Join Our Newsletter

Read a sample mystery every week


...or Read FREE Stories on Your Phone
Blind Alley
About the Author: Ellen Butler is an international bestselling author of the Karina Cardinal mystery series and award-winning historical spy fiction. Fans who enjoy the suspense of Melinda Leigh and the humor of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will fall in love with Butler’s Karina Cardinal. Her experiences working on Capitol Hill and at a medical association in Washington, D.C. inspired the mystery-action series.

If there is a special place in hell for particularly heinous acts, I will be going there, because I just bounced a blind man off my front bumper. TV news promos will say: “Woman runs down blind man at the local Organic Market, details at ten.”

I threw the car into park and jumped out to check on my victim. He lay on his back, glasses askew, his black hoodie half unzipped. Sinking to my denim-clad knees, I pushed aside the tails of my peacoat. “Please don’t be dead. Please don’t be dead,” I mumbled under my breath, as I checked for a pulse with shaking fingers. Relief. A steady beat throbbed.

A woman in a camel dress coat and high-heeled boots strode up with a phone to her ear. “I’m on with nine-one-one,” she explained bending over the two of us. “Is he alive?”

“He has a pulse.” I was afraid to check the back of his head, but I had to. His dark hair was military-style short and tickled my fingers. No blood gushed forth, but a purply-red lump had already formed. I removed my red scarf and pillowed it beneath his head to provide padding against the concrete.

The good Samaritan returned to her conversation with the operator. “He’s alive, but unconscious. I don’t see any bleeding. Yes, the woman who hit him is still at the scene. I will remain until the police arrive.” She hung up and bent over next to me.

“Where did he come from? I swear, I checked before pulling forward,” I murmured to myself.

The woman must have assumed I spoke to her because she answered, “He went against the light. I assume he didn’t hear the beeping from the crosswalk signal. It was strange,” she mused, “I’ve never seen a blind person take off in a run like that.”

Rush hour traffic continued to flow in front of the narrow alley, and we gathered a small ring of pedestrians. Two women dressed in long, colorful tunics, pointed and spoke in their native tongue. A pair of college-aged boys wearing backpacks, parkas, and ripped jeans filmed the scene with their smartphones. The blond student wore a baseball cap with the American University logo emblazoned across the front, and his Asian friend had an American University scarf wrapped around his neck. Other pedestrians gave a wide berth after a quick glance, or ignored the cluster completely scurrying on as though the accident might be contagious.

“Bojing, check this out.” The blond kid turned around and held out his phone. “I’m getting a selfie with the dead guy.” He gave a peace sign as the camera clicked.

“He’s not dead!” I snapped.

“Dang, Red, relax. Find inner peace.”

I grit my teeth at his mocking tone.

“Gentlemen, have a little respect.” The good Samaritan rose upright and delivered a haughty glare.

The selfie kid ignored her, but his friend, Bojing, snorted adjusting his trendy black-framed glasses, and responded, “This is a free country lady. Trevor can do whatever he wants.”

I’m not sure who was going to blast Bojing first, me or the good Samaritan, when the beep-beep of a horn drew our attention away from the college boys. A Smart car pulled in behind my ratty Honda sedan. The grocery store had two exits out of the parking garage. The alley leading out to D.C.’s busy Wisconsin Avenue was a narrow one-way. Barely wide enough for a bicyclist to squeeze past, no way was the Smart car going to make it around. Considering the blind guy was lying in front of my car, I couldn’t move out of his way to let him pass.

The man must have noticed the pair of us glaring at him, because he got out and approached the group. “What’s going on?”

“This woman killed a blind guy,” Bojing supplied with a smart-aleck grin.

“He’s not dead!” The Samaritan and I barked.

“He’s just unconscious,” I continued in calmer tones. “You’ll have to back up and go out the other way.”

“Don’t think that’s going to happen,” Trevor snickered. “Another car just pulled in behind yours.”

Smart car guy must have been coming or going to the gym. His unbuttoned overcoat revealed a T-shirt, red basketball shorts, high-top sneakers, and a pair of well-muscled legs. He rubbed his five-o’clock shadow taking in the scene on the ground and the cars stacking up behind ours. “Someone already called nine-one-one, I assume?” Three of us nodded, and Smart car guy continued, “I’ve got a few minutes. I’ll direct people to the other exit.” He jogged down the alleyway to be a helpful Harry.

This story appears in our NOV 2020 Issue
(Visit Amazon for a print version)

Buy NOV 2020 Issue

Buy It Now

Digital Subscription

Price $24.75 Cdn

You will immediately receive the current issue.
Future issues are emailed on the 1st of each month.

Reader Discussion

"Blind Alley" is great fun. Good work.
By Darren O. Godfrey

Interesting because you can't possible guess where this story is going. Was the guy that went to the hospital OK? Great story!
By Susan R

Love this story, Ellen! Have you written other works with this character? Seems like great series material.
By Sylvia Auclair

I loved this story.
By Heather W

"If there is a special place in hell for particularly heinous acts, I will be going there..." Great hook, great story!
By George Garnet

Great story. Crime with Charlie Chaplin humour and slapstick and suspense.
By steve partridge

Dear Silvia Auclair, to answer your question, indeed Karina Cardinal is a series. Her latest adventure, PHARAOH'S FORGERY, came out last month. You can find all the Karina Cardinal mysteries on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and in the iBookstore.
By Ellen Butler

Loved the way the situation kept changing. Kept me guessing the whole way. Thanks for sharing this!
By Ken Hueler

Great story and suspense!!! Terrific hook, and it continued through the story! Fantastic!
By Tina Jude

Add Your Comments

Read stories on your phone