Lake of Bad Dreams

by Susan Clayton-Goldner

When Detective Winston Radhauser receives a frantic call, ‘shots fired at Mountain View High School’, he and his partner are on the scene in less than four minutes. Chaos greets them. Screaming students run in every direction. Some hide behind bushes. One boy has fallen into the memorial fountain, his arm bleeding so profusely it turns the water red. Others lie on the ground, blood seeping into the concrete in dark pools. Procedure demands first responders wait for SWAT to clear the building, but Radhauser enters, fearing more injuries and loss of life. In the band room, two students, one dead, the other barely breathing, lie in front of the shattered windows. In practice room four, another boy and girl are dead. Sprays of blood splatter the cinderblock walls and shell casings litter the floor.

Radhauser kneels beside the girl’s body. A cell phone, with a hot pink Hello Kitty cover, peeks from the pocket of her blood-stained hoodie. In her childlike right hand, nails chewed and painted an innocent shad of glittery pink, she holds a Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun, her fingers still curled around it.

It is easy to believe fifteen-year-old Kristina Sterling is the shooter. Everyone does. Everyone except Detective Winston Radhauser.

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Category: Mystery – Series