless to say, her worth ethic wasn’t the most pleasing and it sort of, kind of …actually it definitely gave her a bad reputation. Therefore, in a quick change of plans, grabbing a box of popcorn was going to be Adeline’s job.

Barry was a local neighbour from the Hallin household; they occupied dangerous territory in the same cul-de-sac that Kayan lived in. It’s unnatural to trust someone working 3 consecutive jobs, but to everyone’s surprise, Barry managed this effortlessly. Unfortunately to Kayan’s dismay, she was utterly convinced that Barry was the sole reason she had gotten sacked.

He was the reason for her short lived Snack Attack employee title and she knew it. With his dodgy driving licence and speeder attitude, something wasn’t adding up. Since her dismissal, she’d consciously avoided Barry and his smug face. As Barry stroked his shag greasy hair, Kayan gestured that Adeline get the fresh popcorn instead.

Half asleep, Barry noticed the short teenager approaching him and muttered, ‘What do you want, Barner?’


The trek back wasn’t as tranquil as the initial journey Kayan had from her house to the town centre. The snow resulted in slipping and the clouds evacuated the sky. The prickling sun of summer was drawing in. Adeline rambled about troubles at school and how her sisters were constantly bugging her, but mostly she chatted about her favourite TV show.

After a while Kayan zoned out. This wasn’t working, these scheduled weekends, the same Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays… you get the point. Day in day out Kayan felt a rupture in her life, heck- the daily whining was only outlining these repetitive forenoons. She felt like she was only surviving, getting through the long months just waiting for something to happen.

The newspaper wasn’t something she saw herself reading, but everyday she picked one up anyway. A little piece of mind that life didn’t stand still, people were genuinely happy getting their typical stories printed into this boring town. Kayan scanned the pages on the daily newspaper, trying to spot anything interesting. There was the ongoing missing person’s story, a yard sale, an article named The Station Magpie and even an ad to the latest Ford model. Kayan parked herself on the curb. Newspapers weren’t exciting enough.

‘Wait,’ she declared.

Adeline jolted the popcorn box, an occasional kernel freeing onto the soggy pavement.

‘Let’s go to my house instead.’

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