This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The evolving events surrounding Officer Dashing’s dooming decision to patrol Barefoot Lake one last time would horrendously alter his life, his family’s lives and this scanty unique pristine town as they then encounter another odd seven seemingly unsolvable murders.
It was just before nightfall, a pounding blizzard was barreling towards the small town of Barefoot. Officer Dashing slowly rolls his car along Barefoot Lake Road. The beam of the cars spotlight begins sweeping the deserted shops that are methodically lined along Barefoot Lake. Outside, the sound is that of his patrol car slowly pressing on the fresh crisp precipitation which in turn leaves a mushy line of tire prints in his wake. A near gale-force mixture of snow and wind hammer his patrol car. Inside the car, he listening to the whispers of static coming from the police radio and the musical sound of windshield wipers tapping at a constant tempo. Leaning forward cleaning his fogged up windshield, Dashing spotted something peculiar in the distance. His slow motioned circles while wiping his windshield rapidly increased as he attempts to get a clearer view. His cars spotlight is now fixed on the strange figure amongst the swirling snow. “What in the hell?” he mumbles out loud while hastily stretching his dark blue knit cap over his number three fade of ginger colored hair. He reached for his police radio, clicked the button and spoke. “Come in Ronny, Officer Ronny, come in. He receives an answer and a go ahead to report. “It’s Dashing; I’m stepping out to investigate activity here on the left side of the lake, over.” He hesitates while listening to Officer Ronny. Dashing amusingly replies, “Seriously, now?” He stalls and chuckles, “Got it, over.” Dashing hangs his police radio back on its cradle, he leans over slightly and grabs his black leather gloves sitting on the passenger’s seat and proceeds to slide them onto his hands while still maintaining contact with the subject. He exits his warm patrol car. A swoosh of frigid air quickly sends chills throughout his body. He zippers his jacket as far up as it could go and throws his jacket hood onto his knit cap. He stays by the hood of his car, cuffs his hands firmly to his mouth and hollers, “HELLOOOOO?” He waits it a few seconds, intensely listens for a response. He hears only the whistling sound of the wind spiraling off of the lake. He conquers on through the powdered snow that was quickly piling up, his hands out in front of him in attempts to block the freezing snow that is pelting his bare face. As he draws closer to the lake, he slowly makes his way closer towards the dark shadowy figure, he yells out again as loud as could through the howling wind, “DO YOU NEED HELP? DO YOU NEED ASSISTANCE?!!” There is no sign that this mysterious figure acknowledges Dashing’s presence.
Dashing is cautiously approaching the stranger from behind and is now standing arms length away from the unknown figure kneeling in the cold wet snow in soaking wet denim fur lined jacket. Dashing stretches his arm, just about to tap on the strangers shoulder when the dark shadowy figure, with a startled jerk, turns to the officer and without hesitation the bewildered stranger shoots Officer Dashing. A confused expression washes over Dashing’s faint looking face as he starts to fall extending his arms, “JOE?” That's the last word ever spoken by Officer Dashing.
Barefoot, Dakota, Population 1,917. Not so long ago, it was population 1,925, but that all changed one blistery winters day when one of the towns folk walking his dog examining the reminisce of the blizzard, stumbled and fell onto the frozen, lifeless body of Officer Dashing near the water’s edge of Barefoot Lake.
Barefoot is a strikingly enticing town nestled comfortably the vibrant mountains of Dakota. Beautiful sugary white snow capped mountains stretch as far as the eye can see in the winter. Although beautiful, winters here can be extremely brutal for those brave enough to embrace it. Spring and summer are a big change. The warmer months, the mountains are wrapped by the sorted colors of lilies which illustrate an exquisite portrait of an impending summers bloom.
There is no lack of things to do here in Barefoot, Dakota. If you take a ride on Barefoot Lake Road you will enjoy beauteous side road that circles Barefoot Lake. Rows of pine trees meticulously line the roadway. Rows of shops are sporadically placed around the lake which contain equipment for all of your winter and summer activities. Fishing gear, bait & tackle, boat rental, paddle boat rental, ski shops and the newest shop to open up there on Barefoot Lake, paddle boarding. Barefoot Ski Lodge is the go to place to ski. Wide open trails for beginners and treacherous slopes for the more experienced skier. The crystal clear lakes are great for boating, fishing, swimming or just having a cookout and relaxing while taking in the tranquil settings. Also scattered around Barefoot are cold running streams, great for fly fishing and water tubing. The lake is surrounded by vast deep green forests stocked full of wildlife, perfect for hunting and hiking. But what I like best about Barefoot, Dakota, is the barefoot folk.
Barefoot folk are inexperienced when it comes to crimes. That’s why when the murders began to emerge, Barefoot looked like the bleachers at a Florida Marlins game, empty. The normal around Barefoot is to see folks and visiting tourist scattered among the town, Barefoot Lake and Barefoot Cove.
The cove is a part of Barefoot Lake that is divided by a large wall of slated brown and grey colored rocks. The water trickles into the cove from the lake to form the perfect secluded mystifying sanctuary. Unless you are a local and know about Barefoot Cove, you would have a hard time navigating the worn handmade trail which leads you to a clearing where you are then presented to a pearly white soft sandy beach that coats the cove and sand bars layer the shallow mild temperature waters. During the crowded summer months you will notice the mass exodus of cove goers as the strikingly hot sun fades to the West. That’s when the chilly breeze will calmly blow ashore and the misty fog creeps in and gradually blankets the cove and eventually all of Barefoot.
This is the statuesque town I have grown to love and immensely bound to protect. My name is Detective Laney Lou Hobbs and here is my account of how I came to solve the Barefoot Murders with help from the townsmen and my assistors, Officer Ronny and my good friend, Dust Pan Sue.
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