Darlene checked her reflection in the rearview mirror after snagging a shaded space in the hospital’s north lot.  She almost didn’t recognize herself with the sandy blonde hair and green eyes.  The bangs made her even more a stranger, as she hadn’t worn them since 1999.  Her best friend, Jen, masterminded the disguise, right down to the skinny jeans and floral t-shirt.  She blinked several times, still grossed out by wearing borrowed cosmetic contacts.  When she balked, Jen had said, “do you want to rot in a jail cell wearing unflattering wide stripes?”  Darlene doused them in extra saline before inserting.

She felt ridiculous about her paranoia as she concentrated on not toppling over in 4-inch heels- also borrowed from Jen.  The idea was to not dress “Darlene,” and any shoe with a raised heel was definitely not Darlene.  She strolled to the information desk and asked for Myrtle Crawford’s room, claiming to be her niece just in case they limited visitors to family.  Without any verification, the volunteer surrendered the room number.

On the third floor, Darlene rounded the corner to the east wing.  She halted at the sight of two officers outside Myrtle’s door.  Panic took form in caught breath, pounding heart, and the distracting trickles of sweat sliding down her sides.  Her mind had refused to grasp the danger of coming here- until she spotted the two dark uniforms and gold shield badges.  Her gaze settled on the weapons dangling from their duty belts.  She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Hey-a, fellas,” Darlene said as she approached the door.

On officer blocked her way.  “You can’t go in there, ma’am.”

“I-I’m her niece.  Please… ya’ll have to let me see my aunt.”

“Evie, honey, is that you?” a weak voice asked from the other side of the door.

“It’s me, Auntie!”

The officers exchanged glances.  The one in front of the door narrowed his eyes, studying her face.  “Go on,” he finally said, stepping aside.


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:  GRASP: (verb) -to lay hold of with the mind:  comprehend

If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click here to view Trifecta’s site.  Happy writing (and reading!)

Once again, 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!


79 thoughts on “Incognito

  1. Gabriella August 12, 2013 / 9:59 AM

    I love how you keep this going week after week!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:01 PM

      Thanks, Gabriella. I appreciate you taking time to read it!

  2. vishalbheeroo August 12, 2013 / 10:08 AM

    So, she took the police officers for a ride, poor guys:)

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:01 PM

      I wouldn’t feel too sorry for them, Vishal 🙂

      • vishalbheeroo August 12, 2013 / 1:04 PM

        🙂 of course! after all, you are the designer of this beautiful story:)

        • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:08 PM

          🙂 She may not be completely innocent, but she’s not as bad as she’s being framed out to be… Thanks for following along with this story.

        • vishalbheeroo August 12, 2013 / 1:09 PM

          I am enjoying and so put some comment on ma latest blog challenge done in 55 words:)

  3. coyotero2112 August 12, 2013 / 10:29 AM

    You are a constant source of amusement and amazement. I’m with the cuddly kittens, Sammy and Lizzy…all ears and open eyes, not “the Golden Girl” Sally, who seems to sleep through all this with slit-eyed indifference. Loved it.

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:02 PM

      Thanks for taking time to read it, Coyotero. I’m glad you are able to find amusement in the story 🙂

      • coyotero2112 August 13, 2013 / 1:58 PM

        I can’t thnk of a time I didn’t get pleasure from reading your posts.

  4. BCIJo (aka Joanne Edith) August 12, 2013 / 10:33 AM

    It’s amazing that you keep this going in such an interesting way. And yet the thread of continuity is always there. Very nice!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:03 PM

      Thanks, Joanne. I’m glad it flows along well enough to follow 🙂

  5. nrhatch August 12, 2013 / 11:54 AM

    Suthun akcent an’ all, y’all! Hoo dawgie! 😀

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:03 PM

      Well, not quite that pronounced, but yeah, it’s all part of her disguise, Nancy 🙂

  6. Jennifer Dillon August 12, 2013 / 12:08 PM

    It’s interesting, I can’t decide if Darlene is incredibly brave, stubborn or a a wuss. It makes her a very interesting protagonist.

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 1:07 PM

      I think she’s a little of it all, Jennifer. In the beginning, her major motivation was curiosity. She was terrified, but had to know the truth about her father, and her husband. As it goes on, the desire for justice will make her look when she wants to close her eyes. Through it all, a part of her is always tempted to pretend she doesn’t know anything and just run away.

  7. Carol Ann Hoel August 12, 2013 / 1:17 PM

    Mystery and suspense are personified in Darlene with your expert use of words. I’m going to have to read the rest of the story. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:08 PM

      Thanks, Carol Ann! I hope you are able to read the rest of the story…it might make a little more sense when read together 🙂

  8. Widdershins August 12, 2013 / 1:38 PM

    Myrtle’s powers of hearing are impressive!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:11 PM

      It helped that Darlene wasn’t exactly whispering and the echo carries in a vinyl-floored hospital 🙂 Thanks for reading, Widdershins!

  9. freyathewriter August 12, 2013 / 2:21 PM

    So, do you know the ending already, or are you going with the flow? Whatever the case, for me this is great fun to follow!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:12 PM

      I have a few ideas for the ending, but haven’t settled on one yet (because another, better twist could present itself :)) Thanks for reading, Freya…I’m so glad you’re following along!

  10. Debbie August 12, 2013 / 4:31 PM

    Well, isn’t Myrtle the clever one, picking up on Darlene’s disguise?! Balancing on four-inch heels must be a real challenge, after wearing only flats. I can hardly wait to see where you’re taking us, Janna!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:17 PM

      My highest heels are about two inches and I don’t wear them often…Running shoes are much more comfy (oddly enough, I don’t run, though :)) I appreciate you continuing to follow along with this story, Debbie!

  11. Catherine Johnson August 12, 2013 / 5:27 PM

    Really awesome suspense, Janna!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:17 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Catherine! I really wanted more to happen, but I reached the challenge limit again!

  12. Draug419 August 12, 2013 / 7:25 PM

    Ridiculous disguise yes, but obviously effective enough.

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:19 PM

      It served its purpose, Draug! It’d be tough to convince me to don a disguise having anything to do with skinny jeans or high heels 🙂

  13. Brian Benoit August 12, 2013 / 8:44 PM

    Haha, I can totally see it – and yep, you definitely captured the gross-factor of borrowed contact lenses. A worthy continuation!

    • jannatwrites August 12, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      I don’t know if there’s enough saline to get me to wear contacts that weren’t mine! Thanks for reading, Brian!

  14. Eric Alagan August 12, 2013 / 9:51 PM

    Wow! Myrtle is one sharp cookie and caught on super fast!

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:21 PM

      She’s been in there a couple days…she’s probably wondering what took her so long 🙂 Thanks for reading, Eric!

  15. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) August 13, 2013 / 12:21 AM

    With a disguise like that, at least I wouldn’t recommend running… I love that Myrtle came back into the story again… She probably already know the voice and has an ace up her sleeve.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:22 PM

      Haha, You’re right – I don’t think she’d get far trying to run, Bjorn. Myrtle expected Darlene would come to her.

  16. Nandini Godara August 13, 2013 / 5:24 AM

    What’s amazing is that this works as a stand alone piece too. I’ll have to catch up on this story…

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:23 PM

      I’m glad you were able to read this segment, Nandini. I’m relieved that it works by itself…I’m beyond being able to tell 🙂

  17. Suzanne August 13, 2013 / 5:46 AM

    Love it! Awesome description of her disguise, not to mention her obvious discomfort. And I love how sharp Myrtle always manages to be.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:25 PM

      I’m happy that the descriptions came through well…I needed to do that since there wasn’t much action in this part. I appreciate you reading, Suzanne!

  18. Joe Owens August 13, 2013 / 11:44 AM

    Darlene is determined to get in and is taking so many chances.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:26 PM

      Her curiosity and need to know if her father is guilty or innocent may be her undoing. Thanks for reading, Joe!

  19. Christina August 13, 2013 / 12:44 PM

    ooh I really enjoyed this. reminded me of a scene from Sleeping with the Enemy (Julia Roberts movie where she’s escaped her abusive husband, trying to make it look like a death, and is visiting her blind mom).

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:28 PM

      I’m so glad you liked this part, Christina. I remember that movie – it creeped me out when I first saw it. It’s funny you mention it, though because that movie came to mind just last week….I was turning the cans in my pantry so that fronts of the labels all faced forward and I thought of the scene where Julia was doing the same thing. I stopped 🙂

  20. stalethoughts August 13, 2013 / 3:23 PM

    Such an interesting entry with more interesting disguise! Awesome take.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:28 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Stalethoughts!

  21. Tara R. August 13, 2013 / 3:42 PM

    Myrtle is such a fun character. I enjoy her more and more with each installment.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:29 PM

      I appreciate you reading, Tara. I’m still surprised at how central Myrtle became as I continued on.

  22. lovelylici1986 August 13, 2013 / 5:54 PM

    Even when it’s a disguise, it’s hard not to dress like yourself. I like seeing that in Darlene. Ahem. Evie.
    I’m glad you keep this going. 🙂
    -Alicia Audrey

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:31 PM

      🙂 For me, it’s hard to feel comfortable in borrowed clothes, even when they are a style I would wear. Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Alicia!

  23. pattisj August 13, 2013 / 6:31 PM

    I need to talk to those Trifecta people. We need more than 300+ words! The suspense is killing me! Do you want that on your conscience? Nice work, Janna!

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:32 PM

      Haha! Just one more thing to feel guilty about, Patti 🙂 I almost wrote an extra segment this time, but this week was too busy to seriously consider it.

  24. Glynis August 13, 2013 / 7:31 PM

    Ssuspense, drama, action, So I’m reading that this isn’t a stand alone story, wow! I”m going to have to catch up and find out what I’ve been missing.

    • jannatwrites August 13, 2013 / 8:37 PM

      This was the twenty-seventh part to the story – all written as responses to Trifecta prompts. (I started it in January!) If you want to read the entire story in one place, the “Darlene’s Story” link under my header photo will take you there.

      (I don’t put the part # in the post because I’m afraid it would be overwhelming to people new to the story and they might not bother reading at all.) Thanks so much for reading and sharing your comment, Glynis.

      • Glynis August 14, 2013 / 1:25 PM

        Thanks for the infor on the link. Good luck!

  25. trifectawriting August 14, 2013 / 12:13 AM

    I’m still creeped out by her wearing borrowed lenses. 🙂 I’m glad she is, too. I’m loving this story as it develops. Just a bit of concrit, if you’re open to it. It felt like the name Darlene popped up a lot. Especially in the end of the first paragraph and beginning of the second. Perhaps toying with the sentence construction would make it flow better? Anyway, thanks for linking up. Remember to come back and vote at the end.

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2013 / 9:49 PM

      Thanks for the suggestion – I never mind constructive comments. I see what you’re saying. In my effort to avoid excessive pronouns, it seems I’ve gone the other way 🙂

      Again, thanks for taking the time to read and offer your opinion!

  26. Christine August 14, 2013 / 11:49 AM

    Great details here – they really show how she is feeling without you having to explicitly tell us. You have a really wonderful way of painting a picture with your words.

    On a tangent, I have to ask: do you have this whole story planned out, more or less? Or are you just kind of feeling your way along, letting things happen as they will? I’m struggling with finding a balance between the two, which is why my Jade Dragon pieces have lagged lately…

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2013 / 9:55 PM

      Thanks, Christine – what a nice comment 🙂

      About the story – I have ideas on how I think it will go, but nothing planned, per se. The prompt pretty much determines how it plays out. There are a couple of secrets/twists that I don’t want to reveal here – I want to save them for the longer story. I’m still figuring out how to write around them while still reaching an acceptable conclusion. When writing a story using prompt words, it’s really hard to plan it out too much.

      Good luck with the Jade Dragon…it really is a beautifully written story so far.

  27. Sean August 14, 2013 / 11:55 AM

    I didn’t comment on this one yesterday because I didn’t know what to say, not that I really know now but I’ll go with it. I like how the story is flowing from week to week. I’m sure the Novel will be very enthralling with the parts which you could not include in these little snippets of the story. Very well ending to this piece as we will have to wait until hopefully only next week to see the next part and maybe find out if she was recognized or not. Good play on Myrtles part with playing along with the niece story. thank you for continuing the story

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2013 / 10:00 PM

      Hmmm…Not knowing what to say can mean so many things 🙂 I appreciate you following the story, Sean. Please don’t feel like you have to comment if nothing really comes to mind!

  28. Ivy (Mommy Dourest) August 14, 2013 / 12:05 PM

    Darlene is a complicated protagonist for sure. I’m looking forward to seeing how this all turns out for her. You’re doing a wonderful job keeping up the suspense. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  29. humanTriumphant August 14, 2013 / 1:25 PM

    My HIPAA (patient privacy) healthcare dealings had to snicker that, in this day, it would’ve been easier for her to get past the cops than the little pink lady guarding the room numbers! 😉

    • jannatwrites August 14, 2013 / 10:02 PM

      That’s the truth, HT! HIPPA is a pain the neck sometimes. Thanks for reading 🙂

  30. Annabelle August 15, 2013 / 7:13 AM

    Daring! I’m looking forward to finding out what Darlene’s father has really been up to.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2013 / 11:34 PM

      Thanks, Annabelle. There will be more about that soon 🙂

  31. Clare Flourish August 15, 2013 / 2:30 PM

    I am so glad I have found Trifecta. Yes. I think it works stand-alone too: stand-alone, I have ideas about the characters which might not fit the rest of it, but that is OK.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2013 / 11:37 PM

      I appreciate you reading, Clare! With the word count limits, I think there is much opportunity for readers to create their own back story about the characters.

  32. Lumdog August 15, 2013 / 2:55 PM

    As always, I enjoy reading each installment of this story. Love all the details about her disguise.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2013 / 11:38 PM

      Thanks, Lumdog. I really appreciate you taking time to stop by and read this part.

  33. Renada Styles August 15, 2013 / 6:41 PM

    quite the guise indeed! certainly not the darlene i’ve come to recognize.

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2013 / 11:38 PM

      Different was what she was going for, Renada 🙂

  34. David Blackstone (@DavidWriting) August 15, 2013 / 9:39 PM

    Who is Darlene and who is Myrtle? What’s Darlene there to do? Why is she afraid of the cops? I gather from the comments section that this is part of a serial, as opposed to a self-contained piece, but not having read the previous sections, I had no idea what the significance of any of the actions were. 😦 Maybe a ‘previously…’ or ‘last time, on Darlene’s Story’ preface would help first-time readers out?

    • jannatwrites August 15, 2013 / 11:41 PM

      I see your point David. I’m afraid that adding the previous happenings might raise different questions, but it’s something to consider 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your suggestion!

  35. Sandra August 16, 2013 / 2:46 PM

    Eagerly waiting for the next installment to see what Myrtle has to say to her niece!

    • jannatwrites August 16, 2013 / 11:29 PM

      Thanks for keeping up with the story, Sandra.

  36. Imelda August 17, 2013 / 4:02 PM

    I hope she gets the information. 🙂 Thrilling.

    • jannatwrites August 18, 2013 / 12:00 AM

      We’ll know soon if she got what she was looking for. Thanks for reading, Imelda!

  37. Sarah Ann August 25, 2013 / 11:52 AM

    (Catching up late with Darlene and Myrtle.) Darlene has become such a fuller, richer, more devious, and maybe more desperate, person as the story has gone on. I never thought it was wise to cross Myrtle. I wouldn’t want to try my luck with Darlene now either.

    • jannatwrites August 25, 2013 / 10:22 PM

      I’m glad you see an evolution in Darlene. Since I didn’t plot the story ahead of time, I didn’t know how they would turn out. Thanks for keeping up with the story, Sarah Ann 🙂

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