Neighborhood’s Watch

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 🙂


86 thoughts on “Neighborhood’s Watch

  1. nrhatch April 15, 2013 / 10:27 AM

    Yay for Myrtle!

    I wondered if it would be Scott or her father.

    • jannatwrites 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. Debbie 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!

    • jannatwrites 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!

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:28 PM

      Outta the park, Widdershins! She’s still got a lot left in her.

  3. diannegray April 15, 2013 / 1:46 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:29 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:30 PM

      Thanks for rooting for “Team Myrtle”, Patti!

  4. Maggie April 15, 2013 / 2:10 PM

    So much intrique! Captivating story.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:30 PM

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

  5. Michael April 15, 2013 / 2:24 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:31 PM

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

    • jannatwrites 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!

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:32 PM

      I’m glad you stopped by to read it, Diane – thanks!

  6. Sandra 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.

    • jannatwrites 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??)

  7. Eric Alagan 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

    • jannatwrites 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!

  8. humanTriumphant April 15, 2013 / 6:22 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:40 PM

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

  9. Marylin Warner April 15, 2013 / 8:06 PM

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

    • jannatwrites 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.

  10. Nandini Godara April 15, 2013 / 9:33 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:41 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 10:42 PM

      Thanks so much, Megan – I appreciate you reading it!

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2013 / 11:00 PM

      Great! I like that it’s holding your interest, Yarnspinnerr 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:17 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:18 PM

      Myrtle is a quirky lady – I’m glad you like her, Renee!

  11. Draug419 April 16, 2013 / 9:12 AM

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

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:18 PM

      Myrtle might just give lessons, Draug 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  12. Valerie April 16, 2013 / 9:25 AM

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

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:19 PM

      Thanks, Valerie! I’m glad you enjoyed Myrtle 🙂

  13. Tara R. April 16, 2013 / 10:27 AM

    Another great twist! Just keeps getting better.

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:19 PM

      I’m glad it’s keeping your interest, Tara. Thanks!

  14. Sean 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.

    • jannatwrites 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!

  15. stankmeaner April 16, 2013 / 11:52 AM

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

    • jannatwrites April 16, 2013 / 8:22 PM

      I’m so glad you found it entertaining, Stankmeaner. Thanks for reading!

  16. steph 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!

    • jannatwrites 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!

  17. lumdog (@lumdog2012) 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.

    • jannatwrites 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!

  18. Brian Benoit 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)

    • jannatwrites 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 🙂

  19. unevenstevencu April 16, 2013 / 11:20 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 17, 2013 / 9:08 AM

      Thanks, Unevensteven – I appreciate you taking time to read them!

  20. KymmInBarcelonaK April 17, 2013 / 6:13 AM

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

    • jannatwrites 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!

  21. Imelda April 17, 2013 / 10:28 AM

    Oh my! I want to know more! Good writing as always, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 18, 2013 / 12:00 PM

      Thanks, Imelda! I’m glad you enjoyed this part.

  22. Jennifer Dillon 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!

    • jannatwrites April 18, 2013 / 12:01 PM

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

  23. atrm61 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 😀

    • jannatwrites 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.

      • atrm61 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 😛

        • jannatwrites 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? 🙂

        • atrm61 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:-)

        • jannatwrites 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)!

  24. Gina April 18, 2013 / 4:26 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2013 / 8:32 AM

      At least she doesn’t appear to be arthritic 🙂 Thanks for reading, Gina!

  25. BCIJo (aka Joanne Edith) 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”.

    • jannatwrites 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!

  26. Bianca 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!

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2013 / 8:27 PM

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

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2013 / 8:28 PM

      Thanks, H.L., I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  27. Tessa May 7, 2013 / 3:36 PM

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

    • jannatwrites 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.

      • Tessa May 10, 2013 / 2:39 PM

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

        • jannatwrites May 11, 2013 / 10:34 AM

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

        • Tessa May 12, 2013 / 11:18 AM

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

        • jannatwrites May 12, 2013 / 11:31 PM

          Well, we’ll see how it plays out 🙂

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