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Metalworm

This was the idea for a mystery novel dreamt up for the sole purpose of proving that anyone could come up with an idea for a mystery novel. Other ideas included a fairground that sold cocaine-laced cotton candy, a pro-bono hitman who sold the organs of his targets, and plenty of others that have no right existing on paper. Though I now realize that mystery novels are much harder to write than I'd first assumed, it was a fun exercise. I've included the plot at the end so that you can come up with your own wacky theories.

In the middle of an aircraft hangar stand two men. One is Neb Haggard, the young architect who designed the building. The other is missing his head and nailed to a metal cross. This murder is inexplicably linked to a series of seemingly random robberies through a single word: METALWORM. The solution to these crimes, and their link, depend on Neb. He's the only one who knows the answer.

Polished concrete floors absorb blood quite slowly. Even a single drop could take an hour to sink in. Two hours if it's chilly. Concrete floors are easy to clean, durable, and readily available. As such, they make perfect locations to commit a gruesome murder. That is also why I find myself in the middle of an otherwise sterile aircraft hangar looking at a man tied to a metal cross. My breath fogs up the inside of the cleanroom suit as I canvas the rest of the area. About three side-by-side football fields worth of polished concrete floors stretch out around me, reflecting the fluorescent bulbs four stories up. I have no doubt that this space was majestic in its spacecraft production days. Devoid of all tools and people, however, with a dead man in the place of the precision machines, this place is downright terrifying. Terrifying, but also absurd. Here is a man firmly mounted two feet off the ground to a solid metal cross. Four small legs spread out from the base of the cross to keep it stable, but it looks like even the slightest push would topple it over. One muddy pair of tracks lead up to the spot, with bootprints matching the ones of the dead man. I should also mention that the man is dressed in a neoprene diving suit. My pen dutifully jots all this down in my notebook, though my brain scarcely believes it. Nothing about this makes sense. Not the murder. Not why I am here. Not why an FBI investigator, an astronaut, and my old professor are watching me through the glass 50 meters away. Their stare combined with the 15-minute warning light on my suit brought me back to reality. I only had a few more minutes before I needed to head back in and offer my opinion. Focusing on the details, I started noting them down. The man was about six feet and looked about forty years old, maybe thirty with a stressful job, judging by the flecks of grey in his otherwise black temples. His one-piece neoprene diving suit appeared to be brand new and perfectly fit him, with built in shoes but no hood. It covered him so well I couldn't tell much else about him, but even through the fabric something was wrong with his body. His ribs stuck in and out at unnatural angles, and his joints seemed torqued out of position. Other than his calm, unmarred face and the utter lack of blood, he looked like a freeze frame from an explosion. Getting closer to the ground, there were a few scratches around the base of the cross, as if someone moved it around while setting it up.

Written: Tue May 15 2018