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