Sunday, January 27, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 5 - My Adventure

This week’s prompt was to write about a journey. Sometimes you have to run away to find your way back home.

My Adventure

The old man left at 7:30 this morning. Same as every morning for the past 30 years. I fixed a couple of fried eggs, two pieces of rye toast, and a pot of coffee. He grabbed his lunch pail from the fridge. Inside was his usual bologna sandwich, a Tupperware bowl with potato salad, a baggie with chips, and a slice of apple pie wrapped in foil. He put on his work shoes by the front door, where he always leaves them, and left. He’ll walk to the corner and catch the #39 bus to Clarendon, and transfer to the #87 which will take him to his job site at Mitchell and Hathaway.

“My ladies magazines say it’s good to mix things up now and again.”

“Change is the ruin of this country.”

Crazy old man.

The old man is my husband, Harvey Cooper. He does the same thing every day, every night, every week, every month… You can set your watch by that old man. After he left, I walked to the opposite corner and got on the #82, which took me to the 8th Street train station. I decided to get on a train and ride it all the way to the main terminal downtown. Then, I’m going to transfer to a different train. I don’t care which one, cause I’m going on an adventure. When we stop at a station that strikes my fancy, I’ll get off, and make a real life for myself. Far away from that crazy old man.

Next stop, Mundelein Street Station

I took cash from the cookie jar, and left the savings. It’ll get him by if he needs it. I’ll find a cheap motel and get a job. I did factory work before we married, and I still remember how to work a line. It’ll be nice to be me for a change. I was Billy and Martha Jenson’s daughter, Tommy Jenson’s older sister, Martha and Billy Jenson’s caretakers – in that particular order, and Harvey Cooper’s wife. Always somebody else’s something. It’ll feel good to be just Hermione. That’s me.

“My ladies magazines say it’s good to find out who you really are.”

“Folks who don’t know who they are belong in the loony bin.”

Crazy old man.

Next stop, Hendricks Street Station

Every day, when that old man gets home from work, he kicks off his work shoes at the door, goes into the laundry room, takes off his work pants and shirt, and drops them in a pile on top of the hamper.

“Why do you put your clothes on top of the hamper instead of lifting the lid and putting them inside?”

“If I put them inside, you’ll have to take them out. You don’t have to take these out.”

Crazy old man.

Next stop, Willow Street Station

He puts on his robe – the one his mother bought him 20 years ago, puts on his slippers – the ones I bought him 14 years ago, and goes into the kitchen. He turns off the oven, and takes the plate out with his dinner on it that I’ve been warming. He fetches the plate with a piece of pie I leave in the fridge, and a bottle of beer. I’d have already set up the TV tray for him with a fork, a napkin, and the remote, in front of his recliner. He leans back in the recliner, pulls the tray in front of him, and turns on wrestling. That’s where he stays cause he falls asleep halfway through the match. I get him to bed, and set his alarm. Meantime, I’m puttering somewhere in the house.

“My ladies magazines say men should show their wives they’re appreciated.”

“I let you watch me bowl at the VFW every Friday night.”

Crazy old man.

Next stop, Camden Street Station

It’s almost 6 and he’ll be home soon.  In his tattered robe and threadbare slippers, he’ll find the oven’s cold. And empty. I’m sure he’ll figure out how to put a sandwich together. There’s at least a half a loaf of bread in the cupboard, I think. He won’t have any chips. I didn’t do the marketing today. There’s no more pie in the fridge. I didn’t bake this morning.

Next stop, Billings Place Station

He won’t use the tray. He’ll just put the plate with his sandwich in his lap and get crumbs all over the carpet. He won’t run the vacuum either. I’d be surprised if he knew how to turn it on – that’s if he knows where I keep it. He’ll fall asleep in that chair, and won’t wake up on time cause I didn’t set the alarm. His boss will fire him for being late.

It’ll be tough for Harvey to get another job cause he won’t have clean clothes while he’s looking, He don’t know how to run the washer. He could ask one of the church ladies to help him figure out his laundry. Course, Harvey hasn’t been inside a church since our wedding, so he probably don’t know any of them do-gooders. It don’t matter that he can’t cook to make himself a hot meal cause he won’t have lights or water. He don’t know where I keep the bank book, so how’s he gonna pay any bills? How in the world is that crazy old man gonna…

Last stop, main terminal

 “Excuse me, Conductor. How long before this train goes back around to the 8th Street Station?”


“Hey, Hermi, where you been? Didn't hear you puttering. My supper in the oven?”

The old man got off early.

“No, Harv. I picked up Chinese take-out. I’ll make you a plate.”

“Okay. Where’s my tray? Wrestling’s gonna start.”

“Get on your robe and slippers. I’ll get everything ready.”

“You’re a good old gal. You wanna watch the match with me?”

“Sure. I’ll fix a plate for me too.”

“Good. The empty house made me worried. I missed ya.”

He missed me. Crazy old man.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 4 - Rest in Peace

The prompt this week was to roll for a random genre. I decided to use whatever I rolled the first time, whether it was something I was comfortable with or not. Well, I rolled a 7, which was ghost story. I have to admit that writing ghost stories is not my usual fare, but I accepted the challenge and came up with the following. I tried to tell the story from an unusual perspective, and I hope you enjoy it.

Rest in Peace

Why do people always wish for the dead to ‘rest in peace’? What if they didn’t ‘die in peace’? What if they don’t want to ‘rest in peace’? I’ve been thinking about that because recently, I’ve had death touch me personally. I’m still trying to figure it all out, and I learn something new about my feelings on the subject each and every day.

“Carla, it happened again this morning. I don’t know how much more I can take.”

“Elaine, I know you reported the first incident and they wouldn’t do anything, but if you report it each time you believe she came in, wouldn’t they bring her in and question her?”

“It’s a waste of time talking to the cops. They keep asking me for evidence. I told them I know who’s doing all these things to me, but they don’t believe me. I just don’t know what to do. My brother shoots himself, my parents die in a car accident, and my brother’s ex has been coming into my home and trying to make me think I’m crazy. Now, she’s trying to kill me. How much more torment can I take?”

Let’s find out, shall we?

“What’s really going on, Elaine? You said Sara comes in and moves things around, and your lights flicker sometimes. While that’s annoying, I hardly think you’d lose your mind over stupid pranks. You think she’s trying to kill you? Why? Unless she feels you’re responsible for Danny’s death.”

“I’m not responsible for my brother’s suicide. I didn’t even know he owned a gun.”

“I know you’re not responsible, but it’s probably easier for his girlfriend to blame you than herself. Didn’t Sara break up with him just before he…well, you know.”

“That’s what he told me. He said she was going away.”

Going to help her sick aunt for a week. Not away.

“How was he after she left?”

“He stayed in the house and moped around.”

Not moped. Snooped.

“I know you loved your brother.”

“I adored Danny, but when he was dating Sara, he spent all his time at her place. It was tough for me to get things done around here with him under foot all the time.”

Tough, indeed. Wasn’t easy to screw with the brakes on your father’s car so they’d fail on the mountain road knowing you were being watched.

“Elaine, your house is so big, I would think you could go for days without seeing each other if you wanted to.”

“That’s true, but Danny was all up in my business day and night after Sara left, and I don't know why.”

I’ll give you three guesses.

“Elaine, he was upset.”

“I suppose. That must be what drove him to pull the trigger.”

Knowing you’d be arrested for attempting to murder your parents drove you to pull the trigger.

“Sara didn’t even come to his funeral, did she?”

“She told me she couldn’t bear to see him like that. She also said something about already finding comfort, and that would be enough. She must have been planning her twisted revenge, and found comfort in that.”

“I still don’t understand. Have you still been trying to reach her?”

“I don’t know where she’s staying. It has to be close by though since she comes in and out of my house at will. She knows I’m in and out during the day. Damn Danny for giving her a key and not getting it back.”

“Wait, Elaine, we’re off track. You said she’s trying to kill you? Why would you think that?”

“Carla, there were bits of broken glass at the bottom of my shower. I would never have noticed had I not dropped the shampoo bottle. I could have been injured stepping on all that. My lotion bottle was leaking too because there were pieces of glass in there as well. What if there’s glass in the coffee maker or cereal boxes? I could be laying there bleeding to death and no one would know.”

I would know.

“Did you leave everything as you found it? Have the police come take a look because that would be evidence; although, how they could link Sara to it, I’m not sure. But at least they would take you seriously.”

“Oh, I intend to. I just have to go to Millford and drop some papers off at the bank. I need to get them there before noon to release the last of Father’s foreign accounts to me. I’ll personally report these recent attempts on my sanity and my life to the police on my way home.”

No you won’t.

“Well, don’t take the mountain road, Elaine. I know it takes longer on the highway, but it’s safer. If only your father had taken the…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought that up.”

“Carla, I know that road. I’ll be okay. Taking the highway adds an hour and half to the trip and I don’t have that kind of time. I’ll talk to you later.”

No, you don’t, and no, you won’t.

The police ruled it a tragic accident when Elaine Cooper’s car missed the last curve on the mountain road. It was doubly tragic since that was the exact spot where her parents' car went off the edge and plunged hundreds of feet to the rocks below. Elaine’s car exploded on impact just as her parents’ car had. People just shook their heads in disbelief that so much pain could be visited on one family.

Elaine really did know that road, but when I appeared in the passenger seat of her car and told her it was time to pay for murdering me and our parents, I guess the shock was too great. She lost control of the car and went over the side. I’m not sure if I can rest in peace now, but putting my arms around my girlfriend, Sara, while she sleeps helps us both, so I suppose that’ll have to do. For now.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 3 - The Best-Laid Plans...

The prompt this week was to incorporate a random location and a thing into our story. There were six choices for each, so I rolled the dice to get my prompt. I decided to give it a try with whatever came up the first time. For the location, I got parking garage, and for the thing, I got plastic fork. What a combination! This was quite the challenge, but I ended up having so much fun with it. I hope you enjoy.

The Best-Laid Plans…

“Joey’s a dead man! Who does he think he is, stealing from me? Wait until I get my hands on that ungrateful little punk.”

When he woke up that morning, Joey decided he had had enough. Thousands of dollars in cash passed through his hands each Friday, but none of it ended up in his pocket. He was one of Big Jim’s bag men. At the start, it seemed like a good deal. Ma needed an operation, and Pop had run off with some woman he’d met at the ballpark. When Big Jim offered him $100 a week to do pickups, it seemed like the answer to their prayers. Ma didn’t like it, but she was able to have her operation, so it all worked out.  

Joey’s first stop was the Hotel Royale. The bag was heavy this morning. Gambling there was popular and Big Jim’s cut was hefty. Joey decided this would be enough to set him up in a new life somewhere else. Normally, he, as did all Big Jim’s bag men, would go immediately to the bus depot and put the cash into the storage locker, but not today. Big Jim collected all the bags after dinner. It was then he’d notice Joey’s was missing; but, by that time, Joey would be gone.

“Where would Joey go, Big Jim?”

“Joey doesn’t know I did my count early, so he thinks he’s got time to spare. He’s predictable, Ralph. He’ll eat at his favorite diner one last time. Always does after a pickup. That’s where we’ll start.”

There was no need to rush. Joey went home and transferred the money into a suitcase along with some clean clothes. He walked the few blocks to Danny’s Diner and ordered the special. After he’d finished, he left Danny a sizeable tip. He’d miss this place, but it was time to move on. On his way out, he grabbed a handful of plastic forks and shoved them in his back pocket. It was a habit he’d had since childhood. When he and Ma would eat out, she’d tell him to grab a bunch of forks. They had a drawer full of them at home, but she always wanted more. He didn’t question it. Some folks grabbed packets of ketchup; Ma wanted forks. What’s the harm…

He left Danny’s and walked to the corner to catch a cab to the dock, where he could join the crew of one of the ships. When he looked to his left, he saw Big Jim and three of his goons crossing the street heading for Danny’s. What the hell… There were no taxis coming, and Joey knew he had to make himself scarce, so he ran into the parking garage across the street. It would be the perfect place to hide. And wait. He didn’t wait long.

“I know you’re in here, Joey. You’re like those fairy tale characters leaving a trail of breadcrumbs; only, you leave plastic forks. Come out and bring my money.”

Damn, Joey thought, and reached into his right back pocket. There were only two left of the five forks he’d taken. Big Jim would have his goons at all the exits, so driving out wouldn’t be smart. Wait. There was a way Joey could get out. All he had to do was hide in someone’s trunk. He wouldn’t have to sit in there long since this garage was short-term parking only. He moved quietly trying to find the right car – one with out of town plates.

“Joey, come out, come out, wherever you are.” Big Jim was close now.

Joey saw a car with Jersey plates, and knew that would be his ticket out. It was an older model and the alarm was easy to bypass. He climbed in, put his suitcase in his lap, and quietly closed the trunk until it latched. He didn’t have to wait long. About ten minutes later, someone got in, started the car, and drove out of the garage. I made it, he thought. Big Jim will never find me.

The sounds of city traffic had ceased long ago, and Joey believed they were on one of the county roads. Joey knew out here the houses were few and far between. As soon as the car stopped, he’d exit the trunk, pull the driver out, hop in the driver’s seat, and be on his way to the dock. The sound of the car on gravel brought Joey to full alert. I’ll bet it’s a driveway, he thought, get ready. He grabbed the lever to release the trunk lock and waited. Voices. What the hell…

“You got here fast, Harry. I can’t thank you enough.”

“You don’t have to thank me, Big Jim. You’re family. I’m not going to leave my brother-in-law in the lurch with the old man. It’s all here in $20’s. I’ll just put the squeeze on one of my clients and make up the difference with my boss. Not a big deal.”

Wait a minute. Big Jim? Brother-in-law? Joey’s Big Jim had a sister who lived in Jersey, and her husband’s name was Harry. His Big Jim had a place out in the county where he got the week’s take ready for delivery to the old man. Of all the trunks of all the cars in the whole damn city to climb into…

“Harry, one last thing. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of things for sis and the kids. There’s also a little something extra in the box for you, just to show my appreciation. I know its heavy, but it should fit on your front seat.”


“It would, Big Jim, but on my way home, I’m going to pick up my Aunt Cissy. She’s going to be staying with us to help with the kids after Lucy has her surgery.”

“No problem. Help me lift it up, and we’ll just put it in your trunk.”


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 2 - Is That You, Mom?

The prompt this week was to write a story based on a random image. I decided to use the first image that popped up on Flickr, as was suggested. The challenge included: 'What's is happening in the image? What happens next? Who is there, or not there? How does it make you feel?' My image brought back an idea I had awhile back for a story. It's time has come to be told.

Is That You, Mom?

Here at last. This place has obviously seen better days, as have I. I can’t recall any of my better days, but everyone has at least a few, right? It was a long drive and took a lifetime, but I was ready. Ready, and more than willing, to make it perfectly clear to her that my life thus far has consisted of a main course of anger and a desire for revenge, along with a small side order of pity. Not for me though. For her. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve tried during all of my 31 years to put myself in her place, and to try to understand why, at two months of age, I was considered disposable.

From two months to the age of 16 years, the system was the only family I knew. I drifted from foster home to foster home until the courts decided I was not compatible. That’s what my final papers said. Not compatible. Not compatible with a mommy and a daddy who took money from the state to care for me, but used it to buy booze and dope. Not compatible with a mommy and a daddy who pimped me out to their friends, and filmed them having sex with their little girl. No. I was not compatible. I told my case worker, I fought back, and I ran away. But I was the trouble-maker. Not compatible. The system set me free at 16 and I hit the streets.

The streets can be ruthless and cruel, but they can also be kind and forgiving. Long story short, I was taken in by a minister and his wife, who gave me a home and an identity. I was able to get an education, job training, and through them, I met my current husband. Compatible? Not quite. I still needed an answer to the question that haunts me still. From her. None of my case workers or any of my various mommies and daddies would tell me a thing about my biological mother. They either didn’t know or didn’t care that I needed to know. My husband cared that I needed to know, and a very expensive PI and a few months brought me here to where it all began.

The court documents showed that the mother was 17 and unmarried at the time of the female child’s birth. ‘The mother’ and ‘the female child’. Cold perhaps, but life can be that too. The documents showed that ‘the mother’ voluntarily awarded custody of the ‘female child’ who had attained the age of two months. Through this process, ‘the mother’ relinquished all her parental rights. Done and done. ‘The mother’ lion walks away clean from the kill, and ‘the female child’ is thrown to the wolves. Today, however, 31 years later, prior to strolling into the lion’s den, I wanted to find out if there really were two sides to every story. To my story. The diner in town at the bottom of hill from her house seemed a good place to start.

“Yes, sweetie, Josie Milner still lives up on that hill. Has since she was born. Her parents died in a crash on Highway 9 many years ago, and left her that house and some money to get by. You remember, don’t you, Erma? When did the Milners pass on?”

“I sure do recall, Gracie. It wasn’t too long after Josie had that baby.”

They now had my full attention.

“That’s right. Josie got herself knocked up by one of those Wilson boys. Larry, it was, I think. All of them went and joined the Army – all five of them on the same day. Whichever one it was that got Josie pregnant left her behind.”

“Yeah, and Josie’s mama and daddy made her have that baby and care for it. After they passed though, Josie signed it over to the state, didn’t she?”

“Right quick too, as I recall. She started living the wild life then. I believe every man who passed through town spent the night in that house. So, honey, who did you say was asking after Josie?”

“A family friend.” My cover story.

“Well, you need to be careful, dear, because she’s a mean one. Ever since she got that sickness. She’s mostly blind from it and there’s not much left to her these days.”

Okay. There were two sides to my story, and they were both the same. There was no ‘I tried to take care of my baby, but couldn’t do it on my own’ or ‘my parents made me give up my baby or they’d kick me out’. There was only ‘get it away from me’. I needed a refund for my small side order of pity. 

I thanked Erma and Gracie, left my car by the diner, and walked up the hill. ‘The mother’ was outside, poking with her cane at a dried-up tomato plant in an untidy garden next to the house. I stepped on a branch and it snapped. She turned to face the sound, her cloudy eyes looking past me. I could see the disease had left her with oozing sores on her face and hands. She was so small and frail, a sneeze would have put her traction.

“Who’s there?” she said, pointing her cane in my direction. Her voice was weak and raspy. “Go away. I got a gun in my house.”

All those years I had lived to confront her, lived to make her suffer, and lived to make her regret, but I could see that she already had all the regret she could handle.

“I’m sorry,” I said softly. “I was given the wrong address. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

She turned back to the garden and continued to jab at the plant. I returned to my car. Time to go home. Time to begin living for me.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 1 - Murder at Midnight

The prompt this week was to pick a random song and write a story based on the title. The song that came up from my playlist was Murder at Midnight by Powerwolf, a German power metal band, who write about werewolves, vampires and various other night creatures. I also like classical piano. I hope you enjoy.

Murder at Midnight

“Murder at midnight
The enemy on the way
Murder at midnight
Will he return with the day?”

“I still can’t believe this is really happening. I’ve never won anything in my whole life, even though I enter every contest that comes in the mail.”

“Forget all those crazy cereal box prizes, Bel. Snagging a free weekend in a fully-furnished cabin on a lake, now, that’s the ultimate prize. And that’s not all. The brochure says we’ll be within walking distance of a little town that’s not even on any map. Talk about getting away from it all.”

“Rog, don’t forget, this weekend is their Founders Day Celebration too. This whole thing is like something right out of a romance novel. With all the pressure you’ve been under with the new agency, and me having to grade all those history finals, this is just what we both need. By the time this weekend is over, we’ll head back to the city ready to take on whatever comes our way.”

“Bel, who is it that we’re supposed to ask for; I mean, who do we get the house keys from?”

“We’re supposed to go to the General Store and ask for Daryl. Can you believe it? This town actually has a general store. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to hear Twilight Zone music in the background.”

“It is wild, isn’t it? Like going back in time. But it’s nice to know places like that still exist. Oh, listen, did you remember what contest this was? Did you run across it in one of those magazines you read at the beauty shop?”

“I still can’t place it, Rog. You’d think I’d remember something this big. I must have just filled out a form and mailed it in without really paying too much attention. Naturally, considering my track record, I never thought I’d come close to winning. Oh look, hon, there’s a sign welcoming us to Barrington. That’s the last name of the family that founded the town. Apparently, descendants of the founders still live here. When I spoke with Daryl on the phone the other day, he said they live in a huge house up on a hill that overlooks the town.”

“I’m really glad we’re almost there, Bel. Once we turned off the highway, this two-lane stretch seems to go on forever. It’s beautiful country though, with trees lining both sides of the road. But we’ve been on this road for close to two hours. Check your phone. I wonder if we’ll get any reception at all.”

“We’re down to one bar, Rog. I’m sure they have landlines at the cabin or in town, or maybe even a short-wave radio. Wouldn’t that be fun?”

“Let’s just find the General Store and this Daryl fella. I need to get out and walk around a bit. I’m getting stiff from this long drive. Once we get to the cabin though, let’s just walk to town and all around since everything’s so close. No more driving for a while, okay?”

“Sounds good to me, hon. Here we are. Wow. Just look at all these little shops. A little motel on the left, stop signs, but no traffic lights, folks strolling on the sidewalks, and there’s the General Store. Hurry up and pull over. I can’t wait to get situated. Happy Ending Twilight Zone, here we come.”


“A car just pulled up, ole gal. Must be those folks that’s gonna stay in the cabin.”

“Belinda and Roger they’re called, sugar plum. They sure are a nice-looking young couple. They looked young in those pictures on that social site. You can’t always tell though. Some folks put up fake pictures. Belinda and Roger didn’t put up no fake pictures. They really are as young as they seemed. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? That’s a real good thing.”

“It is, ole gal. That what we told Mr. Nathaniel and he was pleased. We did good. The whole family will be pleased.”


“Morning, folks. You must be the ones what won our Founders Day contest. Mr. and Mrs. Harper, wasn’t it? My name is Daryl and this is my wife Sarah. We own this store and the little whatever shop next door. Welcome to Barrington. Sarah will take you over to the cabin so you can get settled and take a rest if you like. You two have a big night ahead of you.”

“We’re so pleased to meet you. Please call me Roger, and my wife’s name is Belinda, but everyone calls her Bel. We’re very excited to be here and we’re looking forward to your Founders Day activities.”

“Activities? Oh, well, there’s aren’t really any activities to speak of, son. Did you see that big house on the hill when you drove into town? That’s where the Barringtons live. They go way back, and they’re the ones who started this town up. You’re invited up there tonight for dinner with the family. That’s how they congratulate the winners of the contest. Here’s your invitation.”

“Look, Rog, it’s one of those murder mystery dinner parties. Dinner is served at 9pm and then underneath it says ‘Murder at Midnight’. I’ve always wanted to go to one of those. You said we’ll be having dinner with just the founding family? What an honor. How do they set that up? Will the other guests arrive just before midnight so they can stage the murder?”

“I’m not certain how that works, Mrs. Bel. Daryl and I haven’t been to one of those. But I’m sure you’ll have a real good time. It’s real fancy up there. They use good china and crystal, I’ve heard. Come with me now. Get your bags and I’ll take you over to the cabin. You can leave your car here. You won’t need to drive to the big house either. It’s just a short walk up the hill.”

“Thanks so much, Miss Sarah. Bel and I really appreciate your hospitality. Let’s go check out this cabin, honey. Since tonight’s going to be a late one, I really could use a nap after that long drive.”

“Good idea, Rog. Nice to meet you, Daryl.”

“Nice to meet you too, Mrs. Bel.”

“Rog and I will come by in the morning and tell you all about their murder mystery party.”

“God willing, ma’am. God willing.”


“What a bizarre experience that was, Bel. Daryl and his wife are, shall we say, quirky?”

“Rog, you know how these small-town people can be. Don’t you think it was peculiar though that they’ve never been to one of those parties? I wonder why.”

“It’s all part of winning their Founders Day contest, Bel. I’m sure they’ve had the townspeople up to dinner before – just not at one of their murder mystery dinners. Let’s just relax for a while. We’ve got plenty of time before we have to get dressed up for dinner. You know, the fridge is full. Let’s make a nice lunch and then take a nap. We’ll have time to take a quick walk around the lake and then head up the hill for the dinner party.”

“Sounds perfect, hon. Let me at that fridge. I wonder what goodies they’ve stocked for us.”


“This has been a real treat for us, Nathaniel. Are you sure neither of you will join us for anything? Dessert at least? Here Bel and I are stuffing ourselves at your table and you haven’t touched a thing.”

“As I told you, my brother and I plan to dine at a later time. Please, help yourselves to whatever you would like.”

“I have to say, you and your brother have really put out the red carpet for Bel and I with this dinner.”

“Why would you say a thing like that? Red carpet? Why red?”

“Bartholomew, calm down. It’s just an expression. You will please forgive my brother. He’s led rather a sheltered existence – private schools, you see, and he takes every statement quite literally. Would you like more dessert or more wine perhaps?”

“No, thank you. Both of you have been the most gracious hosts, but I’m afraid if I eat another bite or take another sip, I won’t be able to ever get back on my feet.”

“That would be fine if you couldn’t. When midnight comes, you’ll…”

“Bartholomew! I’m sorry Belinda, Roger. My brother so looks forward to our annual celebration that he gets a bit over anxious. Bartholomew, go and get Dominic and Seraphina. They are cousins who reside here with us and will be joining us for the murder at midnight event.”

“I’m really excited about this. I’ve never been to a murder mystery dinner before.”

“Excuse me, Miss Belinda? A murder what?”

“Murder mystery dinner, Nathaniel. It’s going to be so fun examining the clues and trying to figure out who the murderer is. Is one of your cousins going to be the victim?”

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea to what you are referring. There is no mystery about it and there will be no clues to follow. Dominic and Seraphina, gather round our guests. It is almost midnight. Bartholomew, what is Miss Belinda talking about? What did you put on the invitation? Something about a mystery?”

“No, Nathaniel. I put on the invitation what I put every year. I say that dinner will be at 9pm and then there will be murder at midnight. That’s all.”

“I don’t understand the confusion. Is this a murder mystery dinner or not?”

“It is not any kind of a mystery, Roger. You and your wife were selected to come here this evening to help us celebrate our founding of this town. We eat out all the time, but on this one day a year, the four of us prefer to dine quietly at home. You see, Roger, you and your lovely wife Belinda, will be our main course. You've eaten well and had plenty of wine. Your blood will be smooth and tasty. You'll both satisfy the four of us nicely.”

“Roger, look at them all. Look at them smiling. My God, look at the fangs. You’re all vampires, aren’t you? Oh my God. Roger! God help us!”

“By all means pray if that comforts you. It won’t change anything, but feel free.”

“You’ll never get away with this. Daryl and Sarah will report us missing and you’ll be found out.”

“How trusting you both are. Who do you think sets this up for us each year? They arrange some necessary events for us now and then and we keep the town safe from outsiders. We also don’t feed in our own backyard, if you know what I mean.

“You see, Daryl and Sarah will dispose of your automobile and then offer your clothes and personal items for sale in their shop. Tourists come through now and then and they do quite well. During our Founders Day Celebration, our motel actually fills up.”

“This can’t be happening. Get away from Bel and me. Don’t come any closer. Stop! Please, pl…”


“Mornin’ darlin’ I believe the rain passed over us. It’s gonna be a warm and sunny day. Folks at the motel will be out shoppin’ too. Better get the stores open and ready for business. Founders Day sure brings in some good business, don’t it?”

“Sure does. I’ll put some coffee on first – maybe make some bacon and eggs too.”

“I sure could go for that. You know, ole gal, I’m sure gonna miss that Bel and Roger. They were a real nice couple. Sure nicer than them from last year.”

“They were real nice, but better them than us, sugar plum. Better them than us.”