Murder at 900 North Michigan


900 N Michigan

© Marie Gail Stratford

Mikiko left her room at the Four Seasons reluctantly ready to kill the assassin-for-hire called Sandman. MI6 learned his condo was on the 29th floor.

Her contact arranged the Glock. She’d never met Sandman, but she knew his victim’s scent from last month’s encounter. Mikiko barely survived a nuclear accident six years ago and was now reconstructed using revolutionary techniques. Her sense of smell was that of a wolf’s.

Sandman was amusing himself with the girl. There. Mikiko could hear sounds of pain and passion just the other side of the door. “Just another murder in Chicago,” she told herself.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a story no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Once again I’m leveraging a pre-existing character and situation, in this case, my synthetic woman Mikiko Jahn whose latest published adventure can be found HERE.

When I saw the address in Chicago, I looked it up and indeed found that the “Bloomingdale’s” building contains the Four Seasons Hotel on floors 30-46 and condos on floors 21-29. It wouldn’t be much trouble for Mikiko to get from the 30th to the 29th floor to seek out her target and her synthetic body has enhanced senses including a sense of smell that can recognize a particular odor for up to about 3 kilometers. Her hearing is goes into the 80 kHz range, so listening through the door is child’s play.

Oh, 100 words is pretty limiting and if I’d had more “real estate,” I would have explained the child sex trafficking angle of the story. There’s another tale of Mikiko’s that covers her stalking these predators in much more detail. Today’s wee bit of flash fiction occurs immediately after that one (which I’m still writing).

To see some of the events that led Mikiko up to this point, read First Flight.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to Given the number of entries already present, it seems I’m getting off to a pretty late start.

64 thoughts on “Murder at 900 North Michigan

    • Thank you, Yinglan but be careful what you wish for. I describe more of Mikiko’s capacities in this story. However to acquire those abilities, she had to survive a nuclear power plant disaster that all but destroyed her human body. It took years to rebuild her using revolutionary materials and techniques and now except for a brain, nervous system, internal organs, and skeleton (and even all of those have been augmented), her entire body is made up of biosynthetics with some minor cybernetics thrown in. It gives her abilities that are more than human but there’s a terrible price to pay.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I don’t know how true this is, but back in the 1970s when the TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man” was popular, supposedly kids were trying to seriously injure themselves so they could be outfitted with bionic body part replacements and do super things like the “Steve Austin” character (played by Lee Majors). They saw the result but not the process to get there, never mind that the technology was totally fictional.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alicia. I’m editing my longest Mikiko story yet, so it should go online tonight or tomorrow morning. Then it’s back to the novel. I’ve got to focus on it or nothing will get done.


    • Thanks, Isadora. I don’t know if that’ll be her permanent name. I used a random name generator and based on that decided her Father was Dutch and her mother was Japanese.

      I describe Mikiko’s abilities in more detail in this story.

      As far as the title, it’s loosely based on the title of the 1997 film Murder at 1600 (which I’ve never seen) about a murder at the White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.).


  1. When I read the last line “Just another murder in Chicago,” and had read your research, I thought I was reading about a REAL murder, especially with the high number of murder in Chicago lately. You did a good job with the story and the research. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mike. I wrote that line specifically because of the large number of murders in Chicago, although it would be a stretch to imagine the Sandman’s death being a common murder since it happens in his luxury condo. Also, she’ll have to figure out what to do with the girl, but maybe she already has an escape route for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is always worse when the assassin or murderer is a woman. One doesn’t equate that kind of violence with females. We were only saying the other night that women always get much longer gaol sentences compared to a man who has done the same crime. Great story and sounds like more to come.


    • In this case it’s more complicated because she’s a covert agent for several governments and has quite the back story. If you’re interested, read First Flight which contains more detailed information including links to other Mikiko Jahn stories. Thanks, Irene.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! You are a repository of ideas. Also, I admire the depth and refinement in your writing.
    A very intriguing story in a genre I am almost unfamiliar with. Superb work!


  4. Well done, James. Chilling. Not having been to America, I found it hard to grasp the location of this photo and didn’t know where it was. I did a Google search and thought it might’ve been the Chicago store but couldn’t be sure. It seemed to be a prompt with a strong sense of place, which I couldn’t fulfill in the way I liked. However, you really pulled that off in your approach. xx Rowena


  5. You leave plenty to our own imagination, as well as giving us an intriguing glimpse of a character-in-progress. I read the story you provided a link to, and thought Mikiko was a very interesting concept. It is unfortunately all too plausible that it would be the military who would pay for the initial work and then expect their pound of flesh. I foresee conflicts there in future, perhaps with a desperate struggle by Mikiko to escape those who employ her.
    Very nice work, James, congratulations!


    • Thanks, Penny. A lot of innovations we have in our world today originated with military funding and someone had to bankroll the billions it took to reconstruct Mikiko. Technically, she works for various Japanese and British security agencies and can be “loaned” to those of other nations on an assignment-by-assignment basis.

      Mikiko’s major conflict, even after having been training for such missions, is that she is inherently non-violent. Part of why she complies is because of the sense of debt she feels. Also, in Japanese culture, cooperation with the group is a much higher value than behaving as an individual (my daughter lived for a year in Japan and shared her personal insights with me), so she would tend to obey authority. Finally, as her story unfolds, confronting the injustices of the world, particularly human trafficking, results in her authentic desire to stop the perpetrators. In a sense, she identifies with the victims because her body too does not belong to her and her activities (though not sexual) are dictated by powerful men (for the most part).

      The trick about attempting to escape is that she can’t be self-maintained indefinitely. The raw materials for the biosynthetic substances she’s constructed with are proprietary , belonging to their inventor Daniel Hunt. Also, her “upkeep” if you will, is dependent on hundreds of thousands of nanoscopic probes that are always moving inside her body, sensing damage and decay and continually regenerating her internal and external systems.

      One last thing, and I touched on it in “First Flight,” is what would she do if she did have a life of her own away from government missions and the Project? Her original identity of Mikiko Jahn is dead. What sort of life could she step into where she would fit.

      In any event, in my imagination, I have three novels plotted out that go well beyond Mikiko as an individual and addresses the ultimate effect of the Synthecon process and humanity and beyond.


  6. He needs killin’ No doubt about that, but I understand her reluctance to take a life. It sounds like she must have a conscience. Loved the background info too, James. She’s an interesting protagonist.


    • Thanks. I know you liked “Woman in the Shadows,” “The Swimmer,” and other Mikiko stories, I think including “The Man in the Dark,” all of which reveal more details about her life and personality. Yes, Chicago is the next stop when I expand “Murder at 900 North Michigan,” but I’m rewriting it with a number of details changed.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This was oh so enjoyable, James. Yes, he does need to be dealt with. His time has come up. It’s always encouraging to know that a government agent does not take it lightly.


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