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Neighborhood’s Watch

April 15, 2013

Darlene struggled against the grip of the intruder’s gloved hand over her mouth.  The whispered accusation, “you have something that doesn’t belong to you” repeated in her mind.  She remembered the Glock that she had removed from Jeff’s waistband and stashed under her mattress… as if she could flip the mattress to get it.  She’d die before handing it over.

“You have the keys.”

There was a hint of familiarity in the whispered voice.  Darlene couldn’t place it, though.  She grasped the arms- definitely male.   His hand pressed harder on her mouth.  She closed her eyes and shook her head, her cries muffled by leather.  She relaxed.  Maybe if she pretended to give up, she could catch him off guard.

“Don’t make me do this.”

I’m going to die.  Darlene resisted the urge to open her eyes.  Please God, help me.

The house rumbled from the crack of thunder.  Darlene gasped when she felt a crushing weight on her chest.

“Get up!”

Darlene snapped her eyes open.  It wasn’t the same whisper.

“Move it!”

Nosy Myrtle Crawford.  “What-  how?” Darlene sputtered when she saw her neighbor with a baseball bat propped on her shoulder.  Darlene prayed the room was dark enough to conceal the color that burned across her cheeks.  Rescued by an octogenarian.  The rumor mill would love that one.

Myrtle smiled.  “Rockford Peach, 1954,” she said proudly.

“Y-you played professional baseball?”

Myrtle frowned.  “I wasn’t so old back then.  Now git up ‘for he does!”

Darlene grunted as she shoved the man.  He hit the floor with a thud.  Her stomach turned when she realized the sticky liquid on her fingers was crimson.

“I’ll meet you downstairs,” Myrtle said.

Darlene stood and reached under her mattress to retrieve the Glock, papers, and keys she’d taken from Jeff.

Curiosity ruled, so she clicked the lamp on and removed the man’s knitted mask.

“Oh, my God…”  Darlene stumbled, tripping over her feet.  Her husband’s skull smashed on one side, she knew.

“Scott… no!”


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 333) using the following word/definition:

Color (noun):  complexion tint: (a) the tint characteristic of good health; (b) blush.

If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  Happy writing (and reading!)


This continues Darlene’s story (if you haven’t read the other parts and are curious about what has transpired so far, here are the links:)

First Part (Dead Flowers)   Second Part (Investigation)    Third Part (Unknown Path)

Fourth Part (Missing)    Fifth Part (Facing Memories)   Sixth Part (Hunted or Hunter?)

Seventh Part (Indecision)     Eighth Part (Ties That Bind)    Ninth Part (Skeletons)

Tenth Part (Truth or Lies)     Eleventh Part (Rain)

I know, Widdershins… I really need to get a page set up for this.  It’s on my list, really :)

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86 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2013 10:27 AM

    Yay for Myrtle!

    I wondered if it would be Scott or her father.

    • April 15, 2013 10:25 PM

      Myrtle packs quite a punch :) You’re onto the story, Nancy. I hope the rest won’t be too obvious!

  2. April 15, 2013 10:30 AM

    Oh, wow, this is getting better and better! Poor Darlene must be wondering just who she can trust about now. Good thing Myrtle showed up in the nick of time, baseball bat in hand — I love spunky characters!

    • April 15, 2013 10:27 PM

      I’m glad you liked Myrtle’s appearance here. After her not-so-kind intro as the nosy neighbor in the third part (Unknown Path), I wanted to give her some redeeming qualities. Thanks for continuing to follow the story, Debbie!

  3. April 15, 2013 11:47 AM

    And Myrtle hits a home run!!!

  4. April 15, 2013 11:50 AM

    The action continues – well-described!

  5. April 15, 2013 1:46 PM

    Great action here, Janna. I love the line “Rescued by an octogenarian” lol – classic! :D.

    • April 15, 2013 10:29 PM

      I’m glad you liked it, Dianne! Myrtle surprised Darlene, that’s for sure :)

  6. April 15, 2013 1:58 PM

    Yay, Myrtle!

  7. April 15, 2013 2:10 PM

    So much intrique! Captivating story.

  8. April 15, 2013 2:24 PM

    I like Myrtle. She’s a character. :) And a shocking twist at the end, too!

    • April 15, 2013 10:31 PM

      Myrtle is a spunky one…if you can get past her snooping ways. Thanks for reading, Michael!

  9. April 15, 2013 2:52 PM

    The plot is thickening. This was very exciting.
    Katie atBankerchick Scratchings

    • April 15, 2013 10:32 PM

      I’m glad the tension came through in this segment, Katie. For once, quite a bit happened in 333 words!

  10. April 15, 2013 5:05 PM

    Good suspense…good writing….Diane

  11. April 15, 2013 5:13 PM

    You’re giving us more questions than answers still! But I am still looking forward to finding out how Darlene will get through all this. Poor girl–I hope she comes out okay. You’ve painted a sympathetic character for us, Janna.

    • April 15, 2013 10:34 PM

      I’m trying to get closer to wrapping this up, but the threads keep untying, Sandra! I’m glad that Darlene is someone you can root for. I hope the ‘ending’ is satisfying (if I ever get there, right??)

  12. April 15, 2013 5:40 PM

    Nosey Myrtle came through – but Scott!

    Looks like Jeff wasn’t all lies.

    I wonder whether Scott has bought it or will get up to a royal headache

    • April 15, 2013 10:38 PM

      Myrtle takes her job as neighborhood watch captain very seriously :) I can’t say how Scott will fare…the next piece might clear that up. I appreciate your thoughts as you continue to follow the story, Eric!

  13. April 15, 2013 6:22 PM

    Darlene’s adjusting to an entirely new paradigm! Go Peaches!

    • April 15, 2013 10:40 PM

      Myrtle knows how to swing a slugger, HT! Yes, things are changing (fast) for Darlene.

  14. April 15, 2013 8:06 PM

    I love stories with valid, surprising twists and turns, and this one was a gem!
    Well done!

    • April 15, 2013 10:41 PM

      I appreciate your comment, Marylin! It’s nice to know when twists make sense to readers who aren’t so familiar with the inner workings of the story.

  15. April 15, 2013 9:33 PM

    I’ll be caught up on the story soon enough, I suspect.

    • April 15, 2013 10:41 PM

      I hope you enjoy the story, Nandini. I appreciate you taking time to stop by today!

  16. April 15, 2013 10:37 PM

    Myrtle! And the twist. Well done.

  17. April 15, 2013 10:44 PM

    Kept me glued :-)

  18. April 16, 2013 3:56 AM

    Ugh cliff hanger! Good one.

    • April 16, 2013 8:17 PM

      Sorry about the cliffhangers… it’s not my intention, Sam :) (Need. More. Words.)

  19. April 16, 2013 7:05 AM

    I’m just a little in love with Myrtle right now. And her husband, eh. Wonder what she thinks of Jeff’s story now?

  20. Draug419 permalink
    April 16, 2013 9:12 AM

    What a twist! :D
    I think my original character Jule would love to get some baseball bat tips from Myrtle.

  21. April 16, 2013 9:25 AM

    I love that Myrtle was a Rockford Peach! Brilliant touch! Love, love, love it!!

  22. April 16, 2013 10:27 AM

    Another great twist! Just keeps getting better.

  23. Sean permalink
    April 16, 2013 10:30 AM

    I like the Myrtle twist. But can she really be trusted???? Maybe the “nosy neighbor” appearance is just to keep an eye on what is really going on. hmmmmm The question of how did Myrtle know someone else was there at that time of night or I may have forgotten the time that Darlene fell asleep and it is not in the middle of the night.

    • April 16, 2013 8:22 PM

      Good question, Sean – only time will tell if she can be trusted :) (I’m not being coy – I honestly don’t know the details of where this is going!) Myrtle is nosy – she makes everyone’s business hers. Like many older people, she doesn’t sleep very soundly and between the storm and Darlene’s banging screen door, Myrtle had to check it out. Your ponderings help me to figure out if I’m giving enough (or too many) details. Thanks!

  24. April 16, 2013 11:52 AM

    That was thoroughly entertaining with a laugh out loud twist, well done

  25. April 16, 2013 12:25 PM

    What a phenomenal twist. Oh yes for the nosy neighbors! This story is so good. I would buy the book!

    • April 16, 2013 8:23 PM

      Nosy neighbors aren’t all bad, Steph :) I really appreciate your comment – I do hope to write the full story… it just takes me a while!

  26. April 16, 2013 1:52 PM

    This is getting better and better which I think I’ve said s couple of times before. C’mon, just violate the rules and give us a 2,000 worder or more. I want to read this story to the end.

    • April 16, 2013 8:24 PM

      :) I’m glad you are interested in the story, Lumdog. Maybe I will have to write a bonus section one of these weeks!

  27. April 16, 2013 6:36 PM

    This is great!

  28. April 16, 2013 7:03 PM

    Myrtle: best. character. ever. I loved the little glimpse of her back story, and the image of a nosy octogenarian clubbing guys with baseball bats (though you did a nice job to balance the levity of that with the realization at the end)

    • April 16, 2013 8:30 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Brian. I’m glad you like Myrtle – she’s an odd mix of annoying but likeable. In this case, I’m sure Darlene was grateful Myrtle was all in her business :)

  29. unevenstevencu permalink
    April 16, 2013 11:20 PM

    fun story – had to go back and read a few missed some- good writing

  30. April 17, 2013 6:13 AM

    Love that her first thought was to call her neighbor “nosy”. Myrtle is terrific!

    • April 17, 2013 9:09 AM

      Myrtle is nothing if not nosy! Up until now, Darlene only saw the annoying side of her attention :) Thanks for reading, Kymm!

  31. April 17, 2013 10:28 AM

    Oh my! I want to know more! Good writing as always, Janna. :-)

  32. April 17, 2013 11:44 AM

    I love that the only thing close to a break that Darlene can seem to get is from Myrtle, who brought great humor to a tough few scenes. Fun read!

    • April 18, 2013 12:01 PM

      :) I’ve got the making my characters suffer thing down pretty well. Thanks for reading, Jennifer!

  33. April 18, 2013 12:06 PM

    Lol!Nosy neighbours can sometimes come handy too-pardon the pun;-)Loved the whole tense atmosphere with the weather adding to it:-)You are turning out a great novel Janna & hey ,did you transmit some thoughts to me-my story has a similar intruder-only less …;-)Poor Darlene-how will she explain Scott’s body?FBI will surely know about him-interesting to see how she gets out of this mess :D

    • April 18, 2013 12:22 PM

      Hmmm…I’ll have to check out your story tonight, Atreyee. I saw you’d posted but I have to go through the links in order or I get confused about where I left off :) Oh, the FBI…yeah, I’m sure they’ll be all over this! (I’m sure Myrtle can handle them, though.)

      Oh, I left a reply on Trifecta, but I wanted to thank you for sharing your daughter’s poem.

      • April 18, 2013 12:32 PM

        Oh I know,there has to be some method even in madness,what say?lol!\

        Yes am sure Myrtle will be match for them-they may even have to take a tip or two from her;-)

        i just saw that Janna-thank you so much for liking it:-)I just could not resist sharing it,Mom in me raised her proud head-tho knew most won’t see it :P

        • April 19, 2013 8:30 AM

          Well there should be method even in madness :) Your daughter’s poem got some great response to it…perhaps she’ll try Trifecta some day? :)

        • April 19, 2013 8:36 AM

          True:-)Yes,it did-am glad I shared it here-yes,highly possible but she say her drum beats to a different rhythm & she has to write as it comes -these prompts are too much but who knows-she has a lot of growing up to do first,lol!Am just off to cook but saw your post-am going to read,comment & then cook dinner:-)

        • April 19, 2013 8:41 AM

          It’s possible that a prompt can come up at the same time inspiration strikes…time will tell! My ten-year-old wants to do the prompts, but I’ve put him off until summer. I don’t want writing to get in the way of the school work he doesn’t really want to do.

          Enjoy your dinner (it’s early morning here)!

  34. April 18, 2013 2:11 PM

    You gotta love Myrtle. Good flow to this story.

  35. April 18, 2013 4:26 PM

    Never underestimate an athletic octogenarian! Love the suspense, Janna! Well told!

  36. April 19, 2013 3:58 AM

    This is great…now I’m going to have to read the rest of it. Darn you for adding to my list of ‘must-reads”. I actually mean, “thank you”.

    • April 19, 2013 8:34 AM

      :) I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to want to read more. I understand the limited time for reading, though. Thanks, Joanne!

  37. April 19, 2013 1:19 PM

    And now don’t I wish I had all day to read the whole thing. Myrtle’s a firecracker!

    • April 19, 2013 8:27 PM

      I’m glad you liked it enough to want to read more, Bianca. Thanks for stopping by!

  38. April 19, 2013 2:05 PM

    Wow what a twist! Excellent read

  39. May 7, 2013 3:36 PM

    Oh so help me, Myrtle is a hoot. Seems Scott what he deserved.

    • May 7, 2013 5:47 PM

      I’m glad you’re enjoying her, Tessa! Scott is kind of a middleman – not completely innocent but not all guilty, either.

      • May 10, 2013 2:39 PM

        Middleman or not he is making his choices. And not good ones.

        • May 11, 2013 10:34 AM

          True, he made selfish choices and didn’t have the backbone to stand up up to the influences.

        • May 12, 2013 11:18 AM

          And now he is getting others involved, the innocent ones although myrtle can probably take care of herself :-)

        • May 12, 2013 11:31 PM

          Well, we’ll see how it plays out :)

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