Category Archives: Time

His Time Capsulated: #FridayFictioneers

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russell-working

PHOTO PROMPT © Connie Gayer

His Time Capsulated

Everyone thought Russ was a gardening savant. Thought that of himself at times, but he knew the real reason why he took up this “hobby.” It wasn’t to please Connie. An excuse, embarrassed to admit he had buried a Time Capsule in his backyard when he was a teen.

Embarrassed he forgot where it was and what he buried. Forgotten all about it.

Damn getting old.

Finally finding it, he knelt, creaking. Waited a moment, hoping he’d left words of wisdom that would spread; maybe some treasured thing from the past.

Inside, just a note:

Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30!”

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

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

A lot of people join in; the variety of the personal takes on the prompt is what makes this fun. Take a look at what the others wrote, and maybe join in on the creative fun.

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Reflections of the 2018 #AtoZ Blog Challenge: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

For all the information you could ever want about the AtoZ Blog Challenge, Click:  Blogging From A to Z Challenge.

This was my fifth AtoZ Blog Challenge:

The rules are simple: During the month of April, you commit to writing 26 blogs, each day based off the run ot the alphabet. Up to you how you do that. Blog hop around, read and comment on other blogs, build a community. Don’t sleep. You had to sign up through the AtoZ main page. From that, most people chose and announced their Theme (more below): I signed on late, missed that, and, well…I had no idea what I was going to do up to two days before it started.

Yes, I am that unorganized.

I actually had another idea that I thought would be funny, but when I realized the main character I wanted to use was verbotten, the idea lost all its allure. Quelle dommage. That had me in a bit of a spin; I asked on Tale Spinning if anyone wanted to see me continue some previous storylines that I liked, or should I try something new. I got two: TWO, and only two, requests. Hence, The Abysmal Dollhouse.

I have written TAD stories since 2012. Almost always positive comments. A few followers suggested I should add more to the oeuvre and publish it. Hemming and hawing, procrastinating, all my usual excuses for not committing fully added up to one fact: I didn’t.

Scared? Insecure? A rough number of years on so many levels? No motivation? Creativity and passion just drained away?  Lump them all together and I just never carried it through, letting the ideas pretty much just lay there, occasionally bursting forth. Definitely not often enough. Tale Spinning was pretty much an empty space for the last couple of years.

In actuality, boredom with my life, and myself, kicked me in the arse.

I’m what is known as a Pantser: I don’t prewrite, rarely have an outline, especially for continuing series that I like, and only have a basic idea that I use as a jumping off point. When I started off this round of TAD, I just thought I’d continue on my “Monster of the Week” stories, letting the letter of the day create my title, which then started my writing for the day.

One thing I do do (hee hee. Oh, sue me) is take a little bit of time for research. In this case, I just went online and found a whole bunch of Weird, Murder, or Haunted Houses around the world. I chose a number of places that I thought would be great prompts for every day of the challenge. Didn’t use even half of what I found, this go around.

Something happened that changed in me really early on in the process: I started creating a backstory/mythology for the series and began to drop hints and clues about the backgrounds of The Unfolding Doll and the Shopkeeper. Yes: I started to shed my pantsing and began-gasp!-planning. Not 100%, still no outline, but things were starting to gel and I got much more invested in what I was writing.

I look at it this way: X-Files had many episodes of Monster of the Week, with episodes of their mythology scattered here and there. A MOTW episode could still give us more background info on Scully & Mulder while kinda sorta avoiding the BIG story. Character development and whatnot. That’s how I was viewing all this.

Then the next change happened: I got some new readers, who commented, questioned, told me what they liked, and I felt they were really invested in what was going to happen next. I had that in 2016 with that year’s storyline (link at top of the page), but not to this extent. It kind of added to the challenge for me; it definitely altered my thinking on the storyline.

The ending may seem rushed (it was) but I had dropped hints and clues in many of the stories. It’s hard to fill in all the details when I was trying to limit the daily posts to around 1,000 words. Many people will skip a long posting, and I know I lost potential readers for that reason. Nothing I can do about that. I’m sure many will pass up this reflection for the very same reason. Quelle dommage, part two.

For those who might have missed the main posting where I dropped a lot of clues, go to the “I” posting: In The Absence Of…

A couple of more things: please bear with me.

One thing I’m “frustrated” with are the posts that I thought I was being witty with. Alas, alas, alas.  Too gimmicky? Too obtuse? Spot on? No idea: no feedback. Jabber Wonky was my attempt to play on the Jabberwocky poem in Alice in Wonderland (which gave me the reason to rhyme what goes on in The Child’s mind). I used some of the verbal tomfooleries in the piece, more as an homage; In Quoth the Riven, I think it was pretty obvious. I actually wrote following the path Poe’s poem took. One of my favorite pieces by him.; Orchestra! Curtain! Lights! was my wink to one of my favorite things-animation. It’s the opening lyrics from “The Bugs Bunny Show” theme song. My story has nothing to do with Bugs & Daffy, but Orchestra! was my jumping off point for the tale.

I did not blog hop as much as I was hopping to. I always say I’ll do more, and I did, this year, but I fall far short of others. My apologies. I did happen to come across some wonderfully written blogs along the way and picked up some new blogging friends. I’d like to thank (in no particular order): David, Debs, Sharri, Ms. Wolf, Iain, Jo, Jacqui, Varard, and Melanie. If I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me. As to previous readers/bloggers: thanks for sticking with me. Roy: didn’t make that many mistakes this time around, eh?

Special thanks go to Arlee Bird for starting this whole thing, and to the hosts who share the duties. It’s been a blast of a month. Next year? When the time comes, we’ll find out.

Thank you, everyone.

Sigurd The Mighty: The Abysmal Dollhouse (#AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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

Skull

Sigurd The Mighty

The Abysmal Dollhouse

Shadows edged their way throughout the shoppe,  pockets that swalowed light. The Shopkeeper would try to rearrange the lighting, add more fixtures, but nothing stuck: what was in the light remained so; the rest was shadows’ realm. The far corner held a shadow so complete that nothing affected it for more than a few moments. The Shopkeeper normally kept her distance, her peripherial vision always alert.

She made her rounds, dusting dollhouses, counters, display cases, and cabinets, in a grid pattern. She was careful in her dusting normally, but her experience with the woman whose mouth was covered, the devout way she used her personal brush on her temple, made an impression on the Shopkeeper.

Time passed. The shopkeeper stood at the side wall, off the left of her workstation, and realized she had not cleaned inside the largely locked cabinet in quite some time. Searching her apron pockets, the could not find the key that would unlock the door. She left the floor, positive she had hung it from the key hook in her back room. She walked behind her counter, hung up her duster, and went in search of the key.

Yes, the key was hung by its own ring, on top of a series of keys that unlocked other things. Taking it down and placing it in her pocket, the Shopkeeper heard a noise just outside of her room. A tap, tap, tapping against the glass. “Not now,” she muttered, knowing what it was, knowing she had not heard the front door open nor the door chime tinkle.

Stepping over the threshold, she turned and saw that the Unfolding Doll was leaning against the glass of the large curio cabinet. Its knife was making the sound, the tap, tap, tapping.  The hand of fine linen clutched the handle, letting the tip of the blade make the noise. The doll was all in white this time, delicate lace enclosed wrists led to the white sleeves, attached to a white lace bodice, finished off with a white linen skirt that fell almost to its ankles. The black buttons in the place where eyes would have been being fixed on one thing in particular in the locked display.  Its black ringlets were tossled, adding a wild contrast to the rest of its attire. Yet, it suited the blade.

The Unfolding Doll turned its head in the direction of The Shopkeeper, the tapping continuing. “Please, stop,” the Shopkeeper asked, reaching to her right where her broom was propped against the wall. Surprisingly, the noise did cease. The Shopkeeper sighed, took the key out of her pocket and waited until the knife was gone.

Walking forward, key in hand, the Unfolding Doll took a step away. Its button eyes did not move from what it was fixated on. The Shopkeeper inserted the key, turned and unlocked the large glass door, and gently opened it.

Inside stood the multi-tiered Wall of Death, a miniature presentation of the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée. Skull after skull adorned the replica wall, each with its placard, in tiny print, the matter of death that was the story of each individual whose brainpan was showcased. At present, there were seven shelves with six neurocraniums displayed, most of them complete, a few with cranial abrasions or missing pieces. 

The Doll stepped up and gazed solely on one skull, second shelf from the top, first one to the left. The Shopkeeper quietly moved behind and to its side. She pointed at it, reading the sign: Sigurd the Mighty. The Unfolding Doll appeared to relax, enough so that the Shopkeeper knew it was this that drew the doll’s attention.

Focussing solely on Sigurd, the Shopkeeper channeled her emotional energy on the object, as she had done before with other skulls. For her, it was the only way to unlock its story.

A deep male voice came from the cabinet.

40 men fought with me; 40 fought against. Their leader, Mael Brigte the Bucktoothed, refused to bend knee to me and my king, my brother, the rightful ruler of Norway. I had conquered all of this northern land of the Britains, this pissant of a leader being the last to stand in my way. He and his fought for his land; I and mine fought for our King.

Both sides were able, I will give Bucktooth that. Yet, his men had not fought battle after battle, did not have the true knowledge of those they fought with and their capabilities. My 40 cut down them all to a man. Mael put up a great fight, but he was still no match; I had not been called Riki, The Mighty. 

Shattering his knees with my mace, I drew my long sword, releasing his life force with blow after blow. Down went Mael Brigte, down the Bucktoothed, and the remainder of his men still standing lost hope, and they followed him down, to let the ground feed off of their blood.

While my men took their spoils, I took Mael’s head, tying it up to hang off my horses’ saddle. This was a trophy for my king, a show that this northern land was mine, and in its way, the king’s as well. We rode away from the slaughter, making our way back, knowing many days were still ahead of us. At nightfall, around the fire, it was made notice that I had a series of large scratch marks on the outer part of my leg. I had felt some pain, ignoring it as we rode having just left a battle. We passed around the skins of wine and none feeling anything after a while.

As I made to mount in the morning, I found Mael Brigte’s head looking at me. It seemed it was smiling, but it was only his buckteeth sticking out, his mouth frozen in an open grimace. The mouth and teeth were red, but I would be damned if cleaning the head was going to happen.

The road back was uneven, and my horse stumbled now and then. Each time it did, the head of Mael banged into my leg, a few of those times I felt pain. I kept one eye on the path, one eye on the head. A hole in the ground almost caused the horse to drop, but it righted itself well. Yet, eye on the trophy, I saw that the buckteeth of my foe had bounced far away and returned, scoring my leg. Blood pooled down my calf and was soaking my footwear.

When we finally stopped, the pain in my leg was so wretched that I at first limped to the campsite, nearly falling into the fire. I tried to sleep, but the pain was absolute. I was sweating, shaking, and when one of my men tried to help he touched the area where it hurt the most. He drew his hand away sharply, saying that the leg felt like a winter stove. He rubbed his hand in the dirt. I had been going in and out of being awake. I thought he said that there was something slimy coming from that spot on my leg, and there was a horrible smell being emitted. I passed out and remained so until the morning.

My men had to bring me to my horse and saddle me. I heard the complaints of a smell, and evil looks were given to my leg but the glances were swift. Everyone mounted, and we continued on. The path remained uneven, the head of Mael Brigte scored my leg again and again. Towards the setting of the sun, a day and a half away from our home, I fell off my horse, already dead before I left the saddle.

My son, Gottorm, buried me at Sigurðar-haugr.

This is my story told. Leave me be.

The Shopkeeper revived herself, awareness flooding back into the shoppe. The Unfolding Doll was not there. It was walking down the aisleway, tapping every now and then with its knife. The doll headed to the far right corner and the shadow. Stopping just before it, the Unfolding Doll turned to look in the Shopkeeper’s direction. Walking backward, it folded itself into the shadow and was gone.

Dusting the skulls was needed, and dust she did. A few of the skulls reached out to her, wanting to tell their story.

“Hush. Not now, please,” she gently quieted them down. “There is always time for more.” Finished, she took the key out of her pocket, locked the cabinet door, and returned to her back room. She hung the key back on the hook with all the other keys.

She smelled something. On the small dining table was a freshly baked scone, clotted cream, and raspberry jam. Next to it was a steaming cup of tea. She picked it up to take a sip: yes. She “mmmmmm”‘d as she folded herself into her padded chair. Thai High Mountain Oolong, a fresh scone. The Shopkeeper sipped, nibbled, and smiled.

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

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

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

Sigurd the Mighty is part of Bizarre Viking Deaths. No joke. I came across his story years ago and always wanted to do something with it. Well, here you go.

As to the Wall of Death, if you ever go to Philadelphia, there is the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians. A very bizarre place to have a first date, but it’s what she wanted to do. There is a wall of skulls. I just took it a step further. I always thought this was an appendix to the “normal” Abysmal Dollhouse tales, but I’m glad I wrote this one for the AtoZ. Hope you enjoyed.

What We Hold Onto: The Abysmal Dollhouse (reblog Jan 2, 2012)

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What We Hold Onto

The Abysmal Dollhouse

January 2, 2012

The late December air outside The Abysmal Dollhouse smelled like snow; it was either a pleasant promise or a horrible threat, depending on how you felt about this turn of the weather. The Shopkeeper had been busy decorating, dusting, and defending herself inside the shop. Most of the time was spent puttering around, but there was just as many times when she had to… sidestep mishaps.

She had already frosted the windows, hung garlands of greens, reds, and silver. The blue and white lights twinkled on and off, in various patterns and in complicated loops throughout the store. Many of the dollhouses were opened wide, reveling in the joyous patterns that were presented for all of them. Many, but not all. Those… Those are not ones that even the season allowed them to join in.

The front door opened with a tinkling of bells, and a heavily bundled older woman entered, closing the door behind her, checking to make sure it was firmly closed. The shop was warm and cozy, allowing her to undo her knit scarf, unzip her parka, and take off her gloves. She left her hat on, just in case.

Looking around the store, she smiled broadly. It was transformative, that smile, and The Shopkeeper could not help but smile broadly too. It was infectious.

“Can I help you, Mrs…”

“Miss. Miss Singleton.”

“Oh, but you…”

“Miss…Singleton,” she said, losing part of her smile, as she glared at The Shopkeeper.

“Of course,” acquiesced The Shopkeeper. “Welcome to my shop. How may I help you?”

“I’m not sure. I was just on my way home, and I noticed the dollhouse in the window, and the lights, and…oh, you did a marvelous job decorating. I assume it was you. Was it?”

The Shopkeeper nodded. Her smile returned, enjoying the compliment.

“Wonderful. All these dollhouses…so many different styles. I was never interested in such things when I was a child, or even as I grew older. Do you mind if…”

The Shopkeeper lifted her hand, palm up, an invitation. “Of course not. Stroll around, and if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them for you.”

Miss Singleton put her gloves in the pockets of her parka, and in an unconscious way tugged her sweater down. She ran her fingers through her fine white hair as she took her time studying the miniature displays. She said “Thank you” as an afterthought, transfixed as she was by not only the delicate craftsmanship but the stories the placards told.

The variety of the houses captivated her. Some, Ms. Singleton sensed, were not “right”, so those she avoided in as wide an arc as she could in the cramped store. She noticed some houses behind glass, against the back wall, and these radiated more ill ease. She shook her head, laughing a bit at herself. “They’re just dollhouses, silly old woman,” Ms. Singleton said to herself in a whisper.

The Shopkeeper walked around and shut a few of the dollhouse exteriors. Ms. Singleton thought she heard voices from those being closed…all sounding like “No!” or “Mine!

“I’m sorry to distract you,” said The Shopkeeper. “I should oil the hinges of these. They make such awful little noises.” Walking over to the back wall, she drew a heavy looking black curtain across the displays.

Miss Singleton’s attention wandered back to the open dollhouse in front of her, offhandedly remarking that it was all right, she understood. She was bending over an antebellum-style Southern mansion: the Nottoway Plantation, the placard mentioned. “At any given time, 200-300 slaves worked the fields. Many died and were buried outside the plantation grounds. During the Civil War, Mr. Nottoway took 200 slaves to Texas. None made it back.”

With each dollhouse, Miss Singleton noticed all the details, the furnishings that looked just right. The craftsmanship was uncanny, and she deeply appreciated the work that went into what she saw.

She was most enamored of le Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée, with its Wall of Death. Miniature skulls of differing shapes and sizes, and a magnifying screen so she could read the mini signs, each describing how the death occurred. She covered her mouth when she began to laugh out loud at “Death by Stupidity,” and ended up chuckling to herself, wondering about all the stupid things she saw in her long life that could have caused someone to die from it.

The Death by Stupidity skull’s jaw began to move…

“Shhh!” The Shopkeeper tapped the dollhouse, surprising Miss Singleton. “I’m sorry to intrude, and I did not mean to startle you. I think there is a dollhouse you should see. Follow me, please?”

Miss Singleton let herself be led away. She looked back, once, and thought she saw tiny movements from the Wall of Death and thought she heard tiny sing-song voices coming from the dollhouse. She shook her head and looked away, back to where The Shopkeeper was taking her.

“Here, Miss Singleton. I think you might appreciate this dollhouse.”

The Shopkeeper gestured, and Miss Singleton stood stock still.

“That looks like the house I grew up in,” she said. “How…oh, look.” Examining the exterior, she was filled with memories of climbing out of windows, running in and out of the doors, anything to play wild outside. She turned the dollhouse around, inspecting all the sides.

She stood up and made eye contact with The Shopkeeper.

In a whisper: “This IS my house!”

The Shopkeeper bent over the house, touched a part of the roof, and the house opened up.

Every room was identical to what Miss Singleton remembered. Details in miniature were exact, from wall coverings and paint colors to the furnishings. She explored every room, one at a time, picking up items from each location, and then carefully putting them back.

“My room…” and it felt, to Miss Singleton, like it had been forever since she had been so happy, so free, as her eyes wandered around “her room.” Bed, books, desk…all there; and, lying next to the bed…

He rose up on his hind legs and barked at her, waiting for her to get off the bed. She dove off the mattress, giving the large German Shepherd a huge hug, driving her hands into his fur. He huffed and tried to wiggle out of her embrace, but the dog was no match-this time-for the strength of a girl who loved her dog.

Wiping away tears, she got up, looked out the window, and noticed what a beautiful day it was outside. Dressed all ready for it in tee-shirt, shorts, and sneakers, she opened the door.

“Come on…let’s get out of here!”

The dog bounded after her, as she ran past her sister’s room (knocking on it really hard), flew down the stairs and bolted out of the front door. Her laughter was mixed with her companion’s barking the whole way.

Catching up with her, he ran circles then between her running legs. Down she tumbled, her smile broader and her laughter deeper, and they wrestled together on the lawn, and she didn’t care if she got grass stains on anything. She was happy, and she was with her dog. The dog.

The thing she loved most of all.

The Shopkeeper had been watching all of the joy and merriment happen to her. She heard the squeals of giggles and barks…straitening up, she knew she was not alone.

Turning to her right, The Unfolding Doll was motionless, fixated on Miss Singleton’s escapades. The Shopkeeper noticed there was no knife present, and she relaxed a bit. She had never seen this behavior before from the doll, and never had felt this sense of…calm, either.

They stayed like that for a short while. The Shopkeeper’s attention was brought back to the dollhouse with a slamming of the front door, and she noticed the young Miss Singleton now seated in the dining room, her companion lying at her feet, and she doing her best to put her feet on him. He grumbled and moved; she did as well.

More than satisfied, she closed the dollhouse, snapping it shut. The Shopkeeper had kept The Unfolding Doll in her line of sight. The doll’s head turned slightly, its glass eyes locked onto The Shopkeeper’s, who was expecting the worst. They stood that way for close to a minute, neither moving.

“I…,” began The Shopkeeper, but the moment she spoke The Unfolding Doll faded back into the dark parts of the store. The Shopkeeper was alone. She patted Miss Singleton’s house, and before she walked away, she heard the sound of feet running up stairs-both human and canine-doors being knocked on and then slammed…and always laughter mixed with barks.

Going to the front of the store, The Shopkeeper looked out the front window. It was snowing; that deep heavy looking all white snow that covered all outside. She smiled, enjoying the silent pleasure before her, and the pleasure that she had experienced, and shared. It brought back her own memories before she took over the duties of overseeing the shop. Good memories, mainly, and know that she found comfort in her life, then and now.

“Well, that was a start,” she said, turning away from the window, speaking to the back shadows of The Abysmal Dollhouse. “If you can hear me, you can have pleasure too. It does not always have to end in violence. You can have what she has.”

No answer. She had not expected one.

But, as she said, it was a start.

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The AtoZ Blog Challenge

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

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

Author’s Note: Wow. Six years ago. My life, and head & heart were in a very different space then it is now. I have not edited this piece, even though I see, now, that it def does need it, especially if I want it to fit into what I am currently putting out. I just hope you enjoy it. Still means a lot to me.

Kaleidoscope Eyes (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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

**To read the first part of this story line: Jane’s Addictive

kaleidoscope7

“Kaleidoscope Eyes”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Time, again, was on their side. People’s guards are up after an incident, those who have committed a crime in whatever fashion, with whatever results. Complacency sets in the more time moves along, creating a security gap that widens each day that they feel they’ve gotten away with it. Guilt plagues many. Many, but not all.

Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros sat in front of the woman he was sure had called into 911 seven years ago. Aimee Andersson, 31, had been chewing her thumb nail until she noticed him focusing on that. “Nervous, Ms. Andersson? Please relax. We’re just revisiting in the deaths of your five friends.”

Aimee had looked down at her lap. “They weren’t all my friends. Becka and Bobby, yes, but the others…I just knew them because they were part of Bobby’s circle. Outside. Other grad student friends of his.” She looked up, taking in the other two in her living room.

Ex-Inspector Rovas and his wife, Berrak, sat to the side, on the loveseat. Rovas had interviewed her, along with all the others, all those years ago. He studied her reactions, vocally and physicality. She was hiding something; he thought so then, and even more so now. Fact finding had advanced so much in such a short time. Berrak proved to be an excellent online researcher, which finally led them back to Ms. Andersson.

Berrak had delved with precision into the four women who had no alibis that that night. Besides knowing the five who died in various degrees, none of them, besides Aimee, had any motive for such secrecy. Rovas and Gil both agreed there was more to look into with Aimee Andersson after the three of them reviewed what Berrak had discovered.

The Sargent Detective took the lead, again, as the only official representative here. “So, Becka and Bobby-Rebecka and Robert Larsen, yes?” She nodded. “You were close to them. Rebecka and you were friends from High School from 11th grade on, until…”

“She was my best friend.”

“And Robert?”

“I knew him a…little. He was a year older, hung out mainly with his own friends. Went to college, then it was just Becka and me.” She let out a huge puff of air. “You know all this. He,” she said, nodding towards Rovas, “asked me all this…then.”

Rovas interjected. “Yes, I did, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure we have the facts correctly. I hope you see that.”

She nodded slightly, looking down at her hands one more time.

Gil picked up the questioning again. “I need to ask this: did you know Robert Larsen more than just a little? He had to come home from college for visits, vacations…you say you were Rebecka’s best friend. Your fingerprints were found in various parts of the house, including the basement, which means you had been there often enough, and recent enough from the time of the crime, to not have been around Robert after he graduated college. He was back there, again, going for his masters.”

Aimee twisted her body on the couch, looking quite uncomfortable.

Berrak, inwardly wincing, could not hold it in any longer. “Aimee. You were out out from your college classes-a lot-soon after the semester started. I was able to…find school records.” Berrak hesitated, knowing she had to bend some rules to get what she found. “After the second week, you missed class after class. Or, you would show up to morning classes and run out, sick. Right or wrong, three professors noted this in case…You then dropped out of school, after not showing up for most of the semester after that.” Berrak looked to her husband.

Rovas nodded. “Aimee…were you pregnant?”

The three of them looked at Aimee, awaiting an answer. Tears dropped onto her hands, which she had brought up to cover her mouth, her cheeks.

“Yes.” Quietly.

“I’m assuming it was Robert’s.” Pause. A nod. “Was it rape?” Rovas asked.

Aimee shook her head. “He didn’t want any children, especially not then. He was just starting his grad work. His work, his parents, his…his…his!” She broke off. Looking up at Berrak, focusing solely on her: “Robert never asked me what I wanted, needed. I wanted to be with him. This was not planned, but I hoped…”

Berrak got up from the loveseat and went over to Aimee, taking her hands as she sat down on the couch beside her. Aimee cried while Berrak held her.

After the tears subsided, Aimee told the rest. “Robert was involved in Political Studies. He wanted to move into the political world. He…convinced me that having an abortion was the right thing, since he did not want to get married then, and I didn’t have a good job at that point to support a child, even with his help.”

Gil asked “How does that work, then, with his being part of these pot parties?”

“Bobby thought it was such a non-issue. He felt marijuana was going to eventually be legalized, so…and that’s kinda what’s been going on lately.”

“He didn’t want…this,” she splayed her hands, “…to come back and cause problems for him down the line if he made it later in life. We did the…abortion…two states away. Legal, and confidential.” She looked up at Rovas; it was the first time anger crept into her voice. “Bobby was trying to protect future Robert. So, the whole way over, I tried to change his mind..about the baby, I mean. He kept arguing his point. I…finally gave up.”

The silence that followed was painful for all of them.

Gil finally broke the tension. “Aimee, were you the one who called 911?”

“Yes.” Crying again.

“Why didn’t you tell your name to the operator? Why did you leave?”

“They were all dead! They OD’d right in front of me.  Seconds. They all had their own joints. Everything was fine. Then…the convulsions. Their bodies spasmed out. I was terrified, not thinking straight. The look on Becka’s face, the pain… and then Bobby…I called.  I ran.”

“Why did you kill them, Aimee? Your trouble was with Robert. Why did you kill them all?” Gil asked.

Rovas had put up a hand while Gil was asking this, but it was too late.

“I didn’t kill them, dammit. I loved both of them! Even after what Bobby had me do. My only ‘crime’ was calling then leaving, staying quiet. I felt my life was over. I shut down for months afterwards.”

Rovas got up, walked over to Aimee. He knelt to her right. Berrak was still to her left.

“Then, Aimee,’ he asked, “why would Robert bring something so dangerous?”

“But, Bobby didn’t bring it. It was just his and Becka’s place. Eddie brought the pot that night.”

“Edward White?”

“Yes.”

He stood up first, beckoning to his wife and the Sargent Detective as he entered the hallway.

“If she’s not lying, which I don’t think she is, now…” he sighed. “We looked in the wrong direction. The whole damn time.”

“I’ll take her down to the station to write this out, officially. Berrak?”

“Yes. It’s time to look much deeper into Edward White.” She looked into the living room, sadness washing through her. Aimee folded in on herself on the couch, weeping quietly.

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

From the case files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

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walkinginthedark

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

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

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

But those cases…those cases…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on April 1, 2016. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy what I’ve got planned.

Silence, Leading To…

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For fear

Aspects of  horror to hear

Words that one refuses oneself

Does not still the malignancy that eats away

eats away

eats

Until what is left is nothing.

For fear

Leading to silence

Leaping from silence

Causes a deepening hole

That can’t be crawled out of.

Silence, Leading To

Leading

To

A hole.

No one else can listen to that silence

They can infer

Observe

Walk away

Brush off

But, the silence widens

engulfs

implodes

Leading to…

When Did We Get So Old? (A Picture Book)

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When did we get so old?
I don’t mean the aches and pains
The loss of memories
Nor the furrows in our brows
The wrinkles and changes
Sagging skin
Shrinking
 
 
 
 
 
 
When did we get so old
That we shake our head what is new
And “tsktsktsk” like our grandparents
And hold onto regrets
Or retreat into the past
Saying goodbyes
More often?
 
 
 
Have we lost sight of fun
As vitality slowly takes flight
Of purpose more then money
Holding onto things
Letting people go
More afraid of dying
Then living
 
 
 
What is wrong with living young,
Being silly and thinking free?
Afraid more of the grey on top
Instead of the growing malaise
Of the grey reaching down
Sucking us dry
Withering insides
 
 
 

(c) Matt Brown

 
When did we get so old?
Time is a passing thing
We have no control
It is what it is
So let it pass
So let it pass
 
I have a kite to fly
 

 

The Golden Princess: An Un-Fairy Tale

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Once upon a time…King Midas touched his daughter and she turned into gold.

His despair was genuine, as was his outrage, all swiftly turning into self-loathing and shame. He fled his court, wailing at the travesty brought upon him by his golden touch. He never returned.

The Golden Princess was left behind. The hand that had reached out to her father in his anguish was still outstretched. Her still face reflected the the concern she had for him, her shoulders slightly hunched; all immobile. Except…

She was aware.

Aware of all that went on around her. The King’s advisers tried to keep decorum, waiting (in vain) for Midas to return. That lasted only so long. A bloody power struggle for the rule of the land ensued, as the only true heir was a lovely gold statue.

Whatever gold items that had been left behind were taken: either to support the efforts of the warring factions, or stolen to create a new life somewhere else. The Golden Princess was the last artifact of The Midas Touch remaining in one piece.

She was aware of all the plotting, the treacheries, the betrayals. She heard her father both cursed and praised, although the praises were for the gold he created. She heard grief about her own loss, from servants and from lords, and she heard some of the tales of those who wished they had bedded her…and more.

Awareness was a curse unto itself.

Time passed. Long giving up counting the days and nights, she knew not how long. Moved around now and then, new faces appeared, new voices heard. They long since stopped calling her Princess Marygold. The Golden Princess became her own legend.

The worst, or so she thought at the time, was being placed into a dark room. Hearing the bolt and lock clack and snick so loudly, she remained in darkness for an uncountable determination. She screamed and cried and wailed and keened…all inside her golden self.

No one heard. No one heard anything of her for a very long time.

Voices. Loud yells…and screams. Clashing of metal on metal, explosions shook her, waking her out of her stupor. “I’m here. I’m here!” she wanted to bellow. She wanted light, freedom, release. It had gnawed at her.

She was aware of the sound of the lock being broken, of the bolt driven back, of the door flung open and torch light coming in. The joy she felt at these things, taking in the unknown faces. The men, battered and bloody, whooped and grinned when they saw her. She heard shouts of “The Golden Princess!!” from these men and then outside of her imprisonment.

Lifted up and out, with great effort, the men brought her up to the throne room. Or, what was left of the room. She was aware there was blood along the way, bodies strewn. Damage…damage to the walls, stairways crumbled, light streaming in from what had been the west wall of the hall.

The Golden Princess was placed down in a shaft of light that streamed in from the gaping wound of the castle. The men talked continuously, starting at her, running their hands all over her. All over her. They stopped only when one man yelled to them, as he walked over and they parted for him, going to  knee.

“Please,” she thought with urgency. “Please, find a way to release me.”

In a language she was unfamiliar with, he spoke to his horde. They brayed in unison at times to his speech, the rest of the time they were rapt in attention. When he was done, as one, they stood, and cheered, cheered, cheered!

If she could have shed tears, a dam would not have been able to hold them. She did not know these people, but to be in the light, to not be so alone…

They removed her from her castle, her home and prison of so long. She was aware of being put on a cart and moved, screaming inside when a covering was placed on her, again hiding out any light. She was aware of the voices, the animal noises, the movement of the cart, then being hoisted off the cart and brought inside.

She was aware when the covering was taken off, and she was equally aware of the immense heat around her. A cauldron, large and blackened, fire raging underneath it,  took up a good part of the room. New men surrounded her, black with soot and grease and sweating.

Their rough hands brought her to the edge of the cauldron. She was aware of their laughter, their horrid, filthy jokes. Vile, vile men, they handed her with no care. They dropped her on the floor, and her outstretched hand…her outstretched hand…one of them took red hot glowing pincers from a smaller smoldering bin, and she was aware as he took great care in separating that hand, at the wrist, the thinnest part.

She was aware of the noise it made as it hit the floor.

Great peals of laughter surrounded her now. The hiss and noise of the fire and cauldron goo mixed with the glee of the men. Many hands now were on her, and again she was aware she was lifted. A count started; they all joined in, and what she assumed was three, they tossed her.

She was aware of the hands letting go. She was aware of the short flight in the air. She was aware of the horrible heat. She was aware of the splash she made, and the sinking down, and the melting away, and she was aware, aware, aware…

She was aware…they found a way to release her.

 

The Many Goodbyes

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“Do widzenia!”

The old man in the park called out with a smile on his face.  The teens-Cathy and Jane-turned and waved, and they answered his goodbye together with “Do svidanja!” The girls continued walking out of the park, scuffling the mounds of fallen leaves on their way.

“Good…good. Next time I will teach you more!” he shouted to their retreating backs.

It had been a nice day already. He had been feeding the birds, talking to them: sometimes in Russian, sometimes in German or any other number of languages he knew. Sometimes-just sometimes- the languages mixed around when he spoke out loud. It had been a long time since he had cared about those things.

The girls had been sitting near him, chatting for a long time. During one of their pauses, the dark haired one-Jane?- heard him, and the two listened for awhile as he spoke to the pigeons and sparrows who had not left the area yet . It was when he had finished singing a small song to the birds that they came over.

They were curious about the song, which he explained was a song he sang to his son when he was a very little boy. They asked for him to sing it again, and he did, instructing them to sing “Klip Klop!” when he paused and pointed to them. The girls were all smiles and joined in with nice harmonies at times, and this made them all grin. When they finished, there was some applause from passersby  who had caught the impromptu choral arrangement. Cathy blushed and put her hand over her mouth, Jane threw her arms up in the air,  and the old man nodded his head and gestured a triple theatrical bow of  his hand.

For the next twenty minutes they were a trio. He knew songs and poetry from many different countries, “from a time long ago, where I shared too many years forced in with too many others” was all he would say about it. When the girls heard certain words or phrases they liked, they tried them out, and he helped them until they got it right.

They tried to learn the “Klip Klop” song, but…he said he would write it out for them, if they liked. They both nodded with enthusiasm.

“I’m here most days at this time, just not in the rain, and not for much longer,” he said. “It’s going to get too cold to sit out here for very long.”

Cathy said: “We can come this way every day after school. It was just too nice to just walk right home today.”

Jane agreed.

Getting up, Jane said: “Arrivederci.”

Cathy added: “Aloha!”

“Ah…future linguists,” he beamed at them, and then followed a stream of ways to say “Good Bye” in the many different ways of the world. They sat down again, and more time passed.

When they mispronounced something, he guided them to to the correct pronunciation. They heard many Slavic, European and Germanic terms, some easier than others to pronounce, and learned some. They rehearsed, laughed at their mistakes, practiced together, and finally they said they had to get home. It was getting late, and the sun went down early.

“Oh…we never asked your name,” said Jane.”That was rude of us.”

“Gustaw,” he answered, and shook both of their hands.

Cathy whispered in Jane’s ear. They both said: “Viszontlátásra, Gustav.”

He put both hand over his heart, closed his eyes, smiled and opened his eyes. The girls were off.

They had been gone for awhile when Gustaw made the attempt to get up from the bench, picking up the bag he had been feeding the birds from earlier. He had been sitting too long, and was stiff. His normal old man getting up sounds at his pains were accentuated. A few steps, faltering, and he had to sit down again. It was swift, and sent the few birds around him flying.

“Oy vey,” he said, his hand went to his chest. “No.”

Gustaw dropped the bag he was holding, the dried bread scattering around his feet. First one bird, then many, flocked down to feed. There was no movement to shoo them off, to startle them. The area was just about picked clean when a toddler came running through them, sending them aloft.

They winged their farewells over Gustaw.