Keepers of Secrets

Darlene stayed crouched under the window long after she heard Myrtle’s front door slam and her father’s car engine crank; even after the motor’s purr faded down the street.  Darlene didn’t move until her aching knees insisted.

Several minutes later, she’d unfolded into an upright position and managed the stiff journey to Myrtle’s back patio.  She peered inside the sliding door before knocking.  Myrtle’s hunched shoulders shook, her face rested in her hands.  She’s crying.

Darlene rapped on the glass.  Myrtle’s head jerked toward the slider, surprise melting into a smile.  She wiped her hand across her eyes and rushed to the door.  Noticing a slight limp, Darlene suspected arthritis flared in her left knee again.

“Darlene,” Myrtle whispered.  “What are you doing here?”

“Why whisper?”

Myrtle grimaced.  She poked her head outside, looking left, then right.  She grabbed Darlene’s elbow, pulled her inside, and locked the door behind them.

“You shouldn’t be here,” Myrtle said.

“Is someone looking for me?”

Myrtle averted her gaze.  “I heard Dottie Anderson and her husband are dead.  You’re the suspect.”

“Me?  I didn’t kill them!”

“They found your scarf around Dottie’s neck.”

Darlene took several shallow breaths.  “No.  No!  I used my scarf on Jeff outside Dottie’s house.  I wanted the key.  When he quit struggling, I panicked and ran away.”

“Did you get it?”

Under Myrtle’s hopeful stare, Darlene weighed her answer.  “How do you know about all this?”

Myrtle’s eyes widened, but she remained silent.

“Did my father tell you?”

Myrtle flinched.  “That man could charm the devil with a smile.” She shook her head.  “I know, because I sold my soul to him.”

Darlene wondered if Myrtle sold out to the devil or her father.

Or if they were one in the same.

Three sharp knocks on the front door interrupted her thoughts.  “Mrs. Crawford!  Agents Mulroney and Haversill.”

Darlene gasped.

Myrtle led her to the slider.  She opened the door just wide enough and shoved her out.  “Run,” she whispered.  “Go!”


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 332) using the following word/definition:  CHARM: (verb) -to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music)

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!)

Oh, and this is a community-voted challenge, which means that readers have the opportunity to vote on their three favorites by visiting Trifecta’s site after the challenge closes on Thursday, at 8PM Eastern time.


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!


63 thoughts on “Keepers of Secrets

  1. Imelda July 22, 2013 / 9:34 AM

    Oh no! Dottie is dead? If this were in book form, this story is a page turner. 🙂 Next installment pleaseeee… 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:44 PM

      You know, I’ve been working on the longer version, but it’s not moving quickly! Thanks for reading, Imelda 🙂

  2. The Real Cie July 22, 2013 / 9:52 AM

    I never wondered if my father was the devil, but he certainly enjoyed playing the devil’s advocate.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:45 PM

      Haha, that’s what dads do, right? I’m glad you stopped by, The Real Cie!

  3. Gabriella July 22, 2013 / 10:08 AM

    Keep going; this is good! I enjoy the breath taking pace.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:45 PM

      Thanks, Gabriella. I’m glad you’re liking the story!

  4. Draug (@Draug419) July 22, 2013 / 10:09 AM

    ‘I didn’t kill that one, I killed the other one.’

    That part made me laugh. Such a fun read.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:46 PM

      Yeah, she’s too honest. Good thing the police weren’t there, Draug!

  5. zennjennc July 22, 2013 / 10:18 AM

    Yes, if this were a book, I wouldn’t be able to put it down.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:47 PM

      Thanks for the compliment, Zennjennc! Since it’s not, you can just be annoyed that I leave you hanging each week 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:48 PM

      That’s my plan, Becca, but it’s a slow process for me. (Day job has been busy lately!)

  6. jwilliams057 July 22, 2013 / 10:48 AM

    That Dottie had it coming. Wait, that’s not a very nice thought is it.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:48 PM

      May not be nice, but it’s truthful, Jennifer 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  7. philosophermouseofthehedge July 22, 2013 / 1:39 PM

    “she’d unfolded into an upright position and managed the stiff journey” (you described that well)
    (And hope she’s limbered up) – Wonder later – Run now!

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      She’d better be able to run. Her life might depend on it 🙂 Thanks for reading, Phil!

  8. nrhatch July 22, 2013 / 3:17 PM

    Fantastic, Janna! This story is GOLD. 😀

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:53 PM

      Aw, thanks, Nancy! I appreciate you reading 🙂

  9. howanxious July 22, 2013 / 5:19 PM

    I read it as an individual piece… and it was quite interesting. I don’t know anything about the characters and the story background, so I just made it all up in my mind.. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:55 PM

      I’m glad this worked as a stand-alone. Soon after I posted it, I changed the first paragraph a little to clue in some of the history, but it’s too far along for me to tell. I appreciate you reading, Howanxious!

  10. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver) July 22, 2013 / 6:48 PM

    Enjoying the continuing story, and the characters. Agree with everyone else about the pacing on this one – excellent.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 8:55 PM

      Thanks so much, Jo-Anne. I’m glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

  11. Michael July 22, 2013 / 8:59 PM

    Ooh, a dramatic cliffhanger! Tension rises! Will Darlene get away? Can Myrtle be trusted? Gasp!

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 9:48 PM

      We’ll have to see- on both questions. I’m not being coy…I just don’t know what’s going to happen next 🙂 Thanks for reading, Michael!

  12. vishalbheeroo July 22, 2013 / 9:02 PM

    Jannat! The story deserves yet another sequel and u shd go for thriller and make ur novel a best seller. such a racy 450 words plus:)

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 9:49 PM

      Thanks for reading, Vishal! This is the 24th segment of the story, and there will definitely be a continuation. I don’t want to leave it hanging. I do plan to make this a longer piece, however whether it would sell remains to be seen 🙂

  13. Sandra July 22, 2013 / 9:20 PM

    I’m all caught up with Darlene’s story, and this is definitely a page-turner! It’s much longer than I thought the story would be, which would be great for a novel, Janna! There’ so much more to find out, so much more to reveal! Can’t wait. You’ve really got some great character development here.

    • jannatwrites July 22, 2013 / 9:45 PM

      It’s longer than I thought it would be, too, Sandra! I have no idea how I’m going to wrap it up here with a somewhat satisfying ending without giving all the twists and secrets away. I appreciate you reading and sharing your reaction to it. I’m glad the characters stand out because I’m definitely plot driven when I write.

  14. Eric Alagan July 22, 2013 / 10:02 PM

    You’re laying it on thick and fast. As one commenter mentioned, it’s a page turner 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:25 PM

      Thanks for continuing to follow the story, Eric!

  15. Annabelle July 23, 2013 / 5:23 AM

    Oh, man! I’m going to have to go back and read what I’ve missed, clearly there’s been a lot!

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:27 PM

      A few people have ended up dead so far, Annabelle 🙂 If you want to skim through the entire series, check out the Darlene’s Story tab right under the blog header.

  16. Debbie July 23, 2013 / 8:32 AM

    Janna, you’re doing an excellent job building (and keeping) suspense. It boggles my mind that you’ve been able to incorporate the Trifecta challenge into the storyline. Good for you; good for us. Now, hurry with the rest of the story, okay?!

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:28 PM

      Thanks for your kind words, Debbie. I’m struggling a bit with expanding the story. I tend to be more creative with a blank slate rather than working under the constraints of what’s already there. At any rate, I’m doing my best to fill it in 🙂

  17. Sean July 23, 2013 / 10:28 AM

    I found that this filled in questions I had from the previous story. Very well written and entertaining. This can definitely become a well written novel. You are very talented in your selection of words and the flow which each part needs. Look forward to the day that your book is published.

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:30 PM

      Finally! I answered some questions rather than heaping on more 🙂 Sean, I appreciate you taking time to read the story and share your thoughts/opinions/reactions.

  18. @annbennett12 July 23, 2013 / 10:54 AM

    Darlene is in a heap of trouble. Will she waste the next 40 years in the big house or will justice for Darlene prevail. I guess I will have to tune in next week to find out.

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:32 PM

      She does have herself in a fine mess, Ann. I can’t give you a hint of what will happen because I haven’t settled on a course of action yet. Still running through the scenarios 🙂

  19. pattisj July 23, 2013 / 12:46 PM

    I think they need to increase your word limit…I don’t know how much more suspense I can take!

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      Me either, Patti! Just when things start getting good, I’ve maxed out the word limit. Happens every week, so the story moves very sloooooowly 🙂

  20. diannegray July 23, 2013 / 2:49 PM

    Another great episode, Janna! 😀

    • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 9:34 PM

      Thanks, Dianne! I appreciate you following the story each week.

      • diannegray July 23, 2013 / 9:58 PM

        I can’t not follow it because I want to see what happens 😉

        • jannatwrites July 23, 2013 / 10:11 PM

          I hope it doesn’t disappoint, Dianne!

  21. Bryan Ens July 24, 2013 / 6:18 AM

    Each week you write a great piece…and have the reader waiting for the next chapter. Great story!!

    • jannatwrites July 24, 2013 / 10:19 PM

      Thanks, Bryan! I’m glad you stopped by to read another segment of the story.

  22. ivymblog July 24, 2013 / 8:40 AM

    I chuckled at her indignant response to finding out she was the suspect. Obviously she’s not above offing somebody. Lol!

    • jannatwrites July 24, 2013 / 10:23 PM

      If she’s going to be accused, it better be for the right dead body 🙂 Thanks for reading, Ivy!

  23. Jennifer Dillon July 24, 2013 / 10:21 AM

    Ooo! I love the idea that Dad is Satan! And I too loved her indignation over being ‘wrongfully’ accused of murder.

    • jannatwrites July 24, 2013 / 10:27 PM

      Thanks, Jennifer. She’s starting to suspect her father isn’t the nicest person, but she doesn’t know the half of it yet 🙂

  24. Valerie July 24, 2013 / 11:00 AM

    I love Darlene. When she wants the key-she means it!!

    And “That man could charm the devil with a smile.” is one of the best uses of charm I’ve read today!

    Keep it coming!

    • jannatwrites July 24, 2013 / 10:39 PM

      I appreciate you continuing to follow the story, Valerie. I’m glad you liked the sentence…I kept wavering on whether I used the right definition. The more I read the definition, the more the distinction between 1.a. and 3. blurred for me 🙂

  25. Renada Styles July 24, 2013 / 2:52 PM

    “That man could charm the devil with a smile….I know, because I sold my soul to him.” Absolutely love these lines! And though I haven’t been a diligent follower of Darlene, the pieces of the tale I have caught only get more and more riveting!

    • jannatwrites July 24, 2013 / 10:43 PM

      Thanks for the feedback, Renada! I know it’s hard to catch every segment, but I do appreciate you reading when you can 🙂

  26. debseeman July 25, 2013 / 9:58 PM

    This bit is delicious all on it’s own and I see there is more? How intriguing. I shall have to back track and read the rest.

  27. Tina L. Hook (@TinaLaneBlogs) July 28, 2013 / 7:37 AM

    The description opening up this piece is perfection. The creaking of aging bodies was a very nice touch.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading my Trifecta post.

    • jannatwrites July 28, 2013 / 2:05 PM

      I’m glad you liked the description, Tina. I appreciate you taking time to read it!

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