Away by Tama66 on Pixabay

The guy that had given him a ride to Plymouth said to turn left at the top of the exit ramp and keep walking till the music gets loud. He hadn’t mentioned that the street lamp at the top of the exit ramp was the only one on that road, or that the snow plow never made it out this way.

There was a lone set of tire tracks cast in the snow traveling in James’ intended direction. He could see some lights off in the distance, how far it was hard to tell but it gave him a destination. If that wasn’t the bar, where he was to meet Jenny, someone there could tell him how much farther it was. Maybe even take pity on him and give him a ride the rest of the way. Either way, he was here. He was in Plymouth, He was breathing the same air. He was so close to Jenny he could almost feel her warmth as he held her in his arms for the first time.

He pulled out his phone and texted, “I’m Here!!”

This night was his destiny. Their destiny. Two lost souls that should never have found each other, never been given this opportunity to get to know each other, to fall in love. Six short months ago, he hadn’t even known Jenny existed. If he hadn’t taken a chance and ‘smiled’ at her on that dating site, they would still be just two lonely people.

Jenny texted back, “OMG!! I can’t believe it’s really happening! Hurry!”

But he had, and they weren’t, and now he was following the tracks in the snow by the light of his phone and each step was carrying him just that much closer to her, to the new life they would have together. James hastened his pace, his heart pounding, his mind rife with the possibilities this night held in store.

The lights in the distance proved to be a gas station. Just a little two pump operation with a single bay mechanic shop attached on one side. The sign on the door said closed, but there were lights on in the back room and James was freezing. He tried knocking, but it proved too painful, his ungloved hands were numb and his fingertips on fire from the cold. He kicked the door instead, boom, boom, boom, his boot sounded against the base of the door.

A tall dark man in greasy overalls came barreling out of the back into the service entrance, “What the hell’s goin’ on?” he called out as he hurried toward the door. He swung the door open wide, “C’mon in. Your gonna catch yer death out there!”

James was only too happy to oblige.

“What in gods name are you doin’ out walkin’ around on a night like this?” The man asked as he shuttled James toward the warmth of the back room.

As James entered, he saw what could only have been Jenny’s face, just before something hit him hard on the back of the head and the lights went out.

He came to slowly. A moan escaping his lips before he had a chance to remember where he was or what had happened.

“He’s comin’ round.” He heard a familiar woman’s voice, and then remembered he had seen Jenny’s face just before he had lost consciousness.

“Jenny?” He croaked as he tried to focus on the woman across the room, the throbbing in the back of his head nearly blinding him. He tried to lift his head, but it thudded back to the floor.

“Why?” was all he could get out.

“For the money, honey. It’s always the money.”

A single tear slipped silently down James’ cheek. How could this be happening? He only came in to get out of the snow.

This was written in response to tnkerr’s OLWG prompt #106 last week. The phrases given were: keep walking till the music gets loud, it’s always the money and he only came in to get out of the snow.


Maggie’s Mid-night Sequester

Photo courtesy of Temsco Helicopter Tours Juneau, AK

The first respondents were a pair of seemingly harmless uniformed police officers, who quickly sequestered Maggie and I to the living room while they cordoned off the scene for the yet to arrive detectives.

Maggie peered nervously down the length of the hall pulling taut the length of bathrobe sash I had tied to her collar in place of a lead, as the officers seemingly more concerned with getting their feet wet than disturbing the crime scene, stood in the hall just outside the bathroom door batting obvious observations back and forth between them.

Originally I had thought it better to wait until the real detectives arrived before revealing any of the clues I had already uncovered, as there was always the ‘telephone’ effect to worry about when the information passed from one set of lips to another- however, when the uniforms slogged over the wet carpet between the tile bath and the hardwood floor of the bedroom, Maggie suddenly snarled and began to bark uproariously, reminding me of the rugged boot soles imprinted in the same carpet they were currently trudging over, none the wiser.

“NO! Stop! The foot prints!” I called out at the top of my voice, as Maggie and I darted into the hall, too late to salvage the only piece of solid evidence that there had in fact been someone wearing ruggedly soled work boots on the scene sometime after the bathtub had begun to overflow.

“Ma’am. I’m gonna have to ask you to control that dog and move back into the living room, you are disturbing what could be a crime scene here.” One of the nondescript uniforms said as if reading an exact line of dialogue from any one of the many crime scene investigation shows I had watched so vigilantly.

“This is most definitely a crime scene, and the two of you have just obliterated the only concrete clue! Footprints that clearly belonged to Mabel’s murderer imprinted in the wet carpet between the bath and the bedroom!” I cried exasperatedly as Maggie barked and lunged at the end of the pink fleece sash that was quickly becoming ineffective at stopping her from knocking some sense into the clueless officers who now stood sole deep in bathwater atop the thick pile of Mabel’s plush hall carpet, staring at their respective feet.

“I’ll take over from here, boys.” A calm voice chimed in from behind us, well out of Maggie’s restricted reach.

“Detective Mathers, Ma’am. What was that you said about a murder?”

This is part three in what is fast becoming my favorite thing to write about. Bare with me.. Parts one and two can be found here, Maggie’s Mid-night Intrusion and here, Maggie’s Mid-nigh Discovery


Photo prompt Courtesy of What Do You See?

What will my words
become to you
when I am gone?
Will they rush over you
like cleansing waters
bringing life where
there is none?
Releasing you
from the burden
I have become
when nothing more
can be done?

Or will they burn, hot
like iron pokers?
Branding you,
covering you in
a thick layer
of black soot.
My sack cloth
my ashes-
all that is left
of the faceless child
you never allowed yourself
to get to know.

Inspired by the photo prompt provided by Helene’s What Do You See? And the word: Release, provided by Denise on Six Sentence Stories.

English as a first language

Photo Courtesy of Crimson’s Creative Challenge

“De boat. Let oehs begin abooeht de time ye descahvered de boat.” Detective Barrett implored, his thick brogue disguising the question just enough that I had to rely on Ryan for a nudge of interpretation before I could answer.

“The boat,” Ryan reiterated, “he wants to know about when you first discovered the boat.”

“Ah, well okay then. That would have been this morning just about sunrise. Although I thought I heard commotion on the pebbles in the middle of the night, but well frankly I was a bit under the weather, and couldn’t be bothered at the time to find out what it was.”

The Detective gave Ryan the flustered look I imagine I had given him a moment before, so I paused briefly for Ryan to clarify.

“T’was dere at soehnrise. Cooehld have ‘ave ‘eard sahmeone abooeht in de night, langered dooehgh she was, ‘erself is oehnsure.”

Written in response to Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge Photo Prompt.