In Custody

Darlene stared at her closed blinds, knowing full well that Myrtle Crawford’s gaze hadn’t strayed from her window.  A part of her felt she should talk to her neighbor, but what could she say, really? I know you served fourteen years for killing your cheating husband with a baseball bat?  Since you killed my husband, I’m afraid you might be a serial killer? 

She couldn’t ignore that Myrtle saved her life, though.  Darlene knew in her heart that Scott would’ve killed her.  She shivered when she recalled the coldness of the eyes showing through the holes of the dark ski mask that night.  Her blood chilled when she remembered how she almost died in that cabin fire two months ago.  The police hadn’t said, but Darlene suspected that was Scott, too.  But why?  She had to know something she didn’t even realize she knew.

A car door interrupted Darlene’s thoughts.  She heard another slam, followed by the clack of deliberate footsteps on concrete.  She peeked through the blinds.  The black Lincoln again; this time in front of Myrtle’s house.  Mulroney and Haversill strode up Myrtle’s walk.  Puzzled, she ran to the front door.


The FBI agents stopped and turned to her.

“Did you figure out that note?” Darlene asked, running barefoot toward them.

Mulroney shrugged.  “We aren’t at liberty to discuss with you.”

“Why are you at Mrs. Crawford’s house?”

“That doesn’t concern you either,” Haversill said.

The agents continued up Myrtle’s walk and Darlene stood in Myrtle’s lawn unable to move.

Myrtle opened the door. “Hi, boys,” she said with a faint smile.

“Mrs. Crawford, you are under arrest for the murder of Scott Whitman.  We’d also like to question you about the disappearance of Andrew Moritz,” Mulroney said.

“Myrtle didn’t do anything to my father!”

Darlene’s words dissipated without acknowledgement.  Haversill held Myrtle’s handcuffed wrists.

Myrtle looked at Darlene.  “Please feed my cats.”  She emphasized the word feed and her eyes implied deeper meaning.

Darlene had no idea.


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 331) using the following word/definition:

DELIBERATE:  slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>

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!)


I’m back to Darlene’s point of view in this continuation of Darlene’s Story.  Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks for stopping by!


89 thoughts on “In Custody

  1. Colline May 13, 2013 / 9:07 AM

    Reading this just makes me want to know the whole story

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:35 PM

      I’m glad it held your interest, Colline. Thanks for stopping by to read it 🙂

  2. Tara R. May 13, 2013 / 9:51 AM

    Each installment just makes me want more for this story.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:36 PM

      I wish I could reveal more in each segment, and move the story along faster. Thanks for reading, Tara!

  3. coyotero2112 May 13, 2013 / 9:53 AM

    Good work. Haven’t been up-to-date lately…computer problems at the end of the line. I post as fast as I can, if I can, then the connect goes for a couple of days. Going to go back and see a bit of what’s been going on. Always find something interesting to read on your site.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:38 PM

      Well, I appreciate you using some of your precious internet time to read my blog, Coyotero. I hope you did find something interesting during your visit here 🙂

      • coyotero2112 May 15, 2013 / 7:10 AM

        Always do. Right after I wrote that – zip, fizzle, error message, black screen. Got a “real” person from the state communications provider, and he fixed me good. Back on my catch-up trek.

        • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:19 PM

          That would sure be frustrating, Coyotero! Glad things are humming again 🙂

  4. Widdershins May 13, 2013 / 10:16 AM

    Hm-m … we wonders what’s in the cat food, don’t we, my Precioussss.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:40 PM

      I’ve got about a week to figure that out, Widdershins! Thanks for continuing to follow the story 🙂

  5. nrhatch May 13, 2013 / 10:28 AM

    Wonderful installment, Janna. I wonder if this short story is going to become a full blown novel? It’s definitely headed in that direction.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:41 PM

      In my mind, I think it could be, Nancy. Problem is getting the story out of my head into a readable story!

  6. Sean May 13, 2013 / 10:59 AM

    Enjoyed reading this installment. You made good use of the amount of words you had and to keep the story flowing in a means where it did not feel truncated. I’m guessing that you wanted to add more in the area of when the FBI showed up but couldn’t. Of course the last part about feed brought to mind Scooby Doo and the clue that they found.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:43 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sean! When I wrote this, it came in at 470 words, so I did have to do a bit of cutting. I tried to leave the important parts alone, though. I’ll have to figure out the cat feeding part…I haven’t thought that all the way through, yet 🙂

  7. AR Neal May 13, 2013 / 12:39 PM

    Hm…creepy neighbor begs me to feed her animal? No way I’m getting close to her 😉

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:44 PM

      Hahaha! After reading your story this week, I’d have to agree that it’s best to stay away from creepy neighbors, AR!

  8. Michael May 13, 2013 / 1:39 PM

    Gasp. The plot thickens! And they got Myrtle! Oh no!

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:45 PM

      Yep, they got Myrtle. But for how long? 🙂 Thanks for following along, Michael!

  9. pattisj May 13, 2013 / 10:05 PM

    Maybe something is hidden in the cat food? We’d better go look!

  10. Eric Alagan May 14, 2013 / 6:51 AM

    I like to know what the agents have on Myrtle.

    Darlene should check out the cat food before feeding the cats – or she might just be arrested for caticide (is there such a word)

    I’ll wait for next week 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:48 PM

      In time, we’ll find out more about the disappearance of Darlene’s father. Caticide – haha! Good one, Eric 🙂

  11. christina May 14, 2013 / 7:49 AM

    i’m definitely interested in reading more. great writing.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:49 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Christina! I’ve been writing this one for several weeks and suspect there will be several more before I find a suitable ending.

  12. Lyssa Medana May 14, 2013 / 8:15 AM

    Aaargghhhhh! At least a week until the next installment! LM x

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:50 PM

      🙂 I’ll add more next Monday as long as the prompt works for it. Thanks for taking time to read it, Lyssa!

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:52 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read this part of the story, Kelly! The feeding the cats will be addressed soon 🙂

  13. joetwo May 14, 2013 / 12:17 PM

    This keeps getting deeper and deeper. Good one!

  14. Valerie May 14, 2013 / 12:53 PM

    I’m wondering what kind of “evidence” is in that cat food;) I can’t wait for more of this story-I’m hooked!

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:54 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Valerie! There will be more about the cats soon 🙂

  15. Debbie May 14, 2013 / 1:06 PM

    Something of importance must be hidden in the cat food. Good job, Janna. You’ve left me wanting to know more!

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:55 PM

      I’m glad it piqued your curiosity, Debbie. I appreciate your patience in following this story…it is taking a while to unfold!

  16. Jennifer Dillon May 14, 2013 / 1:14 PM

    It’s interesting that Myrtle is so much more in charge and on top of things than Darlene. I can hardly wait to find out what the cat food holds.

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:57 PM

      Myrtle has forty-one years of neighborhood experience….she’s gathered lots of info in those years. Darlene isn’t even thirty yet – she doesn’t see a lot of the goings on. Thanks for continuing to follow the story, Jennifer!

  17. diannegray May 14, 2013 / 1:16 PM

    Great work, Janna. I want to know about those cats now! 😉

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:58 PM

      More will follow, Dianne! Next time, if the prompt works for it 🙂

  18. Imelda May 14, 2013 / 8:27 PM

    The plot gets thicker. I am definitely hooked. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 14, 2013 / 11:58 PM

      Thanks for reading, Imelda. I’m glad it’s captured your interest!

  19. unevenstevencu May 15, 2013 / 3:00 AM

    keeps me wanting more 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:21 PM

      I appreciate you reading, Steven. I’ve got a couple more segments written, so we’ll see which one fits with the next prompt 🙂

  20. September Dreams May 15, 2013 / 4:22 AM

    Wow Janna… This is well en-route to becoming a novel. Nice one 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:21 PM

      It’s turning out that way, September Dreams! I’m trying to find my way to an ending here that doesn’t reveal all the secrets 🙂

  21. Sandra May 15, 2013 / 7:25 AM


  22. Linda Vernon May 15, 2013 / 11:29 AM

    I hate when neighbor’s are serial killers! It really harshes the neighborhood buzz! Just a great story!! 😀

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      I know, right? It happens all the time 🙂 Thanks for reading, Linda!

  23. Sarah Ann May 15, 2013 / 12:04 PM

    Ooops. I’ve obviously missed an episode. Heading over to catch up from the beginning now. Really enjoying the relationship growing between Darlene and Myrtle.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:24 PM

      Thanks, Sarah Ann. Darlene and Myrtle are evolving into a story that I didn’t see when this whole thing started. It’s kind of fun to be surprised along with everyone else 🙂

  24. EagleAye May 15, 2013 / 12:45 PM

    Hmm. Theoretical serial killer asks you to “feed” her cats. Now I’m wondering, “what exactly is she ‘feeding’ her cats?” Evidence can be removed in a variety of ways. Very interesting story thread you’ve got there.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:27 PM

      This story isn’t that gruesome, EagleAye! Sure, Myrtle has killed a couple people, but she doesn’t go out looking for new victims. She just has a nose for trouble and has to protect herself 🙂

  25. kdillmanjones May 15, 2013 / 2:03 PM

    Those last several lines are REALLY gripping! nice work.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:27 PM

      Thanks for dropping by to read it, Kdillmanjones!

  26. judithhb May 15, 2013 / 2:15 PM

    Waiting for the next installment.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 9:28 PM

      I appreciate you following the story, Judith 🙂

  27. KymmInBarcelona May 15, 2013 / 3:23 PM

    Myrtle seems awfully calm to me. Not sure I want to know what’s in the cat food….

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 10:22 PM

      Horse meat? Only teasing, of course, Kymm 🙂

  28. Suzanne May 15, 2013 / 4:17 PM

    Ooh, the plot thickens! So exciting. Can’t wait for the next piece!

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 10:22 PM

      Thanks, Suzanne! I appreciate you stopping by to read it 🙂

  29. punnypalaver May 15, 2013 / 5:26 PM

    You’ve drawn me in, too. What IS in that cat food?

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 10:58 PM

      Thanks for stopping by and reading this part, Punny!

  30. Lance May 15, 2013 / 6:26 PM

    Okay, I’m on record as being more of a Darlene fan, but Myrtle dominates here. I like how she’s being all alpha but in a smart, sly way. She could hang with my Millicent and Tara’s Pauley.

    well written

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 11:03 PM

      Haha! I think Myrtle knew it was just a matter of time, so she was kind of ready. Thanks for reading, Lance!

  31. Draug419 May 15, 2013 / 7:05 PM

    Obviously she means sic the feral kitties on the FBI agents (:

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 11:04 PM

      Now THAT would be a fun twist to the story, Draug 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2013 / 11:06 PM

      I’m glad it kept you intrigued, Rog Rites. I’ll add more next week, if the prompt permits 🙂

  32. Thomas Marlowe May 16, 2013 / 12:29 AM

    Suitably wonderfully teasing! Nothing hooks the mind like a mystery. Thank you.

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction, Thomas!

  33. Neetika May 16, 2013 / 9:54 AM

    Ooh! That ended on such an exciting note! I wish Darlene would hurry up and feed the cats so that we could find out what the suspense is all about 🙂
    Nice work!

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:36 PM

      I know, I know…it’s taking forever! Thanks for reading this part of the story, Neetika 🙂

  34. momtheobscure May 16, 2013 / 11:31 AM

    feels somewhat noir. I like that darlene seems clueless and Myrtle is so calm. I’m glad to learn their is more to this. I’m going to try to catch up before next installment!

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:37 PM

      Thanks for reading, Momtheobscure! I’m glad that it was interesting enough to make you want to read more.

  35. steph May 16, 2013 / 2:39 PM

    I love the idea that an elderly lady with cats holds sway over the neighborhood. She knows everything – quite literally knows where all the bodies are buried. I’m better off not knowing my neighbors too well. They all seem nice enough, but are they? I’m loving this story.

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:41 PM

      Well, Myrtle has 41 years of secrets under her belt…as long as the bodies aren’t in her back yard, she’ll be okay 🙂

      Your comment about knowing the neighbors made me laugh, Steph. It makes me wonder if I should’ve declined the Memorial Day gathering my neighbors invited us to (we’ve only been in town for a couple months.)

  36. barbara May 16, 2013 / 2:58 PM

    holy cannoli, woman! Awesome suspense 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:41 PM

      Thanks, Barbara! This story has been a fun one to write 🙂

  37. Arpy Jonas May 16, 2013 / 8:18 PM

    Love it, so visual! Feels like a movie.

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 9:44 PM

      Thanks for reading my story, Arpy! I read yours earlier today, but couldn’t comment (I don’t have a Facebook account.) I didn’t expect her to be intentionally attracting the Horgan. That spiked armor would be one heck of a Halloween costume 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2013 / 10:05 PM

      Thanks for reading! I’m not sure I can even write a novel-length chapter anymore 🙂

  38. Anja May 17, 2013 / 3:16 AM

    Wonderful story and I am hooked! 🙂 You really told a great segment with limited amount of words. Very nicely down.

  39. Sandra May 21, 2013 / 8:38 PM

    It’s getting better and better! I can’t wait to see what’s next… It has been great following Darlene’s story this way–I’m not a finish-a-whole-season’s-worth-of-episodes-on-Netflix kind of person, and like digesting things slowly, so this suits me just fine. 🙂 Reading on!

    • jannatwrites May 21, 2013 / 9:24 PM

      Well, I broke the momentum and didn’t post another segment this week, Sandra. The prompt didn’t work with where the story is going, so I wrote another story instead. Perhaps next Monday!

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