Darlene’s Fear

I search Jeff’s face for sincerity.

My past has unraveled into a taunting illusion.  I’m afraid to build a future on lies, but truth could render me a stranger in my own skin.

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to Trifecta’s weekend prompt:

Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, wrote, “It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.”  We are looking for a 33-word explanation of what scares you (or your character).”

Check out the link above to read other responses, or even better – submit your own.  It’s only 33 words!

NOTE:  This is another 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 Sunday, at 8PM Eastern time.

Since I haven’t written anything on Darlene’s Story for a while (since September 23, to be exact) I decided to address her fear.  She could turn away and not explore whether or not her father is involved in illegal drug testing, or if he’s responsible for her mother’s death, but if she does that, the not knowing will nag her forever.  If she continues her quest and uncovers the truth, it could make her past a lie and leave her uncertain of who she really is.  Further complicating the matter is whether to trust Jeff (her father’s ex business partner) to help her.

Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks for stopping by!

In The Bag

Door bolted and blinds drawn, Darlene stood at her counter staring at the ten-pound bag of cat food.  She doesn’t have cats.  Mrs. Anderson’s words echoed in her mind.

She inspected the bag of Meow Mix.  Nothing written on the bag; the top flap was still sealed.  “This can’t be right,” Darlene muttered in frustration.  “What the heck…” she tore open the bag and poured the contents onto her kitchen counter.    She gagged.  Seafood Medley smelled more like Rotting Fish Guts, but she figured Meow Mix marketing nixed that flavor name.

Darlene ran her fingers through the kibbles looking for… what, exactly she didn’t know.  After several minutes of separating the kibbles with her fingers, all she ended up with was greasy fingers and the sense that every neighborhood stray would soon be on her doorstep.

With both hands, she scooped kibble and dumped it back in the bag.  On the third handful, the doorbell rang.  Startled, she dropped the food on the floor.

The ignored doorbell was followed by three raps on the solid wood door.  “Police!”

Darlene pulled out two small plastic dishes and put them on the counter, then headed for the door.  She almost wiped the rank kibble dust off her hands, but decided not to.  She opened the door and extended her right hand.  “Darlene Whitman.  Can I help you?”

The young officer wore a look of obligation mingled with disinterest.  “We received a call that you stole a bag of cat food from a neighbor.”  He spied her grimy hand and wrinkled his nose.

Darlene laughed even though, at that moment, she wanted to pound the freak “nosy gossip” gene out of Dottie with Myrtle’s Louisville Slugger.  “Myrtle had to leave unexpectedly and asked me to feed her cats.”

“Lucky me,” the office muttered.

“I’m sorry about the misunderstanding.  We think Dottie Anderson has dementia, but her poor husband refuses to accept it.”

“I still have to write a report on the complaint,” the said officer grimly.

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Those of you following Darlene’s Story may not like that you still don’t know what the deal is with the bag of cat food.  I’ve included a bonus segment below the Trifecta info.  It isn’t part of the Trifecta response, and it is told from Myrtle’s point of view. Best of all, you will find out the significance of the cat food bag.

In keeping with the Trifecta theme, it comes in under 333 words 🙂

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This is another segment in Darlene’s Story and it is my response to the Trifecta weekly prompt which was to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 333) using the following word/definition:

TrifectaPicture11-1FREAK (noun):  : one that is markedly unusual or abnormal: as (a)   a person or animal having a physical oddity and appearing in a circus sideshow; (b)   slang (1) : a sexual deviate (2) : a person who uses an illicit drug; (c)   hippie; (d)   an atypical postage stamp usually caused by a unique defect in paper (as a crease) or a unique event in the  manufacturing process (as a speck of dirt on the plate) that does not produce a constant or systematic effect

For complete challenge details, click the tricycle picture to go to Trifecta’s site.

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Additional segment begins here (not part of Trifecta response):

Myrtle Crawford waited in the jail’s interview room, her wrists and ankles shackled.  She had only spent one night in jail, but her neck and hips were stiff.  The coils from the worn cot mattress and the wafer-thin pillow made her feel every one of her eighty-two years- and then some.

Two officers led Darlene into the room.  “Fifteen minutes,” one said before closing the door.  Myrtle could see through the tiny window that he kept post right outside the door.

“Darlene,” Myrtle said when Darlene sat in the chair across from her at the table.  “Did you find the cat food?”

“The bag I found was unopened.  Did you have one already opened?

“Those bags are a modern marvel,” Myrtle said.  “With the triple layers, the food stays fresh forever.  When you close the bag, it’s like it was never opened.” 

Darlene’s brow furrowed.

“So the cats are fed?”

“Dottie Anderson stopped by and said you didn’t have cats.”

Myrtle laughed.  “We don’t own cats- it’s the other way around.  They come and go as they please.  They are sneaky ones.”  Myrtle leaned forward.  “Old Tyrone is the fattest cat in Scottsdale.”  With a nod, she added, “You can take that to the bank.  Three hundred and twelve times.”

Darlene looked puzzled, but Myrtle let her words sink in.  When she saw Darlene’s eyes light and a smile spread, Myrtle knew she understood.

Tyrone O’Reilly was the president of the Old Town Bank in downtown Scottsdale.  He was also rumored to be involved in some slightly shady side deals.  Of course, Mrytle knew he was more than slightly shady- he dwelled entirely in the shadows.  The key to a safe deposit box- number 312- was in the cat food bag.  Literally.

Darlene grinned.  “Your cats will be fed.  Do you have any other special instructions?”

The door creaked open.  “One minute,” the officer barked.

Myrtle shook her head.  “You’ll know what to do.”

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These two parts continue Darlene’s Story.  Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks for stopping by!