Silence mingled with traces of gunpowder in the aftermath of the errant gunshot.  Jeff had wiggled himself into a sitting position and slumped against the wall, his hands still bound behind his back.

Jeff broke the silence.  “Dolly, give me the gun.  We both know this isn’t you.”

“You wrecked our family.  The accusations ruined my parents’ marriage.  My mother died alone because of you.”

Jeff smiled, as if recalling a fond memory.  “She wasn’t alone.”

“What are you saying?”

Jeff hesitated, glancing at the gun.  Darlene removed her finger from the trigger.

“The only person who loved your mother more than you is me.”

“You went to college with my father.  You were business partners.  I was raised to call you ‘uncle.’  How could you…?”

“All I sought was the truth.  I’m still trying to find it.  Your father is a dangerous man and I’ve got proof, if you’ll let me go.”

Darlene jabbed the barrel of the gun toward Jeff.  “No!  No!  You’re trying to infect my memories of my father with lies.  I won’t let you do this.”

“Your father doesn’t deserve vindication.  He hasn’t even talked to you for over eight months.”

“How did you know that?”  Jeff’s crooked smile made Darlene shiver and the realization settled deep in her stomach.  “You know where he is…”

Jeff shrugged.  “Sometimes disappearance is permanent.”

“Or the dead can rise,” Darlene said flatly.

He narrowed his eyes.  “So are you going to shoot me?”

“You’ve already been declared dead.”  Darlene furrowed her brow.  Maybe her father was alive.  Jeff knew.   Her shoulders slumped.  “You should die,” she muttered.

“But you can’t pull the trigger.”

“I’ll let the police have you.”

Darlene wanted to grab the rest of Scott’s files, but didn’t want to risk walking by Jeff.  She’d have to come back.  She slipped her cell phone from her pocket.  Two signal bars.  She dialed 9-1-1 and an operator answered.

“I have an intruder in my home.  Please dispatch a deputy.”


TrifectaPicture11-1Written in response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which was to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 332) using the following word/definition:

INFECT:  (a) contaminate, corrupt <the inflated writing that infects such stories>   (b) to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support <trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm>

NOTE:  this is a community-voted challenge, which means that when the challenge closes at 8PM Eastern time on Thursday, voting opens on Trifecta’s site for twelve hours so you can vote for your 3 favorite responses.  Check it out if you can (click on the tricycle picture to go to their site) – you’re bound to find something you like :))


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)

71 thoughts on “Skeletons

  1. joetwo March 18, 2013 / 9:05 AM

    Will she listen to him? Will she not? The suspense is killing me!

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:40 AM

      Well, she still has a chance to shoot him, but maybe she won’t 🙂 Thanks for reading, Joe!

  2. nrhatch March 18, 2013 / 9:18 AM

    Lovely . . . lovely . . . lovely!

    I am SO enjoying this. 😀

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:41 AM

      Thanks, Nancy! I appreciate you following the story and sharing your thoughts on it.

  3. Katie March 18, 2013 / 10:32 AM

    I am following this with great interest.Good tension being built here.l

  4. Intarsia Jones March 18, 2013 / 11:25 AM

    Dialog is so difficult to get right. You really excelled here!

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:42 AM

      There was a lot in this one, so I’d hoped it flowed okay. Thanks for reading, Intarsia!

  5. Debbie March 18, 2013 / 11:41 AM

    I read this, as I usually do, without checking to see the Trifecta word. When I came to your sentence about “infecting” her memories with lies, I knew that was the challenge word. It just kind of stuck out in an awkward way for me. Probably because I usually think of “infection” as having something to do with germs. Still, interesting installment, and I can hardly wait to see what happens next!

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:43 AM

      Yeah, some of the words are harder to work in than others. When I do the longer version of this, if I use this part, I would change it to “poison.” Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction to it, Debbie!

      • philosophermouseofthehedge March 30, 2013 / 3:45 PM

        That word isn’t quite right – (but you had to stick it in somewhere – so you get a pass)
        Great story
        “Jeff smiled, as if recalling a fond memory”…the cad! You’re so good at constructing characters and making the reader form opinions about them.

  6. deanabo March 18, 2013 / 3:18 PM

    I adore this story. Cant wait to read more.

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:44 AM

      I appreciate you following the story, Deana – thanks!

  7. unevenstevencu March 18, 2013 / 11:14 PM

    intriguing mystery

  8. TheImaginator March 19, 2013 / 2:42 AM

    Helluva story packed in there, lots left unsaid; intriguing.

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:46 AM

      As with most challenges, I could have easily doubled the word count 🙂 That being said, I do enjoy the challenge of trying to say more with less. Thanks for reading, TheImaginator!

  9. ramblingsfromamum March 19, 2013 / 3:53 AM

    Janna was this a question “You know where he is.” I got a tad lost just here. A intriguing continuation that leaves us pondering the outcome. Great read. 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:49 AM

      You’re right, Ramblings – I don’t think that was entirely clear. I made a couple changes that I think help (took me up to 332 words, so it still counts :)) Here’s the new wording:

      Jeff’s crooked smile made Darlene shiver and the realization settled deep in her stomach. “You know where he is…”

      I appreciate the feedback/reaction!

      • ramblingsfromamum March 22, 2013 / 4:45 AM

        I am glad you took it in the context that it was given, I hate people correcting what I write, but without having that ? I was drawn to it and puzzled and felt I should comment. Thank you for being so understanding.

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:51 AM

      Thanks for reading, Sam. I do hope to continue with next Monday’s prompt 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 6:52 AM

      Thanks for continuing to follow the story, Thefictionvixen!

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 10:30 PM

      Thanks, Dianne! I really wish I had more time to write this one out…there are so many possible outcomes here.

  10. rangewriter March 19, 2013 / 4:22 PM

    What a marvelously complex story you wove in such few words.

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 10:31 PM

      Thanks, Rangewriter. I appreciate you stopping by to read it!

  11. Lumdog March 19, 2013 / 6:45 PM

    I’m loving this story. Sounds like a novel in the making.

    • jannatwrites March 19, 2013 / 10:32 PM

      I think it could be a longer story too, Lumdog. Need. More. Time. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  12. habibadanyal March 20, 2013 / 4:31 AM

    Is this another trifecta-prompt-related series? Will have to go back and check.

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:16 AM

      Yes, I’ve Started another series, Habiba. I’m not sure how long this one will go 🙂

  13. 2blu2btru March 20, 2013 / 5:01 AM

    Hey, Janna! I’ve been following Darlene’s story from the beginning. I love to see your evolution as a writer and how much you can convey with a few words. I’m excited to see what happens next with Darlene. 😀

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:19 AM

      Thanks so much, Trublu! I had no idea you were reading them- I appreciate your encouragement! I hope your marriage book project is still going well.

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:21 AM

      Thanks! I appreciate you reading, Renee 🙂

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:26 AM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, H.L.!

  14. Draug419 March 20, 2013 / 7:21 PM

    I’m sure in the time before the deputy arrives, he can convince her (:

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:27 AM

      You’re right, Draug! There is time for several things to happen 🙂

  15. Christine March 20, 2013 / 8:14 PM

    This keeps getting better and better, Janna. Your writing is so clean – I love it!

    • jannatwrites March 21, 2013 / 7:30 AM

      I’m happy you stopped by to read it…and that you are liking it 🙂 Thanks, Christine!

  16. Tara R. March 21, 2013 / 9:00 AM

    There seems to be something more than tension between these characters. That makes the story that much more intriguing, waiting to see how their interaction plays out.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:33 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read this part, Tara!

  17. humanTriumphant March 21, 2013 / 11:23 AM

    this is so good, as the most difficult thing for a child to do is see his/her parent in a different light than what the child-mind can fathom

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:34 PM

      I agree, HT. It can be shocking to find out a parent is not who we thought they were.

  18. Sini March 21, 2013 / 11:54 AM

    I wanted to hear the secret of the father…this ended on a high the season finale of drama series…gud job

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:35 PM

      🙂 Thanks for reading, Sini – I’m glad you liked the ending.

  19. atrm61 March 21, 2013 / 2:08 PM

    Once again you have continued to shine Janna-excellent dialogues & lovely flow,with a tense end,loved it:-)Waiting for the next with bated breath

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:36 PM

      You are very kind, Atreyee! I’m glad the story is holding your interest. I do have to figure out how to tie the ends up before the series gets unwieldy, though 🙂

      • atrm61 March 28, 2013 / 12:56 PM

        Nah Janna,you know you are doing a fantastic job:-)Yes, I guess sometimes it does get difficult to end ac story specially when it keeps flowing as smoothly as this but am sure when the time is ripe,you will know it:-)

        • jannatwrites March 29, 2013 / 1:14 PM

          You are so nice, Atreyee! My other problem is trying to end the story logically, but not give away all the twists, in case I actually do make this a longer piece.

        • atrm61 March 31, 2013 / 3:22 AM

          Am sure you will do an excellent job Janna:-)

        • jannatwrites March 31, 2013 / 11:05 PM

          Thank you, Atreyee!

        • atrm61 March 31, 2013 / 11:07 PM


  20. Neetika March 21, 2013 / 6:03 PM

    You really do have a way with dialogues… This was very well written. I’m eagerly waiting to know what happens next.

  21. Kitty Sarkozy March 21, 2013 / 8:45 PM

    Each installment of this story is better and better, very tense.

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:37 PM

      Thanks, Kitty. I’m glad the tension comes through!

  22. pattisj March 23, 2013 / 12:41 PM

    You keep taking us further out on the limb, Janna. Dangling until your next installment…

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:37 PM

      Thanks, Patti! I’m glad you stopped by to read it.

  23. Eric Alagan March 25, 2013 / 7:01 AM

    Strange, I did not receive notification of your post. Glad that I came looking.

    The story remains gripping. Well done Janna.

    Peace, Eric

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:38 PM

      Hmmm….I don’t know what happened there, Eric. I’m glad you stopped by to check for it then!

  24. Sandra March 25, 2013 / 9:59 AM

    Hi, Janna! I’m finally all caught up with your blog posts. This story is still as suspenseful as it started! I’m looking forward to seeing answers to all these questions arising.

    I hope things are well with you. I see that you’ve been quiet on the blog for a little while (like I have!). Hopefully it’s due to spring break and vacationing rather than something “not so relaxing”! I’m just busy with subbing and life in general. Happy Spring!

    • jannatwrites March 25, 2013 / 10:41 PM

      I can relate to the getting behind and need to catch up (I know I have at least one post of yours in my mailbox.)

      Last week was a bit of a rough one…if I get somewhat caught up on reading, I might write a post about it later this week. If not, I might wait longer and perhaps I can laugh at it by then 🙂

      Your life is very busy, Sandra, so I can understand why you haven’t been around much. That makes me even happier that you were able to visit here!

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