Unknown Path

Darlene swung her legs from the arm of her oversized lounge chair and planted her feet on the floor.  She squinted and leaned closer to the window but still didn’t recognize either of the suited men exiting the black Lincoln parked in front of her house.

“Amy, I have to go,” she whispered into the phone.

“What’s wrong, you sound-“

“I’ll call you later.”  Darlene ended the call.  She watched the men briskly make their way to her door and ring the bell.  She didn’t bother to answer.  Maybe they’ll just go away.  Even as she thought it, she knew that wouldn’t happen.

Darlene didn’t understand how her life got so messy.  When she stood at the altar and said “I do” without her daddy’s blessing eight years ago, she knew it would be hard but never imagined her life’s path would lead here; barely alive inside and out with a missing, and presumed dead, husband…

“Ma’am, Agents Mulroney and Haversill, FBI.  We need to talk to you.”

Great.  And two FBI agents on my doorstepDoes life get any better than this?

Darlene’s heart pounded faster.  “I don’t know anything!” Darlene called through the window.

“We think you might.”

She wondered if they’d bust her door down like they do on TV.  A glance across the street revealed nosy Myrtle Crawford staring at the two men on the porch.  Darlene’s heart sank when she saw the crank to the rumor mill clenched in the old widow’s bony fingers.  She feared her path just got thornier…especially if Mrs. Anderson was on the other end of the line.

Darlene opened the door.  “What did Scott do?” she blurted.

The taller agent on the left showed a flicker of puzzlement.  The other agent remained stone-faced.  “Ma’am, we need to talk to you about your father, Andrew Moritz.”

“My father?”  The room shifted and swirled.  Darlene teetered until the muscles in her legs refused to hold her weight any longer.

05-27 4 path


TrifectaPicture11-1The scene should stand on its own, but if you want more background, you can view two previous posts here and here for events leading up to it.  This is my response to the Trifecta weekday challenge, which is to use the following word/definition in a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 327 words):

PATH:  (a) course, route; (b) a way of life, conduct, or thought

Once again, it’s a community voted challenge.  Voting begins on Trifecta’s site after the challenge closes on Thursday at 7PM Eastern time.  If you want to try the challenge, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  You’ll also see all the other entertaining entries!

112 thoughts on “Unknown Path

  1. yasniger February 4, 2013 / 1:32 PM

    Reblogged this on yasniger and commented:
    I enjoyed reading this

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      I’m glad you enjoyed it…thanks for reading!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:08 PM

      Maybe it will, Widdershins. But I fear it might end up another half-developed idea sitting in my folder waiting for my attention.

  2. Tessa February 4, 2013 / 3:30 PM

    Good story, she got quite a shock. Good job leaving them wanting more.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:09 PM

      I wanted to go further with it, but I was too close to the max word count. We’ll see what happens next time, Tessa!

      • Tessa February 6, 2013 / 3:00 PM

        Leave them wanting more is usually a good way to get them to come back. Though you have no problem getting people to come back.

  3. Bee February 4, 2013 / 3:40 PM

    “Darlene’s heart sank when she saw the crank to the rumor mill clenched in the old widow’s bony fingers.” — Excellent line!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:09 PM

      Thanks, Bee. I’m glad you liked that line 🙂

    • C.S. Severe February 8, 2013 / 12:37 PM

      That line stood out so much for me. Excellent! Truly enjoyed this piece.

      • jannatwrites February 8, 2013 / 11:59 PM

        Thanks, C.S. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts!

  4. nrhatch February 4, 2013 / 4:29 PM

    Fantastic, Janna. I hope we learn why they are asking about her dad. Maybe he’s in cahoots with Scott. Wait! Maybe he’s the reason that Scott “disappeared.” He never wanted them to get married in the first place.

    No! Wait! Her dad’s having an affair with Myrtle Crawford, the old widow across the street ~ great name by the way. That’s why the nosy old biddy was standing there . . . she wanted to know whether the FBI would come knocking on her door next.

    Oddly enough, I did a post this morning on “paths” . . . so I just linked up to the challenge.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:16 PM

      Okay, you crack me up, Nancy! The dad and Myrtle is hysterical!!! I hadn’t considered that direction for the story, but it might raise some eyebrows (the rumor mill might just burn down with that one :shock:)

      Glad you linked up to the challenge. I found your post/path pictures soothing.

  5. deanabo February 4, 2013 / 4:32 PM

    You cant end there. I need to read more…

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:17 PM

      I won’t leave you hanging there, Deanabo…I’ll find some kind of ending for it!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:18 PM

      I think many people have a neighbor like Myrtle 🙂

  6. diannegray February 4, 2013 / 8:30 PM

    Brillant, dang it!!! I want to know what her father did! 😯

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:22 PM

      Me too, Dianne! Only kidding…I have some ideas but haven’t settled on one yet 🙂

  7. themisanthropicmuse February 4, 2013 / 8:41 PM

    Why do I get the feeling Daddy had something to do with her husband’s disappearance? Great beginning to a story. I wish I could read more.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:22 PM

      I’ll post more with each prompt if you do want to see where it leads 🙂

  8. pattyabr February 4, 2013 / 10:59 PM

    I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:23 PM

      If the prompt and my life cooperates, I’ll post more Friday…otherwise it will be on Monday, Patty 🙂

  9. kz February 5, 2013 / 12:43 AM

    it’s a great piece, makes readers wanna know more! 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:24 PM

      Thanks, Kz, I’m glad you enjoyed the story!

  10. Tori Nelson February 5, 2013 / 6:18 AM

    Anticipation! Just when you think you’ve nailed down the bad guy!

  11. Annabelle February 5, 2013 / 6:20 AM

    Sounds like she is in pretty deep even if she doesn’t know how yet. I’m glad you’re following up with this one, I’m looking forward to finding out what Scott’s deal is!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:38 PM

      Thanks, Annabelle. We’ll find out what’s up with Scott (eventually :))

  12. Katie February 5, 2013 / 6:39 AM

    Great writing, more to come?

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:39 PM

      Thanks, Katie. Yes, I will continue this one…it’s kind of mean to leave readers on a cliff forever 🙂

  13. Debbie February 5, 2013 / 8:49 AM

    Awesome continuation, Janna! Keep up the good work.

  14. tedstrutz February 5, 2013 / 9:47 AM

    Ah… the plot thickens. What’s with the cliffhanger???

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:51 PM

      Thanks for reading, Ted. The cliffhanger was kind of mean, but there’s a strict 333-word limit 🙂

  15. steph February 5, 2013 / 9:48 AM

    I love the description of the neighbor. Her hesitation to open the door is intriguing as well. What does she know? Nice work on building the suspicion that everyone is somehow involved.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:52 PM

      I think her hesitation was more of what she doesn’t want to know than what she knows….but we’ll see 🙂 Thanks for reading, Steph!

  16. jwilliams057 February 5, 2013 / 9:56 AM

    It is always the unexpected that knocks us down the hardest. Great job.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:52 PM

      That’s often how it works 🙂 Thanks for reading, Jennifer!

  17. Christine February 5, 2013 / 11:19 AM

    Great characters! This piece is enough to make me want to go back and read all of Darlene’s story (I know I’ve missed a few bits). And yet, it also works well as a stand-alone piece – I know exactly how hard it is to write a serial-type story this way!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      I’m glad you liked this part of the story, Christine. Your Jade series is a fascinating one, so if you have difficulty, it doesn’t show in the stories!

  18. Brian Benoit February 5, 2013 / 12:18 PM

    I get a good sense of character in this one, and I liked the detail of the neighbor across the street cranking the rumor mill with her bony hand, ha. Nicely done!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:54 PM

      I’m glad you like that description, Brian…that was my favorite part 🙂

  19. Papparaci February 5, 2013 / 12:52 PM

    Janna, the suspense is very real when the FBI agents tells her “We think you might.” Great work, I look forward to reading the rest of the story. Kudos!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:55 PM

      I appreciate you stopping by to read, Papparaci. I’m glad it felt realistic.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:55 PM

      Thanks, Kelly! Myrtle is a funny old lady 🙂

  20. kymminbarcelona February 5, 2013 / 4:19 PM

    The first half sets the piece up nicely. Nervious wife, shady husband, estranged family, FBI at the door. As stand-alone, second half gets crowded and ends rather abruptly. Guess it will read differently as a larger piece.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 9:04 PM

      Thanks for your feedback, Kymm! I can see how the cliffhanger ending would seem abrupt.

  21. Draug419 February 5, 2013 / 8:08 PM

    Comparing the phone to a rumor mill crank–I love it!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2013 / 8:57 PM

      Thanks, agjorgenson. Since this story is prompt-based, I have no idea where it is going until the day the next prompt is given. It’s an entertaining exercise 🙂

  22. yerpirate February 6, 2013 / 12:23 AM

    This is a very powerful piece – real build-up of tension there,and yes, though she was surprised at the end about her father, she knows a whole lot more than we know – maybe than we’ll ever know when the story grows.

  23. Eric Alagan February 6, 2013 / 1:23 AM

    Another well written piece Janna. You are one talented writer 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:32 AM

      Thank you, Eric! I’m glad you stopped by to read it.

  24. rashmenon February 6, 2013 / 4:39 AM

    tense, full of suspense ending. am on tenderhooks now

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:33 AM

      I’m glad you got into the story, Rashmenon.

  25. Mike February 6, 2013 / 8:57 AM

    A great story Janna. I loved the way you built the tension up through out and then gave us that twist in the tale.
    Left me wanting to know what her father had done.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:34 AM

      Thanks, Mike! It’s good to know the twist held your interest 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:35 AM

      Well, Elizabeth….I’ll have to figure that out 🙂 I like it when a ‘surprise’ twist really is a surprise!

  26. Dawn Lamond February 6, 2013 / 6:29 PM

    A whole lot of story going on – loved the surprise ending!

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:36 AM

      Thanks, Dawn! I didn’t expect this to be a continuing story when I wrote the first part…but it’s fun continuing the saga 🙂

  27. Lance February 6, 2013 / 7:43 PM

    I was familar with the other pieces (I dig Darlene the mostest) but this really stood out by itself. Your dialogue and blocking are awesome. More please…soon

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:38 AM

      I appreciate your kind compliment – I’ll try not to psych myself out here 🙂 If I overthink it, the story won’t work well. Thanks for reading, Lance!

  28. Imelda February 6, 2013 / 8:15 PM

    Oh, the plot thickens. I love how you pace the characters and the little bits of details. 🙂 More more more… 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:39 AM

      🙂 Your comment made me smile, Imelda! Thanks for reading, and of course I will continue this. (I think I would upset a few people if I left the secret dangling.)

  29. Note To Self February 7, 2013 / 12:10 AM

    Hi. I rarely devote time reading other blogs, usually because time flies when I get distracted browsing all the ones I like, but finding a got story is always very rewarding for me, and it reinforces the reason why I follow you. So thanks for this little piece of you.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:40 AM

      I’m glad you decided to read this, Note to Self. I get what you mean about all the distractions…I read so many blogs, it can take a couple hours a night easily (and I still don’t finish.) Anyway, “thanks!”

  30. atrm61 February 7, 2013 / 5:54 AM

    Wonderfully intriguing story Janna-loved the idea of nosy neighbours & rumour mills.Wondering what happened to Scott though-did he disappear on his own or was it aided by Darlene herself?;-)

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:42 AM

      Ah, Scott. I’ll have to get back to his situation. I’ll have to trim down the story in my head, otherwise this series could last a year! Thanks for reading, Atreyee!

      • atrm61 February 7, 2013 / 7:50 AM

        lol,great idea Janna-to continue the series for a year that is-fun read for readers like me!JK!Am looking forward to the trimmed version of Scott & Darlene-am sure it will be a hit:-)

        • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 7:54 AM

          If I had a memory, I might be able to that, Atreyee! Since I don’t, it’ll have to be shortened 🙂 I always get a little nervous writing stories by prompt because I don’t want to write myself into a corner!

        • atrm61 February 7, 2013 / 8:22 AM

          Ha!ha!That’s a nice one-“write myself into a corner”-you do such a great job that it’s difficult for me to imagine you being cornered;-)

        • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:37 PM

          Thanks, Atreyee (you have no idea :))

        • atrm61 February 8, 2013 / 1:34 AM


  31. Sandra February 7, 2013 / 7:58 AM

    Great sense of foreboding running through the piece. Well done.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:37 PM

      Thanks, Sandra. I appreciate you reading!

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:38 PM

      I’m glad it held your interest, Lumdog!

  32. Bill Soistmann February 7, 2013 / 10:02 AM

    > Myrtle Crawford
    What a great name for a busybody!

    > Darlene’s heart sank when she saw the crank to the rumor mill clenched in the old widow’s bony fingers.

    Great Stuff!!

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:39 PM

      Thanks, Bill. I appreciate you reading the story!

  33. Linda Vernon February 7, 2013 / 12:44 PM

    I think you captured the way someone would really feel in a situation like this. Completely drew me in Janna. 😀

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:47 PM

      So happy to hear the story kept your interest, Linda.

  34. coyotero2112 February 7, 2013 / 2:04 PM

    JannaT – really like your use of dialogue. You let your characters cut each other off. That was somthing I always had a hard time getting through my students’ heads…that people rarely speak in full sentences, and it looks hokey and false in writing. Good work…but, you hear enough of that as it is – 90 responses !

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      Dialogue can be tricky – I’m glad I pulled it off here, Coyotero! Thanks for taking time to read it and share your reaction to the story, even though there are a lot of comments – half of them are my responses, though 🙂

      • coyotero2112 February 7, 2013 / 9:07 PM

        Oh, yeah. Sorry – I don’t think clearly before noon, and it’s a bit sketchy until around nightfall. And, you always seem to “pull it off.”

        • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 9:09 PM

          Hahaha….a night owl, huh? I’m the opposite. I find myself almost nodding off as I comment on blogs…a good sign I should pack it in.

  35. ann bennett February 7, 2013 / 5:24 PM

    Fun read. I’ll have to go back and read the previous posts.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      Thanks for reading, Ann. I hope you like the other 2 parts – they are both short pieces as well.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2013 / 10:59 PM

      I tried to comment on yours, but I don’t have a Google account (it wouldn’t let me use my WordPress.) It makes me want to know the bigger story behind this scene.

  36. girlinjammies February 7, 2013 / 10:10 PM

    Chilling ! Waiting for the next part 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 8, 2013 / 11:57 PM

      Thanks, Renee…I appreciate you stopping by to read it!

  37. Sandra February 11, 2013 / 1:05 PM

    “Thornier” is right! You definitely know how to create suspense for a reader with these short fiction pieces. Now we need to see how her dad and Scott are involved in this very messy blur that is Darlene’s life!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:23 AM

      Thanks for reading, Sandra. (Now if only I could keep my attention span for a full novel!) Eventually we’ll get to the bottom of the mess 🙂

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