A Tale of Intrigue and Mystery

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She tossed and turned, unable to drift off to sleep.  Exhausted, she both begged for and dreaded sleep.  When she did sleep, her dreams were plagued by the sounds of that night, the wafting voices, then that blood curdling scream!  When she was awake, the voices rang through her ears, as loud as they were that night – just, what now?  Was it only four weeks ago? 

She replayed the scene over and over in her head.  She had been unable to tell anyone, even Kristy.  Kristy always listened with that amused smile.  But this time, no.  She couldn’t mar that sweet innocent being with this, this story of … murder.It had started innocently enough.  A late night trip.  A reconnaissance mission for a friend.  Simply searching for info, looking for a good plan of attack for another late night birding.  Her job? Swing by.  Park toward the road.  Sneak up to the house and see if one could get past the flock of wildlife to place a swarm of rogue flamingos.  She had been asked to do it because Michelle was afraid of chickens.  She wanted to be sure the coast would be clear.  She had been working late in town one night, innocently planning to overthrow the church (but that’s a different story, has no bearing on the situation at hand), when Michelle had seen her and asked for this little favor.She could still see it.  Hear it.  She had parked in the driveway of the dilapidated house in front of Amy’s.  Amy had often wished aloud someone would buy it.  I bet she was glad now that no one had been living there that fateful night.

Suzann had stealthily sneaked her way through the yard, her years of DHLET training (Dark Hallway Lego Evasion Tactics) paying off.  She had gotten all the way up to the house, perched very near the porch, proved to herself that the flock was not of concern, they hadn’t even raised a hackle, and was ready to retreat when she saw… She could barely stand to admit to herself what she saw.  They looked ghostly.  The pale faces of those two women who she had so admired.  But they say artists are a little unsteady.  Mentally unstable, as it were.

The eerie glow of the flood light bathed them in blue light.  She pondered walking up to them, being all like “Hey!  You need better security around here!” But she could tell by their demeanor, and the fact that they were out in the dark whispering, that it wouldn’t be a good plan.  So she listened a moment.  Writers always need good dialogue, she wasn’t eavesdropping.  Just researching.  She always wanted to be a mystery writer, this setting seemed a good one to formulate a story, so she sat waiting to see what she could invent from this scene.

She would not need to invent anything, as it turned out.  The scene was to become gruesome enough without her imagination.

“Come on, Amy.  We have to do this.  YOU have to do this.”

“I don’t know, Abby.  Maybe we shouldn’t.  I’m, I’m, I’m just not sure now.”

“We’ve been through this.  You are being silly.  You can’t just keep him around forever.”

“But Burt, he -”

“Burt is a wimp,” Abby cut in.  “I like Burt, but he’s a wimp.  He’s holding you back.  You can’t let your emotions get involved here.”

“I know…”

“Look, I know it’s hard the first time.  It gets easier.  Before I married Russ, I did this sort of thing several times.  Russ just hasn’t given me a good opportunity yet.”

“But…”

“No buts.  Look, how long has Burt been out of work?”

“Three weeks.”

“Any offers yet?”

“None that he’ll consider.  If only he’d be reasonable and take one.  This wouldn’t have to happen.”

“It would have to happen eventually, Amy.  They just get old.  Then they are no good to you.  You have to take care of them but what do you get in return?  You can’t even eat the meat if you let him get too old.  Think of the meat, Amy.  This will feed your kids for a while.”

“I’m not sure I can eat it.”

“At first it will be hard.  But you can do this.”

“Mimi was going to do it for me….”

“Amy, get a grip.  Come on.  Mimi can’t be there every time you need unpleasant deeds taken care of.  I’m pretty sure she will be doing her own soon.  I know things have been tense there, too with Pike not working regularly either.”

“Poor Pike, I’m surprised he hasn’t become stew.”

“Yet …” Abby said, seeming to hint.

“But what about Gene.  He said he’d take care of him for me.  The other day.  Remember?  When the stupid idiot made me trip?  Gene about took his head off then.  He said, ‘When the time comes, Amy, and you want to get rid of that … THING, just let me know!”

“Gene is sweet, but he was just being emotional.  I doubt he’d really want to deal with all the blood.”

“Blood?  I hadn’t thought of that.”

“It’s okay, that’s why I laid out the tarp.  It will catch a lot of the mess and we’ll drag it to the pond and rinse it all away.  Like it never happened.”

“You’ve really done this before?” Amy inquired of her friend.  She looked so sweet.  Who would have suspected the murderous nature of this seamstress.

“A couple of times.  It’s been a while.  But I hear it never goes away.  Like riding a bicycle,” the murderous artist chuckled.

“But an axe?  Why not a shotgun?”

“Do you want to wake the children?”

“No…”

“They’d never eat the meat if they knew.  Enough talking, Amy.  No more delay.  Russ will be missing me.”

“He looks so lifeless, laying there…”

“I slipped him a little something in his food.  To make it easier for you.  It made it easier my first time when he didn’t fight me.”

“I don’t plan to make a habit of this.”

“Neither did I that first time.  But you’ll find, you get a little thrill.  You’ll see.”

“Ok, I’m ready.  Better do it before I lose my nerve.”

Suzann saw the glint of the of the axe in the blue light as Amy lifted it above her head.  The next thing she heard was the most horrifying screaming sound, Amy’s own – quickly muffled by Abby’s hand, mixed with that of the poor, newly beheaded creature.  She hadn’t known Burt well, but couldn’t imagine dying that way.  The spatter had flown all over the front of Amy and Abby.  In the eerie blue light all she could see was flying goo.  The sound of Burt’s cry didn’t last long, as he was dead in an instant, but Suzann didn’t hang around long to hear any more.  Falling back on her DHLET training once more, coupled with her DMASAWTSB training (Don’t Make A Sound And Wake The Sleeping Baby), she fled swiftly and silently.  Never did Amy and Abby suspect their had been a witness to the fateful murder.

For the first few days following, Amy had been quiet, had become a hermit in her house, which suited our heroine just fine as she couldn’t bear to talk to her.  But Abby had been her normal, cheerful, smiling self.  Suzann couldn’t believe the evil that lay behind those innocent eyes.  And to think, she had killed before.  Implied she would kill Russ should he ever give her the opportunity.

Then slowly Amy began to come out of her shell. She began posting amazing recipes, many “casseroles” she had been trying, on her facebook page.  She had begged Suzann to come to dinner, and thus far had avoided it.  But tomorrow she would no longer be able to avoid it.  Kristy was insisting they all have a “girls only” lunch and Amy was hosting.  If only she could tell Kristy.  But, she didn’t think she could get the words out.  So she lay her awake, trying to decide how to avoid eating poor Burt.

Amy had told them that Burt had suddenly gotten a call back at work and had been gone for weeks.  This wasn’t unusual, but Suzann didn’t buy it.  She knew this time Burt would never come back.

She awoke from fitful sleep, dreaming of screams and voices wafting through the woods.  She tried to plead sick, but Kristy knew her too well, knew when she was just avoiding, and insisted, saying she needed to talk to them all about her husband.  She needed some help with him.

She showed up a little late, walked in to hear Kristy’s words trailing off.

“…So you see?  It has to be a surprise and look like an accident.  It can’t look like I had anything to do with it or that anyone had planned it or -”

Suzann’s arrival caused her to stop short.  The look in Kristy’s eyes were at first surprised by the interruption, then relaxed that it was only Suzann.

“Oh, I was just telling them of my plan for Joe.  But now that you are here, let’s eat this yummy taco casserole Amy has prepared and discuss it more comfortably sitting on the couches.”

They sat, Suzann pushing the food around her plate, complaining of a stomach ache, excusing her lack of appetite, as they discussed the children and other pleasantries.  Suzann couldn’t believe what she had heard.  Had Kristy known all along?  Now she was planning to have them “help” her with Joe!  What had she walked into!  Her heart was racing.  She was sure her face was flushed.  Hopefully they would all think she was just ill as she claimed.  She looked, sweating and anxious, at the door, trying to figure out how and when to get out of here!

Just as Kristy opened her mouth, after much raving over the yummy lunch, to start to explain her situation in more detail, the sound of the door opening behind her caught all of their attention.

“Honey!  I’m home! Surprise!”

They all looked at Burt.  Suzann stared.  Nearly passed out from emotion and relief.  The scene ran through her head and she instantly knew she had let her writers’ imagination take the execution of the family turkey to the execution of the family patriarch.  What a nut she had been!

She turned to look at Amy.  She looked at Amy’s face as it registered the arrival of her long delayed husband and read murder in her eyes.  Amy hated surprises.

All Time Favorite Children’s Books

Hello!  I am embarking on a new adventure!  I am planning to write my novel this month.  I’m a little lot nervous because since so many people know, I feel the pressure to actually accomplish it.  But that is probably a good thing.

I am writing a children’s novel.  I’m asking you to comment with your favorite or (if you are like me and don’t have just one) one of your many favorite children’s books.  And if you have a reason it is your favorite, I would love to hear it. 

I’ll start.  I’ve always loved the Boxcar Children (the original.  I enjoyed the series, but it has nothing on the first book as far a quality goes).  I really like the way as a kid I felt like I was part of the adventure.  I can remember thinking that I could have a real adventure even as a kid.  And I could taste the berries and cold milk, and though I was not a fan of either in real life they sure sound yummy in the story.

Please comment below with your favorite book(s).  Thanks!

WoW – Possessing Beauty

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  Possessing Beauty
Write about a collection. Write about something you or ,someone you know, collects. Think about the “why” behind the collection – why is it important to collect this particular thing? How does it make the person feel to add another piece to their collection? Is the group of objects there to be seen, to be studied or simply kept together? Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you…Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

*****

People collect all sorts of things.  There are shows on television devoted to the strange and odd, sometimes even creepy things that people collect.  Then there are shows about valuable and antique items that are collected.  After watching some of these shows, my children have become collectors.  They choose to collect whatever item strikes their fancy.  Some days it is glass bottles found in our woods.  Other times it is cardboard boxes.  They’ve collected rocks, key chains, practically any and all things they have encountered have become parts of a budding collection, often a collection of only one.

My children ask me if I have ever collected anything.  As a child I remember someone asking me what I collected and deciding, at that moment, that I collected panda bears.  That was a collection that lasted for a long time.  But as college and marriage days came, panda collecting days faded.  So, the question posed to me, do you collect anything now?

After pondering a moment, I must say yes.  I collect children.  The comment originally received it’s expected chuckles as it is funny, to me at least.  I certainly do seem to collect them.  In fact, on the day that this particular conversation was going on with fellow WoWer Mi2, I had in my collection 11 children.  Sure, they aren’t all mine, 5 of them eventually left that day.  But it struck me that I do collect children.  My personal collection consists of 6.  Priceless, unique and adorable each one.  And extremely fragile.  Not only are they physically breakable, as my dear friend can attest, but they are emotionally breakable, a thought which makes one look seriously at the responsibility associated with such a collection.

Do these children count as a collection?  Well let’s first ponder:  Why do people collect things?  For a sense of gathering beautiful items they love around them?  Well, my children certainly acheive that.  They bring beauty into my life unlike anything I’ve ever known.

People collect for the “value” of items.  My children’s value is beyond compare.  They are worth more than their weight in gold.  They bring more pleasure than any item I’ve ever owned.  They bring more joy than any “stuff” I could acquire.

Collectors enjoy using their collections to fill their free time.  Again, with my collection, there is no extra free time to fill, my collection can consume it all (if I allow it to).

Some people perhaps collect to create a lasting memorial to their time on earth, a way of insuring their lives meant something, their time was well used to gather priceless or original items in a unique way.  Perhaps to leave a memorial, people will remember them when they see items of their collection.  When I am gone, the 6 children in my collection will continue to pass on the legacy of their childhood.  The things that they learned will be a part of them, their children, my grandchildren and our family line, forever.  I will be remembered when they see my children, grandchildren.

I would say, my collection fits the bill.  My children are my collection.  As I began this idea, posting on my “collection” of children, it was sarcastic, a bit “tongue in cheek” as it were.  And in a way it still is.  I don’t view my children as items, possessions, or material gain.  But they are, in a very real sense, the collection of my years of tutelage, prayers, tears and my joy.

Check out other collectors at WoW.

A Bit of Tea

The Write on Wednesday Spark: Agent Chin- Wag
Pay attention to the conversations around you: at the dinner table, in the supermarket, while DVD Returning, wherever. You are looking for one line, one tiny sentence of dialogue. You may find your words lurking in a D&M or perhaps you will choose a phrase from everyday chatter. Write down your line. Use it to inspire your Write on Wednesday post.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

She tried to peer over the menu without being noticed.  Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, she focused intently on the large, plastic banana wearing a hat on display near the counter.  Or rather, she appeared to be intently focused on the banana.  She was looking earnestly at it, or so it would seem.  She was not seeing the ridiculous fruit at all.  She was scanning the room with her ears, listening for the conversation on which she was determined to eavesdrop. 

“…doing backflips in 8 inch stilleto heels and landing in a perfect split…”
“… Doc said it’s a virus …
“… knocked into the bucket, yes, that bucket…”

She was pretty sure it was none of those.  This was the most interesting part of her job, almost.  She really enjoyed overhearing the odd things people talk about in public.  You would be amazed what people will discuss when they think no one is listening, she often told her husband.  Then she heard it, the conversation for which she had been waiting. 

“…lovely, lovely day.  Now to prepare for an important day tomorrow.”

Sure that was the one, she readjusted her gaze, turning to admire the desserts in the glass enclosed display case.  From her vantage point, the display case offered her more than an eye full of delicious sweetness.  It offered her a reflective view of the two women sipping hot tea, engrossed in their conversation. 

The speaker wore a large hat and sunglasses.  Odd. Sunglasses inside were usually a sign the wearer was hiding something. 

The smaller, younger woman sat listening intently as the over dressed older woman continued her description of the day ahead of her.  She left no detail out.  Unashamed, she openly declared to this obviously less worldly companion the intriguing, slightly disturbing details of her “important day” to come. 

Our eavesdropping friend took no notes, recorded no voices.  Instead, she soaked in the details, allowing her nearly perfect memory to record the information in her brain, etching the details in her memory banks until she was able to return home and sit in front of her computer and upload all the details. 

Yes, this was definitely the one.  These were surely the women she came to monitor.  This very conversation would, in fact, become her next best selling novel.  Those few words began to turn in her head, to take shape, to come to life.  As the ladies sat, eating their pastries, Mrs. Johnson began to  unleash her creative monster, creating and destroying lives over tea. 

I’m linking this up with Write on Wednesday.  Check out other submissions here

The Saddest Thing I Ever Heard

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 25  I heard a song on the radio during the week and I thought the lyrics would make an interesting prompt for WoW. So, write the words “The saddest thing I ever heard” on your page, set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words that come into your head based on the given prompt.

It was the saddest thing I ever heard.  The two chipmunks were chattering away.  “Did you see the size of that van?” 

“Yes!  It came out of nowhere!”

“It carreened around the corner, kids flaily out the windows, screaming in the summer air!” The first chipmunk responded.

“Before he knew what was happening…. It was all over so fast!” The second chipmunk wailed into his little hankie. 

“I told him.  I told Jerry not to pick nuts on the other side of the street.  I’ve seen that crazy lady, all those kids, that big van flying down the road before.  Are you kidding me?  I’ll never cross this road.  No way sir!”

“But, but, but… But Jerry was just too young to die!” The second one wailed some more. 

“Poor Jerry, he never stood a chance, not against that van driving momma.” Replied the first chipmunk.  “That just goes to show you, the nuts aren’t always crunchier on the other side of the road.”

******

This was inspired by certain events that transpired today.  Whether I was the one overhearing the chatter of the chipmunks or the momma driving the van I will leave for you to ponder.  I decided on a humorous take, as I was in no mood for anything sad today.  Thanks for reading!

Please take some time to check out other Write On Wednesday stories. 

We are learning to make fire

The Write On Wednesday Rules: Get creative with the writing exercises – there isn’t a right or wrong. Please do try to visit the other members of Write On Wednesdays and leave a comment of support and constructive criticism. 


Write On Wednesdays Exercise 23  Write the words of Margaret Atwood at the top of your page “We are learning to make fire”. Set your timer to 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the prompt. Stop when the buzzer rings.



The boys looked up.  They couldn’t believe what they had just heard.  Did they really hear the words come out if the old man’s mouth.  Yes, he had said “We are learning to make fire.”  What did he mean?  The boys were excited.  They didn’t know what to do, what was going to happen.  They knew only that their mother was going to kill them and that the old man was promising them something exciting.  

Looking around the dark cave, watching for any glimpse of their mother, the oldest boy repeated the man.  “We are learning to make fire?” 

“Oh, yes.  It has been outlawed way too long.  Few remember the way, not many know how it is done.  I, I am one of the few.  I am old.  When I am gone, so too shall be the knowledge of man’s fire.”

“Mother says fire is a fairy tale.  She says man has never used fire.  She says it is dangerous.”  The younger brother responded to the old man.  He was very nervous, and very excited.

“It was outlawed right before I was born.  My father taught me, despite the law forbidding it.  I have no sons.  Now, I shall teach you.”

Please visit WoW to read other great stories.  

I thought I saw …

The Write On Wednesday Rules: Get creative with the writing exercises – there isn’t a right or wrong. Please do try to visit the other members of Write On Wednesdays and leave a comment of support and constructive criticism. 

Write On Wednesdays Exercise 20 Write the words ” I thought I saw” at the top of your page. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Write the first words that come into your head after the prompt. Don’t take you pen off the page (or fingers off the keyboard). Stop only when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish. Write beyond 5 minutes if you like, you can link it up as an extra post.

I thought I saw a fairy flutter on the wind.  She was a fairy, that was sure, all decked out in green.  I saw her peek inside a flower, to see what was within.  I saw the look of joy and glee as she reached to pull the dew drop out!  What a sight to behold, a little fairy on the prowl, looking for magic in God’s creation!  I watched to see what she’d do, why did she need that?  She fluttered around with her little drop, looking for the right spot.  Suddenly, she spied something and turned to fly away.  Across the yard glided another little fairy, this one clad in orange.  She too carried a drop of dew.  What were these dew drops for?

The fairy in green popped out from the tree behind which she hid and tossed her dew drop at the fairy so orange – splat!  Target hit square on the head!  “I win! I win!”  The green fairy cried in joyous fashion.  “I’ll get you tomorrow!” laughed the wet little fairy, “Just you wait and see!”