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 talking to Jeff, Darlene’s pseudo uncle, and her father’s former business partner. (Scott is Darlene’s husband, killed in part 12.)
And now, for the next segment in the story:
“What do you mean, Scott didn’t know?” Numbness crawled down Darlene’s extremities.
Jeff nodded toward the papers on the table.
Jaw hung slack, she scanned through the three pages. “Where did you get this?”
“The cabin. Right after the police cleared out.”
“You were there before?”
He smirked. “I came back expecting to find more information. Not to be restrained by my own shoelaces.”
Darlene suppressed a smile, remembering her handiwork. “Why would he be Scott’s main contract? Father hated him.”
“All part of his plan. He can pinpoint and play weaknesses. With extreme patience, I might add.”
“You’re suggesting my father orchestrated everything so I’d be alone?”
“Not suggesting, Dolly. It’s in black and white.”
“You were Scott’s weakness. Paris was a new life, not a second honeymoon. The fire was a warning for him to stay put.”
Darlene’s throat tightened. “Scott tried to kill me. I removed the mask and saw for myself.”
“Your father is persuasive. And survival instinct makes a person do shocking things.”
Recalling Jeff’s involvement in her mother’s death, her anger flared. “So Scott was just a savage animal inside?” The waitress glanced her way, so she lowered her voice. “He was incapable of selflessness, driven only to protect his life? No. He wasn’t like you!”
Jeff snorted. “It’s at everyone’s core. Better believe, or your blood will be on daddy’s hands.”
“You gotta do what it takes. He won’t stop. You know too much to live, Dolly.”
Tears trickled down her cheeks. It came down to kill or be killed. Darlene doubted she had what it took. He might be wretched, but he was her father.
“You have to get past him being your father,” Jeff said, as if reading her thoughts. “I want to help.”
She nodded, still unconvinced… still unsure if she could trust him. She feared faked death didn’t diminish his survival instinct. Kill or be killed.
“What do you have in mind?” Darlene asked, summoning her inner animal.
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: ANIMAL: (noun) – 3 : a human being considered chiefly as physical or nonrational; also : this nature.
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!