The Key

“Two coffees, black, and one water in a warmed glass with no ice and two wedges of lemon,” Darlene said as she handed the FBI agents coffee, and the water to Mrs. Crawford.  Though grateful that Myrtle saved her life, she couldn’t help but think that the picky drink order suited her personality well.

“Mrs. Crawford, think back to last night.  Tell us everything you remember.”

Darlene leaned back in the chair.  This will take a while.

Myrtle closed her eyes.  Her breathing slowed and a slight smile tugged on one corner of her mouth.  Each hand rested on a knee, palm up with her index finger and thumb touching.

The agents leaned forward in anticipation, pens ready above steno pads.

Darlene sipped her own glass of water in hopes of averting laughter.

After two minutes, the younger agent, Haversill, looked to the more seasoned agent.  Mulroney shook his head.  They waited.

Darlene wondered if Myrtle was summoning the gods of gossip to help her recall details that no mortal person could possibly remember.   The expression on her face made it look like she’d entered some kind of ecstasy or enlightenment.

“My knee hurt so I had gone to bed early.  My left knee always aches during monsoon weather,” Myrtle said in a low voice.

They asked for everything, Darlene thought.

Twenty-five minutes later, Myrtle opened her eyes, her recollection of last night complete.  She winked at Mulroney.  “You boys are even more handsome up close.”

“Oh, uh.  Okay,” Agent Mulroney said.

“I-I found something that might help you.”

Both agents turned to Darlene.

She drew out her exhale and then handed them the paper she’d lifted from Jeff’s pocket when he was unconscious on the floor of her cabin.  She kept a copy in her pocket.

Mulroney took the paper and unfolded it.  He stared, brow furrowed.  Several minutes passed before he showed a flicker of understanding.  “Where did you get this?”

Darlene sighed.  “It’s a long story.”

“This is key evidence.”


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 333- again) using the following word/definition:

ECSTASY (noun):  trance; especially: a mystic or prophetic trance

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)     Twelfth Part (Neighborhood’s Watch)


84 thoughts on “The Key

  1. The Real Cie April 22, 2013 / 9:34 AM

    I would enjoy reading more of this story.

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:19 PM

      Thank you so much for stopping by to read it, The Real Cie. I’ve been adding to the story each week for many weeks now…hope you do come back to read more 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:21 PM

      I’m glad she’s entertaining, HT. She’s becoming a bigger part of the story than I thought when I first introduced her early on. I guess that’s what happens when the story is run by prompts 🙂

      • humanTriumphant April 23, 2013 / 2:12 AM

        I’m often amazed at how some particular character can grab a story before you’ve even realized what he/she has done. It’s fascinating.

        • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 6:21 PM

          It really is fun when that happens, HT 🙂

  2. Jennifer Dillon April 22, 2013 / 10:41 AM

    I love that Myrtle is messing with them and flirting!

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:22 PM

      She’s a bold one, Jennifer! She likes the attention and will milk it however she can.

  3. nrhatch April 22, 2013 / 11:12 AM

    Myrtle is very mindful. 😉

    Still loving it!

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:22 PM

      She is…something else, Nancy! I’m glad you are liking this story. Now, if I could only figure out an ending 😀

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 22, 2013 / 11:42 AM

    I would hate to be interrogating someone like that… love her cool attitude.. but I guess yoga is good to know.

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:24 PM

      She would probably toy with you, Bjorn! Good thing she only exists in the story 🙂

  5. philosophermouseofthehedge April 22, 2013 / 11:48 AM

    Starting with these little sensory exact details! “Two coffees, black, and one water in a warmed glass with no ice and two wedges of lemon,” Excellent way to draw reader in.
    And describing the way she sips her water to keep from laughing
    What a hilarious scene you painted.
    And then that few lines with the big ending.
    wonderful read for a Monday, thanks

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:26 PM

      Your comment made my day, Phil! (Not bad for a Monday :)) Thanks for taking the time to point out what parts of the story you liked best. I’ve been trying to pay attention to opening lines- to make them interesting, so I’m pleased that this one worked for you.

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:27 PM

      Thanks, Widdershins! My goal this week is to get that page set up…I’ll check the page set up on your blog first, though.

  6. Tessa April 22, 2013 / 2:10 PM

    I love Darlene and Myrtle. Great story

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:28 PM

      Thanks, Tessa! I appreciate you reading the story. I’m sure there will be more Myrtle…if she has anything to say about it.

  7. Michael April 22, 2013 / 2:32 PM

    The gods of gossip seem like they’d be interesting deities. 😛

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:28 PM

      No one knows those gods better than Myrtle (except maybe her friend, Mrs. Anderson.)

  8. Draug419 April 22, 2013 / 7:13 PM

    Nice spirit work 😉 Cool continuation!

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:29 PM

      This word definition didn’t come easily for me. Thanks for continuing to read the story, Draug!

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:29 PM

      🙂 Thanks, Dianne! I’m sure she’ll be back soon.

  9. Eric Alagan April 22, 2013 / 8:28 PM

    I enjoyed that “Myrtle” scene – you squeezed that out well Janna and brought out a chuckle. I think that “Myrtle” character has a lot of meat and don’t be surprised that sometimes a supporting character actually steals the thunder. Very well written. Thanks, Eric

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:32 PM

      Your comment is funny because as I wrote this, more possibilities came to mind where Myrtle is a bit more than a side dish. I really should be plotting this out…I’m having a heck of time remembering the bread crumbs I’ve left so far! Thanks for your comment, Eric 🙂

  10. Sandra April 22, 2013 / 8:38 PM

    Love your characterization of Myrtle! Now I wonder how many parts this story will in fact end up with, as it gets more intriguing and better with each “part”!

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:35 PM

      I’ve been thinking about how to ‘end’ the blog version of the story so I can do the bigger story and not have the entire plot revealed. I’ve got nothing so far 🙂 I’m going to see if I can wrap it up in the next few weeks.

  11. Scriptor Obscura April 22, 2013 / 9:13 PM

    Turning into a novel, hm?

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:36 PM

      Ha, just about (but not intentionally.) It’s a fun story to write, though 🙂

      • Scriptor Obscura April 22, 2013 / 11:14 PM

        Maybe you wanna publish it when its done? You can self-publish, maybe. Why not. Might be worth a try. You should do it.

        • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 6:20 PM

          It’s something I’m thinking about, Scriptor. We’ll see 🙂

  12. pattisj April 22, 2013 / 9:48 PM

    I wanted to read the note, too! 🙂

  13. Judith April 22, 2013 / 9:48 PM

    I love Myrtle and think I know a few Myrtles. 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 22, 2013 / 10:38 PM

      Thanks for reading, Judith. I’m glad you like Myrtle- she’s been fun to write 🙂

  14. Sandra April 23, 2013 / 2:54 AM

    The detail in this is terrific. Loving it.

  15. KymmInBarcelona April 23, 2013 / 7:53 AM

    Darlene had a bit of fun today. Love Myrtle summoning the gods of gossip.

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 6:23 PM

      I’m glad you liked that part, Kymm. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Linda Vernon April 23, 2013 / 11:05 AM

    I love the way you sum Myrtle up in her drink order. I thought I was picky too. It says so much about her so quickly! 😀

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      Thanks, Linda. I’m glad that line has served its purpose!

  17. Debbie April 23, 2013 / 11:48 AM

    Darlene and Myrtle make a great duo, Janna. Keep up the good work!

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Debbie. I appreciate you following the story 🙂

  18. steph April 23, 2013 / 2:44 PM

    Love the way you leave us with a cliffhanger with each 333 words. Well done! The story is involving. I’m no different from anyone else – I want more!

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:06 PM

      It is so encouraging to read comments that you want to see more of the story, Steph. Thanks for continuing to follow along!

  19. ann bennett April 23, 2013 / 3:53 PM

    The water in a warmed glass with lemon, what a way to build character. I’m glad you put links for the other parts of the story.

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:09 PM

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment on the story, Ann!

  20. Thomas Marlowe April 24, 2013 / 4:01 AM

    Love the details – the picky drink is so revelatory of character – great work

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:10 PM

      Thanks, Thomas – I appreciate you reading the story,

  21. Tara R. April 24, 2013 / 10:37 AM

    Myrtle is a great character. Her quirky mannerisms are a fun addition to the story.

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:10 PM

      Thanks, Tara! She was unexpected, but I’m having fun with her 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:11 PM

      Yay! I’m glad you liked this part, Connor!

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:12 PM

      I appreciate your kind compliment, Diane – thank you 🙂

  22. Valerie April 24, 2013 / 3:52 PM

    Oh Myrtle and that troublesome knee of hers! What a great character! I love this story, too!

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:13 PM

      🙂 I’m sure they got much more than they expected in the questioning. I’m glad you’re liking the story, Valerie – thanks for reading!

  23. agjorgenson April 24, 2013 / 7:19 PM

    A nice balance of description and narration. Looking forward to more!

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:14 PM

      Thanks for continuing to keep up with the story, Allen!

  24. Imelda April 24, 2013 / 7:30 PM

    I love the bit of humor that mitigated the suspense. Nice gripping writng, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 24, 2013 / 8:15 PM

      I think I was in a bit of a silly mood when I wrote this, Imelda. I’m glad the humor came across, even though a visit from the FBI is a serious thing L)

  25. DonettaS April 24, 2013 / 11:17 PM

    I giggled a little myself about her sipping her water to avert laughter. I could picture it and Myrtle. 🙂 very good!!

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 7:34 AM

      I like that it got a reaction from you, Donetta! Thanks for leaving your thoughts here 🙂

  26. BCIJo (aka Joanne Edith) April 25, 2013 / 4:24 AM

    Your “breadcrumbs” are more appetizing than some fully baked loaves. Enjoyable reading!

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 7:34 AM

      Your comment made me happy, Joanne! I’m really glad you are liking the story 😀

  27. Suzanne April 25, 2013 / 4:56 AM

    Loving this story Janna! That Myrtle is hilarious — “summoning the gods of gossip” is priceless! Can’t wait to see what happens next.

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 7:36 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Suzanne! I appreciate you continuing to follow the story week after week 🙂

  28. Lumdog April 25, 2013 / 5:02 AM

    Love this story. So well written. Your description of Myrtke was just perfect too! 🙂

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 7:36 AM

      🙂 I’m glad you are liking the story, Lumdog. I’ll try to keep it interesting 🙂

  29. Renee TennisMcKinley (@2old2tap) April 25, 2013 / 5:43 AM

    Once again, I love Myrtle! And, key evidence? I missed the lifting from Jeff’s pocket. I’ll have to go back and read again. So that I’m ready for the next part.

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 7:40 AM

      She took some papers and keys in part 7 when she was searching for Jeff’s ID (I had to re-read some of it to remember that.) It’s so hard to remember details when the story is strung out over many weeks. I appreciate you reading, Renee.

  30. kdillmanjones April 25, 2013 / 7:59 AM

    “gods of gossip” – nice line!

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 11:43 PM

      Thanks! Appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  31. Lance April 25, 2013 / 2:11 PM

    So many good lines. I’m almost caught up with this story. I like Darlene’s personality. You write her with such a natural appeal. I feel like I know her. More please.

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 11:48 PM

      Thanks, Lance! I’m glad that Darlene is believable and that you are liking the story. I appreciate you keeping up with the story.

  32. Jennifer April 25, 2013 / 2:17 PM

    I need to remember to take the time to go back through and read all of the parts.

    • jannatwrites April 25, 2013 / 11:52 PM

      I’m glad you stopped by, Jennifer. Thanks for taking time to read!

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