Blogging Fundamentals again

I recently started posting to my blog again. And came to a conclusion, I have abandonment issues. I smiled as I wrote that because I was thinking about all of the readers who would roll their eyes. Not abandonment in the classic sense of the word, but letting something go with the intention of coming back to it when I have time. And of course I find more excuses the less comfortable I am with whatever I am putting off.

And blogging is uncomfortable. I was a girl who never had a diary. I hated the things with a passion, but the pity is I never journaled either. So many lost ideas, settings, conversations that would have added realism to some of my work. Which means when blogging started it felt lot like a diary. But I am a writer and I have been told “if you want to be successful as an author you have to have a blog. So for the second time in three years I am starting with the fundamentals and this is my first assignment.

Who I am and what is my goal…

I think my bio is pretty good at telling you who I am. Not much has changed there. Other than I am no longer puppy wrangling. I guess that means what am I trying to accomplish? In the simplest terms author branding I guess and on a broader scope a place for interacting with other readers and writers. I think I am also trying to structure organize all my writing into one place. Pieces are all over… running amok. Fanfiction.com. fictionpress.com, watpad.com, inkitt.com These are good places because I need readers and comments if I am to hone my craft but they tend to get lost and I only get one type of viewer.

Also I am trying to work out what kind of post am I supposed to write. It sounds simple just post something especially if you are trying for a goal. (Which I am) Do I just post stories? People who are there to read fiction…are not going to want to read rants. Or people who like short stories are not going to want to sit and listen to me go on about a writing technique. Or something I thought was interesting.

This certainly isn’t my best post but it does what the assignment asks. Maybe as I go forward random

Gone

The daily prompt : Gone

Sometimes against all odds the bad guys win the day. All the white hats are Gone.

Mitchell pulled the small plastic red card from the beeping machine and looked at the thing in puzzlement. He examined the back and could still faintly read the outline of his signature. It looked perfect. The numbers on the front were worn away in the right spots. This had to be his card. Although he didn’t doubt those identity theft people couldn’t fake an exact copy. But the ATM accepted the card so it had to be the genuine one.

Mitchel raised the card to the feeder once more when a very annoyed voice behind him said, “Look old man, would you hurry up. Some of us actually have to work. We do have jobs you know.”

He smiled humorlessly. “I had a job too. It was called saving your ass from the Japs in 42 and the Commmies in the fifties and the Cong in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a front line solider. And when I came back with only one leg the jobs were suddenly gone and there was no work for me.”

He tucked the red card back in the worn leather wallet and looked at the rude woman once more. “What’s more those son of a bitches trying to kill me and end our way of life had better manners than you. I guess common decency is a thing of the past.”

He heard the woman mutter ‘whatever’ as she took his place at the machine. If he wasn’t half the man he was he would have knocked her on her ass and taught her a thing or two about the word whatever. But he was raised in a generation that didn’t hit women. He looked the three other people standing in line and found that they wouldn’t meet his eye.

Choosing not to fight this battle he propelled his wheelchair forward. If he could talk to someone in the bank maybe he would get some answers. This Bank of America didn’t have the sliding doors and when he leaned forward to pull the door he almost fell face forward into the glass. The door was heavier than usual. Again he was at someone’s mercy and would wait until someone came out.

The door swung open and before he could put his hands down on the wheels he felt himself being pushed forward. He turned and looked over his shoulder at the young man who couldn’t be more than sixteen with sandy blond hair hanging around his shoulders.

“Sorry about that I figured we needed to catch it before it closed. Maneuvering a wheelchair is difficult.”

Mitchell just grumbled.

The kid chuckled. “Don’t let them get to you. They were probably embarrassed about the Commies comment. We call them Russians, Japanese and Vietnamese now. It’s more PC.”

Mitchell’s false teeth clicked audibly as his mouth snapped shut in anger. When he found he could talk and tell the boy where he could put his political correctness he found he was alone in the middle of the doorway. He rolled himself forward and saw the twerp standing at the far counter talking to one of the tellers.

He watched the two of them walk in his direction. When the boy drew up next to him he said, “I found someone to help you. I am sure you could have done it yourself but everyone could use some support. My gramps served and grumbles about asking. So don’t sweat it.” The kid started to walk away and said as if a second though, “by the way thanks for your service.”

Just when he thought all manners were gone someone showed him how easy he could be wrong.

“Welcome to Bank of America. I’m Chad the General Manager. Why don’t we go down to the lower window around the corner and I will be glad to assist you?”

Mitchell’s arms trembled as he pushed the wheels on the carpet. The boy could have asked if he needed help before just jumping in and pushing him. But right now he wished the kid was still here. He could use some ump to get on to tiled floor. The manager would stop and wait for him looking at his watch each time but failed to offer to help.

When Mitchell finally rounded the corner and wheeled up to the counter he took a moment to rub his gray bent hands together before pulling out his wallet. “I think one of those of those criminals stole my card.”

Chad was only half paying attention the old man was taking so long he could have helped two other customers by now. “Hmm. Oh right. Why do you think that?”

“Cause there’s no money in the account,” Mitchell said trying to hold on to his temper.

If Chad noticed the tone of voice and the irate look on Mitchell’s face he promptly ignored and chose to be patronizing. “Are you sure there was money in there before. Let’s slide the card and look up the account.”

“I know there is money in it; you idiot. I just deposited the insurance check four days ago to burry my Michelle. The funeral home contacted me this morning about not having the service because the check bounced.” He angrily pulled the card through the reader with more force than necessary.

Chad scowled just another lousy customer calling him names. It wasn’t going to be much longer and he kiss this place goodbye. He’d ride off into the sunset and live the life he was supposed to. He just needed to think about that beach dealing with jerks like this. He took a long suffering breath and scanned the column of transactions. And paled slightly.  “Well sir, are you sure you deposited it with our bank? I show no deposits within the last thirty days?”

“What the hell do you mean; No deposits. My disability goes in here on the first of every month. And my Social Security on the third,” Mitchell was so angry his voice was beginning to carry.

Chad looked around and noticed several of the tellers giving him looks mixed between pity and questioning. If he wasn’t careful this would blow up in his face. “Sir please; give me a moment and let me see what the problem is? But you need to calm down.”

“How calm would you be if it was your money. Did you check the card? I told you I thought it was hacked or whatever they call it.”

He looked back at the screen and then at the man standing there. “Sir those deposits are different. Right now I am looking at ATM or manual deposit. Are you sure that you deposited in to this bank and this account?”

Anger wasn’t a strong enough word he was seeing red literally. Hell he was so mad his chest hurt. “Of course it was with this bank. I’ve had an account with you since before you were Bank of America. I’ve been coming to this branch for the last ten years. I have the deposit slip. Its right here in my wallet.”

Those were the words Chad was dreading. He could erase all transactions in the computer but could do nothing about the printed paper. The trash can was full of them because no one looked at them let alone keep them. But this guy, how dare he ruin months of careful skimming. Okay he needed to take some of the blame. He misread Michelle for Mitchell and though it was him who died. No one was going to notice deceased peoples checks bouncing. Everything he worked for was gone.

“Chad. Chad, look at him. I think he’s having a heart attack.”

Chad had to bite the end of his tongue to keep the happiness out of his voice. “I think your right. Call 9 1 1, now. “The old man would be gone and no one would be the wiser. Maybe it was time to cut and run before another close call. Tomorrow he would turn in his resignation by email and be in the wind before the autopsy was completed. If they did autopsies on heart attack victims.

Ovation

The daily prompt is Ovation

I thought I would try my hand at a little historical fiction.  It is small… flash fiction small. My first thought was “standing” but I dug a little deeper into the root of the word and found out it was ‘a lesser victory’ for ancient roman generals.

Without further ado…..Ovation

Her General was coming home. She cared not that his crown was made of Myrtle and not Laurel. Or that he wore the toga of a magistrate and not the gold embroidered robes. And the sheep slaughtered on the alter would cost less of the spoils, than the two white oxen. Let others complain that he was not heralded with trumpets, she preferred the flute players. They reminded her of happier times.

Never mind that his entire legion of soldiers would not travel the victory path with him. No one would dare attack him within the city limits. She would not have to wipe the vermillion power from his face before she could shower him with kisses. She would never tell him that when the Senate denied him a Triumph and gave him an ovation she was the happiest woman in the land.

With Triumphs men tended to get sidetracked with all manors of improper and immoral delights. She wanted no competition for his homecoming. No duties that he must oversee. For she had news from the Auguries. If he lay with her tonight there joining would bring forth a child destined to rule the great Roman Empire. And they would name their son Gaius Julius Caesar.

 

Prey

Here is another offering for the deities of storytelling.  It was written from a prompt I receive a couple years ago.   “Make your Protagonist a monster and have him/her meet a bigger monster.”

Writing this story was kind of fun. It could be dark without being morbid. And while many people aren’t crazy about first person narratives I don’t think it would have worked as well any other way.  It was just suggested that I left it hanging. Let me know what you think.

This is to be submitted for the WD Short Short  Story Contest.   Here is  PREY

I sat in one of those high armed overstuffed chairs. You know the kind if you actually used the armrest your shoulders would hit your ears. It didn’t matter how tall you were you looked like a dwarf sitting in giant’s chair. If it hadn’t been upholstered in bright green and blue paisley print on microfiber I would almost describe it as a throne. I couldn’t fathom a way to be comfortable sitting in it so I was confused on why this coffee chain installed ten as reading chairs. Besides they were too isolated for what I wanted.

Across the room the door opened, and a group of twenty somethings pushed and shoved their way through the door. The group of four, completely oblivious to the looks of disdain from other customers witnessing their horseplay. Their noise and antics diminished as they divided and went their separate ways. The girl, tall and willowy with a shock of daffodil hair surrounded by two different shades of purple, didn’t interest me. Women are taught from a young age, to be wary of strangers. Besides if I played my cards right I would have all four.

She walked over and flopped down in the overstuffed chair with her legs draped over the side of one arm and back resting against the other. She was so engrossed with whatever was on the tablet screen her companion had to smack her upside the head with drink he was holding out to her. The tattoos and body modification jewelry told me he didn’t care what society thought of him. And if all that hadn’t convinced me of his attitude the home silkscreened shirt with the middle finger displayed compacting his roly-poly stomach ended all arguments. The other two finally joined them probably coming from the bathroom first. They were the relatively normal by society’s standard with a smattering of leather, chains and gauge jewelry. They even sported monotone colored hair. Green and blue respectively but minor compared to their friends.

Immediately I knew my next victim was the quiet one. He wasn’t much to look at. Skinny, lean almost to a point of being gaunt. And while I could only see about three inches of skin between the tube socks and sagging shorts I could tell he walked on white toothpicks called legs. He was slow to laugh at the others jokes and while he wasn’t the butt of their escapades he definitely wasn’t in the center of the dynamic. This small group was a perfect catch.

I stood brushed an imaginary piece of lint off my jeans, shuffled my props into a neat pile with the spiral on top and crossed the room. I stood there just a moment watching them and waiting for them to acknowledge me. Patience when hunting your victim was a virtue. I didn’t have long to wait and to my surprise it was the quiet one with green hair who spoke first. “yes.”

“I’m Ashley. I’m doing a college paper and I need volunteers… I mean I need to collect data from volunteers.” The back track would make me seem hesitant and unsure. I knew from the pencil stuck in my messy bun to the sloppy sweater right down to the water stained Uggs on my feet I would present as non-threatening.

The fat one who tried to convince the world he was a dragon if he could just get enough surgeries was the first to respond. With the most dazzling fanged smile I had seen in quite a while he asked, “What kind of data do you need?”

This was so much easier than I though. Most people, even when I made myself as nonthreatening as possible were hesitant. My thought ‘sucker’ got stuck in my throat as I locked gazes with the quiet one. Immediately my sense of preservation started screaming at me to get out of there. But my feet were cemented in place.

I had only seconds to debate. Did I continue and pray that I was wrong, or did I get the hell out of there even if I caused suspicions? I had just started this hunt it wasn’t as if I needed a fix right now. But for some reason I couldn’t budge. And I found myself giving the spiel I’d perfected over eight years of killing.

I wasn’t quite sure where in my story about Hollywood and choosing between the red and blue pill I sat down beside the girl in the oversized chair. Or when blue hair had started petting me. Gathering my wits about me I pulled my head away from blue hair and his multicolored fingernails. I swallowed and took a deep breath trying to calm the panic rapidly rising. I needed to pull myself together, I was a hunter for Christ sake.

When the girl laughed it wasn’t pretty like little bells tinkling but more like breaking glass. Her arm snaked around my waist trapping me with a strength she didn’t look like she had. “A hunter? Is that what you call yourself?”

They had taken up the cardinal positions in chairs surrounding me. Blue slouched with his arms thrown over the back of the straight back chair and his black combat boots crisscrossed on the seat. Dragon boy lounged on the loveseat taking up both cushions. The quiet one sat on the front edge of the straight chair directly across from me leaning forward on his elbows. His voice was low, I had to strain to hear it.

“She calls herself a hunter because it makes the kill more satisfying. I call her a parasite. Serial killers think they’re king shit. They haven’t met the real monsters, yet.”

Dragon boy chuckles at my blanch and says, “by the way I’m not a dragon. I’m a snake. I do the tongue thing. He says laughing at his Mushu reference and for effect scents the air with a perfectly forked tongue.

There is no doubt about it I am panicking now. The room seems like a sauna. The air escapes from my lungs in rattled huffs. I try to stand but the arm around my waist is like a vice and I’m almost positive it was getting tighter. Her nose is nuzzling my hair and I swear a very raspy tongue just tasted my ear.

I am about to scream; someone has got to have noticed something wrong over here. And then my heart plummets. How many times have my victims thought the same exact thing while I sit there gloating? Still I open my mouth, I have to do something get someone’s attention. I open my mouth and snap it closed as the quiet one shakes me. His act is so violent my head dances around like a bobblehead doll. The whiplash stops immediately as my forehead collides with his. We are nose to nose and he pressing hard enough to flatten mine. His voice is low with almost a growl to it. “Karma said you deserved death. And I was tempted to teach you what a true hunter is when I heard your thoughts. And then decided a parasite couldn’t be much sport.”

“I’m not a …” I managed to choke out.

“Silence,” he growled. “You do not get to speak. You will make yourself useful. You will put your talents to use on your own kind, the dregs of society. If you lure or kill another innocent, you will know pain. You will beg for death and even that won’t be a release. Do you understand?”

I can’t speak I can only nod. Where his hands are grabbing the back of my arms is getting very hot. I cry out from the pain but find I have no voice. The pain becomes more intense. My arms are on fire and then I blissfully pass out.

He unceremoniously drops my unconscious form back in the chair as the girl uncurls from around me. All four stand to leave. When the guy with blue hair ask, “Are we really going to let her go?”

The quiet one scratches behind his ear thoughtfully. “No. I marked her. I thought we might teach her what being hunted and toyed with is really like. Anyone for a game of hide and seek. I figured a way she may offer us some sport. You can’t kill her until you’ve caught and marked her five times.”

Blue hair grinned. “That’s going to take a while. She is going to be a nervous wreck by the time we’re done.”

The quiet one pulled back his lips in a slight snarl, looked at my prone body lying in the chair and said,” Karma’s a bitch.”

The four laughed ignoring the startled glances from other customers as they left the coffee shop.

 

 

 

The end of In the job of a Hired Killer

Here is the last of the story. I was beginning to fuse with the story too much and it looked like it was going to take another day to finish. As it was the story has more to say so I might come back to it later. But for now we are done.   I know I already failed because I was so busy trying to finish this one I didn’t do my story for the second. But on the plus side if I was doing a word count I would have already blown it out of the water.

So without further ado  here is the ending of In the Job of an hired killer

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“I better go see what she wants. She’s not happy with me. I took away her cigarettes. Did you know she was smoking and using the oxygen machine?”

Nina shrugged as if it was out of her control and said, “Don’t worry about it, she’ll forget by tomorrow. Tell you what she was looking for me so I will check in on her before I head over to Josh’s day of the dead party.”

Joanna raised her eyebrow but didn’t say anything. Her forehead wrinkled as if she was trying to figure something out. She shook her head, picked up the back pack and slung it over her shoulder. Halfway to the door she stopped turned around and looked at Nina. “Josh’s party huh. You tell me how that goes tomorrow.”

Nina massaged her temples and chided herself. If she ever decided to get more creative, then a bullet to the back of the head for another job she would just shoot herself. The nurse wasn’t quite as simple as she once though and was going to be trouble. Like the novice something she would have to deal with later tonight.

“Hold on Mrs. Atkins, I’ll be right there.” Nina said struggling to remove the latex from the back of her hands. But of course it was peeling off in small little pieces and floating to the ground. Here was where the forensic evidence was going to get her. Franticly she looked around the room for a cover up. Nothing.

“Nina,” voice from the back room called again for the third time.

There was no more putting it off. She would just try to keep the old lady focused on something other than the chunks at her temples and the back of her hands. Mussing her hair so that it was wispy around her face Nina walked into the back bedroom.

The twin size hospital bed sat in the far corner made up. Joanna had even put some of the stuffed animals the past nurse had gotten in the center of the pillow. Sitting the winged back orange recliner chair trying to stand without the aid of her walker was the 79-year-old terror.

“Do you know what she did to me, Nina? She took away my cigarettes.”

“You know they’re not good for you, especially with your oxygen machine. You told me your doctor has been yelling at you for years to quit.”

I’m old and if I want a cigarette then I should have a cigarette. No busy-body with a half a medical degree is going to tell me I can’t have one. Please Nina be a good girl and get them for me.”

If she handed the old woman, the pack then Mrs. Atkins was going to notice her hands. And then she would have to make up another excuse. Truth was this job was becoming noting more than a nest of loose ends. She debated just killing the old woman right now. It would save her trouble in the end. Although she hated to do it, first killing without payment was a waste. Plus, if she was to die suddenly then police would investigate who was in church this morning. And since the nurse was next on her hit list it would be too coincidental. Detectives hate coincidence That kind of thing turned them into bloodhounds.

“You’re right. At your ag1e…”

“My age has nothing to do with it. It my right I bought them with my own money and it’s my body.”

Nina tried to keep the mirth off her face. It was one of the things she liked about the old woman. Her strength of will. It was going to be a shame when she died. She was a perfect example of an crotchy old folk. “Okay tell you what, I will get them for you but we have to turn the machine off while you smoke.”

“Not on your life. If we turn it off, I can’t breathe. I have been smoking for the last year with that bloody machine going in the back ground. It a sealed. It’s not going to explode.”

That gave Nina an idea. She was right it hadn’t exploded yet. They didn’t work that way. It created extra oxygen making things more flammable. All she had to do was make sure more oxygen went into the air then went into her. It would work like a delay switch.  “Okay. But promise me that you will have one less than you did yesterday.”

She walked across the room and reached up on the top shelve of the bookcase to get the pack of menthol cigarettes ignoring the old lady’s grumbling about people wanting to take away all the small pleasures. Adding more oxygen to the air wasn’t’ going to be too much of a problem. Finding food on the other hand was going to be tricky and she still hadn’t checked on her priest. Here she was with something else complicated.

And yet once she decided on action plan it was completely non complicated. She handed the woman the soft green pack, delighted that Mrs. Atkins was more interested in smoking than what hand that gave it to her looked like. She turned and walked toward the door hearing the scratch of the lighter strike and the deep inhale. Things were looking manageable again.

Now that Mrs. Atkins had gotten her fix she was animatedly telling Nina about bingo last night. And what she thought of the parents who brought the younger children to the church bingo hall for trick or treating. Nina on the other hand was making non comitial noises as she once again set out to get rid of the tell-tell latex and put on decent clothing.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” Nina asked putting the kettle on to boil. She was going to drug the old lady with her own medicine. Just because she was going to kill her didn’t mean she wanted the old lady to suffer being burned to death. Not really paying attention to the answer she rummaged through the cupboards to find a cup. To the bottom of it she added two table spoons of Mrs. Atkin’s prescription morphine and two spoons of sugar. While she waited for the water to get hot she walked over to get her phone out of the bag. It had the streaming video of Jacob’s house.

There was Jerimiah standing in the middle of the room. His white robes covered in blood from where he’d pulled the cooking knife out of his brother’s shoulder. The knife had worked like a tourniquet slowing the blood loss until the priest pulled it out effectively killing his little brother. Requirement one complete, he would know pain. He was standing there in cuffs arguing with the cops, trying to tell them about her confessing. When one of the other cops came into the room carrying photos of crimes against his victims. Stealing them from his safe and planting them there was a job but he needed a motive for killing Jacob. Which meant requirement two, humiliation was complete. He would need to know pain, which would come from being a pedophile on the inside but just in case she would go and visit him under the guise she was taking his frame story seriously and make his cause of detention known to his fellow inmates. Then after the trial and convention she would put a bullet in his head.

The kettle began to whistle pulling her out of mental check list. Nina pulled the kettle of the burner grateful things were back on track. Turned over the phone, popped off the back and pulled the battery and sim card. She put it in the bag with the latex mask and stuffed both in the gym bag she’d left earlier. Adding first the tea and then the water to the cup Nina carried into Mrs. Atkin’s bedroom.

“Here you go my dear,” Nina said sitting the cup down on the table at the old woman arm deliberately moving the ashtray so the hot ashes would fall on the lace doilies.

“You changed. Why on earth were you wearing that awful caftan.”

I had gone for a run and realized that I had forgotten to put your laundry from the washer to the dryer. I didn’t want your clothes to mold after you graciously let me barrow your machine. So I threw that on and ran down stairs.”

Nina watched the widow hold the cup up to her mouth and blow on the hot liquid before taking a sip. She grimaced, “Who taught you to make a cup of tea? It doesn’t taste as if you put any sugar in there at all.”

Well that was good information for the future two tablespoons of sugar did nothing to hide the taste of morphine. “Oh I’m sorry. Let me go get you some more. I thought I had enough.”

“While you’re at it could you bring me a few of those sugar cookies. I’ve had a sweet tooth recently and that busy body keeps harping on me about my sugar. I keep telling her its quality of life not quantity. I don’t want to live five more years if I have to keep eating cardboard.”

She walked back to the kitchen and grabbed the sugar jar as well as the cookie container. She gave it one last look around to make sure she wiped every thing down. Things were definitely back on track and she was in the home stretch. Coming back into the room she accidently bumped the oxygen machine so she would have to readjust it.

“Not that I am ready to leave this place. I’m not quite ready to see Alfred again.”

Nina added two more spoons of sugar to the tea and stirred. She pushed the tea cup back into the old woman’s hands and watched her take a gulp. When she had taken another gulp she traded the cup for the cookies.

She turned to walk out the door when Mrs. Atkins said, “Don’t take that girl. These cookies are dry and without liquid I might choke my silly self.”

Nina smiled a wan smile. Truth, she was getting to the end of her patience. Not that the old woman was doing anything wrong she just wanted to get done. She’d always been like this, well as long as she could remember anyway. She handed the woman back her cup and watched her drain it.  Now with the Percocet Joanna gave her in the morning she would sleep through the coming fire.

Nina made idle chitchat and it wasn’t fifteen minutes until her victim was beginning to slur her words. She talked for another five just to make sure. “Mrs. Atkins, I have a party to go to so I am going to go now. I’ll check on you later.”

When she didn’t receive an answer Nina knew she was out. She walked over to the oxygen machine and pulled the rubber tube off the outflow nozzle so  the oxygen would flow directly into the room. She then put several wadded up Kleenex  the ashtray so it overflowed onto the table. Taking care to move it to its original space. She looked around the room one final time and lit the cigarette before placing it so it would soon catch on the paper. It wouldn’t take long for dry paper in an oxygen rich environment to go up in flames so she better get a move on.

On her way out of the living area Nina grabbed the gym bag,slung it over her shoulder and pulled the living room door shut behind her. One loose end out of the way it was time to go surprise a novice.

All in the job of an hired killer

“Before I start that typical ‘forgive me father yadda, yadda yadda,’ I have to tell you something. It will help you understand the rest of the story, father. One of the things that constantly gets to me, is the lack of ownership. Most people would just shrug it off, but good or bad I can’t do that. Even the good book calls for accountability. So when I pushed your brother off the roof of the building, I found I needed to confess, tell my side so to speak. I wanted …no I needed to own up to my deed.”

The dismayed gasp from the other side of the partition was involuntary, as Nina knew it would be. She didn’t know how long she would have the priest attention and if she wanted to get out of there before he made a scene she needed to finish quickly. “What’s the matter father, aren’t you going to forgive me for my sins. No hail Mary’s and tell me to repent. Or is your forgiveness only offered to pedophiles like your brother and yourself. That’s alright father, I don’t want or need your forgiveness. The town of Hanover paid for my clean conscious and any forgiveness I might need. They were specific in their instructions. They wanted you to know pain, humiliation, fear and… justice.  So, know this I am coming for you. And you will know hell on earth. You can’t go to the police or they will find out what sick pervert you are.”

“It’s not true. You couldn’t have killed him. I just talked to him.”

“Yes you did. I was there when you were making dinner plans. What kind of human being are you that you couldn’t tell your baby brother was standing on the edge of a building holding on for dear life while you were prattling on about lamb chops and rosemary?”

No, I don’t believe you. It’s not …you couldn’t have … you murder.” The priest moaned.

Nina scoffed and continued in a condensing tone. “Tisk, tisk, a pervert priest calling names. What a shock! Well since you’re not going to give me a penance, I guess we are done. I trust I still have the seal of the confessional. It would make things a little awkward when the police come and want to know why you broke it for this but kept quiet about the gang member’s murder a couple months back.”

Pleased with herself and how easy this job was going Nina adjusted the big floppy hat and wig, stood opened the confessional door and peered into the church. She knew it would be a mistake to try to leave. People noticed things like that and tended to remember after the fact. His shock and disbelief wouldn’t hold him much longer. Keeping with her disguise instead she hobbled over to one of the benches as far from the confessional as she could without making it obvious and sat down. Her goal was to look as if she had just come into the sprawling interior of the large catholic church.

She had only a minute to spare before the balding man in church robes burst out of the confessional wildly looking around. Which meant he had tried to call Jacob and received no answer.

“Did anyone see the woman? She would have left the confessional two minutes ago.” Jerimiah asked the almost empty room.

Several of the perishers looked up from their prayers and shook their heads. Even Nina turn to reply with a negative shake of the head. Several of the nuns who had been in the front row making supplications moved in the direction of the priest.

“Sister Mary Margret, call the police. There has been a murder.”

“A murder? Who? How do you know?” the nun’s agitated voice responded.

Jerimiah scrutinized the small congregation. The partition didn’t allow him a good look at the woman who confessed but of the six parishioners he didn’t see anyone who could be the voice in the cubical. He cursed his inattentiveness when she had first joined him. Maybe then he could have pointed her out to the police. If she thought, he was going to hold the sanctity of the confessional sacred, she was wrong. “Jacob. She killed Jacob. The woman in the confessional.”

“But father, no one was in the confessional and no one left.” A young woman in shorter version of the habit walked up joining the group of nuns.

“Elizabeth, “Mary Margret chided the novice. “This is none of your concern. Finish your duties and return to the convent.”

Nina was starting to get concerned. If the priest didn’t leave the church soon then her entire plan was toast. She pulled the walker she was using as a prop and dug through the bag in the basket and glanced at the cell phone screen. Placing her finger over the home screen she unlocked the streaming video. There was Jacob where she left him. He wasn’t dead yet but she didn’t know how much time she still had.

Debating what to do was eating precious time, but if she called attention to herself now someone was bound to remember her. Yet just waiting for him to leave wasn’t working either.Indecision was eating at her but she had never pulled anything this elaborate before. Against her better judgement she tucked the phone back in the bottom of her purse and made to stand when fate intervened

The church doors burst open and three teenagers entered the great hall. They were laughing way too loud, pushing and shoving each other. Someone eight feet away could smell the alcohol. The one who seemed to be the leader yelled “Yo Father, you got another one to pray for. The dude jumped.” He hiccupped, burst out laughing and sing -song said, “my bad, you guys don’t pray for suckas who kill themselves.”

It was the just the right push Jerimiah needed. The normally stoic priest pulled his robe up to his thighs and started running toward the door. He quickly looked over his shoulder and yelled, “call the police, she pushed him. It wasn’t suicide. She confessed.”

Nina was already standing and moving toward the door also when fate intervened again with the help of those same three very drunk teenagers. The four of them went down in a tangle of arms and legs. The nuns rushed forward to help Nina thinking she was the old lady she pretended to be and to chastise the boys.

“Look grandma’s fallen and she can’t get up,” the smart ass with the mouth said.

If she wasn’t incognito Nina would have taught the demented morons a lesson but she was and they were smashed out of their minds and wouldn’t remember it anyways. So instead she allowed the two sisters standing with Mary Margret to help her to her feet and mumbled in a feeble voice about being clumsy.

It wasn’t until the Novice Elizabeth placed her scattered bag back in the walker basket and handed her phone that Nina knew she had been made. She glanced down at the screen and almost breathed a sigh of relief the lock screen was in place. She glanced once more in to the novice’s eyes to see if absolute knowledge was there. Nina’s heart dropped she didn’t know what gave her away to the nun in training but the woman knew. If the girl wasn’t going to give her away now It was something she would have to deal with later. She needed to get out of the church before the Priest got to his brother’s house.

She held her breath waiting for the other shoe to drop and the novice to betray her. When the girl stepped back and bowed her head Nina knew Elizabeth wouldn’t say anything … for now. But that was a worry for another time. As she hobbled toward the door she heard Mary Margret and Agnus Marie discussing calling the police and smiled. The plan was back on schedule. As she hobbled down the stairs one at a time her heart pounded against her chest as the novice ran forward to help her down the stairs.

“I know who you are. I promise I won’t tell anyone about you but you have to come back her tonight.”

Nina didn’t know what the girl knew and but now she was against the clock. She waited until she was on the bottom step and she said quietly, “If you know who I am do you think asking me to comeback is a good thing?”

A shiver ran up the girl’s frame and Nina wasn’t sure if it was from the biting November wind or fear but the look in the novice’s eyes showed that she was not going to cower.  “No. But you are going to have to deal with me tonight or…”

Nina held up two heavily latex fingers and dropped her voice to a horse whisper, “It is not wise to threaten. Unforeseen consequences have been known to …happen.”

“Oh, I wasn’t threatening. But you will have to deal with me. Your kind doesn’t like loose ends. I will wait for you in the rectory tonight.” With that the novice turned and ran back up the concrete stairs and back into the large arched doorway.

Nina’s barrowed cadi was just down the block. She needed to get in and drive away without calling attention to herself in less than five minutes. If Braxton PD held to schedule the first police car would be here in seven minutes. Her disguise would hold up among the faithful of Saint Francis Catholic Church. But not for a detective’s interrogation. She hobbled a little less and pushed the walker a little faster and hoped everyone had cellphone tunnel vision.

She shoved the walker without folding it into the large back seat of the 1983 Cadillac. The car was ancient but it fit her disguise so well she had to use it. It was a good thing too because as she closed the driver’s side door the first patrol car pulled up. Nina pulled away from the curb as two more patrol cars

passed her. The jumper had not been part of her plan but she was grateful his death would do some good.

The old brownstone apartment building was just around the corner. She had made good time considering. If her luck held old Mrs. Atkins would still be sleeping and never know that Nina borrowed her look and her car. She pulled the cadi in to the parking space provided, even going so far as to put one wheel on the curb like its owner left it last night. The best thing about wearing as much latex as she was there wasn’t a lot of forensic evidence left behind. Just to be sure a quick wipe of the seat as she got out of the car and pushed the door shut with her hip. Opening the door with the handkerchief she reached in and pulled out the walker.

So far so good Nina though placing the keys on the peg by the door. From there she started striping, rolling the old lady garments and hair into a ball.  By the time she got to the kitchen where the tiny washer dryer combo was she was down to her bra and underwear. She shoved everything including the wig into the washer basin. Her latex face and hands were next when a sound alerted her to the presence of someone else moving around the apartment. She had just a second to grab the first piece of clothing in the dryer. To her horror it was the muumuu she gave Mrs. Atkins when she moved in.

“Who’s here?”

Relief flooded Nina, it was Joanna Mrs. Atkins live daytime nurse. She would look in on the old lady once a day and make sure she had taken her medicine. She was a simple woman and believed what Nina told her. It wouldn’t be hard to convince her that she had just be out for a run and threw the gown on to do some laundry.

“Is the Misses up?” Nina said gauging her new companion.

“Oh yes. She got up about half hour ago. She was looking for you.”

It took everything in her power not to groan. That meant her alibi had been up for most of the visit with the priest. And while she was old Mrs. Atkins was sharp as a tack. There would be no fooling her.

“Halloween was yesterday. Why on earth are you carrying around that mask?”

How many times did she have to remind herself not to crow before the job was done? Here she was thinking how well thing were going and everything was falling apart. If she wasn’t careful she would have to kill three more people tonight. Nina briefly looked to the heavens and silently said, “You could help. I was cleaning up for you.” Not expecting an answer or help she took a deep breath to respond and was saved.

“Joanna,” the raspy voice called from the back bedroom.

“I better go see what she wants.”

And here we go… again.. or maybe not

So today is the first day of Novel in a Month. Every year I start out great guns. I am going to do it.  I even post to hold myself accountable. And every year I fail. Then starts the trash talk to myself and the months of recrimination. So this year I decided I am not torturing myself, I am not even going to pretend to anybody (self included) I am participating.  Instead I am going to work on a story a day.  I am going to try for a word count but that isn’t going to be my main concern.

Two reasons. One I have too many irons in the fire.  Two, life. You’ve seen the first Avengers movie, the scene where the hulk is thrashing Loki. Okay so the Hulk represents life and Loki of course is me.

So now that I have said I am going to do a story a day…. I have already killed that.  You see the story I am working on has taken on a life of its own and wont finish. So I have two options… Post what I have … and continue tomorrow. Or hold off until tomorrow.  If I hold off then it is already a bad start but if I post its not in a good place to break. Plus I will have to finish and do another one too. Either way it is somewhat of a failure.

So I will just post what I have…. (in another post so I can edit the finish)  And stick to the commitment.

Todays story is not a prompt…. but it is where I just started typing to get words on the paper and it turned into something.   It doesn’t have a title yet.  I am not even sure it ever will.