Facing Memories

Darlene stared at the crumpled-then-smoothed subpoena she’d tossed on the coffee table and contemplated her next move.  The FBI wanted her financial records.  The vortex of bad feelings emanating from that piece of paper threatened to suffocate her.  A big part of her wanted to drown in pity, but the other small part of her psyche urged her to continue.

A list.

Several minutes passed before she could convince herself to walk.  She plopped into the wobbly desk chair.  Scott was supposed to fix this.  The thought sent a new wave of emotion through her; a concoction of longing, anger and betrayal.  Darlene still couldn’t accept that her husband was missing, so it was no wonder she couldn’t grasp that her father had disappeared as well.  If Mom were still alive, she’d know what to do.  Finally, her thoughts unlocked the barrier that had dammed her tears.

Darlene blew her nose and dried her puffy eyes.  The list couldn’t wait.  She had to categorize the questions and uncertainties and exhaust the possible explanations.  The truth must be hidden in the midst of it all.  When she finally set the pencil down, she had filled two pieces of paper.

Her attention settled on one line; the thought of going back terrified her.

Before fear changed her mind, she got in the car and she drove for two hours to their cabin on the rim.  The A-frame chalet had been their break from the stresses of city life.  Scott in particular found peace from his usual restlessness while soothed by the low whistle of wind blowing through Ponderosa branches.

Darlene stopped the car in front of their beloved cabin.  She turned the ignition off and stared at the charred remains of their safe haven.  Memories of the fire came back as vivid as that night four weeks ago.  She stared at the jagged edges of the broken loft window.  Her ribs ached as she remembered her desperate leap.

For a fleeting moment, she wondered “why?”

02-18 Pines_Elk


This is a story continuation.  I wrote it in hopes that it would stand alone, but if you want to check out what’s already happened, click the links below:

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

Fourth Part (Missing)

TrifectaPicture11-1This piece was written in response to the Trifecta challenge, which was to use the following word in a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 333 words):

EXHAUST (transitive verb):  3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely; b : to try out the whole number of <exhausted all the possibilities>

If you’d like to try the challenge yourself, or view the other responses, click on the tricycle picture to link to the Trifecta site.

63 thoughts on “Facing Memories

  1. Tessa February 18, 2013 / 10:46 AM

    I liked it, but I have been following it, not sure it stands alone very well. Too many unanswered questions in my opinion.

    • jannatwrites February 18, 2013 / 11:03 AM

      Uh-oh…that wasn’t the effect I was going for! I actually tried to answer a few questions with this part – like where the fire was that had been written about in the first part and why her mom hadn’t come up before.

      Thanks for sharing your response, Tessa!

      • Tessa February 18, 2013 / 11:37 AM

        You’re welcome!

  2. deanabo February 18, 2013 / 11:08 AM

    This is a brilliant addition to your story. It keeps getting better.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:39 AM

      Thanks so much, Deanabo. I’m glad it’s holding your attention 🙂

  3. joetwo February 18, 2013 / 11:36 AM

    Nicely written!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:39 AM

      Thanks, Joe. I appreciate you taking time to read it!

  4. Annabelle February 18, 2013 / 11:52 AM

    I think I remember the other parts too well to be able to guess if this stands alone well, but the leap from the loft window is a great new detail. (Also, made me ache in sympathy.) It seems like we’re starting to get to the heart of this!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:43 AM

      It’s hard for me to look at it objectively, so I do appreciate your attempt to provide feedback on whether this stands alone or not. I had hoped the loft window filled in the mention in the first part about her leap and the smack of concrete 20 feet below. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Annabelle!

  5. yerpirate February 18, 2013 / 1:33 PM

    The story goes on…enticing I must say…I’ll be back…again ad again!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:43 AM

      Thank you, Yerpirate. I appreciate you following along with this story 🙂

  6. Brian Benoit February 18, 2013 / 3:31 PM

    “Her thoughts unlocked the barrier that had dammed her tears” – nice line, that! I started getting nervous for her, which I think is a sign you’ve done your job. Now I just wonder what happened to her husband and father – are we meant to think they died in the fire when she escaped? (Tell me if I’m way off base haha)

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:47 AM

      Well, I plan to give more clues about the husband in the next part. As for father…that will have to come later (mainly because I’m still working that one out in my head :))

      Thanks for reading and sharing your guess on the story, Brian!

  7. Michael February 18, 2013 / 4:00 PM

    This story’s really getting to me…in a good way, I mean. I really want to know what happens next, and I do hope Darlene makes it through all this okay.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:48 AM

      Thanks, Michael! It’s good to know that the story is retaining interest. I’ll try not to drag it out too long 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:48 AM

      I appreciate you taking time to read the segments leading up to this one, Sam. I hope to continue this with the next prompt!

  8. nrhatch February 18, 2013 / 7:27 PM

    Still enjoying it, Janna. Write on!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:49 AM

      Thanks, Nancy! I’m glad you’re still interested in it 🙂

  9. diannegray February 18, 2013 / 7:47 PM

    I love the cliff-hangers and don’t agree with Tessa at all. I’m loving the story! 😀

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:49 AM

      Thanks for weighing in with your opinion, Dianne! I appreciate you following the story.

  10. chlost February 18, 2013 / 8:47 PM

    Well, I haven’t read the other parts. This would almost stand alone, except that the Why at the end seems too big a cliff hanger. It feels as though there is still so much to learn about her situation.
    Btw, we have a real life missing person in our family, so it kind of hit home.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:51 AM

      I’m sorry to hear you have a missing person in your family, Chlost. That would be a horrible feeling – not knowing. Thank you for sharing your reaction to the story. The ‘why’ was meant to be open-ended…why did she bother jumping, why the fire, etc. Open-ended isn’t always good, though 🙂

  11. Eric Alagan February 18, 2013 / 9:02 PM

    First off, this sentence impressed me – “The vortex of bad feelings emanating from that piece of paper threatened to suffocate her”. Beautiful, Janna.

    Your writing draws us to share Darlene’s turmoil and start rooting for her – I’m sure she will not turn out to be the “bad guy”.

    As a standalone – yes, certainly. But having read all the previous episodes, I would rather you keep going.

    All the best with the next episode (?)

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:52 AM

      Thanks, Eric! Yes, I’ll definitely continue this (at least until there is some sort of suitable ending.) It would be mean (and annoying) to build up the story and never answer the main questions 🙂

  12. kz February 18, 2013 / 9:47 PM

    really enjoy following this.. great job. i think it stands alone quite well. but of course, makes me wanna know more ^^

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:53 AM

      I’m glad you’re continuing to follow the story, Kz. Thanks for sharing your comment!

  13. Draug419 February 19, 2013 / 7:36 AM

    Still going strong (:

  14. Bee February 19, 2013 / 9:04 AM

    Since I started linking to Trifecta, I’ve been following this story, so it’s kind of hard for me to tell whether or not it can stand alone. I’m certainly enjoying it though!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:54 AM

      I appreciate your input as to whether this stands alone or not. It’s too difficult for me to tell 🙂 Thanks for continuing to follow along, Bee!

  15. Debbie February 19, 2013 / 9:11 AM

    Nice installment, Janna. The suspense is building — keep it up!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:54 AM

      I appreciate your encouragement, Debbie.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:55 AM

      Thanks, Kelly. I hope the next installments continue to retain interest in the story.

  16. Sandra February 19, 2013 / 10:19 AM

    Oh, the suspense! The more answers you give us, the more questions we have! I really enjoy reading your fiction, Janna. It is something I am not very good at and want to learn more of!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 5:57 AM

      I bet you could write fiction, Sandra. I hope you give it a shot! I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts on the story (and my writing). Thank you 🙂

  17. Sandra February 19, 2013 / 11:27 AM

    Very intriguing. Looking forward to the next instalments.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 10:54 PM

      Thanks, Sandra – I’m glad you stopped by to read it!

  18. Dawn Lamond February 19, 2013 / 11:38 AM

    Mm, that broken window says a lot…sounds like she’s in the fire again ! Well done 😀

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 10:58 PM

      Her memories are just as vivid as when she lived through it the first time. Thanks for reading, Dawn!

  19. pattisj February 19, 2013 / 11:58 AM

    You are a writer who keeps us turning pages long after we should have been in bed.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 10:59 PM

      What a nice compliment, Patti – thank you 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 11:00 PM

      Thanks for your patience in keeping with the story as it unfolds, Phil!

  20. Imelda February 19, 2013 / 3:37 PM

    I like the way you describe her. I can just see her red-rimmed eyes and puffy nose, hear her sniffing and all. Keep this story coming. I wonder what will happen next and where this will go. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 11:01 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read and share your thoughts, Imelda 🙂

  21. KymmInBarcelona February 19, 2013 / 3:48 PM

    Yeah, that feeling of not having anyone to fix things for you. Cut to the quick.

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 11:10 PM

      Glad you stopped by, Kymm. It’s nice to have at least one person we can count on.

  22. Lumdog February 19, 2013 / 6:08 PM

    I’m enjoying this story. Well done. Need more! 😉

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 11:11 PM

      I’m glad you’re liking the story, Lumdog. I appreciate you taking time to follow it!

    • jannatwrites February 20, 2013 / 10:53 PM

      Thanks for the nomination, Paula – I appreciate it!

  23. Trifecta (@trifectawriting) February 21, 2013 / 12:27 AM

    This kept my interest so well I had to go back and search for the word. I love it when that happens.

  24. atrm61 February 21, 2013 / 7:20 AM

    Janna,this is going forward so smoothly-loved every bit of it but my favourite was the second para-how we depend on the people we love & are close to:-)Great ending-am hooked to this one-wondering where this is all leading-can’t wait for the next part:-)

    • jannatwrites February 21, 2013 / 11:33 PM

      Thanks for continuing to read, Atreyee! I have some ideas for the story but may have to shorten it or I could be posting on this for six months 😉

      • atrm61 February 22, 2013 / 2:02 AM

        And that’s a bad idea -posting for six months?lol.Well,it’s your story & you have every right to lengthen or shorten it-I as a reader,I will just sit back,relax & read for pleasure-yay:-)

  25. tedstrutz February 21, 2013 / 8:58 AM

    I still think Scott tried to kill her. And what’s with the F.B.I., this must be serious, and her missing father? Where’s Mom when you need her… oh, that’s right, she’s dead. Probably murdered. So the clue is the cabin… the item on the list. I’m ready for some action, Janna T.

    • jannatwrites February 21, 2013 / 11:35 PM

      We’ll get to some action here soon, Tedsrutz (but probably not on a 33-word prompt :)) You’ve got the gist of what’s going on so far!

  26. Tina February 22, 2013 / 7:50 AM

    Well darn it! Are those family members missing, or in hiding? Such desolation in your protagonist! I want to help her. Obviously I have become attached!

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