Skip to main content

Death in the Moonlight

Mark is from Utah. He is married and has 3 children. He is a graduate of the University of Utah.


The dark sky erupted with lightning and rain showered down that Friday evening. Thunder could be heard throughout the boarding house. I could tell that this would be a bad weekend. We were sitting near the fireplace. I, Zebadiah Haynes, reading the newspaper and Alan Byrne, my detective partner, was reading a novel. I read about a child being abducted from a nearby school.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. I arose and opened the door. Just then, we heard a shot being fired. The man at the door screamed and fell through the doorway and into the room.

Mr. Byrne arose, then quickly but carefully joined me at the door. We tried to see any sign of a gunman but could not see anyone. Quickly, we closed the door and had turned our attention to the man that had been shot.

He was gasping and panting as if he had been running. Mr. Byrne took out a handkerchief to staunch the bleeding from his back.

“What is the meaning of this?” Mr. Byrne asked the man on the floor.

“The man…who shot me…was my partner. We were planning…to blow…up a nearby school…but I backed out after I released a child…that he had abducted…” The man coughed and gasped.

“Why would you want to blow up the school?” Mr. Byrne asked.

“Because…one of the students…at the school…overheard our plans…to make money…selling opium…” said the man.

“So why kill all of the students?” I asked.

“Because we weren’t sure which student had overheard us.”

“So where is your partner?” Byrne asked.

“H-He’s…” His voice stopped. He gasped again, then died.

We had decided that we had to find the other man. We turned out the lights. Mr. Byrne asked me to stay in the room with a gun while he quietly went out the back door. I knew that the other man would be trying to find out if his former partner was dead.

As I peered out the side window, I saw a dark figure rounding the corner. Obviously, he was trying to see if his former partner was inside our building.

Mr. Byrne, with a gun in his hand and with his finger on the trigger, wanted to be certain that the figure was the man in question.

“Can I help you?” Mr. Byrne asked, trying to sound calm.

The man turned toward Byrne and raised his gun.

Mr. Byrne fired first. The stranger staggered backwards, dropping his gun. I could see by the moonlight that Byrne had hit him in the neck.

“No business of yours,” the man croaked. He pulled out another gun and raised it at my detective friend. But before he was able to fire, Mr. Byrne had pulled out a second gun of his own and had fired first, yet again. The bullet entered the man’s chest.

He was bleeding quite badly but was quite stubborn about giving up. He stumbled to his feet, then fell to his knees while pulling out a knife from under his coat. He raised it to throw at Byrne.

By then, Mr. Byrne was close enough to grab his arm. He held it with an iron grip. But with his other arm, the man had picked up a brick and would have injured Byrne. But Mr. Byrne had kicked the brick out of the man’s hand. By chance, the man had hit himself in the face, knocking himself unconscious.

Finally, the fight was over. The man had bled to death in a matter of minutes. It was not a clean victory, but at least it was a victory nonetheless.

The End

© 2019 Mark Richardson

Related Articles