Category Archives: Heroine

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.

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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.

*******

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.

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

“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.

The Grant of Malice (Evil Genius Blogfest)

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The Grant of Malice

Mr. Donald Furrows, Human Resources Assistant Manager, shifted in his plush leather chair, shuffled the papers in his hand a bit, put them down on the mahogany desk, and put his right index finger into his tight white shirt collar, pulling slightly, then pulling it out. He glanced up, then down, cleared his throat three times, turned two pages over, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, folded his hands, fingers intertwined.

cough “So, Ms. Swathorn…you’re applying for the…the…”

“Evil Genius Grant. Yes, I am.” Cynthia Swathorn crossed her legs. She noticed Furrows look at them: she had worn her favorite short black dress and back seamed stockings, knowing the effect her long legs had on most men, and a number of women.

He looked up, and then she continued. “Only men keep getting the grant and title. It’s discriminatory. You hear about Lex, Dr. Moreau, The Brain, Rick, Boris…on and on, but…Mr. Furrows, I am a genius. And I am most definitely evil.”

She leaned towards the desk. The low cut top of her dress caused Mr. Furrows another uncomfortable moment of leering. The feeling was extended much further when he raised his eyes slowly and saw the malevolent smile on her face, and the glint in her eyes.

cough “Feminine wiles do not an Evil Genius make, Ms. Swathorn.”

“Cyn. Call me Cyn. I like the cheesiness of it, and it does evoke so much. Wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Furrows?” She sat back in her chair and recrossed her legs.  “Another cookie? I had time to kill this morning, so I baked. A little bribery?” She coughed a small laugh.

“No thank you, Ms. Swathorn…Cyn,” he quickly amended. “I have looked over your grant proposal, your Villainous Vitae is extremely impressive-excellent schools, each and every one. Recommendations from many of our past recipients…but, it’s just never been done, Ms. Swathorn. Discriminatory, maybe, but we’ve had problems in the past. No one seems to take a female evil genius seriously.”

“Notice the red hair?”

He nodded.

“Serious. Deadly serious. I was blond. No one takes blonds seriously. I know you noticed my figure. All deceptive maneuvers. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? I do…I certainly do. I also know that you’re protected from actual physical threats, and I was thoroughly searched before I entered this room. I gave the two guards a cookie each for a job well done.

“What you don’t know is that my grant proposal, while really well thought out, was just a lark. I knew it was good enough to get me in here. I’m that smart. It’s just a bit…much. Tunneling systems; fault lines; untold death and destruction: the good ol’ North America split into two…easy-peasy.

“So, the cookies?” Cyn leaned in close to the desk, resting her elbows on the glossy wooden top and cupping her chin in her hands. “You’ve heard the adage that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?’ Well, it’s also a great way to introduce something special.”

Furrows’ eyes bulged.

“No, no poison…that would be old hat, and unworthy of the grant monies. You’ve probably noticed your stomach doing little gurgling noises, yes?”

He nodded.

“I call it Gorp. Sounds like Gorp, so…” she smiled. “Here’s the deal: Gorp plays havoc with your body, once it ruins your digestive track. The bathroom will be your buddy. Then, if not appeased, Gorp goes bonkers. Aches and pains like you can believe. Right now it’s tummy time.”

“We’ll find an antidote. We have the best evil minds at our call.” Gorp.

“Well, yeah…you do, but…they all got a package of cookies yesterday. Special trial offer, ‘CynFully Good Bakes’. I would say most, if not all, the top evil doers (and some of the “good guys”)  are ensconced on their porcelain goddess right now.

Now, here’s the thing: I put in a genetic ‘blender’ that keeps Gorp morphing, changing as it goes along. No set pattern after the first bout, no repeat loops, nothing lasting long enough to devise a fix. The subjects I tried it on: five days, six days max. Then…bye bye. Sign the grant paper, Mr. Furrows. Sign it.

Now.”

Cyn leaned back, adjusting her dress, top and bottom, and recrossed her legs.

Gorp “…and if I do…you have a fix for this?” Gorp

She nodded. He signed both copies and stamped them with the official seal.

Dropping a small red tablet onto the desk (having retrieved it from the hem of her dress, one place the guards were not very through with checking), Cyn got up, took her copy, and smiled as she folded it up and put it in her suitcase.

“Oh, Mr. Furrows,” she said, as she had reached and opened his office door, turning back towards him: “You’ll need a new pill in five days. Sorry, but the antidote doesn’t seem to last very long. Gorp likes to hang around. If you’d like another one, and ones after that, you might want to consider putting me up for the Lifetime Achievement Award. All that money coming in, year after year…and a plaque too. I’ve always wanted a commemorative plaque. Hear from you soon?”

She blew him a kiss.  Laughing a very righteous sinister laugh (the guards and Furrows thought to themselves), Cyn walked out with deadly precision.

Gorp

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Author’s Notes:

The Evil Genius Blogfest is the brainchild of a young lady who only goes by the handle The Golden Eagle. Her blog, The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective is celebrating it’s Two Year Anniversary today (February 27, 2012). Quite an accomplishment, and a blog well worth connecting to. There are others who are participating in this very fun blogfest: click HERE to visit the linky list of other Evil Genius stories.

Happy Anniversary, GE!

Bwwaahhahaaaaaaaa…ahem.

OH…if you’ve gotten this far down, I’ll also be involved in The AtoZ Blogfest that runs every April. Last year was my first foray and it also really set me on the road that Tale Spinning has led me. They are looking to get 1,000 people to sign up; I was in the 1100’s last year. It was an amazing month, and I got to “meet” some great writers.

I also met my (now) sweetie, the woman I adore and love,  through it, and I couldn’t be happier.

Give it a shot. If you have a writer hiding deep down inside you, this will help set it free. Sign up by clicking HERE

Wednesday’s Child (Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign)

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Wednesday’s Child

Shadows crept across the wall. They blinked in an out of existence as the cops moved around,  the harsh light emanating from the flashing beacons on their cars. Disgust, anger, and weariness mingled in the air; another kid, in a string of kids, one for each day of the week, now. Detective Issen squatted down next to the remains of the body. Her flashlight scoured the area, noting details as she went along. She was in professional mode. Although sickened by what lay before her, she had a job to do.

The mental notes ticked off in her head as her partner wrote his down: girl, obvious from the lack of clothing; young, maybe ten, maybe eleven;  filthy blonde hair, matted; deep slashes across her legs and arms, going in opposite symmetrical directions; chest decorated with five deep looking punctures, too round to be a knife, pretty much equidistant from each other; right pinky missing; face, enough damage to swell the nose, mouth and eyes, making it hard to determine what the girl looked like, before.

She closed her eyes, standing, focusing on the patterns from all the bodies.

She heard the shot that sent her reeling.

everything faded…

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Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign

Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes has been running the Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign for a bit now; this is my first attempt at one of her prompts. I’m not sure, yet, if I’m too late to join in on this, but…I took a shot at the one posted for today.

There will be a number of other writers joining in; links to their entries can be found on Rachel’s blog page. Please visit the other writers blogs and leave them a comment.

The Rules:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: “everything faded.” (also included in the word count)
  • include the word “orange” in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!

Complete rule and regulations can be found on Rach Writes

In case anyone was wondering, I used three of the “added” challenges: the ending prompt, normal genre for me (thriller), and it’s exactly 200 words (not counting the title). There was a photo prompt we could have used: I decided not to use it this time around.

You Are Mine! (A Tanka Poem)

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YOU ARE MINE!

Something comes at night
Holding breath; no creaks, no sound
Covers drawn up tight
The moon peers in my window:
It, illuminated so

Saying: “You Are Mine!
From this night forward, believe
We are meant to be.
To the underbelly, fly
Nothing wicked to deny.”

Covers off, so tossed
A soft sprinkling of dust
Anticipation…
My mattress far below me
A smile lights up my being.

Out the window, soar
Swoop and laugh forever more
Reach the stars above
Quick! The morning sun comes fast
What is left behind?

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Author’s Note:

From Wikipedia:

Tanka consists of five units (often treated as separate lines when Romanized or translated) usually with the following pattern of onji:

5-7-5-7-7.

The 5-7-5 is called the kami-no-ku (“upper phrase”), and the 7-7 is called the shimo-no-ku (“lower phrase”). Tanka is a much older form of Japanese poetry than haiku.

About 1300 years old (I’ve seen 1200 too, so..why quibble), A Tanka has been hitting the poetry rounds lately.

This is my first Tanka, and I based it on a well loved story (see the tags if you don’t see what I was playing with).

ADDENDUM:

This is what cosmic synchronicity is about: I got, on Friday morning (the day after I wrote this), an email from The Purple Treehouse that their poetry prompt to express a different poetic form,  this week  to write a “WAKA” for you to think within 5-7-5-7-7 syllables and let your love know, how much you love…  or, one of its’ forms:

Chōka consists of 5-7 Japanese sound units phrases repeated at least twice, and concludes with a 5-7-7 ending.

The Tanka, as described above, which allowed a bit more expression

“There are still other forms of waka. In ancient times its moraic form was not fixed – it could vary from the standard 5 and 7 to also 3, 4, 6, longer than 7 morae part in a waka. Besides that, there were many other forms like Bussokusekika, Sedōka, Katauta etc.” (copied from The Purple Treehouse)

So, now I’m linking this piece up to their site and poetry blog hop. Please click on The Purple Treehouse link and take a look at the other poets expressing this poetic form. I Hope you like it.

Beginnings: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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The priest drove the blade deep into Amunet’s chest. The suddenness of the attack shocked her as much as the pain that followed it. This action was repeated by five other priests with all the house slaves in the Mastaba, the final resting place of her master. She saw the others die. This priest’s blade was not true, not penetrating her heart on the first strike. But still, it caused her impending death. The time she had left, though, was enough.

Amunet locked eyes with the priest, old and sand scarred. The pain she felt was mixed with hatred.  Amunet howled a curse as he pulled the knife out of her chest. The priest was  holding the blade’s handle, a tinge of fear on his face, then anger for not having struck a death blow.  Before he could react, Amunet grabbed the hilt, reversed it, and slashed the priest’s throat. In a gurgle, then a gush  he fell to the ground, dying at her feet.

Behind his corpse was a mantle, and the relics that were to be entombed alongside the dead. Amunet stumbled towards it, her life memories, short and brutal, unfolded as she bled out. She held onto the ceremonial knife.

First step: a different life, a different name. A Greek girl, blonde and often praised for her beautiful skin; kidnapped along the coastal shore of her village. Bound and bagged, dropped in a hold with other young girls.

Next step: stripped, passed around from pirate to pirate throughout the voyage. Beaten, starved, raped. Other captives died along the way. They were tossed over the side. She helped toss some over the side.

Fumble step: Only the beatings ended as they announced land in a few days. No scars, no marks on her beautiful skin. Fed more, and passed around even more.

Stopped, panting, holding onto the wound, blood seeping out between her fingers: Naked, auctioned off like cattle; poked, prodded, fondled, pried open. Bought by her “master”, not knowing the language, then. He took her that night, and nights after. Gave her her name. Amunet, the hidden one. Beatings, never at his hands, until she came into line. She was a novelty, with her skin, her coloring, and her master enjoyed sharing his treasure with others.

Two half steps closer: Watching him clutching his arm, then his chest. He tumbled off his chair in front of her and the other slaves. Only one slave moved to his side. Not her. Never her. She smiled.

Collapsing on the mantle: Amunet clutched the doll, the one to protect her “master” in his next life. It’s hair was of sun-baked clay strung on flax thread. The doll’s  body was of wood in the shape of a woman, symbols of fertility etched into it. She held the doll to her chest; she cursed the men who stole her, she cursed all those who used her, she sent out waves of anger and primal hatred. Her blood soaked into the wood carving, the flax thread, stained the sun-baked clay. Her battered life unfolded into the doll.

On her knees, grasping the doll, her head bent over it, laying her curse, she took the knife that she held and stabbed the doll.  Another priest came behind her and rammed his blade into her back. This priest’s blow was true. Amunet fell forward onto the doll.

Her spirit of rage became the doll. A knife became her weapon. She took others through the ages: just, unjust…it did not matter to The Unfolding Doll. For centuries, her revenge glistened on her knife’s edge over and over again.

She grew careless, once, and was trapped by a mage whose son she had taken. Too strong to be destroyed, he did what he could. Caught in his daughter’s room, he fought her and won, binding her spirit in the child’s dollhouse. The mage sold it to a very special shop. He knew he could not stop her completely, but limit the murderous spirit? That he could do.

Be careful when entering The Abysmal Dollhouse. There lies the hidden one, the Unfolding Doll.

Attack of the Killer Poombies!!!

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The night left with a strangled howl. Everyone had gone to sleep safe and sound that dark October eve. They awoke to the rendering of gnashing and the sounds of yipping. Yipping that ripped into the marrow of one’s bones. The world’s poodles had turned Zombie: Toy, Miniature and Standard alike. The day of the Poombies was upon us, and heaven help us all.

The first we knew about it was when Old Lady Schmidt came screaming down Elm Street, her Daisy ripping at her heels. It’s eyes were a blazing red, and it launched itself at Old Lady Schmidt right in front of our house. Mom had called us out to the porch, scared and trembling, yelling at my dad to do something. By the time he had gotten the rake from the front yard, it was already too late.

Daisy was gnawing away at her once beloved mistress. Blood was all over the place and mangled in her hair; Daisy was attacking Old Lady Schmidt’s head. I assumed it wanted her brains. Aren’t zombies, even poodle zombies, after brains?

Dad whacked Daisy around a few times, but that did nothing but turn the Poombie’s (that’s what the newscasters started calling them, before the airwaves went dead) attention to him. Mom yelled bloody murder for Dad to get back to the house.  “Idiot” and “Moron” were a few of her choice words, seeing how a rake just wasn’t all that good a weapon in the first place. She had run back inside, upstairs, to where they kept the “in case of burglar/rapist” registered revolver, and was aiming it at Daisy’s head as it shambled-ran towards Dad’s retreating back.

The blast staggered Daisy, but she kept on coming. Mom let off another couple of rounds, taking the top of the Poombie head with three well placed shots. Daisy fell over, twitched, and then was still. I started to approach it, to just take a look, but both Mom and Dad pulled me back (Dad physically; Mom with a yell). Good thing too. Daisy’s jaws snapped, and her…its…little Toy legs began to move. We all got back inside very fast and locked the front door. Then the back door, and then the windows.

Molly, my older pain in the wazoo sister, had stayed inside through all of this. She was glued, as usual, to the TV. This time, I couldn’t blame her. Every station, and I mean EVERY station, had news reports on the Poombie attacks. Animal Planet got its best ratings ever (which were reported that night, before all the screens went dead). The four of us sat on the couch, huddled together,  and watched the world go to the dogs.

Well, Poombies. No other dog seemed to be affected. If anything, next to cats, other dogs were prime fodder for Poombie attacks. Once they were all gone, squirrels, rats, and other assorted rodents were decimated. Who knew Poomibes could climb trees and burrow into holes in the ground? The battles in the sewers were reported all over. Forget the septic tanks…it was the first time I was glad we had one, backing up at times or not.

Once the TV stations died out, and then the radio stations, we knew we had to leave. We waited the night out, all of us sort of sleeping in the living room. Daisy was scratching at our front door and would have head butted it, if she still had a head. Howls and yips were sounding all over the neighborhood, and not a few “blood curdling screams.” Dad said they were blood curdling, and since I had no idea how blood could curdle, or what curdling was, I just went “uh huh!”

“Seth, pack up as much clothing and batteries as you can in your backpack. We’re not staying here!” my Mom ordered. I packed as best I could.  Molly did it in Molly fashion-fast-and Mom had all of our canned or packaged food in the car. Which, thankfully, was in our closed garage. Dad helped with what he could, packing up some of his tools that he thought would come in handy as weapons. An Awl is a good thing in a pinch.

We all piled into the car, Dad behind the wheel. Mom had the gun ready (and more ammo then I would have thought one would have for a house gun) and Molly and I got in the back seat. Doors locked and seat belts on (it was the law), Dad opened up the garage door.

OK..if you’ve ever been scared of the ending of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” then you know what we experienced. Row upon row of Toy Poombies, Miniature Poombies, and big old hairy Standard Poombies sat, red eyes glazed over and tongue lolling. They were quiet, but each one of their blood splattered heads followed us as we backed out of the garage. Dad gulped loud enough for us to hear in the back, and I’m pretty sure Molly peed herself (I could smell it, and I knew it wasn’t me, then). Mom cocked the gun and just stared around her. She was shaking a bit: I noticed it when I wasn’t staring back at the staring red eyes.

Dad got to the street, and just put the car in drive. Daisy-Poombie leapt onto the hood of our car and tried to butt the windshield. All the Poombies let out an awful yip howl.

“FLOOR IT!” Mom screamed. Dad did.

The Poombie that was Daisy went flying over the car from the force of the acceleration. Molly and I laughed at the idea of the flying dead dog. We laughed until tears came streaming out.I had turned around to look; so did she.

All the Poombies were chasing us.

Attack of the Killer Poombies Read.wma

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The Walking Dead” season two starts tomorrow night, Sunday, October 16th on AMC (check your local listings for time). This is my “I have been waiting a long time for this season to start” TV show. It comes at a good time, now that Dr. Who is off until the Christmas Special (and then for way too long a break). The only shame is that it is on at the same time that Dexter is on, but…no contest.

Why Zombie Poodles (aka Poombies)? Let’s just say my son and I had an experience one night with a Poombie driving a car next to us, and let’s leave it at that. Trust me, you’ll sleep better at night. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this.