The Truth Hurts

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.

The last segment left off with Darlene alluding to Jeff’s multiple appearances/disappearances since his faked death eight years ago.  (Jeff was Darlene’s father’s business partner and pseudo uncle.)

And now, for the next segment in the story:


Jeff’s eyebrows knitted together.  Then, suddenly, he laughed.  “Like the possum, I understand that faking can be key to survival.  Sadly, Dottie and her husband didn’t have the skills.”

She gasped.  “You killed them.  And left my scarf to implicate me.”

Jeff shrugged.  “I had to make you run.  It worked.”

“That’s it?  It’s that easy?  You can talk about killing two people in the same manner you’d tell me you ate tuna salad for lunch?”

“Actually, I had a grilled chicken sandwich.”

Darlene scowled.

“Look, survival is about one thing:  kill or be killed.  It’s not hard to choose which actions to take.”

With her elbow, Darlene pressed her tote bag to her side and felt the handle of Jeff’s stolen gun through the fake leather.  “That, I understand.”  Myrtle’s words ran through her mind again.  If you need someone to confide in, Jeff is on our side.

“Tell me about my mom’s death.”

Jeff leaned back and sighed.

“You claim to be for justice.  Prove it.”

He focused his stare on the faux wood tabletop.  “It shouldn’t have happened.”

“Did my father inject her with aggressive cancer?”

His gaze snapped up and held Darlene’s for several seconds.  His eyes, glassy with tears.  “Do you remember how even the nurses tending to her wore protective gear from head to toe?”

She nodded and uttered a half-laugh.  “It felt like the set of a sci-fi movie, with each face a pair of eyes peering over a sterile white mask.”

Silence brewed for several heavy seconds.

“So, he did it.”

Gaze averted, he muttered, “With his gun at my head…”


His lip quivered.  “I-I did.”

Darlene narrowed her eyes.  “What’s going on?”

“I loved her.  Always did,” Jeff whispered.  “He hated that.”

“Oh, God.  Please don’t tell me you had an affair.”

“No!  I loved her too much.  Your mother was a pawn.”


“Her death served as a warning.”

“Did he love her?”  Darlene’s voice sounded as hollow as her insides felt.


I wanted to write a special “thank you” to those who read, and voted for, the last segment I wrote to Darlene’s Story.  It was a community-voted challenge and tied for first place.  I appreciate everyone’s support and comments as the story progresses!


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:

MASK (noun): 3.(a) a protective covering for the face; (b)  gas mask; (c) a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation; (d) a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material; (e) a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

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!

60 thoughts on “The Truth Hurts

  1. nrhatch September 9, 2013 / 1:46 PM

    Fantastic stuff, still. As much as I want answers, I’m not ready for Darlene’s story to end.

    • jannatwrites September 9, 2013 / 9:19 PM

      I’m glad you’re still interested in the story, Nancy. I can’t believe it has been going on for so long (this was the 30th part.)

  2. Debbie September 9, 2013 / 4:14 PM

    Poor Darlene. What a crazy, dysfunctional family she grew up in! This segment brings up LOTS more questions and leaves me begging, More! More! Good work.

    • jannatwrites September 9, 2013 / 9:20 PM

      Well, she didn’t realize it was dysfunctional until recently 🙂 I appreciate you reading each week and sharing your thoughts, Debbie! I hope next week brings more answers than questions…

  3. tedstrutz September 9, 2013 / 8:53 PM

    Oh man… I am so far behind in this story. Wasn’t Jeff the guy she left tied up in a cabin a few months ago? She should have shot him when she had the chance. Interesting story.

    Silence brewed for several heavy seconds… Nice line!

    • jannatwrites September 9, 2013 / 9:23 PM

      That’s him, Ted! (Impressed that you remember that from a few months ago…I barely remember that :razz:) She had another failed opportunity to kill him – by strangling him with a scarf. A couple months ago, I described Jeff like this: “That man had the luck of a Leprechaun, and more lives than an alley cat.” That pretty much sums it up!

      I’m glad you decided to check out the story this week.

    • jwilliams057 September 10, 2013 / 6:19 AM

      Oh Ted, you need to go back and read the entire story. It is so good.

  4. Eric Alagan September 10, 2013 / 1:35 AM

    Glad you continued, Janna

    I had to rummage through my memory bank to get connected again but that little intro helped tremendously – thanks 🙂

    Hope you keep at it,

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 8:01 AM

      Thanks for reading, Eric! I’ll definitely keep this up on the blog until I find a suitable stopping point. I’m still working on the longer novel version as well 🙂

  5. jwilliams057 September 10, 2013 / 5:39 AM

    You’ve managed one of the hardest things in writing. You made me feel for a character I previously only thought of as a villain. Bravo. And man, I really love this story!

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 8:04 AM

      This is such an awesome comment, Jennifer! Character development hasn’t been a strong suit, so if you are able to have compassion for a villain, I might be improving. I appreciate you reading each week 🙂

  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 10, 2013 / 8:55 AM

    This was a lot of revelations in this chapter… love the dialogue… and Jeff .. and that retort about a grilled chicken sandwich is brilliant…

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 12:37 PM

      Thanks for reading, Bjorn, and sharing what you liked about the segment!

  7. ladyharvey September 10, 2013 / 11:31 AM

    I am new to Darlene’s story and based on this segment I am thoroughly intrigued! I particularly like her shock over how nonchalant Jeff is about murder. Going to go read the rest of it now!

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 12:38 PM

      I’m so glad you found it interesting, Ladyharvey. Darlene is still on the fence about whether to trust Jeff or not. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story, too.

  8. KymmInBarcelona September 10, 2013 / 11:51 AM

    Jeff’s lip quivering??? Now I’ve seen everything!
    Really nice scene here, Janna!

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 12:40 PM

      Hahaha! Your comment cracked me up, Kymm. Goes to show that even murderers can have a heart (at least a little bit) 🙂

  9. pattisj September 10, 2013 / 12:35 PM

    I wasn’t expecting that!

    • jannatwrites September 10, 2013 / 12:43 PM

      🙂 Honestly, I wasn’t either, Patti. I first wrote it where her father did it, but decided that was too obvious. I’m afraid I’m going to trip over one of these twists sometime!

  10. agjorgenson September 10, 2013 / 5:24 PM

    It just keeps getting more complicated! Love it.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:38 PM

      Thanks, Allen…I appreciate you following along!

  11. steph September 10, 2013 / 6:31 PM

    I like the character development of Jeff. So Jeff is capable of love. And love and revenge go a long way to explain motivation. Such a good story, Janna. I want the answer to Darlene’s question.

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:39 PM

      Who would’ve thought he could love? 🙂 Thanks for reading the story each week, Steph!

  12. habibadanyal September 11, 2013 / 1:50 AM

    Is it big enough to be compiled as a novel yet?
    And congratulations for the win last week

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:41 PM

      Thanks, Habibadanyal! This is only the ‘bones’ of the story, but I’m expanding it as I rewrite it- adding in some details that I didn’t want to give away here.

  13. Lisa Yow-Williams September 11, 2013 / 11:08 AM

    This leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Great story! I love a little food humor and a lot of heartache in a story. 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:45 PM

      Your comment made me laugh, Lisa. I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed this part!

  14. margitsage September 11, 2013 / 12:37 PM

    This is the only piece I’ve read, but there’s a lot of voice and emotion just from this section. I’m impressed you’ve been going so long with the prompts on one story. 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:46 PM

      Thanks, Margitsage. I appreciate you reading. I’ve been looking for a suitable ending point for several weeks so I can write other things for Trifecta…soon, I hope 🙂

  15. Draug419 September 11, 2013 / 3:00 PM

    That’s going to be an interesting answer when it comes…

    • jannatwrites September 11, 2013 / 6:49 PM

      We’ll have to see how/if he answers that question, Draug!

  16. pattyabr September 11, 2013 / 8:27 PM

    congrats on your first place for Trifecta with Darlene’s story. Way to go!

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 12:53 AM

      Thanks, Patty! I was excited about it 🙂

  17. Lumdog September 12, 2013 / 6:38 AM

    Im living this great story. Well done, as usual.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 12:55 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, again, Lumdog!

  18. theinnerzone September 12, 2013 / 6:57 AM

    Interesting read, Janna – looking forward to the next one. Congrats for the win!

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 12:56 AM

      Thanks, Theinnerzone. I was excited about the win. I appreciate you reading this part!

  19. Lance September 12, 2013 / 8:22 AM

    So much happening. I’m so invested in Darlene.

    Congrats on your trifecta win. Hope it continues with this one. Maybe one day I can get Darlene or one of your other characters to make a 100 word song appearance.

    great stuff

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 12:58 AM

      Thanks for your supportive comments on this story, Lance. I know how I want the story to go, I just need more time to work on the novel version 🙂

      I don’t really know how the 100 word song works but I’ll check it out. (I have to confess it’s a little intimidating because I’m not as tuned in to music as you are!)

  20. joetwo September 12, 2013 / 10:53 AM

    So engaging! Congrats on the win.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 12:58 AM

      Thanks for stopping by to read it, Joe!

  21. atrm61 September 12, 2013 / 11:32 AM

    Simply amazing once again!Loved that bit ,”Actually, I had a grilled chicken sandwich.,”lol!And the part which was so moving-““Oh, God. Please don’t tell me you had an affair.”

    “No! I loved her too much. “-made me sigh-that is true love!

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:01 AM

      Your comment made me smile, Atreyee 😛 I’m glad you liked the humor- that is something anyone in my sarcastic family would say (we use humor to deflect seriousness!) I’m so glad you are following along with the story again and are enjoying it.

      • atrm61 September 13, 2013 / 1:22 AM

        I love humour and sarcasm is my second name(laughs gleefully)-I use it when I am very angry-its a defence 😛 Yep,am enjoying it thoroughly :-)You are a top notch writer-am proud to be your friend xx

        • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:51 PM

          You’re funny, Atreyee! I usually use sarcasm with a smile to dull its edge…unless I’m thoroughly annoyed…in which case, I forget the smile 😛 I appreciate your kind words and support. I’ll do my best to keep the story entertaining!

        • atrm61 September 15, 2013 / 11:18 AM


  22. Christine September 12, 2013 / 12:33 PM

    Oh, jeez, this is heavy. It’s fantastic. I wish I had half your skill writing believable dialog! Oh, and this: “Actually, I had a grilled chicken sandwich.”– this relieved some of the tension, but didn’t distract from the seriousness of the conversation. I love how you did that. Great job.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:02 AM

      You are too kind, Christine. I’m blushing 😳 I don’t see my dialogue as that skilled, but I’m glad you read it that way! When a fictional scene feels real to the reader, it’s a huge compliment – thanks for reading and sharing your comment!

  23. SBhealy (@SBhealy) September 12, 2013 / 2:51 PM

    GREAT DIALOGUE. It flows so smoothly, I felt like I watching a scene, instead of reading it. I see why you’re a Trifecta winner:~)

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:04 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, SBhealy! I’m happy that you enjoyed this part of the story – thanks for taking time to read it…I know there are a lot of responses each week, so I’m honored when someone chooses to read mine 🙂

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:04 AM

      Thanks, H.L. I appreciate you stopping by to read it!

  24. Tara R. September 12, 2013 / 5:18 PM

    I can’t wait for you to finish out this story and put it all together in a single book. I’m clearing a place on my book shelf.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:05 AM

      Thank you, Tara! Your comment seriously makes me want to call in sick to work tomorrow and write 🙂

  25. trifectawriting September 12, 2013 / 5:37 PM

    I love the sandwich dialogue. Great job with the latest instalment. Thanks for linking up.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:06 AM

      That was a bit of my goofy humor showing through 🙂 Thank you guys for the great prompts that make me think of how to creatively progress this story!

  26. Michael September 13, 2013 / 5:34 AM

    Ah, the plot thickens! I liked the sandwich line as well. Jeff’s got a bit of snark in him, I see.

    • jannatwrites September 13, 2013 / 1:52 PM

      A little snark on special occasions keeps things interesting 🙂 Thanks for reading, Michael!

  27. Sarah Ann September 16, 2013 / 11:52 AM

    Poor Darlene. I don’t think she really wants to know the answer to her last question. Great conversation pulling these two together, despite Darlene’s initial resistance.

    • jannatwrites September 16, 2013 / 11:33 PM

      Thanks for reading, Sarah Ann. I appreciate it!

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