If you are new to Darlene’s Story, here’s the gist: Darlene Whitman always heard that you can pick your friends but not your family. She realizes the lie in this statement when nosy eighty-two-year-old neighbor, Myrtle Crawford, insists on helping unravel the mystery behind the disappearances of her husband and father. Darlene discovers her father’s involvement in illegal cancer drug testing, which is also linked to her husband’s courier business. Her ties to Myrtle are more complicated than she thought, and now, she must piece together the truth before it’s too late to save either of them.
And now, for the next segment in the story:
After donning the disguise of all disguises, Darlene couldn’t get a word out of Myrtle Crawford. She claimed that even when they weren’t there, they could hear everything in her private hospital room. Darlene wished she could bust Myrtle out of that hellish prison, but couldn’t. The sick act wasn’t an act.
Darlene felt the burn of curiosity when her thoughts drifted to the folded papers in her bag. Just because Myrtle couldn’t talk didn’t mean she couldn’t communicate. She’d clearly expected Darlene would find a way to get there, because she’d spent her days in the hospital writing, and then hiding the pages when nurses, doctors, or FBI agents came into the room.
Darlene kept her hands on the steering wheel, rented car pointed east, for no other reason than her instinct said west so she did the opposite. When she hit the Albuquerque city limits, Darlene finally felt far enough away. At four in the afternoon, Little Anita’s wasn’t busy, despite being located right off the I-40. The sole waitress on shift shuffled her to a booth in the back of the restaurant. Maybe her desire for privacy was that obvious.
Sipping on a Diet Coke- Darlene would never drink that- she ordered a smothered burrito and then carefully pulled the tri-folded papers from her bag. In her acquired paranoid state, she looked around to make sure no one watched before opening Myrtle’s letter.
Tears involuntarily slipped from her eyes when she finished reading. She tried to stop them with a swipe from the back of her hand, but it did no good. Myrtle provided more evidence that Darlene’s father was a thief and possible murderer and her dead husband, Scott, the ultimate liar she’d never be able to confront in this life.
This left Darlene with a brand she couldn’t hide. A criminal’s daughter and a liar’s wife is what her heart knew. It became her, no matter what clothes covered her.
All because of the experimental cancer drug, MEG42A1.
This 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:
BRAND (noun): (a)(1) : a mark made by burning with a hot iron to attest manufacture or quality or to designate ownership ; (2) : a printed mark made for similar purposes : trademark; (b)(1) : a mark put on criminals with a hot iron; (2) : a mark of disgrace : stigma <the brand of poverty>
If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click on link above 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!