Category Archives: Love

Take Care: A Tale of the Abysmal Dollhouse

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Wheelchair

 

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

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

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

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

“May I help you?”, she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He reached out and opened the door.

“Donna.”

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

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

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

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

Mark smiled deeply and went to join her.

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

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Author’s Note:

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

What We Hold Onto

The Abysmal Dollhouse: Collected (sort of)

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

Let me know what you think.

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Zenith of All Things (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

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

Zenith

“Zenith of All Things”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What do you remember?”

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

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

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

“Aemilie. She’s 13.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Ah, that’s why the pain there.”

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

“And…?”

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

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

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

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

She stayed all night by his side.

*****

EPILOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What, Gil?” asked Rovas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good for her. I wish Lily had one.”

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

Everyone groaned.

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

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

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

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

They all smiled and relaxed.

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

Alone, the two settled on their couch.

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

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

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

“I love you.”

“I love you too. Let’s go up.”

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

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

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

The End

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yesterday’s Sorrows (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

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

Yesterday

“Yesterday’s Sorrows”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

Berrak and Rovas stood up at the same time.

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

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

They formed a plan.

*****

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

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

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

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

“Then, let’s give him what he wants.”

“Zarian! No.”

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

With tears falling she fell into his arms.

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

No more needed to be said.

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outside, they heard two shots ring out.

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

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

They heard one more shot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venus Ascending (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

Venus

“Venus Ascending”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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

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

“Kristina!” Rovas growled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tina nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbridled Fury (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

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

Unbrideled

“Unbridled Fury”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

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

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

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

He nodded.

“I want to meet Kristina.”

“Berrak, I don’t think…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tea and Soliciting (A to Z Blog Challenge)

Standard

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

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

“Tea and Soliciting”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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

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

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

“I know.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And what of Kristina?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Peters drove on. His boy was waiting.

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

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

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

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

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

Still Life in Scarlet (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

A woman looks at Bosch's painting "Tryptich of the Last Judgement" in Vienna

Foto: Reuters/HERWIG PRAMMER Hieronymus Boschs “Weltgerichtstryptichon” in der Wiener Akademie der Bildenden

“Still Life in Scarlet”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros met Rovas at a diner they liked, The Blue Line. It was far enough from the Rovas household for Khazarian to relax a bit. The tension in the booth they shared was palpable. Claire, their usual waitress, didn’t linger at the table; she dropped their dishes off and scooted away.

“…I know, Gil. I know,” Rovas continued after she left. “I wasn’t thinking, and that upsets me to no ends. What upsets me more is the what Berrak will think if…when she knows the whole story.”

Gil did not wonder at all if Berrak would find out. He was impressed with Berrak’s line of reasoning; he doubted they would have had the closures they pulled off if not for her help. So, he didn’t answer, only taking a bite out of his apple pie, following it with his coffee.

Rovas sat looking out the diner window at the cars passing by. He took a sip from his coffee and made a grimace. “I wish Berrak could teach people how to make a proper cup of coffee. Lord knows, she’s tried with me.”

They both smiled; Rovas’ own attempts at coffee making fell far below the standards of Berrak’s brewing skills.

“Come over after you get off work. We’ll plug in all the details. Berrak and I already have a beginning plan.”

Gil nodded his head. Rovas turned his attention to his slice of pie. They cleaned their plates in silence, paid their bill, and left. When Claire went to bus the table she saw that both cups of coffee were barely touched.

*****

Hours after Gil arrived at the Rovas house, the three were huddled in the study, examining the details on the whiteboard and bulletin boards. Berrak and Gil were still making notes with followup questioning, routes they felt they should follow. Rovas was mentally making his own notes.

“Here’s what we know. Three years ago, on May 4th, a 911 call was received. The caller, who was later identified as Lilly Landers, a known madame with a record, stated that a murder had been committed and that she felt she was next. Just as she gave out the address the call abruptly ended, with her calls of help. Three of them, and then the line went…I hate to say it, but it went dead.

Gil and I were not the first to respond; a squad car was closer to the house. When we arrived, the coppery smell of blood was prevalent. All the windows had been closed. It was a cool night for May. The officer who got there directed us inside and upstairs. He stressed he did not touch anything. Rovas told the officer to stay outside and  to secure the perimeter.

At the top of the landing we found the body of Ms. Landers. Blood had dripped down onto the steps. She had been stabbed in the back three times. Beyond the body were three rooms, all the doors closed. We checked all three bedrooms, and in two were the corpses of two other women, who also had priors for prostitution, tied up on the beds. Except for a tube running down the arm of one of the women, there were no other visible signs of cause of death. No strangulation marks. No knife wounds.

The ME arrived, muttering out loud…”

“A lot,” Gil added.

“Yes, a lot. He didn’t want to commit to anything definite then and there. After he got them back to the lab and examined them, he was bursting for us to come down so he could deliver the results.”

Gil broke in: “He said they were bleed almost completely dry. Exsangal….”

“Exsanguination, Gil,” she patted his hand. “Not a pretty way to go. Two young girls drained of blood. I remember the headlines of the ‘Vampire Killer’, but I know you had more details that weren’t discussed with the press.”

“We couldn’t give it all away, in the hopes of catching the person who did this. We didn’t want false leads, so we held a few things back.”

“SOP, Zarian?” She smiled.

He nodded.

“And you’re sure this was a brothel?”

Gil nodded. “There were the usual items. Tons of condoms, lingerie, leather, sex toys, lubricants. It was obvious at first, and the rest came when we found Landers’ books. No names of clients or the girls. Just initials.”

They were all quiet for a moment, looking at the wall of information of their private notes. Berrak broke the silence.

“There was a fourth bedroom made up in the attic?” She didn’t look at her husband or Gil, concentrating on the the photos and captions on the white board. Rovas seemed to lose a little color. “It looks lived in, done up like the other rooms.” She looked from the pictures to the notes to her husband and Gil. She thought she had never seen more guilt on two men’s faces. Rovas asked her to sit down.

“What aren’t you telling me Zarian? Gil?”Berrak said as she sat.

They both looked at each other. Gil raised his hands, palms up, and shrugged both shoulders. He and Rovas sighed at the same time.

“Berrak…there was a fourth girl.”

“But, there’s been no mention in any of these papers. Nothing in the news. What? How? I…I don’t understand. A fourth. That room has been bothering me all day.”

Rovas sighed once again. He knelt down and took both of her hands.

“I have to tell you about Kristina…”

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

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

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

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

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

Queen’s Gambit (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

** To read the first parts of this story line: Offending Elm and  Perhaps the Dog

Queen

“Queen’s Gambit”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian

The next few days were a whirlwind of activity. The skeletal body of David Sosenko was thoroughly examined. It was determined, by the damage done to a few of his ribs, that he had been shot three times, close up. The dog tags led them to his life: his mother had looked for him when he disappeared, as did the army. The report filed listed him missing almost exactly twenty-one years ago. If this was related to the woman in the tree, and Rovas felt the two were connected, they finally had a time frame. It was time to connect the dots.

Mrs. Sosenko died ten years before. “A weakened heart that finally gave out,” said her long time neighbor. “She never stopped hoping David would come back. He was the light of her life.” Gil brought Rovas and Berrak up to speed, stopping in for coffee and debriefing. There were no other relatives that mattered. Second or third cousins, so far removed from the family. They checked, but came back with nothing notable.

“Gil, what are you not telling me, um, us?” Rovas asked, watching Gil play with his cup but not drinking.

“Dole,” he said. “Chief Inspector Dole is a little…irritated that you’ve been…involved in these things.”

“Involved, or did he say ‘sticking his damn nose into things that he shouldn’t?'”

Gil held back a laugh, but smiled. “Close enough. He’d like to have a word with you, and soon.” He turned to Berrak. “I’m sorry, but he was very specific that he spoke only with Inspector Rovas.”

Berrak nodded in understanding. She still took Zarian’s hand in hers, squeezing gently to ground him and hope he would not get too angry.

“Gil, we have some information ourselves. We were just going to call you with it just as you drove into our driveway. Zarian?”

“Since we found out that Sosenko was listed as AWOL, Berrak tracked down some members from his unit, as well as his C.O. We,” he nodded towards his wife, “may have a lead on the girl. David had a few close friends and with the help of the CO, who is still serving, we tracked them down and spoke to them on the phone. No one had believed David Sosenko would have ever disappeared on his own. He had been well respected by leader and peer.”

“Yes, we found that out as well.”

“Ah, but Berrak went a different route with his best friend Phillip. He was reluctant at first-we had him on speaker phone-he gave up one secret that he had held back all these years: David was in love with a non-Jewish girl. Her name was Merry, or Meredith. Her parents, especially her mother, was vehemently against their seeing each other. When Merry could they met privately, away from where she lived.

Phillip did not know her last name nor where they met. Sosenko never volunteered the information, and Philip never asked. The only thing he mentioned was he was in love with Merry from Magic County. Called her Merry Magic. He was just happy for his friend, and worried at the same time.”

“Worried?”

“The mother threatened him one time with a gun, aimed at his head.”

Gil called the station to check with police in Magic County; small as it was, he didn’t think he’d have to do a wide search for a missing Meredith, as long as their data was up to date. While they were looking, Berrak was on the home computer looking up town records and their local newspaper morgue. Rovas paced back and forth between the kitchen and his study, listening in on one end, looking over a shoulder on the other.

Gil yelled out “Got it!” at just about the same time Berrak found a likely Meredith.

“Müller; Meredith Müller. She was never reported missing by her parents. Last known records for her had her as a graduate of Magic High School,” he beamed at that name.

“She had a job at the newspaper right out of college, a receptionist,” Berrak added. “She was only there a short time before she just never appeared again. The editor I spoke to had known her from school. He never thought she’d just leave like that.”

Rovas got on the phone with the Magic police. He got answers almost immediately to his questions and wrote them down. “Small communities,” he said as he clicked off on his cell. “The parents are still alive. Let’s go-now.”

“Zarian, why the rush?” she asked, grabbing a light jacket on the way out.

“Mrs. Müller is in the hospital. Terminal ward.”

******

Gil had to use his badge to get him past the nurses desk. It took a little bit more persuasion for the nurse to allow  his “consultants” to join them. Upon entering the slightly darkened room, they noticed an older man sleeping in a chair next to a wizened looking woman. Rovas noticed that she was hooked up to the monitors and had two IV lines going in. He was sure the pain medication dose was high, but the woman in the bed still looked drawn out.

Mrs. Müller looked in their direction. “What the hell do you want? Who are you?” Her voice was a harsh rasp, and Berrak took a step closer to Rovas.

Rovas explained who they were, and why they came.

“Get out! Get OUT!” she screamed, waking up the man, who tried to calm her down without much success. He was asking what this was all about when the nurse came in, fussing at the trio for upsetting her patient. Just before she got them 100% out of the room, and as she was closing the door, Rovas said: “Mr. Müller…we have news about your daughter.”

He walked over and opened the door, letting them all back in. He inclined his head to Rovas, who began to tell him what they had found: the body in the tree, the yellow fabric and gold ring, and then the body of David Sosenko.

“That Jew bastard,” came a weakened voice from the bed. Mrs. Müller was glaring at them all, but especially at Rovas. “I warned him-and her-that I was not going to allow my daughter to marry a kike! I warned them, both of them.”

Mr. Müller went over to his wife. “Katie, what did you do? What did…”

“I did what you wouldn’t have. I put an end to it. I followed her to those woods. She had on her Sunday best dress, that yellow taffeta that you both liked so much on her. She and that hebe were kissing by a tree…hell, I warned them. I snuck up on them…” she went into a coughing fit for a few moments. Her husband gave her the drink of water she demanded.

“I snuck up on them, yanked her out of his dirty hands, raised the gun and fired into his Jew heart. Bam! Down he went.”

“What about Merry?”

“She was wailing and screaming like a banshee. I turned around and hit her in the mouth with the gun to shut her up. She fell, but still moaning and bitching away. I told her to stop making noise. She didn’t listen, like she never listened to me. I hit her a few more times with the gun grip. I stopped when she stopped.”

Gil broke the silence that followed. “Her teeth?”

“Picked ’em up and put them in my pocket.”

“And…?”

“Buried that bastard. Got the shovel from the truck and dug as deep as I could. Tired me out. I wasn’t gonna toss my girl into any grave with a hebe. That’d be just what they would have wanted. I put her over my shoulder, but I couldn’t carry her no more. Dragged her to that Elm you found her in. I was resting against it, put my hand to the trunk buy my hand plunged in a ways. I checked and saw there was enough room for her…and it was far enough away from him.

Her dress tore as I grunted her into the tore. Before I was finished, I noticed that there was something on her ring finger. A gold band. A Goddamned gold band. That little bitch had married that Jew!! I tore up her dress and shoved it and the ring in her toothless mouth!”

No one asked her why she was telling them now. It was plain the woman had little time left.

Mr. Müller asked if he could have a word with his wife, alone. They left the room, Berrak closing the door behind her. She went over to Rovas, needing him to hold her. Gil was on his phone with the local police, asking for someone to come over and take Mrs. Müller’s statement, when the nurse rushed out of her station to the Müller room.

Rovas and Berrak arrived right after the nurse, Gil on their heels. What they saw stayed with Berrak for a very long time.

Mr. Müller was standing over his wife, tears streaming down his face. He held the pillow that had been under his wife’s head. The monitor above her bed recorded her death.

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

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

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

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

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

Offending Elm (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

Offensive Elm

“Offending Elm”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

 

The gunshot wound to Gil’s left shoulder was more serious than first perceived. On the way to the hospital the EMT grokked the swelling and immediately splinted Gil’s upper arm. Upon arrival, Gil was rushed into the ER. He underwent surgical debridement, the wound cleaned out but some bleeding continued. He was hours undergoing treatment before he was brought to recovery. The doctor wanted to keep Gil overnight for observation. The prognosis was overall good, but there was concern about nerve damage.

Rovas and Berrak got all this information from Jill, the EMT who brought Gil in. She had access to the surgical team that they did not. She had left with her team but returned when her shift was over.

“We get a lot more hunters accidentally shooting themselves or a friend. Dumb asses.” Jill shook her head, sitting back in the waiting room chair opposite Rovas and Berrak. “Things like this…I feel I have more at stake, y’know?”

Berrak nodded to her. Rovas was distracted. She nudged him slightly, and he, too, nodded at the EMT.

Rovas had called Chief Inspector Dole, filling him in with all the details as he knew, when they arrived at the hospital. After their conversation-which did not go all too well, for either of them-Rovas made another call. He was waiting for answers to his inquiries.

When Gil was finally out of recovery, all three went up for a quick visit. He woke up briefly, insisting he should still be released so they could go after Peters, and dropped back to sleep just as quickly. “Pain meds and trauma to the body,” Jill said.

Berrak and Rovas stayed for a little bit longer, getting one more audience with the Sargent Detective before he drifted off again. They left the hospital soon afterwards, leaving Gil’s EMT in the room, getting a recommendation and directions to a nearby motel from her. Rovas checked at the desk about the conditions of the other police from the explosion. Both were doing better than expected: they were alive.

“Stake in her duties,” Berrak mentioned on their way to their car. “Jill and Gil, hmm?” She held Rovas’ hand through the hospital lobby.

Rovas got a text after they had settled into their room: no trace of Peters. Whatever trace he left up the hill and with his bike ended once the motorcycle hit the main road. The note Peters’ left stabbed into the tree went straight to the point: “Inspector, if you are reading this, you are alive. I’ll make sure that changes, and soon. If I got you, good. You took my boy!”

The next day, Berrak and Rovas went back to the hospital, hoping Gil would be released in short order. They could hear him laughing as they came to his room. Jill was sitting in a chair, a big grin on her face. Berrak nudged Rovas and smiled.

It took a few hours more for the hospital to discharge him, with strict notes for Gil to follow up with his own doctor as soon as possible. Berrak said “I’ll make sure of it” at the same time Jill said “He will.” Rovas finally smiled at this. Berrak’s observation were on the nose, again.

*******

A month passed. Gil was doing PT, getting his arm back into shape. They all were happy there was no deep damage to any muscle or nerves. Over dinner Gil told Berrak and Rovas that he had a “lovely” scar to show for all this. He blushed deeply when he realized he said “lovely.”

“And how is Jill, Gil?” Berrak asked. No one thought it was possible for Gil to redden any more, but he did.

Cups of Berrak’s coffee in hand, they made their way into Rovas’ study. They had pulled all they could on Peters and were at a standstill at this point until the active investigation turned up anything, or Peters made an appearance. Rovas had been reading over his files sporadically with Berrak-sometimes with Gil present-compiling further questions on many of the cold cases.

Rovas lifted up one of the folders. “I suggest we try and shake ourselves out of our waiting for Peters to make a move. This one,’ he passed the file to Gil,  “has nagged at me for way too long. Berrak, it’s what we were looking at the other night: the woman’s body that was found in the Elm tree by those four boys.”

“Certainly not boys anymore. They’d have to be in their early thirties by now,” Berrak said, looking over Gil’s shoulder at the files’ contents.

“The…boys…were poaching in Haley’s Woods, they admitted, when one of the group climbed up the Elm for a ‘look see’ around. His foot dropped down into an opening where the branches parted. When he looked, he found the remains of the body.”

“Says here it was a woman, aged between twenty and thirty. No one reported any sister or daughter missing in the area that fit that?”

“None. Dental records were no use: her teeth were missing.” Rovas paused, remember the sight that greeted him. “The boys didn’t look too closely. They reported what they found to the police, and I was called in soon after that.”

“Gil,” Berrak pointed, drawing his attention to the photograph under the report he was going over. He took out the folder and laid it on the desk so all of them could see it.

Putting his finger on it, Rovas said “We found a piece of yellow taffeta shoved into her mouth. A gold ring, no inscription, was placed in the middle of the material.

We’ve had luck with these cases, coming at them with time and new eyes,” he nodded to Berrak. “I think it’s time we revisited this and do our best to find out what happened, and who the young lady was.”

*************************************************
“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.

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.

*************************************************
“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.