Manor Mystery Series-Finale

Here is the chilling conclusion to the collaboration with my lovely cohort Megan. We left poor Abigail tied up in Devonshire Manor with her crazy ex Victor trying to re-kindle their failed marriage. She is surrounded by death with no way to escape and no one to help her. How will she get out alive?

Manor Mystery Finale

Abigail trembled as she watched the brass doorknob turn so slowly she could feel each second stretch. As the door inched open a crack, she squinted to see that Victor’s grinning face was pressed into the cracked door, watching her with one eye and breathing heavily through his grinned teeth. He shoved the door hard open so fast it made her jump, feeling the rope sting into her wrists and ankles. He leaped into the room, dancing and cheerful. Victor sidestepped and waved his way wildly over to the bed.

“You ready to start this marriage over, Abby-bear? Now that Jacob is outta the picture, we can finally be happy again” he took her hand and slobbered kisses on it.

Abby sobbed when she heard Jacob’s name and she tried desperately to pull her hand away from him. He yanked it back causing her rope burns to bleed. The metallic iron scent of her blood permeated the air between them and it seemed to provoke Victor into a bloodlust. He licked at the blood that dripped down onto the hand he had been kissing.

He…he killed Jacob. He’s not ignoring me or missing. Jacob’s DEAD!

“Victor, you disgusting piece of sh—“

“Now, now, now Abby…you keep talking like that and I’ll be forced to tear out your tongue. Hmm, maybe I should have done that when we were together. Would have been a quieter house.”

She noticed he still dressed his policeman costume when he pulled a blindfold from his pants pocket. It became a costume after he was stripped of his badge and title at the precinct three years ago. It should have raised enough red flags for Abigail to leave before the weird behavior, the unprovoked rage that followed. He waved the blindfold in her face, dragging it across her eyes like a pendulum, moving down until it touched her lips and he froze there.

“Those lips Abby…I’ve missed those…”

He bent down to kiss her forcefully, forcing his tongue in between her lips, shoving it as far down as it would go until he pulled back with a drop of blood on his lip.

“I can’t believe you f*cking bit me, you b!tch!”

He stepped away from the bed, his fists balled at his sides while his face reddened almost as dark as the blood he licked from his lip. Abigail watched as the gears turned in his mind and he schemed another way to hurt her. And then he smiled that big, toothy grin that had, at one time, made her happy. All the smile gave her now was a need to vomit.

“You know what? I’m a forgiving man and I can understand these are…stressful circumstances. I know you love me Abby-bear, but you need to think about what you’re doing and how your behavior is hurting me.”

She turned away from him, closing her eyes and turning her wrists fruitlessly in the ropes.

“So who was the man in the closet?”

His footsteps were receding toward the door and then stopped. He rushed back to her and his face was suddenly inches from hers.

I’m not going to let him get away with this. Please, someone help me. 

Victor smiled again, the same toothy grin that make her sick to her soul. He caressed her arm with his fingertip and her body shuddered in response. The bile rose in her throat and burned as she tried to swallow it since she had no place to

“Just a homeless man from downtown. Told him I’d pay for hot meals for a week if he came with me to give a message to my wife.”

Abigail shuddered another time, trying again to recoil from his touch. Immediately, Victor’s smile faltered and he slapped her on the cheek.

“I did this for you—for us. You never would have agreed to see me unless it had something to do with a precious sale. So I had to take action.”

“You’re sick, you know that?” she said. “Why would I ever come back to you? You killed Jacob and Rick!”

He shrugged as if she had mentioned a failed game of pick up basketball. Although instead of stroking her arm, he had grasped on tight and didn’t appear to be easing up.

“Just a miscalculation, your Rick. He was at the wrong place, wrong time. I walked out after that couple left and he knows my face, so I tazed him. Didn’t even mean to kill.”

“You—you didn’t mean to? How is a tazer to the heart a freakin’ accident.”

Abigail felt tears slip down her cheeks and snot from her nose as she imagined what he had done purposely to Jacob, the soft-spoken, red-haired love of her life. He would never kiss her forehead, buy her chocolate milkshakes on his way home from work, tuck in her kids at night. She was alone completely and entirely and Victor cared nothing for her feelings. That was clear.

“And Jake?” she asked, afraid to hear the answer, but she had to know.

“He put up a struggle, but I put a few beers in him…for old time’s sake. He bled out in an alley somewhere in Soho. He had it comin’.”

She screamed at him, her rage almost bursting through her skin. The rope burned as she whipped her arms around trying to break them. Spit flew from her mouth and for a second she saw terror in his eyes. Abigail spent her whole life taking control of everything. Now she was uncontrollable, and it was all thanks to Victor.

He will not leave this house alive if it’s the last thing I do. 

After she stopped screaming, he approached the bed, cautious, but eager. He seemed pleased that she was angry, so full of rage. As if this was his plan all along—to turn her into him.

“Yes, Abbs, let it out. Yell,scream, kick. It feels good doesn’t it?”

He reached out and touched her leg slick with sweat at trying to maneuver around the bed. She lifted her knee aiming for his groin, but he swung off the bed just in time.

“Now now, my fiesty wife. Don’t get too carried away. There’s plenty of time for that later. First, you need some rest. I’ll get you some food.”

 

Victor had only been gone a few minutes, but Abigail had made no progress wiggling or breaking the ropes. No matter how she twisted or shaped her hand they wouldn’t come off. Just as she was about to start gnawing on the rope out of sheer desperation, the doorknob turned on the bedroom door and swung open to reveal the empty hallway. No Victor in sight.

I thought that finicky lock had already been fixed. Maybe…Maybe he forgot to lock it..

Abigail quickly leaned back to the left to her least damaged hand and came face to face with her missing lover Jacob. Only Jacob appeared before her half there, half transparent.

“Jake…what’s wrong with you? Why do you look like that?” Abigail asked confused and hazy.

He just looked back at her with love in his eyes and smiled. “Don’t worry Abigail. I’m here to get you out.”

“But babe, you’re dead. How?”

Victor came back into the room and Abigail’s stomach lurched with fear, worrying he’d see Jacob. He didn’t see Jacob at all. In fact, he walked straight past him and over to Abby, sweetness filling his eyes again. “I’m sorry Abby-bear, I forgot there was no food here. I’ll be right back with all your favorites. This time, it’ll be better for us. Just trust me.”

He pleaded with her in the kindest voice he had, no sickening grin, just sadness. For a split second she realized how lonely he much be, and she planned to use that against him.

“Could you, honeypie, get me some coffee when you’re out. I’m so tired but I don’t want to fall alseep. Two creams and a pump of sugar-free vanilla?”

“Anything to make you more comfortable.”

As soon as the door closed Abby turned to her left and saw Jacob, still wearing the ratted flannel he wore to work everyday. He seemed there, but not really there. She couldn’t feel warmth or smell him when he came up to the bed.

“He’s downstairs now,” Jacob said. “I’m going to untie you, but you’ll need to get downstairs without making noise. I will look out while you get out of here.”

She gazed up at his brown eyes or at least that’s what she remembered them being. They were almost translucent now in the daylight. He waved his hand across the knots and they unraveled like a snake smoothing out its coils. Abigail clutched her right wrist, which was still bleeding, and rolled off the bed onto the floor. She tiptoed to the bathroom and wrapped a towel around it to stop the blood and made her way backwards down the stairs toward freedom.

Jacob, true to his word, glided along past her and waited at the bottom of the stairs looking in the direction of the living room every few seconds. She took her time, letting her barefoot touch each wooden step lightly to test for creaks before putting her full weight on it. There were only a few more steps left when heavy steps clomped toward the front of the house where she was crouch, exposed and unarmed on the staircase.

“Where the f*ck are you going, you slut? Slipping out and running away to who? Into the arms of another man…again! I’ve done everything for you—sacrificed everything for you.”

Rage replaced the sweetness that temporarily resided in his eyes. She felt all of the air in her lungs forced out and a punch slammed into her side and throw her against the banister. Her back hit one of the wooden pole and pain radiated from her lower back down into her right leg, buckling her knees. Abigail fell the remaining steps to the floor below, where Victor was standing over her, thankfully with no weapon in sight.

“That’s it Abby. I can’t wait around forever for you to change your mind. You want to be with Jacob, you can—“

He picked up the lamp on the bedside table and smashed it to the ground. It startled her and she began to shake, more urine trickling out onto the floor. He picked up a piece of ceramic from the floor and raised the arm with the shard to strike.  Abigail clenched her eyes closed in anticipation of the final blow.

The blow never came. A gasp escaped his mouth and she opened her eyes in time to see his mouth twisted into a horrible silent scream. Victor met her gaze, this time his eyes only showing confusion and hurt. He slumped face first onto the wool rug, still wet from Mr. Lahey’s shoes. Abigail stared at the third lifeless body today, watching as blood pour out from the gash that a piece of the ceramic lamp embedded had made into his once lustrous blonde hair.

“Oh god,” she whispered. “He’s dead. I can’t believe I’m free from that psycho.”

Behind Victor, Jacob hovered above in an ethereal glow. He smiled at her as though there was no one else in the room. His angular cheekbones were softened by the glow around him, but if she squinted she could see him clearly enough.

“Jake…how did this happen? How are you here with me now?”

She rose, a little shaky, to her feet, and limped toward him favoring her left leg and holding on to the towel on her right wrist. He floated backward as she moved closer to him, almost like she was chasing him now. They reach the large, heavy front door and stopped.

“I-I don’t know what to say,” Abigail said, more tears pouring down, her makeup almost certainly a watercolor on her face.

“There aren’t any good words for what happened, but know that I love you Abigail. They let me stay to help you out. To rid the world of this evil and give you a fresh start. Just don’t trust so easily this time around.”

Abigail was in shock and couldn’t move toward the door or any other direction. She had so many questions, but this sounded like a goodbye. It was too soon. He came closer to her and mimicked with his arms a comforting hug although she couldn’t feel his arms or body.

“Don’t leave me. I need you.”

The desperation, the love in her voice shone through, and he smiled a dazzling glowing smile that reached all the way to his eyes. This was goodbye for good.

“You will learn to be that strong, confident woman with me or any man. Just trust in your gut next time, not that you have one.”

She giggled at the joke and he smiled at her. Off in the distance, there were sirens calling out to her. And when she looked out the window, she saw the red and blue lights race down the street to her.

“Thank you, Jake.”

He was disappearing from the feet up by the time she turned around, but the smile never left his face.

“I love you, Jake.”

“You too, Abigail.”

And like the mysterious and clever Cheshire Cat, Jake’s smile was the last part of him to disappear before the police broke open the front door to rescue her.

THE END

Thank you for reading our little piece of creepiness.

Let us know what you thought of the twists and turns. Which part was your favorite? Which moment? Did you expect what happened at the end or was it a complete surprise?

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Manor Mystery Series-Part 2

Disclaimer: Gruesome details and profanity in this section

Part 2 of the spooky short story collaboration with the talented and lovely Megan Ireland and myself. We left off with our character Abigail looking for the origin of a strange rot smell in the house she was selling. In the bedroom, she opens the closet and…someone reaches out toward her…….

Manor Mystery Part 2

Once Abigail realized that she wasn’t hurt, she wedged her eyes open one at a time. On the ground before her was the lifeless body of a man.

How did the cleaners miss a dead body?

With the remaining strength she had left in her, she flipped the man over onto his back and bit down hard on her mauve-tinted lower lip to stop from screaming. The dead man’s face had patches of skin eaten away, leaving furry eyebrows over empty sockets without eyes. Even his lips and nose had been chewed to the bone. The only untouched body parts left on him were his hands, which grasped a thick envelope so tightly that it was difficult to remove.

“What the—”

Abigail pulled the envelope free with one swift motion so powerful that she landed on her backside. She got to her feet, smoothing out her clothes another time and sticking one square, acrylic nail under the flap of the envelope.

She opened the envelope with ease and removed the neatly folded piece of paper out from inside. She stumbled backwards from the body and sat down on the bed. The piece of paper trembling in her shaking hands, she looked down to read the words.

“YOU’RE NEXT ”

Her fear paralyzed her and in the second that followed she was unable to run or make any movement. It did provoke a loud, primal scream from her throat and she felt her lace panties soak with warm urine and run down her smooth, tan legs. She ignored the embarrassment as her heart raced inside her chest in full-blown terror. The fear abated long enough given her mobility back and remind her of the logical steps she needed to do next.

So, she went into the bathroom across the hall, cleaned herself up, and returned to the bedroom. Once she was in front of him again, she stared, blocking everything else out of sight, except for the body. The body that mocked her with its hollow eye sockets and rigor mortis limbs.

Get it together, Irving. Rick will be here any minute and there is a dead body between you and your success.

Flipping off her heels and removing her suit jacket, Abigail pushed her arms as far under the body as she could manage. She hefted the still beefy corpse into an upright position long enough to figure out her next move.

Back in the closet or basement?

The doorbell rang in time to answer her question. With one final shove, she launched the body to the back of the closet, slamming the doors seconds later. Her breathing came in laborious bursts as she sprinted to the Febreeze under the master bathroom sink and sprayed liberally towards the closet door before dropping it on the bed and darting for the front door. She stopped and doubled back for her shoes on the floor near the bed.

Abigail ran down the stairs sideways, desperate to keep her balance in her ridiculously high heels as she maneuvered each step with hasty expertise. She peeled off sweat-matted hair from her forehead and neatened the strands before opening the door, trying hard to mask her heavy breathing and appear collected.

When she opened the door to Devinshire Manor, Abigail’s cleaning guy was not standing there waiting for her with his bucket and his comical tool belt of supplies. She scanned both sides of the road for his van, which she finally found parked five houses down almost out of view of the manor. Relief flooded her body as someone familiar finally came to help her with the horror upstairs.

She clomped over to right side of the wrap around porch where a few wicker rocking chairs had been set up next to a matching table. There was a slight movement out of the corner of her eye and she ripped her gaze away from the cleaning van and found someone sitting in one of the chairs. Not just someone, Rick with his spiked black and a tattoo of Celtic knot work that wrapped around his bicep, was slumped in the chair. While Rick didn’t appear to move at her presence, the rocking chair was moving gently back and forth in the still air.

“Rick, thank God you’re here, but there couldn’t be a worse time for you to be relaxi-”

But Rick didn’t look at her or even blink as she spoke. In fact, he wasn’t moving at all. The rocking chair eventually slowed and his head swung to face her as if his neck had no bones and wobbled at the slightest breeze.  After jumping what felt like several feet in the air, Abigail inched closer despite her heart pounding rapidly through her chest and adrenaline coursing through her veins, and found two holes in his shirt and matching blisters on his skin right where his heart would be. They were starting to ooze blood and plasma down his chest, and she yelped when her foot accidentally bumped the chair and Rick’s body leaned forward into her.

Abigail pushed him back wildly but she wasn’t strong enough and the body swung towards her again after her initial shove, she screeched and lurched backward toward the house and shutting the door. With her back pressed against the door the image of Rick’s lifeless gaze were ingrained into her mind’s eye, the images of his dead body even worse when she closed her eyes.

“Two dead bodies in one day. How does one person find two bodies in the same day?”

I should just call the police, obviously I’ve done nothing wrong.

Abigail sank to the floor, her hands shook as they fumbled for her cell phone in her blazer pocket. When she grasped it, she whipped it back to her, choking down one last sob before dialing 9-1-1.

“This is 9-1-1, what is your emergency?” a soft-spoken woman answered on the other line.

Clearing her throat, Abigail put on a smile for no one and told the woman the dead body of her cleaning man was outside on the porch. Her voice was the one she used with her clients. The fake, everything-is-all-right voice she used to calm her children. She used it to try and calm herself, but the paranoia of the first body upstairs in the closet sent a wave of panic through her so strongly that bile rose in her throat and threatened the antique wool rug.

You are a strong, confident woman. You can…

“Ma’am…Ma’am. We’re sending a patrol car to you now. They’re 30 minutes out. Please remain calm and do not leave the scene.”

“Yes, yes, I understand,” Abigail replied and pressed end on the call.

Abigail pulled herself up for what seemed like the millionth time that day, and smoothed out her blazer. The note from Rick’s hand flopped out and onto the floor stark white against the dark reds and browns of the rug. When she retrieved it, she fought back the tears stinging in her eyes as she continued to picture Rick’s rocking corpse. Her hands shook so violently that she barely opened the folded slip of paper.

Accidents happen, Abby-bear.

That’s what you told me when you f*cked my best friend.

Thank God you miscarried or you would have had his kid.

This is YOUR fault.

A knock came at the door, tearing her away from the note and sending a jolt of adrenaline through her body. She peered through the half moon window of the door and saw someone dressed in a police uniform, back turned to her. Their cop car was parked right in front of the house, but the lights weren’t on.

Wow, they got here fast. Although, I expected them to have lights on and sirens or something. Weird.

She jerked open the door as quickly as possible, stuffing the note and her phone into her blazer. The cop didn’t immediately turn around, so she tapped the slightly taller person on the shoulder.

“Thank God, you’re here. I’ve been—.”

“Don’t tell me you suddenly became religious, Abby-bear,” the cop said, his voice deep and grating, but familiar to her ears.

He turned to face her and she almost lost her balance. Her ex, Victor, was standing in front of her—tousled blonde hair tucked up under the police-issue hat, blue eyes that had so long ago been kind and sparkling, now were cold and dull.

“What the hell, Vic-“

Blinding pain interrupted Abigail before she could finish her question. Victor had punched her so hard she saw stars for a brief second before darkness and unconsciousness took over. When she came to, she was strapped to the bed and alone in the master bedroom. Abigail pulled on her wrists, but the ropes only dug in more burning her skin as she twisted around in what turned out to be solid knot work only a sailor could appreciate. She tried escaping her binds still for another 10 minutes before resigning herself to defeat. Suddenly, she jolted against the mattress when she remembered that the corpse from earlier was still hidden in the closet.

Did Victor really kill that man too? How was I even married to the nutcase?

Abigail glanced uneasily in that direction only to find the door wide open and nothing inside. She couldn’t even really smell anything off at all anymore. Her heart raced faster as she scanned the room for her captor, and quickly wet her dry lips with her tongue.

Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap….TAP, TAP.

The comically melodic tapping at the door startled her so much that tears began to spill from the corners of her eyes. Her breathing slowed so that her ears could take in every tiny sound as the fear radiated through her ears.

I just wanted to sell the house. I don’t want to die today. 

“Abby…Oh Abby, I’ve missed you so much, I’ve been waiting for so long…” Vic spoke, pressed up against the other side of the closed bedroom door and breathing heavily as he pawed at the wood.

To be continued….

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Manor Mystery Series

Ladies, Gentlemen, Minions! Spotted Writer is BACK! After several months of working and the pursuit of a few new writing projects, I come to you with a Halloween special. My dear, sweet friend Megan and I have co-written this story from a writing prompt I found a year ago. This is part 1 of 3 of our still untitled brainchild. It is still a work in progress, but we are very passionate about this project and wanted to share its spooky contents with you for Halloween 2016. Read, enjoy, be scared!

Manor Mystery Part 1

Fog clung to the windshield as Abigail Irving drove down the city streets, weaving in and out of traffic. She was used to the sounds of car horns blaring and the hustle and bustle of downtown Syracuse, but today she didn’t have it in her to endure it all. The sound of the soothing voice of a woman filled her car, spouting off self-empowering words and Abigail tried to absorb them desperately as she drove out to the suburbs.

Today is the day. You are a strong, confident woman who can do anything you set your mind to.

“I am a strong, confident woman who can do anything I set my mind to!”

Abigail chanted the phrase again and again until she reached her destination. She slowed her car to a stop in front of a glorious Victorian house, the last of its kind surrounded by identical lots of modern townhouses. The house stood four stories tall with historic brick and the most beautiful stained glass windows shining through again the thick, misty air.

In the front yard stood that daunting “for sale” sign that had the fate of her future embedded into it. Abigail knew that if she couldn’t sell this home today that her life would be in shambles. Her sales were a fraction of what they used to be. Had she known her no-good ex-husband would be an abusive, jealous bastard, she never would have let him manipulate her, destroy her confidence, her life.

The minutes dragged  by as Abigail waited for the Lahey’s to arrive, so she decided to head inside to check on the final clean-up job. Her stomach churned as she walked, accompanied by a sharp pain in her abdomen. She dug her fingernails into her palms to divert the pain and tried to keep balanced in her tall heels.

If there is one thing out of place I’m going to kill Rick. Those alimony checks barely pay for groceries anymore.

As she stepped through the heavy oak door, swatches of muted blues and creams bathed the sun room in a milky glow. The high-arched entryway was trimmed in a deep mahogany that greeted the house’s guests. Abigail shut the door as lightly as possible, but the weight of the oak caused a small tremor within the foyer. When the house settled again, she heard a loud thud come from one of the upper floors.

“Just what I need,” she complained. “Squatters. If you don’t come down, I’m going to call the police.”

She tramped up the staircase as loud as possible to scare whoever was hiding upstairs. Around the corner to the right of the final landing, Abigail smelled something rotten coming from the master bedroom.

Son of a bitch, they left food in here too. Those slimy rats are going to jail.

Her stiletto pumps clacked as she ran to the end of hall, where the bedroom door was ajar letting a wave of decay into her perfect home. Just as she was about to walk in, the doorbell rang downstairs.         

The sound of the doorbell echoed throughout the house and rang hollow through her bones. It seemed to ring for eternity as sweat saturated her palms. Abigail hurried back down the stairs toward the door, but froze when she passed a gold-rimmed mirror in the hallway. She stopped for just a moment to fix the out of place strands of hair.

“I am a strong confident woman.”

And with that, her hand closed around the cold, brass doorknob and turned it to the right.

“Please, come in,” she said in her most professional tone.

A young couple was waiting outside under the cover of the front porch since the morning fog had turned into a steady, chilling rainfall. They ran into the foyer, shaking off their coats to reveal a petite, well-groomed brunette with designer clothes to match her expensive-looking purse. This had to be Mrs. Lahey, who looked ready for the runway, and Mr. Lahey looked like he had come from the boardroom, cell phone with never-ending battery included. He took no notice of the interior or that his heeled dress shoes were tracking water onto the antique wool rug just inside the entrance. Abigail would have to distract them with some coffee while she got a towel, and took care of the smell upstairs without them knowing.

“Welcome to Devinshire Manor, built in 1901 by Tennison Devinshire. Let me take you through to the sun room before we tour the rest of the house.”

The Lahey’s followed Abigail as she led them towards the sun room, pointing out recent renovations and historical decor as they walked.

“Now this is the sun room.”

As the Laheys stepped into the room, even Mr. Lahey pulled the cell phone away from his face and stared in awe of the centuries-old craftmanship. Beautiful custom windows spanned across the  room, letting in tiny beams of light peeking through the clouds. Hand-carved wood furnishings were elegantly placed and fresh flowers made the air smell sweet. After taking in the sights, Mr. Lahey’s gaze quickly returned to his phone screen as if something more wonderful was contained inside.

“Isn’t it just beautiful?” Abigail inquired.

“It’s quite lovely – though, I do wish it were a bit larger,” Mrs. Lahey responded.

The non-committal response shook Abigail and she knew she had to step up her game. The two mouths she had to feed and little bodies to clothe were only going to get bigger. 4-year-old Dara and 7-year-old Felix rarely left her with enough funds on her card for a frappacino.  And her debt was beginning to pile up. This sale meant everything to Abigail. She had to provide for this family she was left to raise. No one else would do it for her and sometimes she spoiled them to make up for having to file a restraining order against their father. .

“Next we’ll see the living and dining area.” Abigail said as she stepped out of the sun room, which was on it’s own level along with a library and coffee nook.

She gestured towards the hall, leading them down a small staircase onto the next level toward the living room.

“How many places does the table hold in the dining room?” Mrs. Lahey asked, her voice whiny and high-pitched. “Because our dinner parties bring in dozens of the city’s socialites as you know.”

Mr. Lahey grunted in agreement, typing away on his phone with both of his manicured thumbs. Abigail walked them through the swinging door to the dining area, where a long mahogany table had place settings to seat well over a dozen.

“This antique mahogany long table seats 14 comfortably, and will be a discussion piece for any of your gatherings. It is an original piece for the…”

Abigail’s sentence ended abruptly as another thump came from the upper floors, this time it was directly overhead on the west wing of the house. She wasn’t going to close this deal with whoever was upstairs making that foul smell. She had to close the deal—whatever the cost. Mr. Lahey looked up from his phone at the dining room ceiling as if the intricate ceiling tiles explained the sound.

“Just the noises of a century’s old house, no need to worry. With the restoration complete, the house will settle down nicely.”

Abigail thought hard about the best way to stall. Then she remembered the scones the sellers had left yesterday when dropping off the spare keys.

“Please, feel free to move forward into the kitchen and help yourself to some freshly baked scones and a latte while you look around. I’ll just be right back. ”

Excusing herself, Abigail made her way towards the stairs and made the climb up as quietly as she could. As she moved down the hallway, she felt a cold draft escaping through the open door to the master bedroom. She was relieved to hear the steamer on the Espresso machine making noise from the kitchen.

Good. They’re distracted.

She gripped her hand around the edge of the door and pushed it open gently. Before she could see anything – the draft from the open window carried the most awful stench, permeating her nose. Abigail felt her stomach clench just before she began gag.

Abigail found nothing on the other side of the door. Nothing to explain the smell, except for the open window. Without a moment’s hesitation, she tiptoed towards the farthest end of bedroom, and shut the window. The drapes wavered back into place casting a burgundy hue across the four-post canopy bed that overtook the room. She sighed with resolve, knowing that one crisis had been averted.

Once I’ve sold this place, I think a mani-pedi wouldn’t hurt the budget too much. 

As silently as she stole away from her potential buyers, she returned to find Mr. Lahey munching on his second scone, his face glued to an iPad, which she assumed was for his important work material. Mrs. Lahey, on the other hand, sipped her espresso in the breakfast nook, already on the phone with someone discussing the price of fine china to replace the sets currently in the dining room because they “looked worn and overused.”

Well, at least that’s a good sign.

Abigail plastered on her fake facade, full of smiles, and got back into business mode. She continued the tour with a quick viewing of the lower level and the Laheys seemed content with the carport and theater area. Abigail noticed the side glances they flashed each other from time to time though, which were rather unsettling to say the least. Abigail thought back to her queasiness earlier and couldn’t help but fear the worst.

Oh, I really hope I’m not pregnant – that would be the end of my career and my life right now.

She hadn’t seen or heard from her lover, Jacob in almost a month despite numerous attempts to reach out to him. She decided she had better pick up a pregnancy test on the way home just to be safe. The Laheys asked a bunch of boring real estate questions and then they made their way to the staircase to view the top level. The top level of the manor held the Master bedroom, bathroom, several spare bedrooms, as well as an expansive outdoor balcony.

“Please, do watch your step,” Abigail warned as they climbed up the narrow staircase towards the top level. Upon reaching the top, the Lahey’s peaked in each room with mild interest, barely tolerating Abigail’s extensive speeches on the history of each room.

“What’s that smell?” Mrs. Lahey asked. Her upturned nose scrunched further up her narrow face. “It smells like…like…”

The Lahey’s looked at each other and then at Abigail with a displeasure so intense that her heart nearly jumped out of her body and onto the floor. Her palms began to sweat again, but she took a quick breath and focused on the first answer that came to mind.

“A garbage truck,” she said without missing a beat. “The windows were open a moment ago, and let a draft of air through.”

Mrs. Lahey cleared her throat loudly as she left the room, Mr. Lahey close behind. Abigail walked them to the door, confirming that they would be in touch with her within a few days and handing over a business card for further reference.

“Call me if you have any more questions,” she said after they closed the door of the manor in her face.

That was a close one. Rick needs to get down here right now and fix whatever that smell is.

A call to her clean-up guy, Rick, left her with fifteen minutes of investigation before he arrived. She raced up the stairs again, making a straight shot for the master bedroom, where the spoiled meat smell was now pouring from every inch of the room.

She made her way to the bed immediately, getting onto her hands and knees. There was no rotten food or trash underneath the bed that may have been missed. She pulled herself up to sit on the bed and put her head in her hands, sobbing in frustration and letting herself break just for a moment.

Enough crying. Pull yourself together, Abby.

She wiped the tears away with her hands and stood up to resume the search. Making her way over to the master bathroom she searched the shower, behind and inside the toilet, in every drawer and cupboard and found nothing. She came back out and began to search all of the closets. She opened up the first closet which held nothing but some towels left behind by the previous owner.

Making her way to the walk-in closet she pulled open the door and she screamed as someone reached out to grab her.

To be continued……

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Fictional Celebrations

Love this little tidbit about writing holidays in fantasy/science fiction by my brilliant friend and colleague Rion. #amwriting

I am not lost...

I was going to have a title that was so much more boring than that one, but thank goodness I came up with a better idea. DAY SAVED.

So! For my Stateside luminaries, happy Independence Day! (For the rest of the world, happy 4th of July anywho. Love you.) One of the favorite summer holidays, full of picnics and grills and fireworks and s’mores and oh yeah, something about our country and England. Yay?

We have a lot of holidays floating around for one reason or another (and even more that people have just made up for fun/an excuse to celebrate) and we expect them each year. So what do you do when you’ve created the world…and they don’t have the same reasons to celebrate as we do?

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The Trouble with Diversity

My struggle every day to make sure I don’t make a mess of my first novel.

I am not lost...

I’ve been following along with some of the snafus that have occurred in and around the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag, though haven’t ever really delved deeply into them. I have several friends who write stories dealing with people of various diversities (racial, people with disabilities, LGBT+, etc) and I know it’s an important part of our world that we should strive to make more noticeable.

The trouble I have comes when we start talking about who should be writing what.

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Strange and Mysterious Happenings

I am not lost...

So I took to Twitter the other day and asked all you lovely luminaries out there what you were interested in hearing me talk about here on the blog. My dear friend Sky said “strange and mysterious that you’ve seen happen.” For a long time, I sat staring at my screen, wondering what strange and mysterious things I’ve seen happen, or had happen to me.

I think I’ve come up with 4 events now, in groups of 2.

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April Showers Bring Writing Flowers

This is your month. I don’t care if you’re a writer who makes words every single day or a reader who loves the story-telling process. If one of these ideas sparks your interest, start writing. There is no better way to express your love of a story than by writing your own.

Even if you never share it, try it out. And if you find after you’ve written your idea and it surprises you with its wit, its humor, its drama, its strong character development–send it to me at Amyoung0606@gmail.com by April 26th and I will publish it on this blog for everyone else to enjoy your hard work.

1. A young girl and her mother walk to the edge of a field, kneel down in the grass, and plant a tree.

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2. A mama cat gives birth to a litter of four gray tabbies and one little orange runt.

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3. Inspired by Jurassic Park, a biological engineer is committed to recreating dinosaurs. While researching ancient dinosaurs, the scientist stumbles into evidence that fire-breathing dragons once soared over the land and decides to recreate those instead.ZZ3DC6E0A6

4. A man who sees ghosts checks himself into a mental institute, not realizing that the facility has been closed for almost thirty years.

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Don’t waste another minute thinking these negative thoughts:
I haven’t written since high school/college-if you are inspired the writing will flow. It doesn’t matter how much technique you know/don’t know. If you are passionate and inspired it will work out in the end.

I don’t think I could make a story from an idea someone else is giving-every idea comes from someone or something else. A person you’ve met, something you’ve seen, a past experience. These prompts are just here to facilitate inspiration to get the writing going. You don’t have to do them exactly, you can just borrower the idea, twist it, change it to your own liking and make a story all your own. These prompts are just tools to help.
I read a lot, but I don’t know if I can write- you will never know if you don’t try. Again no one else has to see it. You owe it to yourself to try a part of story-telling. You may appreciate stories even more.

Just give it a shot, if you do and don’t like it. Feel free to tell me. Or suggest something else you’d want to see. Perhaps you’d benefit more from learning about plotting or talking about ways to incorporate different writing techniques. I will be happy to give my readers more than just prompts to help their writing blossom.

Happy reading and writing!

 

 

 

 

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