Altered Plans

Darlene crouched behind the manicured hedge running the length of Dottie Anderson’s front walkway.  She tugged at the scarf’s fringe with her left hand, pepper spray clenched in her right.  Her plan to coerce Dottie into giving back Myrtle’s safe deposit box key ran into a little hitch.

A man’s shadow stretched across the dimly lit walkway.  She strained to hear, but couldn’t make out any words.  Something about the man seemed familiar.  He looked to his right, then in her direction before taking a small envelope from Dottie.  Darlene gasped.  Jeff Weissman!

That man had the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat.  Her father’s ex-business partner had faked his own death before enemies could “off” him, managed to escape when Darlene busted him snooping through her recently burned-out cabin, and has remained invisible for eight years.

Seeing Jeff at Dottie Anderson’s house made accusations and suppositions fly through her mind.  Jeff peered into the darkness around her.  Darlene ducked.

She exhaled when Jeff stepped inside and closed the door.  Darlene leaped over the hedge and concealed herself in the shadows of a bush on the opposite side of the walk.  She kept her finger on the pepper spray trigger.

Less than a minute later, Jeff exited the house, shutting the door behind him.  He hurried down the walk, pausing to investigate the hedge near where Darlene first hid.  Darlene snapped a twig.  When Jeff whirled around, she aimed the pepper spray.

“What the- ohhhh,” Jeff groaned, clawing at his eyes.

Darlene kicked his shin and he dropped to the ground, holding his leg.  She slipped her scarf around his neck and pulled tight until he relaxed.  She plucked the envelope from his pocket.   

The key. 

Déjà vu.

She felt the same nausea as when she lifted the gun, papers, and ring of keys from Jeff’s pocket that day in her cabin.

He’s dead!  Her pulse throbbed in her ears.

Darlene clutched the envelope and ran back home.


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:  FLY (intransitive verb): 3(a) : to move, pass, or spread quickly <rumors were flying> ; (b) to be moved with sudden extreme emotion <flew into a rage>; (c) to seem to pass quickly <the time simply flew>

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

64 thoughts on “Altered Plans

  1. nenna1 July 8, 2013 / 8:23 AM

    “That man had the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat. ”

    Loved this line! I’ve known several people who fit this description perfectly.

    And now I wanna know more about Darlene… 😉

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 10:53 AM

      Thanks, Nenna! Darlene is an ongoing character – I usually write her on Mondays. I appreciate you taking time to read this 🙂

  2. 1created2evangelize July 8, 2013 / 8:34 AM

    I am a “BIG” James Patterson fan and I was truly intrigued by this story great imagery I love imagery. I feel the next Mary Higgins Clark i love it.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 10:55 AM

      Ooh, I love MHC – I’ve read nearly all of her books (I’ve fallen behind in recent years because of work, family, blogging, etc.) I would love to be able to spin stories the way she does. Thanks for reading and sharing your reaction, 1created – I hope you’ll come back for future segments 🙂

  3. Gabriella July 8, 2013 / 8:54 AM

    “That man had the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat. ” I love this line too.
    Jeff may be dead but at least Darlene has got the key.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 10:57 AM

      Yes, she got the key (finally!) Something tells me more trouble will find her, though 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Gabriella!

  4. vishalbheeroo July 8, 2013 / 8:57 AM

    It’s nothing short of a novel and so well-written:)

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 10:58 AM

      Thanks for your kind words, Vishal. I appreciate you taking time to read it!

  5. nrhatch July 8, 2013 / 9:02 AM

    Beautiful turn about, Janna. Dottie is in this deeper than the average nosy neighbor. Write on!

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:01 AM

      Dottie has her own agenda. We’ll find out more in the next few parts. Thanks for reading, Nancy!

  6. Tara R. July 8, 2013 / 2:44 PM

    You’re doing a great job keeping the tension high.

  7. Maggie Grace July 8, 2013 / 3:00 PM

    Very suspenseful! Love the details and her getaway. This is my favorite segment of this story so far.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:07 AM

      Thanks, Maggie. I’m happy that you liked this part!

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:08 AM

      It worked well enough for her here, Phil. We’ll see if it’s a clean getaway or not.

  8. pattisj July 8, 2013 / 3:37 PM

    The tangled web becomes even more tangled! That was a great line, re the leprechaun and the alley cat.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:09 AM

      Things might be about to get messy for Darlene. I’m glad you liked the Leprechaun/alley cat line 🙂

  9. Suzanne July 8, 2013 / 5:21 PM

    Yay! So glad to see Darlene again. I love the leprechaun/alley cat line too – such a great description! And I love how this piece moves. Really good job keeping us on the edges of our seats!

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:10 AM

      Thanks, Suzanne! I’m glad this was an entertaining read…that’s what I’m going for with this.

  10. Draug419 July 8, 2013 / 5:36 PM

    Dude she went all ninja on his ass haha 😀

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:11 AM

      Yeah, adrenaline gave her the extra ‘kick’ she needed 🙂 Thanks for reading, Draug!

  11. LaTonya July 8, 2013 / 6:04 PM

    Okay, why risk being discovered after eight years? And to be seen so easily. Need another installment because while I loved the action and can’t see a guy showing up for an envelope.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:22 AM

      When Jeff first encountered Darlene he told her he was gathering information to prove her dad wasn’t who she thought he was. He’d been laying low, but he’s feeling the pressure of his enemies closing in, so he’s taking more risks. The envelope contains a safe deposit box key. He had already stolen keys from 4 other people and took the contents of the safe deposit boxes – he’s convinced this last box has what he needs to do his former business partner in. We don’t know if Jeff is a ‘bad’ guy or ‘good guy’ yet. (Details are vague because they haven’t been revealed in the story…don’t want to give too much away.)

      Thanks for taking time to read and share your comment, Tonya!

  12. Michael July 8, 2013 / 8:18 PM

    I’m with Draug; she went totally ninja. Boom. Jeff just got Darlene’d.

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:23 AM

      Haha! He didn’t know what hit him 🙂 Thanks for reading, Michael!

  13. diannegray July 8, 2013 / 9:47 PM

    Oh no!!! I don’t want Darlene to be a murderer 😯 I hope she can get out of this one!

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:24 AM

      By cat standards, he still has a couple lives left, Dianne! We’ll have to see what happens, though 🙂

  14. Eric Alagan July 8, 2013 / 9:51 PM

    Jeff sure has quite a few lives tucked away for use. Is he really dead this time? Hmmm – only time – or perhaps the next episode – will tell

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:25 AM

      More will be revealed in the upcoming episodes. Maybe not the next one…I have something else planned for that one 🙂 I appreciate you taking time to read and share your comment, Eric!

  15. Joe Owens July 9, 2013 / 4:08 AM

    Darlene has done it now. WIll she get away? Tune in next week, right?

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:26 AM

      ‘Fraid so, Joe. With the 333-word limit, I have a lot of ‘to be continued’ segments of this story!

      • Joe Owens July 9, 2013 / 11:35 AM

        Oh no, don’t get me wrong, i like the continuing story. In fact I just finished a 13 part continuing fiction story with a dozen others. It was called the Baker;s Dozen Fiction Story. I am getting ready to join a 13-15 part flash fiction serial with that many writers. If you are interested I can point you in that direction.

        • jannatwrites July 11, 2013 / 11:54 PM

          So you’re familiar with the ‘wait til next week’ nature of serials 🙂 I’m reading a few right now, but I can’t seem to keep caught up- it’s like a bonus when I get to read two or three at once and I don’t have to wait a week in between!

  16. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) July 9, 2013 / 7:43 AM

    This is the best part of the story since the cabin… But i don’t trust that Dottie… she probably exchanged the keys… 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:26 AM

      My, you are a skeptical one, Bjorn! We’ll have to see what happens 🙂

  17. steph July 9, 2013 / 9:03 AM

    I love Darlene. She knows how to take care of things. I’m with Bjorn – this is the best installment since the cabin. I like the way you summarize the story for us so succinctly, remind us who Jeff is. Great story!

    • jannatwrites July 9, 2013 / 11:28 AM

      Thanks, Steph! It has been so long since we saw Jeff, I felt a reminder was necessary (I even had to go back and read up on him :)) I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed this part!

  18. Valerie July 9, 2013 / 12:27 PM

    “That man had the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat. ”

    Add me to the list of readers who loved this line! Brilliant! Or maybe not so much for Jeff;) I’m still loving this story, Janna!

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2013 / 11:54 PM

      Thanks, Valerie! I do appreciate you continuing to read the story.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2013 / 11:55 PM

      Thanks, Susan! I’m not exactly sure what happens next…I’ve got a few days to figure it out, though 🙂

  19. dailyshorts July 9, 2013 / 8:00 PM

    I definitely didn’t get the impression that Jeff is dead with the line, “the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat.” I think he’s going to wake up or be discovered by Dottie with a killer headache.

    I really enjoyed reading this, but felt a little off kilter because I felt like I was missing something. So now I have to go and start from the beginning of Darlene’s story. Good job. You reeled me in. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2013 / 11:58 PM

      Ah, you read between the lines, DS! What I want to happen next is a little complicated, so I’m trying to work out if I can do it with these short segments.

      A lot has happened in the story, so I can see how it could feel ‘off’ if this was the first one you read. Part of the rules is making the story stand alone…this comment tells me I need to do a better job of that. Thanks for the feedback!

  20. Imelda July 9, 2013 / 9:57 PM

    You do keep us on our toes. 🙂 I want to know more about Dottie and her secrets. It seems that there is an ancient rivalry going on here. 🙂 I am looking forward to the next part.

    • jannatwrites July 11, 2013 / 11:59 PM

      Thanks for reading, Imelda.There is definitely something fishy going on…

  21. kallanannie July 9, 2013 / 11:31 PM

    Darlene’s really not having the best of days, is she? 🙂 Chewing my fingernails waiting for the next instalment…

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:00 AM

      🙂 Thanks for taking time to read this part and share your comment, Kallanannie!

  22. KymmInBarcelona July 10, 2013 / 3:22 AM

    Leprachaun and alley cat, yup. Apart from being a killer line, it keeps Jeff dangling.

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:00 AM

      Exactly. I don’t think he’s quite done yet. Thanks for reading, Kymm!

  23. Christina July 10, 2013 / 9:53 AM

    great read and awesome use of the word prompt

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:01 AM

      Thanks so much, Christina! I appreciate you stopping by to read it.

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:02 AM

      Wouldn’t want to make her mad on a cranky day, Linda 🙂

  24. lumdog (@lumdog2012) July 10, 2013 / 1:20 PM

    I love reading this, which I’ve said before. Glad you remind us what the deal was with Jeff. This story flows perfectly. As always, well done.

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:02 AM

      Thanks again for continuing to read the story, Lumdog. I appreciate it!

  25. My Chaotic Factors July 11, 2013 / 2:39 PM

    “…and pulled tight until he relaxed…” I wanted so much more to his demise. Otherwise, this was a fun read!

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:04 AM

      Thanks, MCF. She’s not a killer, so she wasn’t out to torture the man who’d been a long-time family friend (even called him Uncle Jeff.) That’s why she let up when he quit fighting her. She just wanted the key back.

      Thanks for sharing your reaction to this piece…it helps to know what works and what doesn’t 🙂

  26. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver) July 11, 2013 / 10:18 PM

    I’m enjoying the series installment factor. You’re so good at building the tension (and mystery). Really enjoying these stories and this was particularly well done :)))

    • jannatwrites July 12, 2013 / 12:05 AM

      Thanks for your kind words, Jo-Anna! I’m glad you are liking the story- I appreciate you keeping up with it.

  27. Diane Turner July 14, 2013 / 7:07 PM

    Loving this story! This segment is especially good. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Talented you are. Thanks for sharing.

    • jannatwrites July 14, 2013 / 10:41 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Dianne! I appreciate you following along with the story- especially since it’s been going on for so long.

  28. Sarah Ann July 17, 2013 / 12:23 PM

    Of course Jeff’s not dead. Very happy to hear that Darlene retrived the key.

    • jannatwrites July 17, 2013 / 11:01 PM

      It took several weeks, but yes, she does have the key (finally!) Thanks for reading, Sarah Ann!

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