Crime never sleeps.
This year’s WEP/IWSG challenge theme, the Year of the Art, ties in to my novella for last year’s challenges, the six-part story called ‘Custody Chain’.
I was wary of attempting another ongoing case for Sparkle Anwyl and Kama Pillai of the North Wales Police, but I sensed many of you would expect something else involving them.
However, another Snowdon Shadows novella was too daunting – and a commitment too far. Although I managed to get there, I had to eke out the end of ‘Custody Chain’ sentence by sentence – sometimes one each day.
So, I’m going down the stand-alone path, although there will be a few links – beyond my dynamic duo.
Apologies, the word count is over the limit – but let’s move on.
If you wish, please comment, or suggest what links are ongoing.
Many thanks for reading.
As always, apologies if I’m slow to respond or slow to visit your posts.
Plus, ensure you visit all the other writers in this challenge via:
Friday, January 9th
Surf crashes onto the beach, churning the sand and tossing seashells aside. Rollers rush the rocks bordering the bay.
Perfect for thrill-seeking surfers, but treacherous for casual swimmers. Deceptive currents.
Another challenge for Kama and me. Nothing deflects us from our dawn swim.
We race into the roiling sea, limbs driving us out until Morfa Bychan disappears.
Then we turn for shore and breakfast.
A familiar figure waits for us. A brunette in uniform, with sparkling eyes – and a worried expression.
PCSO Lleilu Dace, the police community support officer, who proved so invaluable on an art theft case the previous year.
She waves as we walk ashore.
“I knew you’d both be here, so wanted to catch you off-duty. Sorry for the intrusion—”
“—anytime. What’s the problem?” Kama’s tone is calm and encouraging.
I find myself reading Lleilu’s lips. The case had involved Tesni Szarka, a deaf painter.
“Don’t take this wrong. I’m not proper uniform and certainly not a detective—”
“But you’re part of the team with vital input. What’s happened? Sexism?”
“Too often – some of your colleagues expect me to make their tea, even when they are capable. No, it’s the paperwork. It has to stop.”
I share her frustration. Time sheets, surveys, assessments, as well as our regular case reports.
“We do depend on non-police staff to type up our Smartphone notes.” Kama shakes her head. “But only if we’re stretched and we shouldn’t expect PCSOs to do that. You have key support roles – and you’ve proved invaluable. You should talk to DCI Baines – she’d understand.”
Lleilu shakes her head. “It’s just my observation, not an official complaint. That would require triplicate form-filling. Paperwork will be the kiss of death for real policing. Anyway, I’m going for a swim.”
She slips out of her uniform, down to a swimsuit and a lithe body. Warmth spreads up to my face and I glance at Kama. Resist, her face says.
Lleilu plunges into the sea and begins to carve her way through the turbulent water.
Pounding. My chest. She’s disappeared. Undertow.
Kama and I dash in, diving underwater. Searching.
I find Lleilu fighting to surface. Fighting to breathe. Choking.
As I reach her, she collapses. Remain calm. Slow my racing heart.
I slip hands under her armpits, then kick to the surface, swimming parallel to the shore – out of the undertow.
Kama is beside us, guiding us back to the beach once we’re out of the undertow.
We lay Lleilu on the sand. Her pulse is weak. Not breathing. Kama presses her lips to another. I shiver. No. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Kiss of life.
Kama continues the methodical airway-breathing-circulation then chest compressions. Lleilu’s eyes flutter. No gasp for air.
My partner motions for me to take over. I press my mouth to Lleilu’s, pinching her nose – and praying.
She chokes up seawater, then forces a smile.
Sunday 25th January
Kama and I kiss, lips soft as tongues tease. Then we zip up our leathers over evening glad rags.
The front-door bell rings.
Lleilu – with a large package.
“Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus. I have a gift for you both – for saving me.”
She kisses us on both cheeks, then hands us the wrapped gift.
We undo the protective cloth, revealing a painting we will cherish.
“Tesni Szarka painted this replica. Dropped everything to finish it for—”
“St Dwynwen’s Day. Our own version of St Valentine’s Day – which we’re about to celebrate—”
“Join us – unless there’s someone—”
“Not yet, but he’s out there.”
I place the replica of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss on our mantelpiece.
1077 words FCA
For more on the theme of art, check out the amazing WEP/IWSG Challenges Calendar for 2021 with designs by Olga Godim:
For more on Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss see:
For details on St Dwynwen’s Day:
And for other February entries visit: