Each entry will be numbered. Read them all, and then vote for your favorite one in the comment trail. The one with the most votes will win their name as a minor character in my new novel, Hostage. (In order to make it fair, I have removed the author's name and numbered them.)
Pass the words to your friends. I thought it might be nice to have the weekend to vote, so we will continue voting until Sunday, May 6th, at 10 p.m. I will announce the winner on Monday. Happy reading!
Happy Mother's Day
The shadow moved across the window. Finally, the mail had come! Kira ran to the window and watched impatiently as the thin postal carrier finished putting what looked like a large package into their small farm mailbox. As soon as he was gone, she quickly raced to the long awaited package.
“Ha! Mom will never know what we ordered her for Mother’s Day!” she thought triumphantly. She had to let her Dad and brother know too, so they could do their part for the present. Her mom was going to be so surprised! The family had been low on money for some time now with her dad not having work and her mom in school. Soon she would have a new baby brother and she knew her mom was tired. That was why they were working so hard on a gift for her.
They had eaten nasty cereal for breakfast and snacks for weeks. They were trying to finish off as many boxes as possible to use the tokens from the box in order to get a special present for mom, without having to spend any money! Her poor mom kept asking why they wanted more of that cereal. She could tell that they didn’t like it by the disgusted look on their faces as they ate and asked for more. Now the present had finally arrived, so the boys could wrap it!
It was worth every nasty bite to see the happiness on Mom’s face when she opened her present from us on Mother’s Day. We were able to give her a yummy breakfast in bed, and even cleaned up our mess in the kitchen! Dad included some of her favorite roses that he’s been growing for her in his greenhouse. She felt lucky to be a mom today!
The shadow moved across the window. Brockman came back too early. I wasn’t done searching his office yet. I slid the wooden drawer closed and quickly folded my body under the desk, listening to a key being jiggled in the door lock. Would Brockman notice it gave easier when he turned the key? If he did, then the infamous Las Vegas loan shark, and the man I suspected of murdering Gloria’s husband, would know someone had unlocked it before him—and I’d never find the evidence I needed to prove Brockman killed her husband. Worse yet, Marilyn Duran, Private Detective, would die before ever collecting a first paycheck. And I didn’t want to die.
The door opened. I pulled my knees up to my chin, tugging the lose edges of my skirt tightly around my legs, and held my breath.
“Don’t be stupid—”
That was Brockman’s voice. I recognized his irritating tenor’s lilt from when I accidentally bumped into him two days ago and lifted his keys from his coat pocket. He’d been friendly enough when he kept me from falling to the lobby floor. He had even smiled at me as he groped my waist—the creep. It hadn’t been too difficult duplicating his keys before leaving his originals on the floor for him to find later that night.
“Aw, boss, I just meant maybe we should’a used more cement on top of that guy’s body.”
“We used enough, you idiot.” Brockman slammed the door. The opaque glass rattled in the wooden frame.
“When the Flamingo is built, a hundred tons of red brick will keep that lousy accountant from ever being discovered.”
He did kill him! Now I’d just wait for them to leave. I had time.
“The shadow moved across the window,” Emma said. “I saw it!”
“What?” Hank looked up from his book, his glasses perched low on his nose.
“Something’s out there.” Emma twisted the wedding ring on her finger. She’d just caught him studying microbiology. Again.
“Ever since Uncle Jim told us about those footprints, you’ve had Bigfoot heebie-jeebies,” Hank said.
“I saw a shadow. A big shadow.”
Emma glared at Hank. Why did he have to be so stubborn? They had been married less than a week and already she was losing patience with him. Was this what she deserved for marrying a pre-med student? They were on their honeymoon after all, in a cozy, log cabin far from civilization.
“Go see what it is,” she said.
Hank shrugged into his jacket and reached for a mega-volt, five-pound flashlight.
“What good will that do?” Emma asked.
“They’re gentle giants. Bigfoot, if there is one out there, will run when I shine the light.”
Just then something hit the side of the cabin with a loud thud. Emma gasped.
“I’ll be back,” Hank said.
“Be careful.” She wished now she hadn’t told him to go.
“Lock the door behind me.” He stepped out onto the porch.
Standing at the window, Emma whispered a prayer. She watched the flashlight beam sweep through the trees until Hank disappeared behind the cabin.
Later, when he knocked on the door, it sounded like the beating of her heart.
He entered the room carrying a leafless branch. “It broke off and fell against the cabin,” he said.
Emma rushed to his arms, and they kissed as though they’d never kissed before.
“If Bigfoot ever does show up around here,” Hank said, holding her close, “I’ll thank him for saving my honeymoon.”
The shadow moved across the window and I knew, without a doubt, that he had come for me. A lifetime of running had done me no good; he was always faster. I was the mouse and he was the cat, playing with me, laughing at my futile attempts to best him when all the while he could have put an end to the game.
I’ve lived a good life; loud and full of laughter and friends. I have loved and been loved, though not always at the same time. I have discovered violence in joy and joy in violence, laughter in sadness and sadness in laughter, beauty in ruin and ruin in beauty. I have witnessed unspeakable horrors and risen above them to ensure they never happen to another living being. I have studied incredible things the world has long since forgotten and realized that this loss of knowledge is to blame for so much of the bad, the violence in society today.
As the shadow creeps slowly through the slightly open window, I feel a chill travel down my spine and the hairs on the back of my arms and neck stand on end. As it crawls, agonizingly slow towards the bed I clutch the blankets closer to my chin. It is a childish gesture, foolish even, yet it gives me a comfort I have not felt since my children’s children began having children and I realized the odds were more in his favor than ever before. It gives me courage. It gives me strength.
I wait for the flash they speak of, the tunnel and light. When they do not come, I sigh and accept the inevitable truth I fought so hard against.
With eyes wide open, I draw one last shaky breath and accept his cold embrace.
The shadow moved across the window, a fleeting image disappearing from Caroline's sight. Tears streaked her cheeks as Derek, her first and only love, faded into the growing darkness. She lamented his sudden exit and what she'd done to cause it. Their argument reached a fever pitch when she accused him of romancing Rachel, her best friend. Derek denied all accusations vehemently, but Caroline would hear none of it. She yelled for him to never come back, but her heart yearned for his return. He could be forgiven.
Caroline looked in the oval mirror hanging in her foyer. Her eyes were bloodshot and her nose running. Reaching for a Kleenex she dabbed at her eyes and swiped at her nose. Some improvement, but she still felt lousy. She couldn't think of anything except Derek. Why did she love him so much? He was such a womanizer. He always feigned innocence, but she knew the signs. His straying eyes, the easy way he laughed when Rachel joked with him. Caroline could not, she would not, dismiss such things so easily. But she did love him ... and, she reasoned, he could be forgiven.
Minutes later Caroline began to formulate a plan, in her mind at least, for Derek's return. Caroline, in an attempt to console herself, confessed her feelings were triggered by her jealousy. Admitting this was key to making any plan involving Derek work. She should call him and tell him she was mistaken and sorry for her tantrum and mistrust. But Derek wouldn't believe her and, to boot, he'd think she was a fool. Her plan must show him her love without compromising her dignity. What could she do? She decided Derek must somehow be made to feel guilty, even if he wasn't. She had to forgive him.
The Blind Date
The shadow moved across the window. Melinda looked up from her computer monitor. There was no one there. She glanced down the short aisle of carrels and saw no one.
Of course not, she thought. It’s nine o’clock on a Friday night. Why would there be anyone studying in the library? Anyone but me.
Depressed at this thought, she gathered up her things and left. She decided to go to Dipper’s to get a little frozen treat to improve her mood. She smiled a little to herself as she approached the diner.
She lost her smile when she reached the front window. It was so crowded. Inside, people were talking, smiling, and laughing. It seemed like it was only couples and groups. Melinda felt very alone and sad and couldn’t go in. She was about to turn away and head home when she noticed someone looking at her.
A young man was gazing at her with a slight smile on his face. Melinda felt like she was looking at time-lapse photography, where the guy was the only stationary object in a sea of headlights. Those lights were pointed straight at her, unblinking. Almost unbidden, a slow smile spread across her face.
Maybe tonight will turn out better than I thought.
She raised a hand and gave a friendly wave, but he didn’t react. She turned quickly behind her , once again, as a flush blossomed in her cheeks. No one but her. She turned back and gave another, more obvious greeting, growing concerned that she was being mocked.
She finally noticed the walking stick with the red tip in his hand. No wonder he doesn’t see me. He’s not seeing anyone.
She let out a long sigh and turned to leave.
A shadow moved across the window.
With a squeak of alarm, Teri spun around.
Had she imagined it?
Softly, she backed toward the door, keeping her eyes on that narrow, dirty piece of glass.
Outside, against the wall of the cabin.
She hadn’t imagined that.
Scenarios spun through her tired mind. Each more lurid than the last.
And each culminating in her eventual death.
What to do? What to do?
She brushed back short, sweat-soaked blonde hair and tried to think.
A trickle of sweat inched its way down her spine, making her shiver.
Green eyes darted quickly about, seeking something - anything – that might help.
The room was echoingly, depressingly empty.
Nothing but three decades of volcanic dust.
Bending, Teri scraped quickly at the uneven floorboards, finally gathering a handful of the gritty stuff.
As she straightened, she felt the floorboard beneath her left foot . . . move.
Without turning, she threw her precious handful of dust over her shoulder.
“What the . . .!” a deep voice bellowed. Someone began coughing.
A hand brushed her arm as she spun about.
Blindly, she thrust with her shoulder as she picked up speed.
She felt a thin feathering of satisfaction as her body connected solidly with something warm.
The cabin shook as her victim collapsed to the floor.
She had bought seconds.
Gasping now with terror, she leaped frantically, almost screaming aloud as something brushed her foot.
Then she was through the door.
Behind her, she dimly registered the sounds of a struggle, but she had the front door in sight.
A backward glance would only cost precious moments.
She sprinted down the short hall.
Then skidded to a halt, midway, as the door swung open.
The shadow moved across the window. She stood there in the doorway, framed in the hall light like a halo, a beatific smile on her lips.
I strode quickly to her and cradled the back of her head with my right hand. I gazed deep into those blue eyes and grinned. I tilted my head and leaned in close, our lips almost touching and breathed out a sigh of contentment. Then our lips met and I felt a pulse arc through my body like electricity. I pressed her to me with my left hand at her lower back and drank in the floral scent of her.
After a while, I disengaged and pulled back for a moment, tears forming in my eyes. She blinked slowly, lips still parted and moved closer. She put both hands around my neck and gently pulled my head down as she breathed into my ear, “Kiss me again.”
I complied by bringing my face to her neck and planted a hot, moist one at the base. No biting – I didn’t want a blemish on her perfect skin – as I slowly moved up to her chin, her cheek, and then to her earlobe. It was my turn to whisper.
“As you wish, my love,” I said to my bride of less than four hours. I bent and picked her up and carried her down the hall and into the bedroom, closing and locking the door behind me.
It’s going to be a long night, I said to myself with a smile. And I am going to enjoy it forever!
The shadow moved across the window. To get to the other side.