Original Writing – Excerpt #1: Murder & Turtles

I have a handful of friends who like to post writing prompts, and I occasionally humor them with my take on a scene. Here’s the first one. Maybe I’ll write the whole book someday.

Prompt: Create the beginning of a murder mystery novel. Your beginning must include the following: You are in the New Orleans French quarter, naked and holding both a live turtle and dead chicken.


Lorraine stood on the corner of Bourbon street, watching the bright headlights flash by and waiting. She shivered as sweat trickled down her naked spine, in part from the heat of the night, and in part from fear. Something else dribbled along her left arm and she glanced down at the drooping head of the once white chicken, now soaked red in its own blood.

The street emptied and quieted.

She shifted a rounded, heavy load further up her right hip and crossed quickly, the blood of the chicken leaving a speckled trail across the pavement. There was a hissing sound and she tightened her grip on the large object as she walked. “No, Beau, it’s okay.” she said under her breath as the small snapping turtle stretched out its long, snake-like head to look around. Beauregard looked her in the eye and nodded before retreating back and presumably going to sleep.

On the other side of Bourbon street stood an ivy covered, many leveled restaurant. The bouncer at the door took one look at her and started cursing. “Where are your damn clothes, woman? He sent you out for a chicken five hours ago and you come back naked and covered in blood. What else you got there? Is that a fucking snapping turtle?”

Lorraine raised her eyebrows at him but didn’t answer. She eased past him when he opened the door and entered the well appointed kitchen.

Mason glanced up from the last of the dishes at the sound of the door, and quickly dropped a soapy pan when saw her. “Jesu Christe. What happened to you? Why is Beaureguard with you?”

Lorraine dropped the bloody chicken carcas on the freshly cleaned counter top and walked past him to the staff dining room before putting Beau on the table. She walked back into the kitchen, rinsed off her bloody arm, and donned a spare chef’s coat. Then she returned to the dining room and sat down. Mason joined her with a glass of sweet tea. “I’m going to need something stronger than that.” She remarked, but chugged the tea anyway.

When he placed two fingers of whiskey in front of her she sighed, crumpling into the chair. Beauregard shuffled over and she absentmindedly rubbed her head and she reached out and took the whole bottle of whiskey from Mason’s hand and upended it over her glass.

“Zach’s dead,” she said, placing the bottle on the table.

There was a loud thump and a wobble as Mason’s butt landed in a chair and nearly sent him over backwards. “What? How? When? What?” He stuttered his words as he tried to grasp at this new reality.

“It’s a long story,” Lorraine answered, picking up her glass. “But before I explain, we should probably call the police.”


Do you have a take on this story prompt? I’d love to see it! Feel free to email me at Amanda@highlightsandhotchocolate.com and I’ll share my favorites in a post!

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