Darlene sat up on the sofa, confused.  She didn’t remember laying down.  Her mind raced to reorient her.  Black Lincoln… nosy Mrs. Crawford…

“Ma’am, are you okay?”

FBI agents… Father.  Sure enough, the agents sat on the loveseat to her right.  “Oh.  Um, I guess.”  She’d fainted.  They must have put her on the sofa.

“When was the last time you talked to your father?”  The taller agent with darker hair and graying sideburns spoke.

He doesn’t waste time.  She furrowed her brow and shook her head.  “I don’t know.  Maybe eight months ago?”

The younger, shorter agent tilted his head.  “Interesting.  He lives in town doesn’t he?”

Darlene raised an eyebrow.  “The FBI doesn’t know the exact distance between our homes?”

The other agent suppressed a laugh.

“Okay, so 12.4 miles, give or take,” he mumbled.  “Why haven’t you spoken to him?”

“He didn’t agree with some of my life choices.”

“Like what?”

Like it’s none of your business, Darlene wanted to say.  Instead, she asked, “What do you want with my father?”

“Your father disappeared four weeks ago.”

“Does the FBI normally handle missing person cases?” Darlene asked.

“We do when the person is the subject of a long-time investigation.”

Darlene slumped into the sofa cushion.  “Investigation for what?”

The agents exchanged glances.  “Mulroney?” the shorter agent said to the other.

Mulroney cleared his throat.  “We can’t divulge details in an open case.”  He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a long white envelope.  He handed it to Darlene.

Darlene accepted it and slipped her finger under the sealed flap.  “What’s this?”

The agents stood simultaneously.  Haversill, the shorter agent, responded, “It’s a subpoena for your financial records.”  They made their way to the door.  “We’ll be in touch.”

Darlene watched them leave and caught sight of Myrtle Crawford still staring out her window.  Her smile confirmed she’d witnessed everything.

Darlene couldn’t dwell on the imminent neighborhood gossip.  Not while the FBI nosed around, anyway.


This is my response to the Trifecta challenge this week.  It’s supposed to stand on its own, but if you’d like more background on the story, check out the previous writings:

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

TrifectaPicture11-1This week, the Trifecta editors asked that we use the following word/definition in a 33 to 333 word (mine is 329) response:

DWELL:  (a) to keep the attention directed —used with on or upon<tried not to dwell on my fears>; (b) to speak or write insistently —used with on or upon<reporters dwelling on the recent scandal>

If you want to read the other entries, or if you want to try one yourself, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.


67 thoughts on “Missing

  1. Kir Piccini February 11, 2013 / 1:05 PM

    SO GOOD Janna! I liked the language of this, it was believable.
    the plot thickens..I love it. Seems dear old dad had secrets of his own. 😉

    you wrote a very engaging scene.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:04 AM

      Thanks for your supportive comment, Kir! I wanted to do more description, but there was too much that needed to be revealed through dialogue…ran out of words (again!)

      • Kir Piccini February 12, 2013 / 8:17 AM

        but it was GOOD Janna. Sometimes what people are saying is better than the descriptions..hey I like both, but this was very good. 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:21 AM

          Thank you, Kir. You are so nice!

        • Kir Piccini February 12, 2013 / 8:35 AM

          just honest…and I love your writing. 🙂

        • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:43 AM

          Thank you, Kir 😳

  2. nrhatch February 11, 2013 / 1:06 PM

    Keep using those prompts to move this story forward, Janna. I’m loving it.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:05 AM

      Thanks, Nancy! I had written another story that I was going to post for this prompt instead, but someone reminded me that I left this hanging. Writing a continuation does add another dimension of challenge to the challenges, that’s for sure!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:06 AM

      Myrtle is a pain in the neck, but I have a feeling she might end up on the other side of the gossip one of these days. Thanks for reading, Phil!

  3. atrm61 February 11, 2013 / 2:30 PM

    So glad you decided to continue with this fascinating story,Janna-I love intrigue & suspense & you are doing a fab job-loved the dialogues:-)Keep it coming

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:07 AM

      Thanks so much, Atreyee! I appreciate you keeping up with this story and sharing your comments 🙂

      • atrm61 February 12, 2013 / 1:14 PM

        :-)enjoying it Janna

  4. themisanthropicmuse February 11, 2013 / 3:04 PM

    Oh no, now I *have* to know what her dad and husband are up to! Good job writing a story that keeps you engaged and wanting more.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:09 AM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants to know what’s going on, Muse 🙂 Seriously though, this story would be much easier to anticipate if I just knew the prompts early. I heard the Trifecta editors like chocolate….

  5. diannegray February 11, 2013 / 3:10 PM

    I love this! The plot thickens….:D

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:11 AM

      Thanks, Dianne! I have no idea where i’m going with this, but I’m glad you’re along for the ride 🙂

  6. Bee (@LivingOffScript) February 11, 2013 / 5:27 PM

    I’m glad you’re continuing this! But would the FBI need a subpoena for someone’s financial records? I figured they’d just go through them without even telling you. Maybe I’m just paranoid! lol

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:15 AM

      Haha! I’m sure the FBI has already snooped around, but they have to dot their i’s and cross their t’s to prevent a case from being thrown out in court over a technicality. Nevermind that they went the legal route after the fact 🙂 (Not that I’m paranoid, either!) Thanks for reading, Bee!

  7. Eric Alagan February 11, 2013 / 6:54 PM

    I am getting drawn into this – hopefully, you’ll continue.
    Cheers, Eric

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:15 AM

      I appreciate you following the story, Eric. I will continue it until there is some sort of ending.

  8. pattisj February 11, 2013 / 10:49 PM

    I need to get caught up on reading!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:16 AM

      🙂 Luckily each part is very short, Patti!

  9. kz February 11, 2013 / 11:31 PM

    more… ^^ i’m beginning to loathe that nosy neighbor of hers ^^ can’t wait to see what happens next ^^

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:18 AM

      I’m glad the story captured your interest, kz. I have a couple of story ideas, depending on the next prompt!

  10. tedstrutz February 12, 2013 / 1:24 AM

    Oh good… the story continues. the agents sat on the loveseat to her right… what a mental picture!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:20 AM

      I’m glad that helped with the scene, Tedsrutz. I had to cut out much of the description because the piece was too long 😦

  11. coyotero2112 February 12, 2013 / 8:42 AM

    JannaT – Said it before, but worth writing again…your dialogue is perfect. To make characters come alive without much exposition or description is the most difficult aspect of writing to learn, or to teach, in my experience. You got it down…good for you. Lovely.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 8:47 AM

      Thanks so much for your comment, Coyotero. It is good to have affirmation that the dialogue is believable. Stilted dialogue, or data dump conversations bug me (I found this out by reading my own stuff out loud. If a response turns into a monologue, it isn’t real. Usually after a couple sentences the other person is ready to jump in!)

  12. coyotero2112 February 12, 2013 / 9:20 AM

    It shows. I’ve also commented on how your characters cut each other off, or speak in incomplete sentences, or lose their train of thought, like real converstaions. I use punctuation in ways it wasn’t meant to be used to get converstaion looking like the jumble that they usually seem to be. And, then sometimes we want characters to be Alphas, the ones who ALWAYS have their complete say…another characterization. Why am I telling you this? You seem to have it down…maybe I’m reminding myself.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:40 PM

      Punctuation can help. I especially like ellipses for pauses (I have to be careful not to overuse them :)) Characterization is a good thing to keep in mind in speaking patterns so they don’t all ‘sound’ alike. I definitely am not an expert in dialogue, so these tips are good reminders for me as well, Coyotero.

      • coyotero2112 February 12, 2013 / 5:51 PM

        If you ever get a chance, read Celine. He used elipses in nearly every sentence. I think it drove people crazy at the time. I love them…use them all the time, as a matter of fact. All the best JannaT !

        • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:56 PM

          I’m not familiar with Celine…I’ll have to check out his writing. I like semicolons too; Vonnegut hated them. To each his own, I suppose 🙂

  13. kgwaite February 12, 2013 / 10:36 AM

    This gets more interesting with every read.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:40 PM

      Thanks, Kelly! I appreciate you following along.

  14. Annabelle February 12, 2013 / 10:45 AM

    Her financial records? The plot thickens! I like that she pushes back against the FBI agents (who are kind of being jerks) — I’d like to think I’d do the same, although I’m not sure I’m not too chicken for that.

    Looking forward to finding out what this is all about!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:42 PM

      Man, if FBI agents were in my living room, I’d probably forget my name! More details will fill in during the next few posts. Thanks for reading, Annabelle!

  15. Tara R. February 12, 2013 / 10:46 AM

    Your dialogue is spot on. It flows so naturally.

    I have a ‘Myrtle’ in my neighborhood too. Kinda creeps me out.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:44 PM

      Thanks so much, Tara. I wonder if everyone has a Myrtle? Wouldn’t it be funny if we could move all the Myrtle’s into the same neighborhood so they could just gossip about each other?

  16. yerpirate February 12, 2013 / 11:30 AM

    Perfect counterfoil, the nosy neighbour, really builds on the tension – a very nice touch to a good tale coming..

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:45 PM

      Thanks for reading, Yerpirate! I’m glad you stopped by to follow this story.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:46 PM

      If all goes well, I’d like to add more on Friday, HT!

  17. Debbie February 12, 2013 / 12:26 PM

    Good job, Janna. You’re building a very interesting story here!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:49 PM

      Thanks, Debbie! I think I remember you writing mystery/suspense…you can tell me when I goof up here (it’s bound to happen because I’m winging it :))

  18. deanabo February 12, 2013 / 1:16 PM

    The neighbor you wrote reminds me of my neighbor. I am really liking this story!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:50 PM

      It seem many people have a Myrtle. Who knew there were so many of them! Thanks for reading, Deanabo 🙂

  19. Jennifer February 12, 2013 / 1:44 PM

    Love it! I think I really like where this is going.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:50 PM

      I hope so, Jennifer…but if it takes an odd turn, feel free to say so 🙂

  20. joetwo February 12, 2013 / 4:42 PM

    Good continuation! Nicely done!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 5:50 PM

      Thanks, Joe…I appreciate you reading it!

  21. Tessa February 12, 2013 / 6:36 PM

    I liked this continuation as well. I’d faint to in the circumstances. Great job!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 10:36 PM

      Thanks for reading, Tessa! I’m sure I wouldn’t do very well in the situation, either 🙂

  22. Lumdog February 12, 2013 / 7:23 PM

    I love this story. I can’t wait to read more. Your descriptive words about the agents’ appearance and demeanor are perfect!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 10:39 PM

      Thanks, Lumdog! I’m glad the descriptions worked here…especially since I cut much of it out.

  23. agjorgenson February 12, 2013 / 8:40 PM

    Definitely have a page turner here!

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 10:40 PM

      Thanks for reading, Agjorgenson. I hope it continues to hold your interest!

  24. Katie February 12, 2013 / 8:49 PM

    The plot thickens….dear ol dad seems to be a person of interest.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 10:41 PM

      Who knows what he’s up to, Katie (except the FBI…I think they have a pretty good idea.)

  25. Imelda February 12, 2013 / 9:49 PM

    What a suspenseful write, Janna. I just wander if Darlene is as nice as Ellie, the young lady. I look forward to the next piece.

    • jannatwrites February 12, 2013 / 10:43 PM

      Ah, you remember Ellie….I haven’t visited her in a while. I do need to get back to finishing her story in novel form. We’ll have to wait and see about Darlene. (This isn’t foreshadowing…I really don’t know where this story is going :)) Thanks for reading, Imelda!

  26. Draug419 February 13, 2013 / 9:33 AM

    I’m kinda antsy–I want to know what’s going on!

  27. Jayne Martin February 13, 2013 / 10:01 AM

    Love the dialogue juxtaposition with her inner dialogue. I was completely caught up and have a feeling that Darlene will not let you go until you tell the rest of her story. I hope so anyway. Bravo, Janna!

  28. rerodan February 13, 2013 / 11:23 AM

    Great writing filled with suspense…..

  29. steph February 13, 2013 / 2:57 PM

    I’m glad you continued this and I look forward to more. The dialog is spot on, as are the descriptions of the agents. And Myrtle is a great comic relief – if comic is the right word. I have one in my very rural neighborhood. They’re everywhere.

  30. rashmenon February 13, 2013 / 10:09 PM

    And the plot thickens. Like the way you’re building up the suspense. Good work.

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