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Hour Lives (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

Hour

“Hour Lives”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Rovas was not surprised by what was unearthed in the hours after the Palmont children were freed. The hospital results were what he feared: Janice, April, and Gerald, had all been sexually abused. Gerald was essentially mute, only making those same small noises as he made when rescued. Janice and April were afraid of any touch at this point; the seemingly endless numbers of medical staff probing them, and police questioning, was to much for both girls. When their parents arrived and went to hug them the girls cringed away from them, fear plastered on their faces. The joy that Mr. & Mrs. Palmont entered the hospital room was quickly overturned.  She was in hysterics,  while her husband stiffened up, only placing his hand on the small of his wife’s back as she floundered. This was a private scene of devastation, and Rovas was not one for empty platitudes.

Leaving the hospital, he did not know, then, that there was more to come.

Rovas and Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros sat drinking coffee in the Rovas kitchen. Berrak joined them and sat quietly while the men sipped away. Rovas had made the coffee; neither was happy with that fact, and Berrak knew better.

“Even with a lawyer present, Peters was pretty open about the events. Finding the children tied up as we did, he had little to skate around,” Gil presented, taking out his note pad, not wanting to forget any detail, as if he could. “We have him on kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, child endangerment, and…there are more charges to come. I came here as soon as I could.

Gerald was ‘his boy, his good boy’. That was why we only saw him at the beach. Peters did not take Gerald out of the house until a few years after the abduction. He wasn’t, in Peters’ words, ‘a good boy yet…but he learned.’ I’ll spare you both the details of that. Makes me ill to have just heard him say that.”

“What of the girls? What did he say about them?,” Rovas asked.

“Not much. To him, the girls were useless. Ill behaved, causing trouble. He originally had them in the third bedroom, but he soon built his…his cage system in the attic. Gerald was easier to contain, being only 4 at the time. Tie him up, boom. Done. He used Janice and April for housework when they weren’t locked upstairs.”

Gil looked at Berrak before continuing.

“I know.”

Gil nodded, and went on.”He raped them. Continuously.  Both girls, and the boy shows signs of it as well, but nothing recent. What a sick bastard. Ha.” Gil shook his head.” That doesn’t even need to be said, does it?”

Gil paused, staring at his notebook. He shut it, eyes still downcast. Rovas could feel there was more. Before Gil closed the book, he noticed more writing.

“What aren’t you telling us?”

Gil looked up, first as Rovas, then Berrak, then back to Rovas. He sighed. “This came out a bit ago. You probably had left the hospital already. Um…”

“What?” Berrak leaned towards him, her nails digging into her napkin.

Pausing before he answered, Gil grew very quiet when he said: “Both girls had given birth. They think Janice…more than once.”

Berrak closed her eyes. Rovas nodded unhappily. “There was nothing in the attic or the bedrooms to suggest there were babies there.”

Berrak’s eyes startled open. “Oh, oh no…Gerald. When we found the boy…remember Zarian? He kept looking out the window. He kept looking out, to the back yard.”

“We found the remains of two of the babies soon after this news came to light. Peters said nothing where they were when we confronted him, but he didn’t deny any of it. ‘Back yard’ was all he said. If there was a third, we didn’t find it on this go around.” Gil felt exhausted at this point. “So, statutory rape and murder charges will be added.”

They talked for a bit more, the “whys” and “how did he get away with this” all still to be discovered. Gil finally excused himself, thanked them, hugged Berrak briefly, and left.

Berrak and Rovas were in their case room nee study. They were taking down all the papers they had tacked up on the bulletin boards, and Berrak finished by wiping clean the white board. She was reluctant to erase the children’s names, but she eventually did.

They sat in stony silence for awhile. Rovas put all the paperwork into the open file that started all this. He put it in the bottom drawer of his desk.

“We need to get a file cabinet in here,” Berrak offered.

“Why?”

She nodded to the other case files on the right side of the desk.

“Oh.” he said. A sad smile. “Yes.”

“But not today.”

“No, not today.” he placed his hand on top of the pile. ” We’ll take a look another day. Today, let’s take care of ourselves.”

She smiled, went over to him, leaned down, and they kissed.

*************************************************
“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 1800 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.

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Gables Conceal (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**Please read Delicate Decisions and Easy Pickings and Frayed Knot before reading this chapter

**To start from the beginning, go to From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Gables

“Gables Conceal”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Darkness does not have to wait for the sun to set. There are too many examples of atrocities we, humans, have done and continue to do unto others. Something beautiful can mask wickedness. It does not have to be outwardly frightening to house evil.

Judge Ackerman had owed Inspector Rovas a large favor. A case involving some questionable people, drugs, and his daughter seemed to leave his daughter unmentioned went put into the data base. Rovas knew he was bending the rules: breaking rules, more like it. But, the girl was on the outside looking in. She just got caught with her head through the window. She’s remained scandal  clean since then.

Feeling uncomfortable, the judge was reluctant to issue a warrant to search the house and property of John Peters. Speaking to Gil, but Rovas knew it was directed to him: “You know these photos will not be admissible if this goes to trial. We don’t know if those children were or were not the Palmont children. You have suspicions, most likely accurate, but there is no physical proof.”

Berrak had been fuming already, wishing they had charged in to get the children earlier. Rovas took a firm stance against that, and Gil halfheartedly agreed. Now, in front of a waffling judge, she was ready to scream. Rovas felt this and tried to cut it off, for their sake. He knew the judge would react like this.  They had no other legal choice, even if the true legality was on the razor’s edge. He did not want to go to any length that could potentially set free Peters, if he was as guilty as Rovas believed.

“The boy and girl appear to be the right age for the middle and youngest Palmont child. There are similarities in their hair coloring and contours of their faces, adding in these five years since they were last photographed. I believe that these are those children, and that…man, are the ones we’ve sought. There is no record of either child in any form. They are not registered in any of the local schools under the name Peters. None that fit their descriptors. This is not pure conjecture.” Rovas leaned forward in his chair towards the judge. “If we don’t find a reason to get into that house, I can’t see how we will find anything out-right or wrong.”

Berrak spoke up, having calmed down enough, for her. “Judge Ackerman, I am not one for breaking the law, but if this man is the one who took the Palmont children, and these are at least two of them, we owe it to them and their parents to rescue them and return them home.” Pausing, looking to see if the Judge was leaning towards their arguments-he wasn’t-she gave them all a way to end this quagmire. “I did forget to mention to you, and I see Khazarian and the good Sargent Detective Katsaros forgot as well,” chagrined looks from the two compelled her to continue, “…that while we were strolling along that day we heard some awful noise from the vicinity of that house. The Sargent Detective told us to stay on the sidewalk while he investigated. No one came to the door when he called out, so he went around to the back of the property where he again heard that noise. Again, no one answered his knocks. I’m surprised the neighbors have not complained about that noise, if it’s repeated frequently.”

“Mrs. Rovas…

“Berrak, please.”

“Hmph…Berrak, what, in your estimate, made this horrible ruckus?”

“Well, it sounded like children being very, very upset. More scared, really.”

Berrak had been fuming already, wishing they had charged in to get the children yesterday. Rovas took a firm stance against that, and Gil halfheartedly agreed. They knew.

“Hmph…extreme noise.” He shook his head. “Children not attending school.  Potential child endangerment.” The judge finished and signed the warrant. “Here. Sargent Detective?”

“Sir.”

“By the book, Gil. By. The. Book. If this is what you think it is, I want no mistakes.”

Rovas and Gil both said “Neither do we” at the same time. Berrak gave a half smile.

“Let’s get to it, then,” she said.

***********

John Peters was reluctant to let them in, even after Gil presented him with the search warrant. He introduced the Rovas’ as consultants to the police. It was Rovas belief that no one would question anything like that, after all the police procedural shows on television. He was right. Peters didn’t even seem to blink an eye at them. He was more fixated on the Sargent Detective. Gil and Rovas led the way into the house. Berrak fell in behind Peters, observing every detail of the man as she could.

“He is certainly tall and blond,” she thought.” Standing in the front room, while Gil and Rovas took in the details of the room,  she took in the details of his features. She noticed his large forehead, deep set eyes, hawk nose, and thin mouth. A chin that was barely noticeable. A few drops of sweat beaded his brow. As Gil questioned Peters about the house and it’s contents, she noticed that Peters put his hands behind his back. Moving slightly, she saw that Peters was clenching his hands. Very tightly.

They explored the front room, the hall closet, and then went down to the basement. With nothing out of the ordinary, they ignored Peters attempts to get them to leave, that there was nothing they would find, that he would call a lawyer. Gil pointed at the warrant each time. “Take it up with the judge,” he said, hoping he was throwing said judge under a bus.

From the basement, the next space they went to, with some overt reluctance from Peters, was the kitchen in the back of the house. The three of them stopped just past the doorway and stared. Rovas walked over to the back door, leading out to the back yard. Berrak, as with the rest of the search, stayed back by the kitchen entrance. All three looked up at the rope, hanging from what looked like a library rolling ladder rack that extended around the entire room.

“What do you make of this, Mr. Peters?” Rovas asked. “What could this possibly be for, in a kitchen, of all places. You are certainly tall enough to reach the top of the cabinets. And this,” he pointed towards the rope, “has very little to do with reaching any heights outside of a gymnasium.”

Gil had gone to knee and was examining the rope coiled around the floor. “Inspector,” he said, wincing at the mistake. “Mr. Rovas, there appears to be droplets along the tail end of this rope, knots and all. Dark, dry.” Gil rose. “This looks like old blood, Mr. Peters. Care to explain all this?”

Before Berrak could react, Peters spun and tried to get by her, getting tangled instead. His right arm wrapped around her neck, cutting off some of her air flow.

“You. Will. NOT. Hurt. My. Wife!” Rovas was livid.

“I’m leaving. Now. She will get hurt if you come after us.”

In the time the two spoke, Berrak shook off the shock of the attack. She brought her low right heel down on Peters’ foot as hard as she could. His arm loosened enough for her to squat down and elbow him in the groin, and then move away. Rovas pounced. By the time Gil was able to put him in cuffs, Peters face was more than a bit bloodied.

Gil called for a wagon to pick him up, dancing around anything non-legitimate. Rovas and Berrak continued their search to the second floor. They noticed the four doors. Three led to bedrooms. Inside the third they found the boy, tied tightly to the bed in the room. The knots were expertly done and it took Berrak quite a bit to undo them. Rovas, meanwhile, had called down to Gil to get an ambulance as well.

The boy would not answer any questions. He just kept staring out of the window.

Softly, Berrak said: “Gerald. I think your name is Gerald. You have two sisters, Janice and April. We think April is here. Where are your sisters?” His eyes quickly went to the door of the room, then back to the window. His face betrayed nothing.

“Zarian, I think…”

“Up to the attic,” he finished.

With the boy in hand, they went to the last door. It led, as he thought, to the attic. As they climbed up, the boy began to squirm and make small noises. They had turned on the light switch at the bottom of the steps,. Berrak had wished they hadn’t when she reached the landing.

The same tracks-two sets-ran along the attic room, supported by the beams. Instead of rope, here were metal chains. At the base of the chains, wound around them and padlocked, were two girls, naked. Both were filthy and undernourished. Both looked up at them, but there was little response. Neither tried to cover themselves.

“Are you Janice?” Rovas asked of the oldest looking girl. She stared at him, fear exuding from her.

“Janice. April.” cried Berrak.

The younger girl looked at her, nodded, and started to cry.

As Rovas went to find down to the bedroom to get something to cover the girls, he called the Sargent Detective as he headed back upstairs with some sheets.  “Gil. We found all three children. Alive, yes. We will need more ambulances…and a bolt cutter.”

He clicked the phone off. Berrak was holding Gerald’s hand-Rovas was positive this was Gerald Palmont, that the girls were Janice and April.  He placed  the sheets around the girls, as Berrak silently cried.

*************************************************
“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 1800 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.

Borrowed and Blue (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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read “…and Old Lace” (part one)

blue book

“Borrowed and Blue”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

It was three weeks, more or less, after ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas began looking at  the “old lace” murders, that the case broke open anew. Micheal Avgoustidis sat in interrogation room #2 opposite the detectives in Rovas old stomping grounds.  While he was not allowed in room #2, he could watch and listen as it unfolded.

The simple fact was he had missed a very important connection the first time around: Avgoustidis had had an affair with second victim, before and during, her engagement to another man. Micheal was married at the time,  a loveless union at that point. Through part of the interrogation Avgoustidis  surrendered the information that he was  just going through the motions, not wanting to upset anything at his law firm as he entered his third year there. Avgoustidis fell passionately, and possessively, in love with Maria Vlachos nee Anton. Her fiancé, Daniel,  never had a clue this was going on. None of this was out in the open. It was easy to miss, except for one thing that tied it all together, and led Micheal Avgoustidis to his admissions.

Maria had kept a detailed diary that she hid (very well) from her soon to be husband and Micheal Avgoustidis.

Avgoustidis’ hubris, in purchasing the townhouse from Daniel Vlachos, was Rovas’s first insight. That, and that the man never got back to him. Upon further examination, Rovas unearthed that Daniel, too, was dead. Six years to the day his wife had been murdered. Rovas had never believed too much in coincidences like this. The dates were too precise. Rovas went after every little detail he could find.

Sargent Detective Katsaros was a godsend. As Rovas uncovered more and more facts, he fed the information to Katsaros, who ran with them, as eager to bring this to an end and to justice. Between the two of them, things started to gel. They discovered that Avgoustidis’s wife death had originally been seen as suspicious. She had “tripped” over loose carpeting that gave way at the top of the stairs. According to reports, Michael said he blamed himself for not fixing the carpeting when she had asked. All charges were eventually dismissed, as the facts seemed to stand by the statement. Daniel Vlachos death had also been classified as suspicious: a fairly new car, a recent tune-up, and yet the brake line “blew out.” No suspects of foul play were found.

Rovas dug into Micheal’s life. He ran as thorough an internet search as he could following Avgoustidis’s footsteps. From the death of his wife to moving up the lawyer ladder, from the purchase of the townhouse to the death of  Daniel Vlachos, backtracking to all information about Maria, to the other two women (whose only connection was the city they all lived in). He put a timeline together of facts that he and Sargent Detective Katsaros went over in Rovas’ study, late at night. Berrak, Khazarian’s wife, was inwardly distressed at this new/old obsession of his, but she made them coffee and sandwiches and left them to their consultations.

It was Katsaros who brought in the true turning point: Maria’s diary. The townhouse Maria and Daniel shared was well lived in. The wood flooring needed work, and renovation was a job both of them shared a passion for. All this was knowledge shared with their family and friends. Sometime in their labors, Maria created a hiding place under a board in a back corner of her walk-in closet of their second floor bedroom. There the blue diary rested, and would have remained, if Avgoustidis hadn’t hired contractors to put in new flooring on the second floor. The worker who found it began flipping through it, immensely enjoying some of the explicit details of the afternoon trysts. He immediately called in his supervisor, showed it to him, and they both brought it to the station, where it made it’s way to the detective unit and quickly into the Sargent Detective’s hands.

Micheal, though married at the time, was extremely jealous. His anger grew in intensity as the date of Maria’s wedding drew near. All of his rages were written in detail in the diary, as well as the main damning statement: Micheal confessed that he pushed his wife down the stairs. He had pulled up the loose carpeting a week before her death, hoping for an “accident,” but his patience wore out, and her nagging to fix it persisted. She wrote that he wanted Maria to marry him, not that “Greek loser.” Maria said no and tried to throw him out. He went into a verbal rage (not their first experience with his temper) that ended with Micheal threatening her to keep her mouth shut. He finally stormed out. Maria was frightened, enough to write that she planned to talk Daniel into selling the house after the wedding and moving far away. The only thing she hadn’t done was write his last name. His initials dotted most of the entries, and her naming Micheal only after times he infuriated her.

Confronted with the timeline, which he originally scoffed at, and then the diary, and the detectives conclusions, Micheal finally confessed to it all. He did push his “shrew of a wife” down the stairs. When Maria “threw him away”, he swore revenge not just on her but on the man he blamed for taking Maria away from him. The day he returned to work after what felt to Micheal as appropriate mourning, he noticed the paper on his secretary’s desk was open to the wedding and engagement announcements page.  Her photo and notification was at the top center of the page. While glancing and offering his congratulations, Micheal saw a photo of another bride to be, one who looked similar to his “ex-wife” and to Maria in coloring and body type. That is when the idea came to him: how to get revenge on Maria and to not draw any attention on himself.

He bought a copy of the paper and saw the date of that woman’s wedding. It was three months off, and then a one week planned honeymoon. More than enough time to plan. As he was copying the information down, which he would later destroy and scatter in various trash bins around the city, he noticed some pictures of brides with intricate veils, which to him were more pretentious than the white gowns. Chaste, pure, modest? Yet these things were still part of the wedding trousseau.

Micheal admitted that the first and third murders were picked only for their resemblances. Without a real connection between the three, he felt he had a better chance of not being caught. Searching for one more soon-to-be newlywed took a few more morning papers, but he had what he needed within two weeks time. He broke into their homes while they were on their honeymoons and had found their gowns and accoutrements hanging in garment bags. He took the veils. Once the women came home from their trips, Micheal waited for the husbands to leave. He broke into the first and third (having left a window in the back unlocked), twisted their respective lace veils, and strangled them. He partially undressed the third one to look like the others.

With Maria, he just walked up to the front door and rang the bell. Maria was shocked to see him and didn’t want to let him in, but he talked her into coming inside so they could “talk.” Once the front door was closed, Micheal wrapped his hand around her mouth and forced her upstairs to the bedroom. He started to undress her, groping along the way, Maria fighting him, him pleading still that he loved her, she should run away with him, when she got a hand free and slapped him. The next thing he knew, she was dead on the bed, her lace veil tightly wound around her throat.

As to Daniel, his punishment was to live with her death. He bought their house, feeling both that the house was a place of her betrayal and of his redemption. It was, in essence, his trophy. Micheal said he had nothing to do with Daniels’ car accident.He had wanted Maria’s husband to live and suffer.  Rovas, listening, believed him.

Upon returning home, Khazarian found Berrak in the kitchen, sitting at the table dicing vegetables for their dinner.

“Coffee?” she asked as she got up and he sat down.

“Yes, please.”

As she busied herself, she looked at her husband and smiled. She saw him relax, for the first time in a month. Ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas smiled back, anticipating the cup of coffee made to his liking.

*******************************************************

“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. 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 1800 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 what I’ve got planned.

 

 

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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walkinginthedark

Darkness suited ex-Inspector Khazarian Rovas. He liked the quiet it normally brought, a certain breeze that drifted through most nights except for the height of the summer months. Then he was usually drenched, having trouble breathing during the ofttimes stiffing still air. Early spring, now, and the insufferable weather was still to come. Tonight, he could enjoy sitting by his open window, lights off, breathing the coolness in, and allowing his out breath fog up the lowest corner of the window pane. Waiting.

But for the wishes of his wife, Berrak, Rovas would still be on the job. He never thought he would retire, that one way or the other the job would be where he would part this life. Berrak thought differently, and although she never demanded, he saw the clarity of her spoken thoughts. He loved her, she him, and it was that love that carried him to hand in his resignation. Forty-four years, the ups and downs of any job, acknowledgments and failures, all reduced to farewell handshakes, some drinks, rehashing of spectacular cases-solved or unsolved-and the drive home, with the few personal items from his desk in the boot.

It was the rehashing of cases that brought Rovas to his study, to his window, at 4:10 in the morning. Eight days had passed, but those memories of cases that were not, to him, satisfactorily closed, haunted his waking hours. He thought of the cases, twenty six in all, that still niggled at the back of his mind. He owed Berrak time that she was excluded from during his career, and he vowed to himself he would do his best to give her what she needed from him.

But those cases…those cases…

Outside his window Khazarian Rovas noticed a silhouette of a man briskly walking, back to Rovas, down the street, hands in his pockets, head cast down, fading down the street horizon. Ruminating, Rovas had not noticed the man until now. He had no idea where he came from, just observing this figure in darkness fading smaller and further away, until only a haze of an outline was visible. In a blink, the walking man was gone.

Rovas got up from his chair, turning it around to face his desk. Turning on the table lamb, he stared down at the pile of folders on the right side of his desk. Twenty six folders.

Sitting, he took the top file, placed it in front of him, opened it, and began to review this troublesome case file.

*************************************************************

Hi everyone. I’m sure you’ve noticed I have been away for quite awhile on any regular basis. Things happened in my life that took me out of the mood. I’m trying to see what I can do to mend that break within me.

I just rejoined the Blogging from A to Z challenge. Lots of positive things changed for me with the first one I was part of in 2011. Sadly, that did not last the lifetime I had hoped it would be. In either case, I am back.

“The case files of Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Twenty six case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve from this list of cold cases. 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 April 1, 2016. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

One Lovely Blog Award…Yes, It Is Too

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It was the 2012 Memorial Day Weekend, and I get a pleasant surprise: I have been honored TWICE with the One Lovely Blog Award, as passed on to me by Allan Douglas of Simple Life Prattle and The Write Stuff (and fellow Triberr buddy).

How could he bestow this upon me twice? One is for here,Tale Spinning, the other is for my Non-Fiction blog, BornStoryteller.

The “rules” are simple:

  1. Thank the person who awarded the award (Thank you Allan) and link back to their blogs: Click HERE and HERE
  2. Tell SEVEN things about yourself that no one knows (but two blogs… 14.. but…14? TMI)
  3. Pass on the award to (15) blogs you follow and like/admire/wish they were yours.
    1. I’ll do as many as I can.

So…

Seven Things :

  1. I’ve lived on the East Coast of the USA all my life, but have visited more than half of the states now.
  2. I read SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries, and then the occasional other book. Existentialism, anyone?
  3. I wish the lyrics to John Lennon’s song Imagine were achievable.
  4. People find me unfocused in my field of interest (the arts); I find myself versatile.
  5. I believe in ghosts, but not vampires and werewolves. Especially not shimmery vampires.
  6. I like both cats and dogs; I do NOT like fish, as pets or otherwise.
  7. I have never gone to a demolition derby or a monster truck thingy; I’d like to, at least once.

In no particular order, blogs I pass this along to, and you should give them a look/leave a comment (tell ’em I said Hi):

Woman Wielding Words

The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective

Ghost Cities

My Rivendell

ZenCherry

The View Outside

David Powers King

Cherie Reich-Author

No Wasted Ink

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World

Daily (W)Rite

Raising Amelie

Sonia Rumzi

A French Yummy Mummy in London

Rock the Kasbah

Right! What you know!

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My Dear Inspector Abberline,

I forward to you this, in abstentia, my congratulations and best wishes on your retirement from the infamous Pinkerton National Detective Agency. You have had my utmost admiration for your tenacity and perseverance, and while you did not reap the true reward you sought for for so very long, I hope you do take some consolation that I stopped way before you did.

As far as you know.

This missive is a parting gift, if you might take it as such, as you retire to chilly Bournemouth with that delectable Mrs. of yours, the former Emma Beaument. It is a pity that she and I never met, but, really, she and I would never have had the opportunity to cross paths. Straight and narrow, inspector…straight and narrow.

How fitting that my “final” prize, Mary Jane Kelly, for “Fair Emma” was indeed worthy of my skills. Inspector, she was a beauty, and fallen as she was, it was a pleasure to make her acquaintance. Mary was tall, slim, fair, of fresh complexion, and of attractive appearance, but…you only met her after my work was done. I doubt you found her very appealing once you came upon her, prone and vivisected as she was, but trust me, Frederick (I do hope you don’t mind I call you that), she was very attractive.

Very attractive indeed.

How puzzling the insides of a woman are, the extra parts, the bits and pieces that make up the female form. I hope you appreciated the aesthetics of the beauty I left,   the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera, the displacing of the bosoms, the flaying and intricate incisions that transformed “Fair Emma” into a work of art…a work of art I left for you and the stalwarts of Scotland Yard.

All these years later, the cases still open, and you now in retirement…are you still pondering why? I know you think you know the who. It wasn’t poor mad Georgie, I’m sure you realize now. Yes, he did poison those young ladies (of which you only pinpointed three; he had a much higher count) and paid for his “crimes.” Not mine, Frederick, not mine.

Why? I must admit, I loved them all, in my own way. Especially Mary. I keep her heart with me, always.

There were others before, and many, many after those attributed to me. Each throat cut, ever organ removed, every slice given live with me even now, Frederick, and while you wile away your time by the sea shore, think on this:

You were never, ever close in catching me. Pity. It was fun.

Hug your Emma, Frederick, but never worry, for she is as safe from my knife as the purest child in the church of the lord our God. Love her, as I love mine. I shall be enjoying the rewards of my memories, and those that I still come to know.

With fond regards,

“Jack”

Ashes

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Even after reading about all the possible side effects, Jean wore her mother around her neck daily. Others complimented her on her memorial diamond pendant, with many commenting about it afterwards, not all in a favorable light. Compressed into a stunning jewel, strung and embraced in an array of silver filigree,  the late Mrs. Deidre Ann Cabochon glared from her daughter’s chest.

Cremated only a month previously, the ashes were mixed with snippets of her hair, and all was distilled to the carbon left behind. These were sent into a press, to duplicate the forces of nature. Extreme heat, 1,000,000 p.s.i., and time…and from the passing of the deceased came a new jeweled existence.

Or so Jean thought, even though the price was high on many levels.

Her husband, Paul, disagreed to the cost, both financially and emotionally. He was never fond of Deidre, a woman he found narcissistic and shrewish, and if he had been honest with anyone he would have loudly pronounced how glad he was that his mother-in-law was dead. Paul saw how Jean suffered during her mother’s long lingering illness, how she put “that woman!” on a pedestal, even while being ordered about and verbally demeaned at every turn. Jean just turned the other cheek, said it was the woman who gave her birth and raised her, and that was that.

Paul moved out the day after the jewel was delivered.

When she got the package, Jean cried as she opened it, and cried as she held it out to examine it. Jean asked Paul to attach the clasp for her. He went behind her as she moved her hair aside and did as she asked. There was a soft “snkt” sound; Jean let her hair down and turned around to give Paul a hug. She held him, lowering her head onto his right shoulder, pressing her body against his, tears leaking down, which he felt through his shirt.

Paul also felt the diamond pendant digging into his chest. Uncomfortable as that was, he felt…more. There was something emanating, a negative grasping, and it hurt on a much deeper level then the prick of the necklace pressed against him. Pushing away was hard but Paul moved a few feet backwards, seeing the pain in Jean’s face but he found himself unable to answer her question of what was wrong.

She needed comforting the rest of the day, and each time Paul’s horrible feeling deepened. He felt lethargic, and depressive thoughts flayed him, making deeper cuts as the day progressed. By the time they went to bed-Jean still wearing “her mother”-Paul was ready to slash his wrists. In her sleep Jean rolled over to the edge of the bed, as Paul, awake, did rolled to the opposite side. There was a lessening in his chest, and things felt calmer as he went to the bathroom (down the hallway), and still when he went downstairs to the kitchen for a cold drink.

Sitting at the kitchen table until dawn, Paul went back upstairs. Each step was agony, and when he got to their bedroom door, he knew. Grabbing his clothes, he woke Jean up.

“Get rid of that necklace, Jean. Let her go, or I will…”

“You’ll what?” she said, belligerently, rubbing her eyes, up on one elbow.

“I’ll leave. That thing…something is wrong with it.”

An argument ensued, words were said, many that could not be taken back or apologized for, many that Paul had heard from Deidre’s mouth only months before. Jean came towards him in fury and tears; Paul bolted with his clothes, changing in the car before running away.

Jean grieved doubly now. She started to lose interest in eating, slept poorly, wandered aimlessly, and while all around her said she was in the grips of depression, none would say so to her face. She would talk about her mother in one breath and be scathing in ridicule in the next, tearing apart friends, family, and co-workers alike with a viciousness that was “not like her” (or so they said).

Hollow eyed, sallow skinned, Jean played with the jewel almost constantly. She shortened the chain the one time she removed it, making it a choker, in so many ways. Her belligerence became so brutal that she was told to leave her job, that she was creating an unhealthy work environment. She spat in her bosses coffee when she got up to leave, gave her the finger, and slammed the door on her way out.

Jean sat in the dark, in her living room, gripping the arm rests of the chair she had inherited from her mother. She contemplated many things, but they were about the others, what they had done to her, nothing was her fault, and why were they all crazy? She had bought a 1.4 litre of Irish Creme, Deidre’s favorite, and killed it in one sitting. Feeling queasy, Jean left the house to get some fresh air.

She thought getting in the car for a drive upstate was a good idea, at the time.

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Author’s Note:
There is more to write about Jean. 845 words is not enough, but it’s enough for me, today.
There actually is a business of putting the ashes of the deceased into jewelry. Some of it is done as described in the above story; the rest are hollow receptacles for the cremated ash. I was told about this by my SO, who loves medical and scientific things, and it has been filtering around my noggin…
until a short Associated Press piece caught my attention: “South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from…”
….well, the rest would be telling where I want to take this whole thing. Suffice to say, reality is just as bad as fiction, n’est pas?

Click here to read The Complete AtoZ: Swan Rise Apartment Series

Only available for free until May 31st, 2012

Reflections of Swans (#AtoZChallenge)

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A to Z Reflections Post

From the hosts of the A to Z Challenge:

This is your time to tell us about your A to Z experience.   Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains.   Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring?  Did you have a favorite blog post?   Or a favorite series?   Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?

             Express your gratitude or vent your frustrations.  If you’d do this again, let us know why.  If you hated it. tell us why.  We want you to tell your A to Z story to the rest of us and tell it in the way that suits you best.  Like the Challenge itself, this Reflection post is your creative outpouring.  Be it prose, verse, song, video, or images, you can express yourself in anyway that you like.

 What I have to admit was my frustration/failure:

My lack of really exploring and commenting on other blogs. I tried, but so many things just prevented me from doing anywhere near the number of visits I intended to do. That, to me, is my own let down.

I do intend to go back and visit some of the bloggers who have visited me, and to explore others, during May. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: late comments and views are better than no comments/no views.

My pleasure:

Just plain out discovering the characters of Swan Rise, and the building itself. This was (as tired as I got of writing/blogging at times during the month),  very satisfying as a writer. The feedback and encouragement was gratifying unto itself, but I found great satisfaction with what I was producing. Can’t always say that.

For all the links to MY A to Z stories, CLICK HERE! I’m very proud of what I produced.

My favorite:I have asked readers if they had a favorite story of the 26: the ones that did answer seemed to gravitate towards Mrs. Beatty. I really liked her; I’m also not sorry I killed her off (so there). She still has more to her story: I only covered a few periods of her life.

Amy, for some reason I haven’t figured out yet,  became my favorite character. She came out of nowhere;  I wrote the B post with no knowledge of her before that, no planning. I know I did not explore her enough (to my satisfaction). Not sure why, and I’m not sure (yet) what more there is to write about Amy. That will happen when I tackle the second draft.

Will I do the AtoZ Challenge again (and why is my pudding barking at me?):

In all honesty, I can’t answer where my head will be in a year (well, eleven months). It’s an amazing, frustrating, sometimes daunting, challenge. I did not write any of my posts months ahead of time. Most were written to order (I scheduled them to post at 12:15 am) the day before they were due to appear. Some were written the day due, sometimes scrambling to produce;  I only wrote ahead a few times, sometimes doing two or three in one day (had to do that the two weekends I went away). I’d just schedule them out. Nothing was written before the event began.

18,00+ words in 26 days. Ouch.

That, to me, is what the challenge was about. So..will I do it again? Ask me next Feb/March.

Impressions of Perfect Fifths

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Marc Chagall

His hands played along the surface of the violin, tracing the patterns worn into the wood. Slight depressions,  imprintings of someone’s fingering, their palm, chin, sweat. Empty of catgut, Avram, the luthier, caressed and stroked the violin that was given unto his care for restoration. He closed his eyes, held the violin to his nose, and breathed in its history.

The drawing of the horsehair bow that had slid along the strings left intermittent grooves in the wood. They showed where a well loved piece was played,  how the violinist drew against the grain of the violin itself. Clumsy or a style, it was all the same to Avram: this was a well loved instrument, that was apparent, and it would become one again.

He noticed the nicks, the dimples in the varnish, the grain of the wood, the stains not readily perceived, but there. There was a very slight crack near the base of the right F-hole, the chinrest needing to be replaced, a refastening of the tailpiece and scroll. Sitting on his wooden stool, Avram kept the violin out of direct sunlight, a strain for his eyes but a blessing for the instrument.

The tuning pegs were worn down, without sheen. Avram could tell that the strings had been replaced, often, their lifespan given to the music: either no longer playing true, losing the desired tone, or snapping in the frenzy of the player.  That did not matter to Avram. He would eventually make a new marriage, adding the G first, then the D, followed by the A and E. He would attach them at the base, up the bridge, along the neck and finally connect them all to the pegbox. All would then be tuned, in harmony, restored.

This though, was still a ways to come. All in due time…

Eventually, time for music to be lifted out and carried, vibrating its musical message to others. Time for this violin to find new hands, a new lover, to be held towards and against the player, to communicate and be in tune once again.

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Author’s Note:

I was given a newspaper article by my SO about Violins of Hope, a project of restored violins that had a history of pain: they came from musicians who “experienced” the horrors of the Holocaust. There was a concert in Charlotte, NC in April 2012. The violins are now back in Israel.

This immediately got my writing gears in motion: I have plotted out titles of chapters, an outline, for what I will be working on next. I plan to get a first draft done of all this while it is still “hot” for me; then, in June, I’ll put this aside and start working on the second draft of the Swan Rise stories.

This was just to whet your whistle. I will NOT be posting any of my Violin stories on Tale Spinning after this: I want it to be marketable for an agent/publisher, if worthy. I WILL be looking for readers along the way, to form a small core group, maybe our own writers group, so if you’re interested, please EMAIL me (please don’t post it here: my email can be located on the right sidebar).

As to Tale Spinning: I’ll be dropping some pieces here and there throughout May, as the story comes to me or I find a fun prompt that inspires. Please check out my backlog of past pieces; there is a lot here, and if you’re new, well…then they’ll be new to you as well.

Remember: comments are always welcome.

Sonnet: She Is Everything

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Strength and wit; intelligence abounding

Everything I’ve looked for, she is imbued

Smile that lights the eyes, the face, astounding,

In her loving embrace I come unglued.

As flowery words overstate feelings

Over demonstrative actions abhor,

Sense of secure caring love, revealing,

What is expressed in small details do soar.

Yet, still so much road to travel along

Moving away from past errors and pain

That we both did suffer from others, wrong

Needing to let those go; nothing to gain.

In silence, spoken, written, touched…so earned

The happiest thing, to have love returned