Category Archives: Mystery/Suspense

Koira – Sylvia

Sylvia’s right hand was cramping from holding the potato masher so tightly. Her right arm rose and fell like a piston, glasses on the counter rattled she was pounding so hard. The boys were in the living room, watching tv, the volume on so low that they had to sit next to the cabinet to hear. They knew that at times like this it was best to be as quiet and out of the way as possible. Sylvia wiped sweat from her forehead, spit into the potatoes and finished mashing.  She grabbed the handle of the pot, walked to the kitchen table and slammed it down hard with a loud thunk. The boys jumped. They looked at each other. “Get in here. It’s ready.”

The boys slowly stood up, shut off the tv and walked towards the kitchen. Their mom was leaning over the open oven door, pulling out the ham. The boys quietly pulled out their chairs and sat down. Glasses of milk had already been poured. “Get over here and get your meat. I ain’t carrying this to the table.” Both boys stood up, took their plates and walked to the counter. Their mom brandished a large fork and carving knife, as she slashed into the ham, slicing two thick slabs.

Both boys looked at the thick slices. It was a lot of meat, but knew they would both finish it. Each boy put a few potatoes on their plate. “Make sure you get some green beans too. I know you two.” Both boys looked at each other and spooned out some green beans.  Sylvia slammed the over door shut, “You better have more green beans than that.”

The boys sat down and started to eat. Jacob asked quietly, “Aren’t you going to eat mom?”

“No, I ain’t hungry. I have a headache. I’m going to go lie down.” Sylvia walked out of the kitchen. The boys heard their mother’s bedroom door open and shut.

“Thank god,” Jacob said with a sense of relief.

“Shhhhh, she might hear you.”

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The Chord – If thou but suffer

The electronic church bells peeled nine times as Kirsti walked into the narthex. The automatic doors closed quietly behind her as she stood looking at the wooden cross above the altar. She wondered how long the ceiling lamp, which was meant to light the cross, had been off center as it actually shone on the wall three inches to the right. Patton padded towards the altar, exploring this new environment. Kirsti, walked to the organ, caressed it with her left hand, mouthed the words, “I’ve missed you,” and switched on the small organ light.

She sat in the unlighted nave for several minutes without moving, before placing the sheet music on the organ and smoothing over it with her right hand. She adjusted the organ lamp, sat back and placed her fingers over the keys. Her fingers waited in anticipation of the feel of the keys. Kirsti took a deep breath, told herself to relax, to give herself over and started to play.

The hymn “If thou but suffer God to guide thee” started hesitantly a bit rough, unpolished, but Kirsti kept playing and soon she was in her zone. She reveled in the feel, the joy, the pleasure of playing, of bringing forth such joyful and expansive sound. Patton, walked around the side of the organ and sat facing Kirsti. He tilted his head to the left and then lay down, resting his head on his paws. “If thou but suffer God to guide thee” came to a finish and Kirsti held the final chord for an extended time.

Outside the church, Fofo, Margaret Olson’s poodle mix, was lifting his leg against the base of the church sign when Margaret thought she heard “Abide with me”. She asked, “Fofo? Do you hear organ music?” Fofo, uninterested in anything except a cat, which had dashed across the parking lot, pulled on his pink nylon leash. Margaret scolded, “Fofo stop that,” and turned up her hearing aid. It was then that she realized who was playing, she smiled. “Fofo, listen.”

Inside the church, tears streamed down Kirsti’s face. Patton brought his head up, stood, put his front paws on the organ bench and lightly licked Kirsit’s left cheek. Kirsti laughed, “Thanks baby. You’re such a good dog. You’re mommy’s lover, aren’t you?”

Koira – Aunt Patty

Along the side wall, six year old Pikku Niemi, dressed in his only pair of dress pants and dress shirt with a borrowed tie sat in a folding chair eating an M&M cookie. His feet, crossed at the ankle, swung in and out and picked up speed when he saw his Aunty Patty, who in a few years would actually be raising Pikku, approaching. Avoiding eye contact, Pikku focused his gaze on a sheet of paper that lay on the carpeted floor to his right. In the upper right corner, an imprint of a shoe overlaid the image of an angel. As Aunty Patty sat down in the chair to Pikku’s right, he shifted to his left.

Aunt Patty placed her right hand on Pikku’s knee and asked, “How are you hon? Doing ok?”

Pikku took a nibble of his cookie, “I’m ok Aunt Patty. Just wanna go home.”

“I know dear these things are not much fun are they? But it’s important for us to be here. It shows respect. You know what respect is, don’t you hon? Now if you need anything, you let Auntie Patty know, ok? You’re a good boy and Auntie Patty loves you very much, you know that don’t you? That Auntie Patty loves you?” Although Pikku nodded, Aunt Patty didn’t see as she was busy scanning the room. “Have you seen your father? I haven’t seen him for a while I wonder where he went off to. I hope that he isn’t getting drunk somewhere. It would be overly embarrassing if he gets drunk and makes a scene. That is just something Aunt Patty cannot deal with today.” Aunt Patty mumbled, “Oh, shit!” and took off.

Pikku watched Aunt Patty’s back side fishtail as she took long strides toward his father, who stood unsteadily in the doorway using a stand of white and pink carnations intermixed with pink roses and white chrysanthemums as support. Pikku’s dad lifted his right leg and took a step to the right somehow missing contact with the floor. He lurched forward, but Aunt Patty reached him just in time to use her mass to contest the fall, stating loudly in an exuberant voice, to anyone that had witnessed the scene,  “You poor dear. You have exhausted yourself. Look at you. You are just dead on your feet. Come here, let me help. You have been under so much stress the past few days, no wonder. I bet you haven’t been sleeping either. Now no matter what you do you need to take care of yourself. Just who is going to be looking after poor Pikku if you get sick or something happens to him? Huh? Just who? So let’s get you settled somewhere quiet and get some food in you. I bet you haven’t been eating either.  What am I going to do with you?” Aunt Patty’s voice could be heard  as she walked Pikku’s father out of the viewing room and down the hall.

The Chord – Walk in the Woods

Here is another scene from “The Chord”. It needs some work, but it’s my day to post, so I’m posting what I have. Thanks for your comments, inspiration and feedback. It means more to me than you realize.

“The Chord – Walk in the Woods”

Kirsti kept to the narrow trail, all the while keeping an eye and ear out for Patton who must have chased down a squirrel, as a loud chatter could be heard off to the right of the trail. Kirsti enjoyed taking walks in the woods, as she found being outdoors, alone, to be rejuvenating. She appreciated their acreage of oak, maple, pine and birch as if it was their own slice of Eden. She enjoyed the change in seasons, each one with its own unique sounds, colors, textures, and feel. On her walks, she would occasionally see a porcupine and a sometimes a skunk.  Deer were an often appearance, more so in the fall. And last year, she had even seen the signs of a black bear.

The trail opened up to a field of ripening wild raspberries. Kirsti paused to pick a handful of the gum drop shaped berries and popped them into her mouth. She closed her eyes as she enjoyed the natural sweetness of the juicy fall berries. Patton, seeing Kirsti eating, ran up in anticipation of eating something, anything. Kirsti looked at Patton and held out a berry between her fingers. Patton took it gently and inhaled.

They continued their walk towards a small river that marked the edge of the property, where Kirsti noticed fresh four wheeler tracks that across the property, following the river. She wondered who they belonged to and what they had been doing. Her thoughts about the tracks were interrupted by Patton who was frantically barking and digging at a pile of logs that lay on the far edge of the field. A breeze blew across the field, carrying with it the odor of decomposition. Kirsti yelled, “Patton, get over here. I don’t need you getting sick eating some dead animal.”

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Koira – Neimi Ski Trail

At the top of a long rise, Detective Niemi leaned heavily on his ski poles, sweat dripped down the side of his face. A vapor of mist formed on the exhale of his deep rasping breaths. He mumbled to himself, “Two miles! Only two miles and I feel like I’m going to die. How did I get so out of shape?”

Niemi’s thoughts turned to two years prior. He knew how it had happened. He had given up. He had wanted to stop living. He stopped running, skiing, just sat in the recliner watching tv, anything that happened to be on, too lazy to change the channel, eating. He let himself go, but who wouldn’t after the loss of an only child?

An oak groaned against forced movement as a strong wind pushed itself east.  Niemi looked at the horizon. A low cloud cover was heading in with the threat of more snow. “Well, I told myself I would do the six mile route and I’m going to do it. It’s time to move on.”

As he passed the five mile marker, Niemi told himself, “Only one more mile, then home for a hot sauna.” The thought of sitting in the heat of the sauna, sweating, totally relaxed, gave Neimi a renewed energy.  He thought, “When I get to the car I’ll call home and ask the wife to turn the heater on, so that the sauna is hot when I get home and then maybe I’ll have a nice salad for dinner. Now that sounds like a plan.” He smiled to himself, “Maybe this fitness thing won’t be so bad after all, but I have a long way to go.” He padded his stomach. “No more ice cream and sweats for you big fella.”

Niemi pushed forward for the last half mile.  It was mostly down hill, so he was able to push, get into a crouch and glide. A bright yellow sign warned of a sharp curve head. “Damn,” he thought, “I’m not going to fall, I refuse to fall.” He crouched, balanced himself over the center of his skis.

As he rounded the corner his right ski came up in air, he leaned precariously and then, then the bullet struck, Niemi flew backwards. His skis pointed skywards. He looked upwards, and mouthed, “David, dad’s coming.”

 

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Koira III

The tires of the SUV crunched over the frozen dirt road as Detective Niemi, huddled in the front seat, slowly drove down Sauvola Road. The heater tried miserably to keep up with the cold, which had fallen to eight below with the wind child. Niemi wiggled the toes of his numb feet. Wind gusts threw up small cyclones of white swirl in the low beams. Niemi leaned forward in an attempt to see. His mind raced, “What the eff! How am I supposed to find a mailbox in this?”  At 4:45pm it was already dark and the swirling snow made visibility incredibly poor. Niemi mumbled to himself, “Why would anyone want to live out here? The nearest grocery has to be an hour away. I enjoy my solitude, but this?”

Niemi hit the brakes hard. The SUV skidded forward and veered to the right, the right fender bumped hard into the bank of snow lining the road. “I think that was it.”  He backed up, the tires spinning wildly before catching. Niemi peered down the drive. He saw a pair of faded parallel tire tracks leading up to a house and a State Trooper vehicle.

Niemi parked behind the State car, he jogged to the kitchen door, his boots crunched as they struck the hard packed snow. He knocked twice in rapid succession and opened the door to get out of the cold. State Trooper Stephanie Miller sat at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee. Petite, athletic State Trooper Stephanie Miller sat at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee. She ran her fingers quickly through her blonde hair, nodded, “Would you like some coffee, sir?”

“Yesssss,” Niemi replied enthusiastically. “How are you doing tonight? Been here long?”

“I’m good, Sir. I got here maybe ninety minutes ago. The niece called from Marquette area. Her uncle hasn’t called for several days and she got worried.” Miller took a sip of coffee, “She left messages and didn’t hear anything, so she asked if we could check it out.”

Niemi nodded, “So where is the body?”

Miller pointed, “Back by the sauna. I’ll show you.”

Both bundled up before venturing out into the cold. Niemi clasped the hot coffee tight in his gloved hands. Light from the open sauna door shone on a small mound of snow which lay in the shoveled path several feet from the door. Miller spoke, “I covered the body up. The poor guy was naked lying here.” Miller removed the blanket. Underneath, the frail stooped figure of a 70 year old male lay frozen. She pointed out a trail of frozen blood that seeped from the right temple down the rigid face.

 

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Stalker I

I’m experimenting with my writing and am aware that all three versions need work. If you  have some constructive feedback or suggestions, let me know.

A. At the sound of a car driving up the street, Dirk King slid down in the seat. From his viewpoint he watched the car parallel park four spaces ahead. As the hooded figure stepped out of the car, Dirk wiped the buildup of fog from the driver’s side window. He watched to see what apartment the figure approached. “Goddamn lying bitch,” he spit when the figure stopped at the door to apartment 17.

B. The cord from Dirk King’s ear phones created a series of snake like figures in the fog of the tinted driver’s side window as it bounced to the jerky rhythm of Dirk’s head. The loud 80’s classic rock accosted his ear drums and blocked the sound of the angry thoughts that raced through his mind. Dirk’s snakelike eyes preyed on the door to apartment 17.

C. Alyssa Anderson was popping Jiffy Pop, waiting for her younger brother to arrive unaware that her new boyfriend was parked down the street watching another man approach his girlfriend’s apartment.

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Koira Part II

Jacob’s book lay precariously on his lap. The young boy’s head rolled to the right, a small dribble of droll peaked out the right side of his mouth. He shifted his leg. “Lord of the Flies” dropped to the floor.

Jacob stirred. He twisted his neck. He stretched his arms overheard and inhaled deeply. The house was quiet. He sat upright. The thought, “What time is it?” raced through is mind. He got up. He hesitantly asked, “Grandpa?” Silence spoke back.  He walked into the kitchen, “Grandpa?”  He opened the basement door. The lights were off. He walked outside opened the side garage door, “Grandpa?”  The car was there, but nothing else.

Koira delicately nudged the extended arm. There was no response. She let go a whine.  She lay down. It was getting dark, cold. The temperature had dropped and a cloud cover had crept in from the west. Koira was slightly hard of hearing, but she thought she heard a voice she knew. She picked up her head and turned her ears down the path.  There it was again.  She stood up.  She barked.

 

Jacob came running up the path. He broke out of the forest line into the clearing. “Grandpa!” his voice pierced.  He ran to the body, kneeled down. “Grandpa” sobbed from deep within.  Koira nudged the boy lightly on the shoulder. Jacob’s shoulders heaved in a spasm of sobs.

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Koira

Vote!

I am working on a mystery and you get to participate! In this post you will find two versions of the opening paragraphs. Vote for which version you like best! Please comment on your preference.

Version One – Jacob

The shot ripped through skin, fat, and muscle. Bone shattered along with the peacefulness of the cool, autumn day. Fallen maple and birch leaves were painted with an additional color of red like someone had sprayed a paint brush of red across the ground.

Koira’s romp in the woods had stopped dead. She lay under the low branches of a fir tree her black eyes watched a pair of mud specked army boots walk through the dead, dried grass.

The boots approached Koira’s owner. The black lab mix lay motionless, hidden. Her fear of guns overwhelmed her. The boots stood next to the body, nudged it gently.

The owner of the boots, smiled. He dipped a finger into a freshly painted leaf. He smelled the red liquid, tasted it. He felt an arousal, a small dampness in his pants. He couldn’t believe the sense of excitement, the exhilaration. The rush could was intense. But he also felt a sense of disappointment. He would not be able to talk about it to brag. It had to remain a secret – his secret.

Jacob jumped out of truck. “Thanks Dad, I’ll get grandpa to give me a ride home.” Jacob ran to the house, bolted through the back door.  “Grandpa?” There was no response. Jacob dropped his book on the kitchen table. He opened the refrigerator. He pulled out some leftover lasagna, loaded it onto a plate and put it into the microwave. He found a package of Oreos in the cupboard. He twisted one apart, licked the cream feeling and popped the top half of the cookie into his mouth. Jacob wondered where his grandfather was. Maybe he took Koira for a walk. Hopefully he wouldn’t be gone too long.

Version Two – Penn

Hank Saari debated whether he should walk around the fallen maple that blocked his path or climb over it, either way it wasn’t going to make his day any better. Hank decided to go over the trunk. He stepped over with his left leg. As he pulled his right leg over, the lace of his walking shoe snagged the stump of a small branch. He tugged on the shoe. A shot rang out. As Hank fell forward, his eyes registered a spray of red floating before it fell to abstractly paint the scattered orange and yellow leaves of autumn.

Koira yelped loudly at the gunshot and scuttled under some low hanging ever green branches. She lay low to the ground and peered out. Her black eyes, watched Hank’s prone figure.  She whimpered a couple times and then lay quietly.

Penn honked his horn and parked his Chevy S10 in front of the two car garage. He stepped out of the truck and started towards the house. Opening the door into the neat, tidy kitchen, Penn noticed there was no bakery. He laughed to himself, “Wonder how long this diet will last.” The house was quiet.  Penn shrugged, “Must be out for a walk with the dog.”

Penn took a sip of his coffee. It was lukewarm. As he looked out the kitchen window towards the back forty, Penn picked up the coffee pot. He heard a sloshing sound and poured some. “Ahhhh, much better.”

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Man in Black II

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Personal Note – Was hoping to have more, but I’m posting what I have. What are your comments? Thoughts?

Man in Black – Continued

I took the cup and threw it into the front seat of my car. It flew across the seat, hit the passenger window and dropped between the seat and car door. I left it there to join the empty Fiji water bottle and gum wrapper that occupied the passenger side floor. I hopped into the car. On the way to the gym, I pushed the cup out of my mind and went into my pre-workout preparation phase of deep breathing and light meditation.

After my workout, I stopped to get some groceries. I walked into the store in my workout shorts and sweaty tank top. An elderly woman, elderly meaning over 60, gave me a disgusted look. I shrugged it off. “It’s just a little sweat,” I thought. I went through my mental check list, “Let’s see, I need ground chicken, oatmeal, romaine lettuce, almonds, avocado and paper toweling.” I do admit I checked out the ice cream. The store brand was on sale and the Chocolate Cookie Dough was very tempting, but I convinced myself I didn’t need the calories. I proceeded to the check out.

I was putting my change into my worn wallet as I walked through the exit doors. I was no more than four steps away from the store, when I heard my name. I turned. I got dizzy for a brief moment. There was Dee standing sitting alongside the exit. I believe I said, “Hi.”

Dee smiled, got up, grabbed his bike and walked. He reached out with his right hand, “Surprised to see you here. Was out riding my bike and stopped to get a bottle of water.” As if to show me he had purchased water, he took a swig out of a one liter Fiji bottle. Dee continued, “You live near here?”

I eyed him suspiciously, “No, I was at the gym and I stopped to get some groceries on my way home. I live a couple miles up.”

Dee smiled. I hadn’t noticed until now how white and straight his teeth were. “You shouldn’t be afraid of me. You need me as a friend.”

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