Prompt: Your heroine captures something on film that makes people want to kill her.
This is unedited, so excuse the typos.
Elizabeth Webber wrinkled her nose and looked at her film editor. “Can you replay that last fifteen seconds?” The beleaguered Dillon Quartermaine clicked a few buttons and the footage of the park the previous day began to roll again. When it had ended, he looked at her. “Wanna go another six times or can we go to print?”
“I guess.” Elizabeth sat back in her chair and touched her pen to her lip. “I just feel like I’m missing something—”
“You’re doing a minute thirty bit on the annual police barbecue.” Dillon played with a few more buttons, adding titles and shaving an extra half second off the back end. “It’s not really Pulitzer Prize material.”
“You don’t win Pulitzers for television.”
“Okay, well, whatever you win for TV.” Dillon slid the tape out and handed it to her. “I’m sorry to break it to you, but you know this might even get relegated to the D-block.”
“Yeah.” She sighed. “It’s not really what I wanted to do. I wanted to investigate, break stories that matter—”
“You wanted to be Woodward or Bernstein or those guys from the Globe who broke the priest story. You want to do something that people are gonna make Oscar movies about.” Dillon shrugged. “Welcome to the club. No money in that kind of journalism any more. Believe me.” He sighed, wistfully. “I wanted to make documentaries, but it’s like impossible to get funding—”
“This just isn’t how I pictured my life is all,” Elizabeth grumbled. She took out her phone and flipped through the missed notifications and checked her text messages. “My friend at the council’s office said they’re going to try to hold that vote tonight.”
“Yeah? They’re really gonna try to impeach the mayor?” Dillon whistled. “There’s a story. You got a connection to that, maybe—”
“I tell Ned and he’ll just give the story to Carly. Again.” She pursed her lips and eyed him. “You still handy with a camera?”
“What, you wanna show up at the mayor’s office to see his reaction?” He considered it. “It’s not the worst idea in the world—”
“No, I want to go to City Hall and be on scene when the vote goes down. If we’re already there with a camera—”
“More likely Ned will let us at least get the first on camera. He’ll remember you’re alive.” Dillon rose to his feet. “What the hell. I’m not doing anything else interesting tonight.”
The street was quiet as Elizabeth pulled her battered Ford into an empty parking space in the City Hall lot. There were only a few other cars—and it didn’t look like any one was holding a top secret super important vote.
“Maybe Em was wrong,” she murmured as she got out of her car.
“Maybe we’re just super early. “ Dillon hoisted the station camera over his shoulder. “You want to shoot an intro just to have it ready?”
“No, but maybe get some background footage—we can play up how secret and hush hush the vote is. Or we can just film in the dark,” she muttered, pulling her denim more tightly around her.
Obediently, Dillon started to pan the parking lot for about thirty seconds. He frowned. “Hey—what’s that over there?”
Elizabeth came around the side of the car to follow his gaze. On the far side of the parking lot, a man had stepped out of his car, followed by another man. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were furiously arguing. “Film it,” she ordered. “Maybe it’s a council member—”
Later, she would try to describe the sound she heard later—firecrackers. A sharp crack.
But she would never be able to really put into the words the sound the gun made as it flashed. One of the men crumpled to the ground.
“Oh, shit!” Dillon cried out, frantically zooming in. “Oh, shit, that’s—”
“Get in the car, get in the car—” Elizabeth yanked the passenger side door open and shoved him towards it. Dillon’s exclamation had carried—and the shooter had turned towards them.
Had started to run towards them.
Elizabeth stumbled and nearly dropped her keys as she threw herself in her car.
“We have to go,” Dillon said, voice shaking. “Go. Please go. Go.”
“I’m going, I’m going—” She threw the car into drive and squealed out of the parking lot.
“Holy shit, holy shit,” Dillon whimpered. “We just—did you see who that was?”
“It was too dark and they were far away—but you zoomed in, Dillon—” She glanced at him as she turned a corner. She headed for the highway—not thinking about a destination, just wanting to put as much distance between herself and the lunatic with the gun.
“The mayor—” Dillon swallowed. “Julian Jerome just shot Justus Ward.”
Her stomach dropped. “Well, shooting the Speaker of the City Council is one way to avoid impeachment.” Elizabeth swallowed “Do you—do you think he knows who we are—” She looked at the camera in his lap—with the station’s logo—WKPC—emblazoned across it. The light had been shining.
“Well, it was dark,” Dillon managed. “But um…” He looked at her. “I know Julian. I mean, he knows me. I mean, it’s—I dated his niece for a while. A-and the light was kind of—” He waved his hand. “All over us both.”
“Shit. Shit.” Her options were limited. They could go to the police but—ha—
“There’s no way this doesn’t go bad for us,” Dillon said. “The department is in Julian’s pocket. This tape will disappear and you know they’re saying he’s got connections, and he sure as hell doesn’t mind killing people—”
“And if we take it to Ned, we put him in danger.” Elizabeth winced. “Shit. I know who I have to call.”
Dillon frowned. “Who?”
“My ex-husband,” she muttered. “Damn it.” She’d sworn the day she walked out she’d never say another word to him. Damn it.
“How he’s going to help?”
“He works for the FBI,” Elizabeth sighed. “Damn it,” she swore again as she fished in her pocket for her phone. “Siri,” she said, her teeth clenched. “Call Jason Morgan.”
“Calling Jason Morgan…”