THE HANDPRINT

TheHandprintTHE HANDPRINT

File No. 1
Alternate History Archive

Newly arrived Annabelle Lash takes the first job she’s offered when she lands on the west coast. As a barely-trained morgue attendant, it’s her job to scoop up the dead and avoid taking any grief from local law enforcement. Unprepared for her first crime scene, she battles both a forbidden hunger and an unexpected attraction to the sexy Detective Smithson. Clued in to the secret identity of the Handprint Killer, she struggles to balance her new life, resist the charms of her admirer, and disappear into the hidden community of ghouls. But it turns out, she’s not the only one with secrets to protect and despite her efforts to put distance between herself and Smithson, her panties keep hitting the floor and the killer’s victim tally climbs ever higher.

The Alternate History Archive contains a collection of substantial short stories sharing a particular universe, one in which historical events play out somewhat differently from the timeline we inhabit. I submit File No. 1 for your perusal. Clocking in at a bit over 10,000 words in length, it’s a short fun read for those nights when you can’t quite drop off to sleep without getting in a little fictional fun.

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Read an excerpt:

The partially digested corpse reared up on the gurney.

Annabelle stumbled back. The plastic sheet dropped away and a garbled moan burbled out from between Ernie’s crooked lips.

Michael keened out a high-pitched wail.

Jimmy skittered backwards on his heels until he hit the wall.

Smithson casually reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small rectangle made of black plastic. The Taser resembled a television remote with a gun handle. He pointed the device and calmly electro-shocked the Coroner.

Jimmy recovered the power of speech. “Dude, that’s rad!”

Michael huddled beside his coworker, eyes rounded into zeroes.

Annabelle studied the steaming body. “Ernie’s a zombie now, isn’t he?”

“Appears so.” Smithson winked at her. “As if I don’t already have enough paperwork to fill out before we sign off on this evening’s fun.” He shoved the door open with one shoulder. “Officer Griggs, these young men need to give a statement. They just witnessed the suspect rise from the dead.”

Michael and Jimmy scrambled out at a full sprint.

Smithson turned back and met her gaze. “You never call.”

She rolled her eyes. “Don’t start blame-shifting.” She jabbed a finger at her boss. “Is he getting up again?”

Smithson slipped off his coat and slung the garment over a piece of equipment. “We should drop him in the incinerator soon. The second jolt seldom works as effectively.”

He grabbed one end of the gurney.

She yanked on the other and steered them through the maze of autopsy tables. “I land all the weirdos,” she muttered.