Take Care: A Tale of the Abysmal Dollhouse

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Wheelchair

 

The storm clouds had moved along with the wind, leaving behind a still, grey day. The heavy downpour had come down on a slant, washing the dusty windows of shop. The glass glistened as the headlights of passing cars fractured off the puddles, the brief flashing of light creating a strobe effect on the items on display. Dollhouses littered the shelving: Victorian, Tudor, Colonial, Craftsman, and an Abbey. All stood at a slant, showing the open side, the rooms, staircases, floors. The placement also allowed the outside features to shine, the gables, balconies, bay windows, and wrap-around porches, adorned with miniature plants, rocking chairs, and welcome mats.

The bright reflective bursts caught the eye of Mark, who was passing by, but at a slow steady pace. His head had been turned to the ground, hands in his pants pockets, shoulders taught. The light drew his eye to the display, and his feet followed. He studied each house, taking in the details, admiring the color scheme of some, others the aesthetic beauty of the architecture. Mark’s wandering eyes and feet led him to the door to the shop. It was a plain glass door, wooden frame, with nothing to announce the name of the place of business. He found his hand reaching for the door handle, but he really couldn’t figure out why.

Behind the glass, behind the dollhouses, The Shopkeeper had been watching Mark as he viewed her safe houses, appraising him, the way he observed, his slow steady examination of her wares. She checked the dark corners of the shoppe and let out a wistful sigh. Some of the houses hungered, and she wished them appeasement, yet this man was not for them. The Shopkeeper shushed them before Mark had completed turning the door handle and entered, the action causing the hanging doorbell to sound.

The Shopkeeper took in his appearance, which through the window gave him a yellow/sepia hue. Inside, things did not change all that drastically. While he took a few steps in, looking around, she observed his color choices were dull, and his clothing, while well kept, was far from being stylish. He looked lived in and comfortable in what he wore, but his body language suggested more.

“May I help you?”, she asked.

Mark looked up from the Carriage House he was staring at. “No, thank you. I…I’m just looking, I guess.” He paused, his shoulders frowning, turning his head to the left, away from the Shopkeeper. “I’m not even sure why I came in. Dollhouses,” he swept his arms, palms up, around the room, “are not really an interest of mine. My ex was into it, and my daughter. Mom, too.” Mark shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry. Not sure why I’m telling you any of this. Is it OK if I just look around?”

The Shopkeeper nodded, picking up her duster, for there was always dust in the shop. The flakes swirled in the sun beams as they slanted through the windows. Today, they weren’t visible…until it settled down on top of the many surfaces. Mark brought in his own dust trail, and he was leaving it around the shop as he went from dollhouse to dollhouse. She followed him out of the corner of her eyes, marking where she had to concentrate on dusting, later.

She heard him stop walking. His shoes had been making a tap tap tapping as he walked; when he stood still to look, and he bent down, the shoes gave a little squeak, adjusting to the new stance. This time, it was a full stop. No noise from his shoes. No “hmmm” or “huh?” or just regular breathing. Stillness. The Shopkeeper turned and looked at Mark.

He was frozen in front of a traditional style dollhouse. Two floors, an attic with dormer, wide porch, shutters on the windows, wood detailing, the front door with two windows on either side and five windows on top, with the middle window directly above the door. The house in pristine white paint. Mark was staring hard. He gasped for air, realizing he had been holding his breath.

Turning the house around, he let out another slight gasp. “My house. This…is my house.” He stood up, looked around, found The Shopkeeper. “How? This is my house.”

The Shopkeeper walked over to stand by his side. He followed her as she bent down to look inside the house, adjusting it so they faced it squarely on. Mark began to point out some of the details to her. The layout was the same. The decor, the same:  paneling in the dining room, the soft blue scalloped floral pattern wallpaper that ran from the front door to the kitchen, up the stairway to the halls on the second floor, the wood floors with it’s various rugs and runners. The tables, chairs, sofa: same as it ever was.

Mark forced himself to look at the bedrooms, the ones on the second floor, and the den that had been converted to one on the first floor. He reached into his room, stopping to look at The Shopkeeper, waiting for permission. She stood, did a light dusting sweep of the houses’ roof, and moved back to the front of the shop. Mark bent back down and touched the bed. It felt soft and inviting.

His eyes and hands traversed through each room, taking in the memories each invoked. The kids room, converted from the guest room after his divorce, was as they had left it after they both stopped coming, college then marriages, ending their obligations to be there, to be with him weekly. His parent’s bedroom, full of his mothers’ things, which she valued above anything else most of the time. The walk-in closet crammed with her clothing, shoes, pocketbooks, hats. Her cane leaning against the nightstand.

Mark kept his eye on the cane for a short while. He started to reach in but stopped, closing his eyes, his right hand locked just outside of the room. He breathed in deeply, letting the air escape slowly. Three times. Opening his eyes, he moved his arm.

Piece by piece, Mark removed items from her room, placing them down on the side of the dollhouse shelf. The dressers, the rocking chair, foot stool, pictures hanging on the walls, the bed, night table, the cane. He emptied the closet of all the clothing, making neat piles on the shelf next to the furniture. He was looking at an empty room, save for the wallpaper she loved. Mark stripped that off carefully, leaving the white walls underneath without blemish as best he could.

The kids bedroom was next. It was easier to strip away everything in there, things that would never be used again. Removing everything on the second floor, leaving his room alone. Marks’ excavation, of digging down to the basis of the home, continued downstairs. He methodically removed the items and decor from the living room, foyers, kitchen.

The bedroom nee den stopped Mark dead in his tracks. His eyes got blurry, wet, forcing him to wipe at his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. Leaning against the back wall was another cane, next to a walker, next to a wheelchair, next to an oxygen tank. The hospital bed was in the center of the room, which had been denuded, sterilized down to it’s bare bones.

Mark knelt on the floor, slightly rocking back and forth on his heels.  “Sorry, Dad,” he whispered, as he cleansed the room as he had done with the others. When he finally took the hospital bed out of the room, he held it up, examined it, had trouble putting it down, but he eventually did.

While this last task was going on, he had faintly heard The Shopkeeper moving around him. Looking down once the room was emptied, he noticed that all of the familial life pieces had been removed. In their place was new furniture, the stuff one fills a house and makes it a home. Mark wasn’t too surprised to see that it all was in his tastes, design and color.

He filled up the house quickly. Mark moved his things into his parents’ room, adding a few new things that he found left for him. The kids room was returned to guest room status, and he transformed his own room into a second. He moved to the first floor, laying down wall to wall carpeting, then bringing in the chairs, tables, sofa, big comfy chairs with big comfy pillows, large screen TV and fixings.

Mark took his time when it came to refurbish the bottom bedroom back into a den. Executive office chair, desk, computer, stuffed full bookcases and shelving. It was comfortable, and he finally relaxed.

The doorbell rang. Mark got up from the padded chair, walking towards it in his socks only, not wanting to mar the new carpeting. As he got closer to the door, he noticed a familiar face peering in through the left side window at the door. Mark stopped short. He hadn’t seen her in years, lost touch with her, missed her all this time.

He reached out and opened the door.

“Donna.”

She smiled at him, bottom teeth still slightly crooked, head tilted to her right, eyes shining. She had on the red dress and white stockings with red hearts on them, the same as she wore that one Valentines Day.

“Are you going to invite me in?,” she asked.

Mark did, watched her walk a few steps down the hall and into the living room.

“I really like what you did with the place,” she said, whirling around. “Feels like home.”

Mark smiled deeply and went to join her.

The Shopkeeper turned the dollhouse around, the front facade facing out towards the aisle. She gave them the privacy they both deserved.

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Author’s Note:

I haven’t written a “The Abysmal Dollhouse” tale in quite awhile. It has been a favorite of mine of the different story line themes that I’ve come back to explore. If you’re new to these tales, here are two links to check out:

What We Hold Onto

The Abysmal Dollhouse: Collected (sort of)

I hope you enjoy them. When I can force myself to write, I still feel there is more to tell.

Let me know what you think.

Stuck in L

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My love life has been surrounded by women whose names started with the letter L. Yes, there have been other alphabetical choices, but L’s seem to prevail. There’s been Lynette, Leslie, Laura, Lucy, Lisa, Lori, Lindsey, Linda, and even a Lola. I know I’m a man; Lola wasn’t. Boy, she wasn’t. I’m sure there were a few others who I’ve simply forgotten, but in the end, I’ve had my fair share of L. No matter. None of them ever prepared me for Lili. I can’t even begin…well, not true. How do I skirt around a cliche? My life has never been the same since I met Lili.

I was on my bike, a Yamaha YZF-R6 that I called Yaz, going home after an uninspired date. Not an L, that I know. It was two in the morning, and the Merritt Parkway was almost car free. I was going fast, keeping an eye out for speed traps; I knew where most of them were, traveling this road so often in my life. It was cop free that night. Connecticut sleeps, unlike New York. I revved Yaz up to the century mark. We whizzed along the road, passing trees and the few cars on the parkway. This more than made up for a so so date.

Until I noticed headlights in my mirror that were getting closer. Thinking COP, I slowed down, knowing it would not be enough to avoid a ticket. But, no flashing lights. No megaphone voice telling me to pull over. The lights were catching up to me, low to the ground, and then it passed me on the left. As it pulled ahead I noticed a very quick two blinks of the brake lights. The car sped ahead, slowed a bit, two quick bursts of brake lights, then speeding on. I took the hint.

We played taking lead, overpowering the other, back and forth, for miles. The car was in the lead when a new light appeared, the right blinker. The last gas station/rest area was coming up, the one that’s just before the NYS border. I clutched and braked Yaz down and followed the car to the parking area.

It pulled into the spot furthest away from the station/mini mart. I parked right next to the car I’d been having fun with, giving out a little happy gasp as I took my helmet off. Didn’t need one in CT, but I was heading to NY. The car was gorgeous: a bright yellow Lotus Evora 400. A car I’ve been drooling over. Well, one of them. We were at too high a speed for me to notice anything really more than the color, but now…

But now the driver door opened. The gasp I had for the car was amplified by the woman that stepped out. Long black hair ran down and over her shoulders was the first thing I noticed. Then the smile. It radiated a lot of things; well, in my mind, and other parts, it did. She was wearing sunglasses (2:00 am, remember) that only accented how beautiful she was, eyes or not. Black buttoned down shirt was equally unbuttoned as buttoned, and painted on looking black jeans. Boots. Goth to the extreme, but she wore it better than well.

She leaned against her car and beckoned me over. Beckoned. I’d never been beckoned like this before. We exchanged names, admired each other’s driving, me admiring a whole lot more. Lili? I’m not a mind reader, but if you judge by where we went from there, she was doing the same. Talking turned to kissing, kissing turned to other things. We were both sweaty and smiling when Lili got a serious angry face going.

“Davey, this has been lovely, but you need to get out of here. Now.”

Rude shock, but there was something in her voice that was more urgent than anything else. I backed away, adjusting my clothing, trying to adjust the very mixed feelings I was having.

“Now, Davey. Now!”

Helmet in hand, I watched her as she opened her car door. That was as far as she got before a really terrifying animal growl sounded. That was followed by the biggest, meanest looking dog I’d ever seen. Then, another one. They came out of the wooded area behind the station and lopped rather quickly towards us. I wasn’t watching Lili at the moment as one of those things came towards me.

It leapt over the Lili’s car and came right at me. Only thing I could think of was hitting it in the head with my helmet. A quick not-even-a-yelp came out, and then a very angry snarl was directed at me as it landed behind me. I was at a loss as to what to do. Bike was off and cold, I had no weapons beyond my helmet. I turned slightly to see what was happening with Lili.

What was more surprising? These two beasts coming at us, or seeing Lili holding off the one, her hands on both parts of its jaws, pulling them further and further apart. Just as I heard a squeal coming from her beast, mine decided I was game, fair or not.

The blow to my back knocked me down and almost out. I rolled over onto my back and shoved my helmet into it’s maw as it came for my face. Believe me, having a death grip on that helmet saved my lift. Jamming the piece further into the mutts’ mouth, I did the only thing I could think of: try to Mountain it.

Just saw the episode of Game of Thrones where the Mountain killed his opponent by squeezing a guys head real hard, pushing his thumbs into the eyes. Gore and victory ensured on the show, so…why not? Reaching up while the thing continued to chomp down on my helmet, I started to push as hard as I could once I had my hands in the right position.

It wasn’t easy, by no stretch of the imagination. I was hurting the thing, but I wasn’t winning. Victory was definitely not ensured. I head the helmet crack, gave a big prayer, dug in harder…and then poof.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Except, Lili was standing over me, holding a very wicked looking knife like thing that glittered. She held out her hand and helped me up. Lili gave me a once over, running her hands over me, kinda like she had before the attack, but in no way sensual. I felt OK after that, but also weak once the adrenaline rush wore off. I was just about to ask her what was going on, when another growly voice sounded, this one not from an animal.

“Mother, congratulations.” Which did not sound congratulatory in the least.

“Buzz off, B,” Lili said, still checking me out. “I’m very, very sick and tired of this game you insist on playing”

“It’s not a game, Mother, and you know that. One day, and soon, you will pay for your insults.”

Lili just smiled, waved her hand in the air above her floating hair. Yes, floating hair. No wind. Floating. But it fell down, cascading over her shoulders again. I could sense that whatever had been there wasn’t here now.

Before I could ask any “What? Huh? Who? What?”, Lili put her hand on my chest and closed her eyes. I felt a bit of a tremble inside, something clicked, and, well, things were different.

Lili got into her Lotus; I got onto my Yamaha. She pulled out of the lot, and I followed her. As I continue to do.

This was how I met and became involved with Lili.

Lilith.

Mother of Demons.

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Author’s Note:

So, hi. A to Z Blog challenge is over two weeks ago. I needed a bit of a mental break. I kept getting messages to write more, continue more Rovas & Berrak, but…not right now.

I plan to do a bit more with Lili and Davey. Let me know what you think

Reflections On A Challenge (A to Z Blog Challenge Recap)

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and in the end

“Reflections on a Challenge”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The 2016 edition of the A to Z Blog Challenge has come to an end.I was kinda sorta “forced” into joining this year. I had stopped posting for awhile for a variety of reasons, and it was..um…suggested that I get back to writing. The thought ran that the A to Z was the best place to restart my engines. I did. The April postings are the result. Ta Da!

What jump started this theme for me, cold case files, was a series of online posts I had been reading about…unusual crimes that have never been solved. I thought: “What a great idea: explore a cold case every day, or every two days.” It soon became apparent that was a lofty order,  one that would require a lot of editing to accomplish. I realized all that by the third installment, with the chat between Rovas and Gil. So, I decided  to alter my original plan, creating an ongoing story, interweaving character driven pieces with various plots, with one overarching one: John Peters.

I don’t like planning beyond the theme. I rarely write my posts ahead of time, scheduling to post on the correct day. Done it, but not my norm. I usually work best under time pressure. Always have. I’m an Improv trained performer, among other things, so being in the moment works for me…usually. So, no outlines. No deep research until the day of and where the story leads me. Yeah, that gets me in a spot now and then. As Bruce wrote: “But mama, that’s where the fun is!”

The term for my type of writing: I’m a Pantser (flying by the seat of…)

As to how I name my main characters: I normally go with finding names that have specific meanings. I found Khazarian Rovas, not as a person’s name, but as a group heading: it’s an ancient, obsolete, term for a culture’s alphabet. Zarian had Turkish roots, I looked for Turkish women’s names: Berrak means “Dear”. I hope that this did not offend any Armenians who might read my posts. Not my intention.

BTW: I mentioned, above, about unusual unsolved crimes; well, some of the crimes in this series came from a few online articles. I created the rest. I changed names, if there were any named in the articles, and in no way have I any real information on any of those open cases. So if any investigators come sniffing around: fiction. I didn’t do it. I know nuffink!

Now we’re at the part where I’d like to thank some peoples:

THE THANK YOU PART…

First and foremost, Those Who Shall Be Mentioned: the folks who oversee the A to Z Blog Challenge: Arlee, Damyanti, A.J., Joy, Heather, Pam, Jeremy, Alex, Zalka, and John. Lots of work to plan, lots of work to not only write their own blogs but to answer comments, make comments on other blogs, and scoot all over the 1300+ bloggers that joined in this year.

My personal thanks go to people who stepped up to the plate by pointing out some of my “I Hate To Edit” stupid mistakes (yes,I will do something with the hair somewhere, somehow), grammatical errors, clarifications, and what not, overall supporting what I’ve done here. In no particular order: Kim, Holly, Gloria, Roy, and Jill. 10 Q (sound it out, if you don’t get it). Thank you. Really and truly.

To all my readers, commenters or not: Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the journey.

THE WHAT COMES NEXT PART

Honestly, I have no idea. Quite a number have already asked for me to continue with Zarian, Berrak, and Gil. I’ve mentioned a few times that this has crossed my mind, as I saw this more as a first draft as I went along. To me that would mean putting all in one chunk, fix the mistakes, finally add a location (did that on purpose for the A to Z), expand a few of the story lines (really rethinking the first one. I call “Do Over” on it), and making it more of a novel. If I do that, it won’t appear here for quite awhile, if ever. I could just go on and write their futures. I’m very undecided.

What do you think?

I’ve been meaning to do the same with a piece I’m very proud of: The Kitsune-Mochi Saga as well as continuing my series of The Abysmal Dollhouse (this link leads to one of the first, and one of my favorite, of the stories. If you like it, use the search function and just type in Abysmal; it will take you to the lot).

Comments are always welcome…and encouraged!

Thank you, one and all.

The End.

Reflections done.

Go home.

Shoo.

I’m finished.

Time for a nap.

Break Some Glass

Zenith of All Things (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first parts of this story line:  X-Folders and Yesterday’s Sorrows

Zenith

“Zenith of All Things”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Khazarian Rovas, ex police Inspector, awoke in the hospital with a splitting headache, woozy and disoriented for a moment. Knowing only he was laying down, Rovas raised his head. Bad move, as more pain shot through his head. Putting his head back down was almost as painful as when he raised it. The room was dark, the only light in the room was either emanating from the machinery near his head or seeping in from outside his room. Looking the other way he saw Berrak, sleeping, in a chair.

He coughed when he tried to call her name. She woke and immediately came to his side.

“Hi,” she said, running a hand through his hair on the left side. She saw him wince and moved her hand. “Would you like some water?”

Zarian nodded. He sipped some, started coughing again, drank some more. Berrak put it down and moved the chair closer. She left the room only to return with a nurse a few moments later. Berrak refused to leave as the nurse brought in her cart and  turned on all the lights. She took all his vitals down, entered everything into her computer, and asked her questions. She didn’t stay any longer than she had to, which suited both Zarian and Berrak.

Berrak walked over to the light switches, turning all but the light by the bathroom off. Closing the door, she sat down and took Zarian’s hand.

“Obviously I got hurt, but I don’t remember how.”

“What do you remember?”

“Peters had a knife up to one of the children’s throat. He nicked her with it. Is she all right?”

“Yes she is. They all are,” she squeezed his hand.

“Good. Peters put down his knife, picked up his rifle, and aimed it at me. He lost seconds when he tossed…”

“Aemilie. She’s 13.”

“He tossed Aemilie away and brought the rifle up. He knew the recoil: one handed and nothing to brace with, he’d have little to no chance. As it is, he got off two shots before I beaned him.

I had that moment between the tossing the girl and his training his sites on me to barely dodge the first bullet. As I went down I reached for a fairly hefty crystal candy dish…could I have some more water?”

Berrak brought the straw to his lips. He motioned it away after a few sips.

“I tossed the dish as hard as I could. It hit him in the chest with a satisfying thud. Peters staggered. I got to him as fast as I could, going for his knife. I turned…I turned…dammit, I don’t know what happened next.”

“I do, Zarian. The mother, Mrs. Frasier, told us what happened. She was cringing on the couch, trying to protect her children with her body, but she saw you throw her dish at Peters. Mrs. Frasier -Caroline- said as you grabbed the knife and turned, Peters fired one more time. He…clipped you on the side of the head, there.”

“Ah, that’s why the pain there.”

“Yes. It was a nasty looking wound. I thought you were dead when the police let me in. So much blood.” Berrak stopped, took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“And…?”

“And you fell, knife in both hands. You fell down on Peters, driving the knife into his chest. The police found you on top of him, blood all over the floor. Yes, before you ask, he’s dead.”

She brought his hand up to her lips and kissed it. He moved it out of her grip and cupped her face, sliding his thumb over her chin, her mouth.

“It’s over, Berrak. I wished he could have stood trial and rotted in jail, but…it’s over.”

She nodded, closing her eyes as his hand cupped her cheek.

She stayed all night by his side.

*****

EPILOGUE

Many hospital visitors later, they both returned home. Gil and Jill had organized a small “Welcome Home” party. Rovas was not a fan of surprise parties, but this one he tolerated with grace. Jill had brought Sara, her daughter. Tina, who had nicely recovered from her ordeal with Peters, brought a date.  Chief Inspector Oliver Dole was there, with his wife, as well as other friends from the force. Even Maggie and Pearl, who kept refusing the people food the others tried to slip her. Maggie allowed Pearl her treats. He was content with this crowd, but then the doorbell rang one more time.

The Palmonts arrived, all three children in tow. Berrak had gone to the door, ushered them in, and called Rovas over. They gathered around him, the parents shaking his hand. He got hugs from both Janice and April. The three of them shared some tears; the girls hugged Berrak as well, then went into the living room: they had noticed Sara.

Rovas’s arm was tugged on. It was Gerald. He beckoned to him with his finger. Rovas stooped down a little. Gerald went close to his ear, saying, almost in a whisper:”Thank you for stopping…him.” Rovas got another hug. He returned this just as fiercely.

Rovas sat on the couch, a cup of perfect coffee in his hand, made by Berrak, of course. Dole came over. He was congratulating and chastising him in the same breath, until his wife smacked him on the arm and made him promise to behave. This brought a round of laughs from all, more so from those who worked with him daily. Rovas was glad, later, that he kept to his promise.

Gil, with Jill in hand, came over and sat with Rovas. Berrak was talking with Tina and her plus one, Samuel. They went over to join Zarian.

As they sat, Gil hit himself in the head, smiling. “Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t…well, yes I can. It’s not like nothing else has been happening.”

“What, Gil?” asked Rovas.

Gil turned and looked at Tina. “I think we’ve found the man who killed…um…your friends,” he said, pointedly not looking at Samuel.

“He knows, Gil.” She took Samuel’s’ hands in hers. “Go on.”

“Well, while Inspector…um…Zarian,” he changed after a look from Rovas. “While he was recuperating, one of my inquiries into this Vic character came to my desk. In one of the books we found from the…woman of the house…there were numerous booking for a VG. So, I started searches for anyone named Vic or Victor with a surname starting with G. I finally got a hit, and I think it’s him. It took long enough, but…”

“And…?” Berrak asked, pushing Gil along.

“If this is the guy, his name is Victor Gilbride. I found him in the mental ward. Scarily, he was in the same high level ward that Peters had escaped from.” Gil shook his head.

“Victor had been in another…house…when he was arrested. He was with two girls and got rough with them. He left teeth marks, pretty bad ones, on one of the girls. They screamed, he was getting more violent, the madame threw the door open and tassed him.”

“Good for her. I wish Lily had one.”

“Yes, well, once he was in police custody, Victor went a little bat crazy.”

Everyone groaned.

“Yes, well…when they searched his home, they found more equipment like was left at the scene of the murders. Victor didn’t confess so much as relished his telling of why he did such a disgusting thing.”

“Gil, he drank the blood?” Rovas asked.

“Yes, and he got good and sick from it. Victor really thought he was a vampire- wait, I know, but according to the docs this is a syndrome. He was planning to do it again, he said. His biting was a kind of foreplay for him. The madame said she knew he did it, but it had been more restrained before that night.”

“Oh. Oh…wow. I just…I’m not really sure how I feel, Gil. Thank you.” Tina got up, nudged Jill slightly, and gave Gil a hug. She went back to sit by Samuel. “He’s not on the streets. Wow.”

They all smiled and relaxed.

The evening wound up early. Everyone knew Zarian needed his rest. They didn’t linger very long. He got many hugs and pats on the back, and some kisses on the cheek from Jill, Tina, and Janice, the oldest of the Palmont girls. Gerald stood in the doorway, looked him in the eye, and waved. Rovas waved back.

Alone, the two settled on their couch.

“I will clean up tomorrow, Zarian. I’m tired, and I know you are as well. It’s in your eyes.” She leaned her head on his shoulder. “All this horror is done with, now. I think I could sleep for a week.”

Zarian stroked her hair, closing his eyes, relaxing with her on the couch.

“Come,” she said after waking up from dozing off. “Bed time, for both of us.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too. Let’s go up.”

He took her hand as they both levered themselves off the couch. She turned off the light in the room and made their way to the stairs. Rovas stopped for a moment, looking into his darkened study, out the window.

Rovas noticed a silhouette of a man briskly walking away from their house, down the street, hands in his pockets, head cast down, fading down the street horizon.

He smiled, looked at Berrak, and headed upstairs for some much needed sleep.

The End

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Well, that’s it…for now? I’m not sure if I’ll return to this or not. There are a few other story lines I like (Devil’s Diary; The Kitsune Mochi; The Abysmal Dollhouse) that I’d like to re-explore, as well as an idea for a novel that has been floating around the vast emptiness of my mind, one that sets foot in the urban paranormal vein. I need a couple of days off of just vegging. Then…we’ll see.

I’m supposed to have a Reflection Post up sometime in May, say the Masters of the A to Z. I will get to that, and announce the date as soon as I firm it down.
There is still plenty of time to check out blogs from the A to Z Blog Challenge. Click on the banner below. It will take you to their home page. Or, click HERE to go to the A to Z Challenge list.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

Thank you for coming by. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, mistakes and all. As I said awhile back, I consider this my “First Draft”, which kinda sorta means I might pull this out and rework it a bit down the road.

Anyone want to be my editor? Beta Reader? Cannoli maker?

Comments, likes, and outpouring of love and gratitude is always welcome. 🙂

 

Yesterday’s Sorrows (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first parts of this story line: Venus Ascending , Witch’s Moon, and X-Folders

Yesterday

“Yesterday’s Sorrows”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The manhunt for John Peters continued. Fresh from the attempted second kidnapping of a prior victim, his attack on Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros and ex-Inspector Rovas and his wife drove the police in a wide search to bring him to justice…one way or the other. That escalated by his next crimes.

A family who had not been heard from in five days, were found, brutalized, in their home. A friend of the wife’s had come round, not hearing from her after she didn’t show up to a play date with the youngest children. She peeked in a window, saw the place in shambles, and called the police. All five were found dead; John Peters’ fingerprints were found all over the house, and on the murder weapon, a kitchen knife.

He had a hiding place and lost it. Police presence was out in full force. Gil was taken off the case, forced to receive protection, which he fought until Rovas fed him back his own words of caution from weeks ago. Berrak was uneasy: both glad and bothered by being so closely guarded. The Palmont family was put into a safe house under heavy rotation. Tina, who had undergone two more operations due to complications from being shot, was finally on the mend. She, too, had police watching. She was never left alone in her hospital room.

There were no other sightings, which worried them all. Gil called in favors to keep him updated; Rovas discretely doing the same. The three of them met often, adding information to their wall as it came in. Berrak was busy online, researching anything that related to Peters, his family, and the families he had affected. Every now and then the three of them would pick over the other open case folders left in the study, doing research both by phone or computer. But no chasing down any ideas or leads. Not then. Capturing Peters was of utmost concern.

Rovas and Berrak were brainstorming in the study while Gil busied making the coffee for them. He had insisted, and Berrak gave in, knowing he wanted the privacy to talk with Jill on the phone. He eventually came in with three mugs, balancing them and burning some fingers in the process.

“We have a tray,” Berrak softly scolded while Gil blew on his fingers.

Rovas’ attention was on the information tacked on the wall and written on the white board. He was trying to fathom any pattern of Peters. He was considered a loose canon by those he kept in touch with on the force. The destruction at the family vacation house, the attempt on Gerald Palmont, the shooting at Tina’s apartment…yes, a loose canon. But, there was something…

“Damn!” he slammed his fist down on the table, drawing Berrak’s and Gil’s instant attention. “There. The families.” He got up, stepping up to the victims list they had made. “Besides the police deaths he caused in the bombing, and his attempts on us…the families. The Palmont’s: three children. This latest atrocity: three children.”

“Oh…the three girls that were traced back to him before…” Berrak clenched her fists.

Gil got on the phone. Once he was connected to Chief Inspector Dole, he put them on speaker phone.

“Dole, Rovas here. We may have a pattern that I know you’re not perusing at the moment…”

*****

The search for families with three children went from a 25 mile radius to 50, officially. Rovas and Berrak bought a laptop and Gil brought over his. Jill helped out from her home when she could. They made lists of their find, which went beyond the 50 mile search, but discarded them one by one as Gil made “official” calls to the schools, seeing if those children had all been absent, and for more than one or two days.

During one call, he held up his hand to the others. All they heard were “yes, yes” or “Are you sure?” with a final “Yes, alert the police. Now.” while he scribbled information down on paper. “Three children, again two girls and a boy. Third day they haven’t shown up; one teacher reported she was having trouble reaching the parents on their in school reporting system. It hadn’t been picked up on anyone’s radar.”

Berrak and Rovas stood up at the same time.

“Gil,” Rovas said, “would you mind distracting our minders outside?”

He smiled. “With pleasure. Now, how will I meet you?”

They formed a plan.

*****

They pulled up near a barricade forty minutes later. Police car lights dotted the area. Gil went up to the officer standing duty, identified himself and pointing out the Rovas’. After a short conversation, he rushed back to them.

“Inspector…Peters is asking for you, well, the three of us, but specifically for you. He,” Gil took a look at Berrak and then continued, “he killed the father and tossed him out an upper window. Said he’d gut the kids and let the mother watch.”

The police officer letting them through after he had called in that they were there. They made their way to the commander in charge and introduced themselves. He reluctantly went over the details, more to Gil, but firmly aware of Rovas’s presence.

“He has a gas mask, he claims. Curtains are drawn; any shadowy figures are always of two close together. No secure shot. The only communication we’ve had with this guy is he wants you, really badly.” He pointed his finger at Rovas. He nodded back.

“Then, let’s give him what he wants.”

“Zarian! No.”

He looked at his wife. “The children,” was all he said.

With tears falling she fell into his arms.

All attempts to change his mind failed. All Gil could say, at the end point, was “I have faith in you.”

No more needed to be said.

*****

Rovas was in the living room. He took everything in: Peters with a knife the throat of a young teenage girl, her hands tied in front of her, mouth gagged. The mother and two other children were also tied up and gagged, sitting together on a couch. He noticed a rifle-an M82, he wasn’t surprised to see-resting just off to the right side of where Peters stood. His eyes took in the area around him as he walked into the room, his hands up to show he was not carrying.

They stood starting at one another. Peters blinked first. Rovas moved a step closer.

“Well. I’m here. Let the children and their mother go.”

Rovas noticed Peters knife arm was tense, an indentation against the girls throat that drew a thin line of blood. She was shaking, her face a mask of pain. “Stop moving,” Peters growled. Rovas felt it was as much for him as it was the girl. He stopped.

Peters held onto the girl with his left hand while he put the knife down behind him. He reached down to pick up the rifle, bringing it level with Rovas’ middle. Rovas knew what was next.

Peters’ tossed the girl to the floor and brought the riffle up.

Outside, they heard two shots ring out.

“Zarian!” Berrak cried out. Gil and the commander had to restrain her.

“We have to go in. We have to go in,” she insisted.

They heard one more shot.

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, one more post. I was late with this one. Life happens. The final post, the Z, is supposed to end on Saturday, April 30th. I’m going to take a short break and get to the last part of this story and post before Midnight, so it ends on time.

Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Please click on the below pic/badge. It’ll take you to the A to Z home page; from there, click on the top link to find the other bloggers who took the challenge. I’m sure you’ll find something enjoyable to read.

X-Folders (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first parts of this story line: Venus Ascending and Witch’s Moon

X folders

“X-Folders”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Bullets slammed into the living room through glass, plaster, and brick. Everyone hit the floor after the window shattered. Rovas rolled across the floor towards the front door of the apartment. Gil and Berrak dragged Tina as fast as they could to the side kitchen. Tina was bleeding and unconscious. Rovas counted ten shots in all.

The noise from the street returned, horns honking and people screaming. Rovas lifted his head slightly, wincing when he saw Gil trying to staunch the blood flow from Tina’s side. Berrak was on her knees, looking for, and finding, clean towels.

“Berrak, stay down!,” he whispered across the room. “Are either of you hit?” After they both shook their heads, he dug his cell out and was calling 911.

“Tell them to hurry. I think she’s going into shock.”

Berrak reached up and pulled the table cloth off the table, sending utensils and napkins all over the place. She did her best to wrap her niece up while Gil continued applying pressure. Rovas finished with the call just about the same time he heard police sirens coming up the street and stopping before the building. No other shots had been fired.

“Gil. Ten rounds, piercing the brick wall. M82?”

Sweat was leaking down his head. He raised a hand to wipe it away from his eyes, leaving a trail of blood across his brow. It took a moment for him to answer. “That would be my guess. It makes sense. Used by a lot of police, now; Military sniper made easy.”

Rovas crawled over to the window after he unlocked the door. Berrak told him to stay down as well, but…easier said than done. He raised a piece of curtain up using a couch pillow he grabbed. No bullet chased it down. He was just inching up to look out when the police arrived, followed by paramedics. Traffic going in and out of the apartment was hectic until the inspecting detectives showed up and took over.

Tina was rushed to the hospital while Rovas, Berrak, and Gil gave their statements. None of them were hurt beyond scratches from flying masonry and glass, which were treated there. Rovas had a gash over his left eye that was bandaged. Gil was fussed over due to all the blood on him, but they let him be once it was determined it all came from another source. All three were expected at the ER for a thorough exam.

Berrak left for the hospital, more to be with her niece, once she assured Rovas she was all right and that he wasn’t hurt more than he’d admit. She gave him a long hug and then left with a one of the police men; Rovas had insisted. He looked out the window while listening to Gil’s account of what happened. He only put his full attention back to the investigators once he noticed Berrak getting into a squad car.

Bullets were being dug out of the walls and flooring. “Looks like a .50 caliber. Lab will tell us definitely.” The lead detective, Miles, was looking at what was left of the bullet. He placed it the evidence bag and took off his gloves. “So, neither of you saw who did this. Nor did your wife, I know.” He took them out onto the landing and down the stairs. When they got to the street, he kept the two of them to the side, away from prying ears. A crowd had formed and was sticking around. Press was only just arriving.

“We canvassed the area. No casings on the roof across the street where it looks like the shots came from. Prints a plenty; again, lab work. There is one thing: does a fairly tall blond male, Caucasian, ring any bells? Most everyone was running to the building after the shots stopped. He was noticed by a few running away, up the street.” He pointed north. “A car almost hit a couple of teens coming this way.”

“Peters!” both Rovas and Gil said at the same time. They looked at each other. Rovas explained the connection. While the detective made his notes, Gil was doing his best to look around the area. He didn’t see anyone that even came close to looking like Peters.

Eventually they were allowed to leave, exchanging contact information so that all parties could be in the loop. Getting in the car, Rovas was silent as they headed to the hospital to check on Tina and Berrak. He startled Gil when he hit the door with his fist.

“Dammit. I should not be doing this. Those case folders, Gil. Tina would still be hiding, safe. You wouldn’t have gotten shot. Berrak wouldn’t be risking her life…”

“Yes, we’d all be better off. You know as well as I, though, that was not going to happen. Think of the Palmont children, if nothing else. They are free right now because of your tenacity.”

“Tenacity. You’ve hung around me too much, Gil. Better you should spend more time on Jill, enjoying your life outside of…all this.” Rovas put his head back on the head rest and closed his eyes.

“Inspector…Zarian…this is my life, as it is yours. Nothing I’d want to do to change it. I thought I’ve shown that over the years.”

“Yes, you have.”

“Good. As to Jill, her passion for what she does equals my own. So far, what we have is good enough, happy enough. Let’s please leave it.” Gil smiled. “I get that enough of that from your wife.” Gil briefly looked over, noticing that Rovas’ left eyebrow was quirked upwards and a slight smile played across his face.

***

Once home, Berrak collapsed next to Zarian on the couch, cuddling up and drawing her legs up after kicking off her shoes. Tina’s blood pressure had been horribly low, and there was fear of sepsis from a nick to her bowels. She was under operation for close to four hours. The surgeon’s prognosis was what she was hoping for: a good chance she’d survive, the next 24 hours would tell. Berrak wondered why it was always 24 hours on TV. She was exhausted and found it somewhat humorous.

Zarian had his arm around her tightly. It felt too good to tell him to be more gentle. They both had been holding on through the day, most of it separately. This was right, for the two of them.

“Berrak, tomorrow, all my efforts go into finding John Peters. This has to end. I will not wait around for him to strike again. I will not.”

“I know,” she said, sitting up. “I know. If Tina dies…”

“We can’t go there. Right now, we can’t. Look at me,” he asked. “I love you. I can not bare the thought of you getting hurt again due to this…well, job. Duty. Career. I can’t. I’m asking you to stay home, under protective care.” He glanced outside, looking at the police cruiser parked in front of the house. He knew there was a patrol behind as well.

“Zarian,” she kissed him fully. “I will see this through, with you, with Gil.” He started to shake his head and open his mouth. Berrak put her hand on his chest. He looked her in the eyes.

“This isn’t open for argument, is it,” he said with a sigh.

She shook her head, then took his hand. “Let’s go to bed, Zarian.” She got up, still holding his hand.

“I’m too wound up to sleep.”

“So am I,” she answered, pulling him along with her.

“Oh,” was all he said as they went upstairs.

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1300 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Witch’s Moon (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first part of this story line: Venus Ascending

Witch

“Witch’s Moon”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros sat uneasily on the couch. He had come straight from work, filing the information he had gathered in the last few days. Mr. Palmont was recovering from the attack by John Peters; so far, no new sightings of the fugitive were at hand. He informed Rovas that the boy, Gerald, started to relax when he was assured that his father was not going to die. Mrs. Palmont agreed to interviewing the boy when Gerald could.

Across from him sat Berrak Rovas and her niece, Kristina. Tina, he kept having to remind herself, which she did every time he called her by her full name. Gil still felt guilty about holding back the story of her niece, and, more so, the information about the girl herself. Berrak was holding Tina’s hands; Rovas was behind him, leaning against the wall by the window.

“Tina, please, I know this is hard, but the Sargent Detective needs…”

“Gil. I’ve always called him Gil.”

He sighed. “Fine. Gil…please tell him what you told us.” He nodded at Gil, who had his notepad and pen out. Tina took a deep breath in, held it, and let it out slowly.

Tina had been aware of the man who committed the murders. The other girls in the house did keep her away from him. Lily, the madame, told her he liked it rough and, knowing that Tina wasn’t up for any of that, tried to make sure she stayed out of sight. It didn’t always work out, although it should have. He had a set schedule: he always made a reservation for the night of a full moon.

One night, she got bored, and hungry, in the attic while he was there. Thinking he’d be occupied by this point, she snuck downstairs to make tea and a snack. He was sitting in the parlor playing with Elise’s hair, her fingers in his mouth. It looked like he was biting on them.

“The red head was Elise, yes?

Tina nodded and continued. She shivered a bit as she told them of the way this john looked her up and down. He tried to call her over, but Lily interceded by catching his attention. Tina ran upstairs; she got a huge lecture from everyone the next day.

“Did his name ever come up?”

“They called him Vic. That’s all. No last name.”

“I made another mistake one other time: I had to go…y’know. The bathrooms were downstairs, and I couldn’t wait. He saw me that time as I came out of the attic door. I looked, but…they had just come up the stairs as I…” she was getting excited and tried to calm herself down. “Elise rushed him into her room and closed the door. Fast and loud.”

Gil looked at her, then Berrak, who was, at this point, staring at him. Rovas interjected: “Tina, I know this is not easy. I do understand why you did not tell us this before,” keeping to himself “but I wish you had, dammit.”

“What about that night?” Gil prodded.

“Yeah. I was warned he was going to be there, Elise again. His favorite. Lily threatened me to stay out of sight. I was in my room, reading, when Lily came in with a tray of tea. She didn’t want me going downstairs for anything.”

“Gil, yes, the only prints we found were the unknown ones, which we believe came from Tina. It seems Lily liked to play the madame part to the hilt, like in an old time brothel. White gloves and all. We found the garments scattered around, but it wasn’t outright obvious at the time.”

Tina nodded. “Anyways, she left the tea, closed the door, and I poured myself a cup. Next thing I know I was in the back seat of your car with the two of you up front. Didn’t mean to scare  you with my screams, but…”

Gil smiled at that memory. It took awhile to calm her down.

“All right, well. Vic, most likely Victor. I’ll have to go have a look at her records. There were a list of initials, with code for what the repeaters liked; thanks to your deciphering what they meant. I’ll look to see if we can get at least the initial of the last name out of this and take it from there.”

“Gil, if you need any help…”

“Yes, Inspector,” he smiled again. “I think I can manage this. We may have a break in this after all. Tina, I want to get a sketch artist with you, see if you can give us something more we can use.”

She nodded, getting up as Gil did. She was giving him a hug. Rovas moved away from the wall and crossed the window.

A bullet shattered through the window.

Berrak screamed.

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1300 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Venus Ascending (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Venus

“Venus Ascending”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Facing truths can be difficult; no matter how hard we try to push some away, the dark ones are sometimes the hardest to contain. Coming from the hospital, after Zarian called to set up the meeting, the ride over was tense. It remained that way even entering the apartment. Berrak, with Zarian by her side, sat facing her niece, Kristina. Her eyes were glistening from the held in tears. Kristina was leaning back as far as she could.

“So, you’re my aunt. Huh. Can’t say it’s nice to really meet you.”

“Kristina!” Rovas growled.

“Tina. Tina, not Kristina. Kristina is then.”

“Tina,” Berrak said, “I’m sure this isn’t easy for you. I only just found out about you; believe me, this is just unsettling for me as well. I am so angry at my brother for hiding you from me, us.”

“I’m not too fond of ‘dad’ myself. Only good thing out of all this was ‘Uncle’ Zarian here.” She half smiled a nod his way.

Berrak turned and looked at her husband at the use of his nickname. He shrugged. “She called me that after I told her my name, our connection. Not my doing.”

“It’s more natural. The ‘K’ is kinda harsh sounding.” She pointed to herself. “So, no more ‘Kris’, less harsh me. No more ‘Kha”, and the Inspector becomes…”

“Less harsh and easier to relate to,” Berrak nodded. “I’ve called him Zarian ever since our first date.”

An uncomfortable silence fell over all three of them. Berrak looked around the tiny apartment. Kristina…Tina, she would have to remember…had simply decorated in various shades of blue and white. It was calming, she thought.

Tina picked up her soda pop bottle, took a swig, and looked directly at Berrak. “OK; we’re here. You met me. What do you really want?”

Berrak was at first taken aback by her niece’s hostility, but that morphed into her own anger. She looked at Rovas. “I’d like a few moments alone with Tina, Zarian. Please.”

Rovas looked at both women: defiance radiating from one, the other determination. He got up from the table. “I’ll…take a look around outside. Make sure no one followed us.” He bent over, kissed Berrak’s cheek, and then patted Kristina on the shoulder as he made his way to the apartment door. It quietly snicked closed behind him.

“He’s a good man,” Tina said, anger abated. “I really haven’t met many good men, before. I’m…sorry.”

“Yes, he is a good man. A very good man. And, it’s all right. This is all so out of nowhere. All I really want is to get to know you. You’re family.” She stopped and tilted her head. “You do look like him a little. Your father, I mean. Nose area, eyes. Berk was stupid, what he did. He just…”

“Made a mistake?” Tina’s defiance was back up.

“No. You are not a mistake. He was a bit too self centered. As much as he wanted to protect his wife from any pain, from what Zarian told me, Berk was protecting himself much, much more. He was like that as a child. I had hoped that had changed when he got older. He cared about appearances.”

Tina nodded, turning away when some tears started to fall.

Berrak reached across and took Tina’s left hand in her right. Tina squeezed Berrak’s hand, closing her eyes, her head downcast.  Khazarian called, telling Berrak he’d be in the coffee shop across the street. The two women talked, getting to know each other, breaking through barriers on one side while a bond was beginning to form for both.

Through Zarian help, and Gil’s, Tina managed to stay clean. She attended meetings, finished her GRE’s, and had been admitted to a community college. Sadly, her mother passed away a year ago. This brought a new set of tears-on both sides-as Tina related her teenage years, problems with her mother, barely acknowledging her father the few times he reached out to her.

This brought them to her drug use and turn to prostitution. Tina had little to say, except that she owed Lilly a debt for taking her off the streets. Tears flowed again, and Berrak sensed, in Tina’s reluctance to continue, that there was something more to be gleamed.

She got up and walked to the other side of the table, sitting next to Tina. She pulled her close; Tina’s head rested on her shoulder, which was getting slightly soggy.

“Tina, do you remember anything about that night?” she asked, as gently as she could.

Picking her head up and wiping away the tears with her left hand, she shook her head no. Yet, Berrak felt Tina’s whole body shaking.

“Tina, something has been bothering me. If the other girls and the madame were protecting you from this…deviant…When Zarian and Gil removed you from the house, they also moved the tea service to the kitchen. So many things they did wrong by the law, for you.

The thing is, the tea service was also checked by the crime team. It had been wiped clean like the others, except for unknown prints: yours, I assume. If the others hid him from you, why was your tea service devoid of other prints?”

Tina started another flow of tears, bringing her legs up under her chin, her forehead on her knees. “I, I…couldn’t…I couldn’t tell…please. Stop. Please.” They both sat quietly, Berrak continuing to hold onto her niece.

“What couldn’t you tell? Your mother?” Tina shook her head. Berrak held back her own shudder. “Zarian?”

Tina nodded.

Berrak got up and walked to the window that was facing the street. She took out her cell phone.

“Zarian, come up…now. Yes, it’s important. I think our Tina has something she’d like to tell us.”

She watched as he came out of the coffee shop and walked across the road. Once he entered the building, she turned around and faced Tina. Her eyes were wide, swollen but dry. She blinked a few times, and looked up at Berrak.

“I saw the man who killed the others. I saw the man who was going to kill me.”

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1300 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Unbridled Fury (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**The first parts of this story line: Red Canvas, Still Life in Scarlet, and Tea and Soliciting

Unbrideled

“Unbridled Fury”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Berrak was in the back seat of the car while Gil drove. Khazarian at first insisted she sit up front, but she refused three times. He had tried to join her in the back, but she wanted the space, as much space three people in a sedan could afford. Rovas sat up front, drumming his fingers on the door rest. She needed to think.

The house offered nothing new to any of them. No clues, which no one expected, but especially no new insight. It was frustrating to her on so many levels. She understood why Zarian kept the secret of her late brother’s child, Kristina the product of an affair Berk had had while still married to Eva. She was mad at Berk and upset with Zarian, with feelings of anguish for a niece she did not know until that day she had.

Gil’s phone rang. Rovas clicked it on and held it up for Gil to hear. “Could you hold on,” Gil’s face whitened, “Sir, put it on speaker.” Rovas did. “OK, please repeat what you said. Inspector Rovas is in the car with me.”

Gil put his foot down on the pedal while Chief Inspector Dole grudgingly, Rovas heard in his voice, said: “John Peters tried to kidnap the Palmont boy again. The boy’s father is on his way to the hospital; Mr. Palmont had picked Gerald up from school. Peters was waiting by the car with a gun. He tried to snatch the boy but Mr. Palmont rushed him. The gun went off in the melee. Gerald broke free and ran to the school as the school guard and other parents were running towards the scene. Peters fled.”

“We’re on our way back,” Rovas told Dole. “How bad is it for the father?”

“Not good, I’m afraid. A lot of blood loss, but one of the parents on the scene was an EMT. She was able to help until the ambulance showed.”

“What school again?” Gil asked. After the Chief Inspector read off the information again Rovas hung up. “Damn,” Gil muttered.

“What, Gil?” Berrak asked, still leaning over the front seat, her arm around her husband.

“The EMT. I’ll bet you it was Jill. Her daughter goes to that school. I knew the Palmont’s moved for protection, but I didn’t know which schools.”

The car flew on the road. Inside, all three were alone in their thoughts.

*****

After checking the scene at the school, Rovas wanted to go to the hospital to talk with Mr. Palmont. Jill was there when they arrived; she was with her daughter, Sara, and Mrs. Palmont and her children. Gil went over to them, getting a hug from Jill and a “mooommmm” from Sara. Rovas and Berrak briefly spoke with Mr. Palmont, then checked in with Janice and April. Gerald was curled up in a knot and pressed against his mother. She shook her head: it was not the time for questioning.

Gil said he would follow as Rovas and Berrak went to find Mr. Palmont. Berrak stopped outside of the room, holding onto her husband’s arm.

“When this is done, I want you to promise me something.”

He nodded.

“I want to meet Kristina.”

“Berrak, I don’t think…”

“That is the problem: in this instance, you weren’t thinking. I want…no, I will meet with Kristina.”

Rovas looked at her, arguing within himself. Looking in her eyes, he could only nod.

They went into the room hand in hand.
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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Tea and Soliciting (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first parts of this story line: Red Canvas and Still Life in Scarlet

“Tea and Soliciting”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The trip to the abandoned brothel was not an easy one for any in the car. Rovas was driving, his eyes focused on the road ahead, with only glimpses given to the rear and side windows. Berrak had her arms folded across her chest. Gil, in the back, wished he was anyplace else.

Gil was intently staring out the side window when Berrak finally broke the silence with a deep sigh.

“You could have told me…the two of you.” She stared directly at Rovas. “I am your wife, Zarian, not a stranger or an acquaintance you have to keep secrets from.”

“I know.”

“You know, yet I’m just finding out my late brother had an illegitimate daughter, that I have a blood relation niece? You know?”

Rovas sighed as deeply as Berrak had. “I told you: your brother begged me not to tell you. He had kept tabs on Kristina through her mother, his…dalliance.  You and Eva were as close as sisters-in-law could be; Berk was deeply ashamed for what he did. He did not want you to think less of your big brother.

He came to me when Kristina went missing. Her mother knew of our family relationship; she pleaded with him to contact me. Kristina was gone for almost two full weeks by that point. Berk had a recent photo of her. I know you know the time frame. Both you and Eva were concerned about Berk’s distraction and angry outbursts. It would have ruined his marriage. He truly loved Eva.”

Berrak turned her head away, looking out the front window. “So you found her in a whore house.” She shifted around, so she could see both Zarian and Gil. “I couldn’t take anymore in the house. I needed to get out, to do something. Tell me the rest.” She paused. “Please.”

“Gil and I found Kristina in the attic bedroom, tied up like the other two girls and unconscious. She was alive: the killer hadn’t gotten to her yet. The coroner found GHB in all three of the victims. The madame, Lilly, had the least amount, which is most likely how she was able to make the 911 call. There was a tea service in each of the rooms; a main batch was still in the kitchen.”

“It tested positive for Liquid Ecstasy. It’s odorless but slightly salty. Enough sugar will cover that, and there was plenty of sugar in the tea mixture,” Gil added. “We think the killer bolted, not knowing how much information Lily had given to the 911 dispatcher. She probably would have been next, then Kristina.”

“And what of Kristina?”

“I had memorized the picture of the girl and had been looking for her, when I could, for a little over a year,” Rovas continued. “Berk was sick with worry. I had nothing to go on. When we came across her in the bedroom, I knew. My shock was pretty evident to Gil. I knew what I had to do.” He looked at Berrak. “I had to tell Gil. I was torn: duty versus familial oath.

Gil reluctantly agreed with me. We carried her downstairs and out the back, laying her out on a blanket in the back yard for a moment. Gil stayed with her. I went to talk to the officer for a moment, again stressing no one enter until the crime team arrived. I was moving my car, I told him, so that there would be easier access for the ME and crew. Gil and I took Kristina out to the car, cracked a window open a bit, and laid her out on the back seat.”

Rovas made a turn off the main road into a loosely packed residential area. The houses were old but well kept, for the most part. He made a left turn and pulled up in front of a two storied, a corner lot. The For Sale sign in the front yard looked old.

Gil got out of the car and opened the passenger door for Berrak. “It’s no wonder that the house is for sale. Who would want to live in a house with three murders?” she asked.

“And was a whore house,” Gil shook his head. Rovas had turned off the car and came to stand with them on the sidewalk.

“Berk was both ecstatic and upset. He was thrilled we found Kristina, but not where she was found, nor the realization of why she was there. Berk knew there had been some drug troubles, but not how much. The mother kept that news private until…Kristina was hooking to supply her habit, no pimp. Lily somehow found her-Kristina still hasn’t told me how-and offered her a safe place.”

“Where is she, then? What did you two do with her?” Tears had been floating down her cheeks. Berrak dabbed them away with a hand.

“She is with her mother in hiding. The killer was a John, but she had been told to stay in the attic that night by one of the other girls. The man had rough tastes, and the others were protective of Kristina due to her age and what she was like. The way Kristina talked, the others treated her like big sisters, and Lily had helped wean her off the more dangerous drugs she was doing when she ran away.”

Gil looked up at the top of the house as they all walked up the front path. “She didn’t get a look at him; didn’t know his name. Any fingerprints that we found came from the women in the house and a variety of different men, some who came up blank when we looked. The tea kettle and materials in the kitchen and the bedrooms: all were wiped clean. Only the fingerprints of the victims were there.”

Rovas had the lockbox code he had gotten from the realtor when the house went up for sale the first time. It hadn’t been changed. It unlocked and he opened the door for Berrak and Gil to enter. He followed and closed it.

None of them noticed the car that had been following them the entire way from the Rovas home. The man behind the wheel stared at the house, looked at their car, and then drove around the corner and down the block.

John Peters drove on. His boy was waiting.

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.