Category Archives: Heroine

Somewhere That’s Green: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Somewhere That’s Green

…when suddenly and without warning, there was this……total eclipse of the sun.

Audrey’s life had been reborn: Seymour was suddenly everything to her. They married, left the city, and never looked back.

Until Seymour died in a horrible event.

Opening the Mushnik Garden Center, Seymour sold exotics only, cultivating them with love. Until the sinkhole swallowed everything, including him. They found him in a crush of exotic plants.

She took a clipping, set it in a cut glass bowl, and buried Seymour.

Returning from the funeral, sitting at the table, starting to doze, something startled her.

“Feed Me,” it said.

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The opening line, and title of this piece, is credited to composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman. 

The above is a prompt challange from Addicted to Purple by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that she calls Friday Fictioneers . The rules for this prompt are simple:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt.
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.

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Unfettered Essence: The Abysmal Dollhouse (#AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.

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Unfettered Essence

The Abysmal Dollhouse

The Shopkeeper withdrew to her back room, sans light, sat in her padded chair, and stared into the darkness. What she had done should not have been realized. She had inserted herself into an action that was not her function, her purpose. She was Guardian, Guide, Teacher, Rescuer…Mother. The balance of chaos and order that she maintained, the weighing of those who were drawn to the shoppe, to them she was Judge. But, Executioner? That was not her role to take on.

Until just now, when she lost herself.

With an abyss dwelling sigh, she levered herself out of her chair. Lightly stepping, she stopped at the threshold to the shoppe. Her eyes went to where the Muirhouse and its new companion were displayed; they were there, a low placed mournful weeping coming from the house. The shack, to its side, vibrated in sudden violent bursts, subsided, and then start again.

She thought the Unfolding Doll would still be fixed in place by the dollhouse. It was not there. Instead, moving just her eyes, she espied the doll in its shadowed corner, more an outline than a full figure. The Shopkeeper knew without actually seeing the Unfolding Doll that its black button eyes were on her. Her composure had reset before she left the back room. She swore to herself that she would not let that happen again.

She tidied up her dress and apron and walked into the shoppe proper. Choosing a direction, she went from dollhouse to dollhouse, stopping to inspect them, to feel its wants, needs, pleasures, pains, and in some cases, its madness. She walked around without her tools: both the duster and the broom left in their places by the front counter. If the Shopkeeper had not been so distracted. If.

Each dollhouse she touched. Each one grabbed a tiny bit of her emotional essence, sated and satisfied with the tidbit. The Shopkeeper gave it freely, not drained or diminished, but removed. She gave, they took, they remained silent.

Stopping near her counter, she went to her knees, touching Mike’s house, the Singleton household, and the Derasar. The pleasure of these was returned to her with her giving. Opening a sliding panel at the bottom of this display case, she brought out a replica she had vowed never to display again. She set it down on her front counter.

The Shaded Radiance Emporium, gaudy in decor, twinkled its fairy lights from the fading sunlight that hit it just so. The fake Persian rug was accented by the fake Chintz draperies. The chairs and tables were spool-turned furnitures, meant to give a Victoriana elegance, but falling far short. The roundtable in the center of the room was covered in brushed purple velvet that hung 2/3 of the way down, covering the middle pedestal.  Long strands of colored beads blanketed the two doorways on either end, and the two windows were overtaken with blackout curtains.

A bemused chuckle left the Shopkeeper as she sat down in one of the chairs. She looked at the beaded doorway facing her and waited. Soon enough, the clattering of the beads announced an entrance, much like the door chimes that tinkled in the shoppe. A crystal ball was carried in, but not placed on the table, but off to the side.

“That’s not for you. That’s to come. You, for you, cards.” The older woman, covered in unmatched layers of different colors and patterns, settled her many skirted self into the chair opposite the Shopkeeper.

A croup-like cough came from the older woman, drawing out a large deck of cards from a hidden pocket. “You swore you would never return here. You swore, but I knew. I knew you would have to come to see me. You will still have to see me again, one more time.”

The Shopkeeper sat silent, staring at the woman, then looking at the cards. She did not wish to show that that last statement bothered her more than her being in the Emporium at present.

“You still won’t talk to me. That is fine. The cards will tell us what we need to know. What you need to know.”

She shuffled the cards, placed them face down, and the Shopkeeper cut the deck. The older woman repeated this two more times. On the Shopkeeper’s third cut, the Mystic took the cards and began to lay out a pattern.

Without turning her head, the Shopkeeper knew that the Unfolding Doll was still watching her from across the shoppe.

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.

*I’ve decided to reblog past Abysmal Dollhouse stories on Sundays since we’re not required to write those days. The reblog will not correspond to any specific letter. Just thought you might enjoy some of the previous entries that I’m fond of.

Forever F(r)iend: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.

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Forever F(r)iend

The Abysmal Dollhouse

The echoing bleating of “mine, mine, mine” continued long enough to draw the Shopkeeper’s attention. The dollhouses clammored until she shushed them, stern look to one and all. As usual, she had been making her rounds, dusting in a grid pattern, excavating the settled floating particles from her charges. She stood and faced the door, knowing.

The chime above the door tinkled as the door opened. Standing in the doorway, looking left to right, the man in the green cardigan sweater adjusted his sleeves, pushed the middle of his black framed glasses up his nose, and finally completed his entrence. The Shopkeeper had noticed him pass by a number of times, occasionally stopping and squinting at the display window.

He waited.

“If you need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask,” she said, taking her place by the counter, hanging up her duster, and placing herself so that her broom was at her back. She had felt him staring at her as he stood there, and knew he had been squinting at her the few times he had peered in. Her feelings were correct, as always. So many of the dollhouses felt it too, long before he touched the doorknob. She glanced at the shadowed corner, but it remained still, vanquishing the sparse streaks of light that came its way.

There were aisles of dollhouses between them, various archetectural styles; some so very plain, while others reeked of the overdone. The man looked around, walked over to a few, bent over, inspected, stood and moved, ever closer to where she stood. He had not said a word. She noticed that even as he looked at a replica of Hill House, then The Emperor’s Pagoda,  moving onto the Waverly Hill Sanitarium,  no discernable hint of interest crossed his mein. His gaze might have been on the shoppes’ ware, but his attention appeared to be solely on her.

She broke the silence. “I think I have something that might be of interest to you. It has received avid interest, from time to time. The description on the display card is as fascinating as the dollhouse itself.”

For the first time, his face changed: a small curve of the lips, a mini smirk that froze in place. He bent over and read out loud “Akershus Festing: The Fortified House of Aker.” Straightening up, the smirk was gone. “So? What of it? It looks it’s made of stone, with arrow-slits in place of windows.”

“Notice anything else?” she asked.

His eyes narrowed and creases formed on his brow above his nose. “It has a fence, som..”

“A battlement,” she interrupted. “It is called a battlement.”

Glaring at her, he noticed the stone…battlement created a wall around the house. There was something else written, on a smaller card that was just beyond the wall.

“Read the card.”

“Look, enough of this playing around.” He backed up a step from the house, beginning to turn towards where she stood.

“Read the card!” It was not a request.

It went beyond him that he did so. “Beware of Malcanisen? What…”

The front gates of the battlement groaned open at the same time as the door to the house did, equally grating. Finding himself in front of the door, he heard the gate forcibly shut behind him. He turned to look; as he did so, a deeply aggressive sounding growling came from inside the house.

“Hey,” he shouted, “what the hell is…oh my god.”

In the doorway was Malcanisen. Dark gray matted hair covered the huge dog’s body. Its lips were pulled back, displaying the sharp pointed teeth. Saliva drooled down, its eyes were blazing, and Malcanisen advanced.

The man tried to run, but Malcanisen lept and brought him down. With fangs deeply embedded in his prey’s upper left thigh and groin. Dragging the man through the door of the house, the screams and rending sound diminished and went silent as the door closed tightly shut.

During the process, the Shopkeeper had moved to her back room. Her timing was perfect, the sound of the door sealing shut just as she returned to the floor. In her hand were two miniature bowls: one filled with dark ale, the other with special biscuit treats. She placed both by the front of Aker’s Fortified House and gently tapped on the door.

“Thank you, Mal. I left something for you.”

Returning to her counter, she picked up her duster and waited. The Shopkeeper heard the lapping of the ale and the crunching of the treats. She smiled.

“Who’s a good vicious dog, hmm? Who’s a good evil dog? You are. Yes, you are!”

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April, 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.

The Akershus Festing (Castle) resides in Oslo, Norway. It has been around since the 13th century and, as you could imagine, has a rich and varied history. It also has tales of hauntings and other assorted bumps in the night. Malcanisen is one of them: the name translates to either “The Vicious Dog” or “Evil Dog”, and if he was to advance upon you while you were traipsing around the castle, you would face a horrible death within three months of the encounter. Basically, Mal was supposed to be guarding the premises.

Who’s a good doggy?

Either Or: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Thank you.

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Either Or

The Abysmal Dollhouse

The Shopkeeper and the Unfolding Doll neither moved towards or away from the other. Brandishing her broom, the Shopkeeper turned it vertically and lowered the straw bristles, close but barely kiss the floor. She held it at arms length. The Doll, matching her in height and volume, continued to just stand and aim her button eyes at the Shopkeeper.

Her shoulders and the back of her neck were tightly taut. The cathexis on the Unfolding Doll’s confrontational stance, unusual for it to be so blatant, had her mind racing through Protectives that, she hoped, would diffuse what was occurring. The thought of it escalating to the Breakage of so many years…no. She could not let it get to that point.

A slight movement of the Doll’s feet, a fraction of an inch closer. The Shopkeeper poured her concentration onto the broom and shoved down. The hand-bound rugged head bit into the floor between the two of them, vibrating with the Shopkeeper’s force. Placing three fingers of each hand around the handle top and middle, the Shopkeeper envisioned the pattern that would ensorcell the Doll.

Will alone, they fought against the other. Eyes and buttons locked on each other, neither giving an iota. Noises began to seep in from the shoppe around them. The dollhouses, the replicas, the shadow boxes, the cabinets of curiosities…things were moving, rearranging themselves. Plaintive sounds began, first almost a call and response, then merging into an infinite cannon of feelings. There were no words, but the meanings were clear: it was fear, despair, anticipation, hunger, longing, madness. It fed the Doll. It bolstered the totem that was the broom.

The shadowed corner where the Unfolding Doll emerged had been lengthening, tendrils of dark unshapes moving towards the Doll. The Shopkeeper had noticed it when it began to advance, then lost sight of it as she focussed on what was before her. As the cacophony emitting from the houses grew, the Shopkeeper felt a lessening. Stealing a glance, she saw the shadows spool back towards the far corner. Bringing her gaze back, she let a small smile escape.

The knife that the Unfolding Doll had held, had threatened with, was gone. The clenched fisted hands were looser, beginning to lose firmness. Pulling energy from around her and moving it into the broom, the Shopkeeper loosened the broom head from the floor and swept it towards the Doll.

It backed away, slightly at first but with each movement of the broom towards it, the Unfolding Doll. fell back. The Shopkeeper advanced, the Doll retreated. Getting to the middle of the shoppe, the broom and keeper stopped. The Unfolding Doll did not.

Shuffling backward, it reached the far corner, meeting the shadow that was reaching out. The Doll’s button eyes never left the Shopkeeper as it moved further back into shadow, piece by piece folded in until all that was left was the corner and its shadow.

And at the edge of the shadowed corner, two bodies.

The Shopkeeper was by their side in an instant. She placed her broom on the floor, creating a barrier between the three of them…really, the shoppe as well…and the shadows. As she bent down to inspect the two, she became aware that the stringent chorus had died down and the radiating emotional vibes were depleted.

Now, instead, were faint callings of “mine, mine, mine” coming from two different areas of the shoppe. It remained in the background of her awareness as she analyzed what was before her. The woman had been emitting sounds of pain as the keeper had advanced on the pair. The sound intensified when her body jerked and spasmed.

The Shopkeeper turned her eyes to the closest of her dollhouses that were of medical origin: The Waverly Hills. It would have to do if this woman was to survive. She stood, walked over to the replica, and brought it over to the woman. Setting the sanitorium beside the woman,  another spasm increased the sound of her pain. As the Shopkeeper turned her attention to the man, she heard the front wall of the dollhouse creak open.

She stared down at the man. The back of his head was caved in. Knife work decimated his torso, arms, and legs. No medical unit was of any use to him. Some things were beyond her and her miniature dwellings.

Again, she turned to the closest of items displayed. She thought for a few beats, thinking of what lies within, but in the end, she had to do what needed to be done and walked over to the next aisle. Carefully, she lifted the mausoleum setting from the Westminister Presbyterian Churchyard and just as carefully placed it down beside what was once a man.

Picking up the broom, The Shopkeeper returned it to its spot behind the counter. She picked up her apron, tied it firmly around her waist, patted down her skirt, checked to see that the top button of her blouse was secure, and stared across the shoppe at the corner of shadow, waiting for a return to order.

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

During the month of April, 2018, the challenge requires that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st (yes, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke) and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. A week or so later, there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers.

The two locations mentioned towards the end are real: The Waverly Hills Sanitarium and the Westminister Presbyterian Churchyard. At this present time, I’ll just leave it at that.

Nerves Like Daggers (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To read the first part of this story line: Mental Challenges
**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Nerves

“Nerves Like Daggers”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The house had been booby trapped.

Luckily for those under his command, Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros held back his men in respect to the local police force. Rovas and Berrak were behind them when the explosion forced them all to hit the ground. Shrapnel flew by Rovas and Berrak, but wood slivers and other debris pierced some who were closer to the house. The five members of the local force were scattered around the burning mess of a vacation home.

Berrak helped tend to the wounded with some of the other officers, after making sure Rovas was OK. He, after checking she was all right, went with the Sargent Detective to examine the scene after they called the local authorities.

“EMTs and fire trucks are on their way,” Gil told Rovas as they went to check on the status of the downed police. Three of them were dead; the other two, one a female cop, were still hanging on. Both were unconscious, which Rovas thought was a blessing for them, seeing how badly they were injured. While the others did what they could until medical help could arrive, Rovas and Gil continued searching the perimeter. The house was still ablaze and too hot to get too close to.

Gil drew his gun, offering Rovas his back up piece. He shook his head and produced his own gun from under his coat. Gil’s eyebrow went up in a bit of surprise, but he let it go immediately.

“I’ll take that, Gil, if you don’t mind.” Berrak had come quietly behind them, aware of her presence when she arrived.

Gil’s face twitched, ready to say no, but Rovas turned and gave his wife his gun. He took Gil’s back up. “I feel better if Berrak has a gun that she’s practice on already. Home protection, after…” he trailed off.

“Right. There’s not much we can do here while the fire burns so hot.” Gil walked over to his second in command and spoke to him out of earshot of Rovas and Berrak. “They’ll stay her for the medical team and back up, and will call me when this area is secure. I’d like to go check out the surrounding area, but…” Gil said, kicking himself as he was saying it, “…stay close to me.”

Rovas only gave him the look. He nodded. Berrak fell to her husbands’ side as they made their way into the trees that surrounded the property. To the west was a small beach area; the east, behind the remains of the house, was forest, a small hill in the near distance led to the south. Open land and the main road were due north. If John Peters was still in the vicinity, Rovas agreed with Gil: the forest would be the first choice to hide or escape through. Everything else appeared too wide open.

They scoured through the copse of trees, searching the tops of the sturdiest trees as well as any large groupings of shrubbery. They heard the sirens in the distance. Rovas remained intent in his hunt for Peters; Gil was glad to hear the sound, knowing reinforcements would soon be freed up to join them. Berrak was unsuccessfully looking for any markings of Peters passing this way. There were none.

She turned around, looking back along the way they came. The land had risen slightly as they walked, which now gave them more of a panoramic view of the burning house and more of its surroundings. Around a bend in their search, she spotted something: a bright glint of light to their left. She prodded Rovas, who tapped Gil. They began to crouch just as they heard the sound of a rifle firing.

Gil went down in a spray of blood from his shoulder. Two more shots rang out, missing them.

“Berrak, stay with Gil. Call for help.” She began to shake her head, but Rovas was already off. As he ran, he flicked the gun safety switch. He heard Peters cutting through the brush more than saw him. There were glimpses, but not enough for a clear shot as he ran. There was more than a twenty years difference in their ages, but Rovas was spurred on by adrenaline and anger.

Rovas followed Peters as the hill rose steeply. Peters fired off another shot, turned and ran again.  He missed, but this allowed Rovas to lesson the distance between the two. The killer crested the hill and disappeared completely from sight. Wary, Rovas made his way to the top, expecting another bullet.

He crept to the top and peered over. The hill sloped down with a radical drop. He saw Peters sling his rifle over his shoulder. From the distance, Rovas saw Peters take out a piece of paper, a knife, and watched him drive it into the trunk of the tree closest to him. He climbed onto a waiting motorcycle and put a helmet on. As he revved the engine, Peters turned and looked up.

Rovas and Peters locked eyes for an instant.  Peters reached up and closed the helmets’ shield and kicked up the stand. Rovas took aim with his gun and fired off four shots. Peters drove off at high speed and was gone in a flash.

A medic was tending to Gil as Rovas came to where he left them. Berrak was by him before he could say anything. She checked him over to make sure he wasn’t shot. She found nothing more than scrapes. “I’m ok, I’m ok,” he said to her as she dabbed at the blood on his hands and then face. “It’s only a flesh wound.”

“This is not a time for joking around, Zarian.”

The half smile faded from his face. “I know. He got away, Gil. Had a blasted bike hidden away. He left us a present where he stashed his motorcycle. We’ll pick it up soon.”

“Military planning all the way around. Take the enemy out, stake out the high grou…ouch!…high ground. Plan your retreat.” Gil grumbled. “Bastard.”

“Your shoulder?”

“Through and through,” said the EMT, Jill. “We’ll take him to the hospital for a full check up. Yes, you are going to the hospital,” she said, before Gil could say anything.

“I assume you’ve already had this argument while I was gone.”

She turned to him, tight-lipped but smiling nonetheless.

“Gil, go. We’ll be right behind you.”

Rovas put his arm around Berrak’s shoulder, pulling her into a hug as the others made their way back to the house.

“I was worried,” she said.

He just nodded his head, which she felt alongside hers in the embrace. They stood like that for a little bit, then made their way to the car.

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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 1700 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.

Frayed Knot (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

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

Frayed Knot

“Frayed Knot”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The three were in the car, heading out of the parking lot.

“Turn left,” Gil said, Berrak behind the wheel. He sat behind Rovas. “Damn. No one else I saw even came close. There were plenty of blond headed men, but they were either the wrong body types or with families. This one…this one jumped out at me. Tall, thin, blond, head down, trailed by a boy about the right age as the Palmont boy would be now. He just felt right.”

Gil had noticed Rovas’s look before they got in the car. He knew the inspector wanted something more concrete. It took a bit of ganging up the night before to get Rovas to fully support returning to the last known sighting of the Palmont children..

The search for the tall blond man and the boy concluded back at the beach where it began. Any white sedan they saw did not pan out with positive results. Frustrated, Rovas, Berrak, and Gil trolled the beach for another few hours. Rovas thought it would be a waste of time, but Berrak and Gil wanted to try in case the man Gil noticed returned, or another person meeting the descriptors showed himself.

There were a few who came close. Gil, still being official, flashed his badge and asked the questions while Rovas and Berrak observed. Once or twice Rovas injected a followup question, but he allowed Gil the lead. It would not do the case any good in a courtroom if he or Berrak seemed more involved. Grating, yes, but Gil was the choice to move this forward in the public eye. 

They returned home in the early evening, exhausted. After conferring, making plans on what and how to continue, Gil left. He had work the next day. Rovas and Berrak sat quietly, drinking their coffees, and went to bed early.

They went to the beach the next day, with nothing positive to appease them. This continued for two weeks, with Gil joining them when he could. During this time, Rovas and Berrak looked over other files of his at night, breaking them apart just as they had with the Palmont disappearances. It was during the second week they purchased a white board and large bulletin boards, turning Rovas’s study into a case room.

The third Saturday after they lost the blond man and boy, they returned. It was Rovas who spotted them first as they came up the shore, the boy running in and out of the water, and were heading towards the parking lot where Gil had stationed himself.

Gill was sure this was the car he had seen three weeks ago. He had alerted Rovas of the find, who in turn contacted Berrak. They kept their eyes open, searching, while Gil called into the office and got someone to track down the license plate and model of the car.  Once Rovas spotted the man, he followed, picking up Berrak along the way. Gil was already in the car, waiting.

“John Peters,” he said as they got in the car.”38. No priors. Online trader, works primarily at home. Has lived here for a little more than five years.” He passed his notebook to Rovas, Berrak looking over his shoulder from behind.

“The kicker, for me at least: he’s not listed as married. The office checked further back, after I asked. As far as we can tell, he never has been. Yeah, you don’t need to be married to have a kid, but…”

“Yes…but.” Rovas pointed ahead, noticing the white car made a sharp right after the left out of parking lot. They followed at a safe distance, allowing a car to pass them, catching up, hanging back. Not a long drive, but one, Rovas noticed, that took them our of the original search perimeters. 

The car pulled into the garage of an old two story plus attic Victorian style house. The three drove by slowly, but not slow enough to cause any real attention. Joy riding and house hunting on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, or so Berrak hoped anyone would think. She noticed the lot was large, with the next houses far enough away to allow privacy on all sides. She gave her thoughts to the two in the front seat.

“Convenient, that,” Rovas said, as he mulled over all they had and what they would do next. Gil pulled over down the block, made a U turn, making sure the house was in view and they were far enough to hide their surveillance. “I’d like to take a walk around. Berrak, join me?”

“Of course, Zarian.”

“I’m going to check out the rear, as best I can,” Gil added. “If I see anything of importance I’ll call.”

The house’s rear jutted on a small patch of woods. The rear yard of the house was fenced in. Gil noticed peeking through a parting in the slats, that the inside of the fence was reinforced with metal chain as far as he could see. He stole further down, looking for a chink in the wall to see into the house. Gil found a couple. The second one stopped him cold.

He took his camera out, went to photo, and zoomed in as best he could. Gil snapped five shots, waited, then three more. Nothing more presented itself at the window he had been looking into. Waiting a few more minutes, he hurried back to the car, to find the Inspector and Mrs. Rovas waiting.

Rovas saw the excitement emitting from Gil as he got closer. “Good,” he thought. “Good. Hopefully something concrete. Our walk left us nothing.”

Gil got in the car, flipped through his phone to the photo gallery, and showed it to the two Rovas.

“I got this through what looks like the kitchen window. Thank God for large Victorian windows! There!” he pointed.”A girl, tween to teenager. Same hair coloring as the Palmont girls. She’s bent over…looks like she’s washing dishes.”

“What’s that hanging down behind her?” asked Berrak.

Rovas felt he didn’t have to ask. He flipped through the shots Gill took. Looking at the last three, his observation became much clearer.

“Here’s the girl, with the man we saw behind her. Here, he’s slightly bent over, doing something behind her. Look at her face. No expression. No emotion. Now, this last one, the two of them gone, but still something of importance.”

“A rope, knotted, hanging down. It would have been behind the girl,” Gil agreed.

Berrak stared at the photo for awhile, swiped through the other pictures, and came back to the hanging rope.”That bastard.”

Gil gasped slightly at her exclamation, but agreed. Rovas smiled. His wife came right to the point.

“Now, here is how I think we should proceed…”

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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 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.

Easy Pickings (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**Please read Delicate Decisions before reading this chapter

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

 

“Easy Pickings”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Rovas and Berrak went through the file together, past lunch and well into the afternoon. They looked at the photos of the beach, the walk home the children should have taken, and all the odds bits of potential clues that the investigating team had hoped would turn up as a clue. None had offered any information that was of any use.

They had several sketches of the tall blond man from the various witnesses on the beach that day.  No one seemed to agree on anything except he was tall, on the thin side, and blond. Very blond. Facially, the facial features different widely. No one had gotten up close for the details needed.

One woman, a Mrs. Foley, had gone over to talk to the eldest child, Janice. Yet, she recounted, when she drew near the man skipped away, laughing, and the children followed him, their laughter echoing his. She, too, never got a good look at the man.

Berrak was taking notes on multiple sheets of paper, putting any information into categories. They did not have a white board to chart the details. “Not yet, anyway,” Berrak answered, after Khazarian lamented that they had to work without one. He looked at her, adding another quality to his mental list of things about Berrak  he had sometimes taken for granted all these years.

They went over every particular numerous times, coming back to one facet or another. Berrak questioned Khazarian “rather astutely,” he thought. Sure she had run out every iota of Khazarian’s memory, matching up with the notes, pictures, reports, Berrak would then asked Khazarian to question her, to allow her to brainstorm with him like he would with his old squad-room partners. Hours later, one of those rang their bell.

“Sargent Detective Katsaros, how nice to see you again,” Berrak said as she let him in.

“A pleasure, Mrs. Rovas.”

“Please, after all these years. Call me Berrak, won’t you? It’s one thing when ‘Zarian was in charge. Now…things are different, in some ways.” She smiled. “Others, not.”

Shaking his head and smiling, Katsaros said “What is with you two with first names?”

“Berrak, please, Sargent Detective.”

“If that’s the ‘order,’ then it’s Gil. Not sure how comfortable I’ll be, but ok, Berrak.”

“Thank you, Gil”

She led him into the kitchen where Khazarian was bent over her notes. “Sit. Sit. I’m glad you came.”

Gil’s eyebrow shot up a tad when Berrak sat next to the Rovas. He took a third seat, giving Rovas a questioning look.

Rovas took this in, glanced at Berrak, and then sighed. “Berrak has been a great help all day. She has me looking at things from a different perspective. It has been a good thing, Gil. A good thing.” He nodded at his wife. “I called to ask you to come over after work once we attacked the file fifty ways to Sunday.”

Rovas saw the “but” forming before a sound was made. Gil’s face flashed his concern.

“I know it’s not regulation. This is not regulation. I’m…retired, for better or worse. This has the chance to bite us in the ass, but it also has the chance to catch a break and close this. Find out what happened to those three children.”

Straightening up, Gil replied: “Well, let’s dig into all this…” he waved an open palm over the paper strewn table.

For the next two hours plus, Berrak and Khazarian went over all the details and thoughts about the missing Palmont children.with Gil. Berrak brought out bread and sandwich fixings while they talked, coffee being their main choice of working beverage. Berrak made the first batch. Khazarian the next two.

Physically exhausted, but mentally stimulated, a decision was made. They would return to the scene and walk it all through with fresh eyes.

“Tomorrow is my day off, as you well knew, Sir.” Gil got a frown, but continued on. “I’ll pick you both up at ten.”

“To the beach,” Berrak said.

“Back to the beach,” Rovas answered.

They sipped their coffees as they made their plan of attack.

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The next morning found the three of them trudging through sand. An early summer day, the beach was not crowded, but by lunch time they knew they would be fighting for a good space to scout. Rovas, who had walked this route so many times after the children went missing, assigned the three of them equidistant locations for them to observe the throngs. Cell phones made these type of stakeouts easier in the long run, as long as the reception signals were good. At this location, the reception was spotty, but it was the best they could do. After going over their plans one more time, and Rovas warning his wife not to take any action-again-they went to their spots.

At 12:17, Gil rang Rovas, who was at the southern tip of their perimeter. “Sir, I spotted a tall blond guy. He came along the beach north of me. At first I thought he was alone, but a boy of about 9 or 10-the right age for Gerald Palmont, came up from the shore line and took his hand. They are walking away now, off the beach to the parking lot. I’m following.”

Rovas ran as fast as he could, which was not easy for him. Winded, he spotted Berrak and went to her. They set off at a fast walk, almost trot, while he told her what Gil had said.

“No girls?”

“No. He said nothing about the girls,” he panted. “Let’s get in Gil’s car and pick him up. I hope we’re not too late.”

When they got there, Gil was red-faced with anger. “I missed them. I missed them. He was parked right on the edge of the sand. I thought I would have enough time. It was white, a sedan. Not new. I wasn’t close enough for the license plate or make. “

Rovas had his hands balled into fists, laying them on his hips. His head swiveled frantically over the few roads that left the area. He saw no sign of any white car in any direction.

Berrak headed back to their car. “I think we need to try searching. Futile or not, it’s moving forward. Yesterday, we didn’t even have this much to go on.”

They got in the car and went up and down the streets, hoping to spot the Palmont boy and the blond headed man. 

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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 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.

Delicate Decisions (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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Delicate

“Delicate Decisions”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The morning started not with coffee with his wife but a dialogue, one Khazarian had hoped would not happen, but knew it was eventual. Just not this soon. Berrak was sitting up straight in her chair, arms folded tightly across her chest. He took a glimpse towards the coffee equipment, sighed, and sat down opposite his Berrak.

“Why?” She nodded her head towards the file folder he had placed beside himself on the kitchen table. Berrak stared at him. Khazarian noticed her eyes were wet.

“I rarely, as you know, ever brought work home. Yes, even though that time that work followed me here. I’ve had cases that…I have cases that were never solved, that baffle and gnaw at me to this day. You know that as well. Berrak, you could always sense how I was feeling,” he tried, with a smile.

“So?” It didn’t work. “Again, I ask ‘Why’? Those cases belong to your old unit. You’ve done enough. We’ve done enough.”

“Do you really believe that?”

A tear made it’s way down Berrak’s cheek.

Rovas sighed, reached out a hand towards his wife. It took a moment for her to unclench. Berrak took his hand in hers.

“I do not do this to punish us. You. All this free time…I have not yet adjusted to this new routine. Going in early, the hustle of the day even without a major case, and when it was major…” He shook his head. “I never thought I would miss it as much as I do. I also did not anticipate that cases unsolved would come to haunt me with such a vengeance.”

The room was silent but for the ticking noise of the wall clock. Berrak soon cleared her throat. “I am assuming that that folder holds one of those cases?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Tell you…about this investigation?” Rovas’s eyes widened.

“Yes.”

“Berrak, I don’t wish to…”

“‘Zarian, how will you…well, we…adjust to our new regimen, if you don’t let me in. I am no longer at arms length. Tell me. Please.”

Rovas sighed. “You won’t like this.”

Berrak sighed louder. “‘Zarian…”

Rovas took his right hand back, reached for the folder, hesitated, and then opened the case folder.

“Do you remember, almost five years ago now, the story of the missing Palmont children? Janice, April, and Gerald, ages 9, 7, and 4. On that late summer afternoon, the three seen on the beach, just a few blocks from their house. Witnesses who knew them said they were playing games with an unknown man, blond, tall, thin, who they assumed was a relative of their mother’s,  resemblance enough for them to not be overly concerned.

The children were seen leaving the beach around dinner time. They were never seen again. No clues. We could not find this blond man. It went totally cold and was filed away”

“Could they still be alive?”

“I would like to hope so. I doubt it.”

Rovas was flipping through the pages, glancing at what little they had gathered. Berrak got up, moved her chair around to sit next to her husband. Khazarian looked at her.

“Where do we start looking?,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder.

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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 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.

Nyctophilia: #defythedark contest

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Well, I’ve been away for over a month. During that time, I’ve started writing a number of things, but all of it was working towards story ideas I’ve had rolling around for a bit. All of them are in different stages…and almost every piece is for a future novel, or novella. Hence, not for Tale Spinning.

My SO brought a Figment contest to my attention that actually intrigued the two of us: the Defy the Dark New Author Contest. I had given up on submitting anything to Figment because of the usual  “heart (like) my story & I’ll like yours” mentality, which rarely ever translated into the merit of the story. Yes, I did that last year with Birdsongs: The Virtuous War. I learned my lesson and stayed clear of that type of “whoring” for votes.

What’s different about Defy the Dark New Author Contest? The likes/hearts don’t mean a thing: there is an actual YA editor (Ms. Saundra Mitchell)  who will read and judge the work on its merits. This is for eventual publication in an anthology by HarperCollins. Combined, the two things got me writing a just under 4,000 word short story entitled Nyctophilia.

FYI: Nyctophilia, as defined by Dictionary.com, is: a love or preference for night, darkness.

My description/”blurb”:

On the coast of the British Isles lies beautiful Bournemouth. At the turn of the 20th Century, it is a quiet, peaceful destination. A retired London Chief Inspector makes his home there with his wife, their house cared for by a local towns girl, Miranda. By day, most agree that the views of Bournemouth are spectacular. By night, the Spectacular views Bournemouth in an unsavory way…an old “friend” of the inspector comes to visit, and he  very much prefers all that the night has to offer.

Please CLICK HERE to take you to my newest story, Nyctophilia. If you with to leave comments, you can do so either at Figment or here on Tale Spinning.

Lisa Vooght entered the same contest with an extremely compelling tale called Rain’s Gonna Come.  Very powerful, a story you will be glad you read.

Thanks one and all for sticking with Tale Spinning. I hope I’m not gone another month before posting something new.

A to Z: The Complete Swan Rise Series

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Open House: Trespassers Welcome

Swan Rise Apartments went out like an exploding lamb; it came in like a sleeping lion… but the building, and its inhabitants, did not always remain so. They lived lives that were hungry, playful, sleepy, lusty, fearful, agitated and on the prowl; they reared their young, and did what they needed to survive in this vertical village.

Welcome to… Swan Rise Apartments

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…and so, the story unfolds. 26 interlocking stories set in the world of Swan Rise Apartments, all written for the A to Z Challenge that ran throughout April 2012.

You’ll find links to all the stories below; each one stands alone, but many have roots and connections in other chapters.  As a whole, it tells a story of the lives that swirl around apartment building life.

Each Sunday, I’ll re-post these links in case you missed any and for your ease in finding them.

The stories will remain up only for the month of May. As of June 1st, I will be taking all of the stories down from Tale Spinning so I can work on a larger second draft of the work. Some of the earlier pieces need fleshing out, and discoveries I made along the way need their roots dug deeply in the beginnings.

May 30th will be your last chance to read, and comment, on these stories. Hopefully, you’ll eventually hold an expanded version in your hands.

Comments are always welcome no matter when you read the story.

Week #1: A to G

All, Tumbling Down

Basement Boogie

Children in the Hall

Doggie Doings

Equivocation Elite

Fire(escape)

Ground, Breaking

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Week #2: H to M

Holidays, Haunts and Hearts

Imaginings of Love

Jung, @Heart

Kindred Spheres

Laundry Room Mafia

Mrs. Beatty

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Week #3: N to S

Not What They Seem

One Man’s Ceiling…

Pollination in the Parking Lot

Quack, Quack

Retraction of Gravity

Super, My Super

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Week #4: T to Z

Thieving Ways

Underneath It All

Vertically Challenged

Weather Man, Oh

Xanthippe

Yeah…Life Goes On…

Zenith: Arising