Words In Color – Chapter 4

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Stevie Nicks, Edge of Seventeen

Words In Color – Chapter 4

“Where ya headed off to?” Amity’s mom looked up from her crochet on the couch.

“Uh, out..side. Just gonna star watch…a bit.” The words hung on Amity’s tongue making her sound less than honest.

Her mom nodded and smiled, a twinkle in her eye as her hands continued to loop the yarn unsupervised.

“That’s my star gazer.” Amity’s dad grinned from the opposite side of the room where he sat watching TV. It used to be he’d jump up to go with her setting up the scope in just the right position on top of the carport roof. She had him to thank for her deep seeded interest in all things stellar even if his enthusiasm had fizzled in the wake of game shows and light beer.

Closing the door behind her, Amity waited a minute, hoping neither parent followed, but more than that trying to calm her nerves.

“Just breathe,” she whispered to herself, then rubbed her sweaty palms against her jeans and stepped out. Amity hoped it would be cooler than the balmy eighty degrees creeping up the back of her neck, but was thankful for the descending darkness, a veil over the rings of sweat expanding under her arms.

Dustin stood in the same spot next to his drawing rolling a piece of chalk in his fingers. A gentle grin spread across his lips at the sight of her. Amity couldn’t help smiling under his gaze as she stopped in front of him.

“Hi.” His voice was deeper than she’d imagined, which made her think he must be older than her.

“Hi.” Amity hadn’t intended to whisper and figured it was a subconscious reaction to her parents being twenty feet away.

The pair stood and looked at each other then at the ground, then back to each other. Amity thought it felt just like an episode from a Jane Austen book.

“I really like your drawings.” Amity sounded nervous and why shouldn’t she. Her insides were trembling as if she were freezing cold.

“Thanks. I like your writing,” Dustin replied with a half smile.

“Really? Thanks.” She debated explaining how this particular poem took forever to write, but decided to save it until she knew he could handle her babbling.

“Yeah. Where’d you learn to write like that?” Dustin looked genuinely interested.

“Well, I didn’t really learn it, like in a class or something. Just started writing one day after reading a book with a horrible ending. It’s kind of therapeutic, writing. Like if I’ve had a bad day or something interests me I just start writing my feelings down. Eventually they turn into stories or poems or just thoughts. Sometimes, if I really want to make an impression I’ll research certain subjects.” Amity caught herself. She was babbling. It was exactly what she didn’t want to do, but Dustin’s expression, posture, eyes, were so open like he actually wanted to hear.

“Cool.” He smiled broadly. Amity thought he could almost see into her soul the way he looked into her eyes.

“So what about you? How did you learn to draw?”

Dustin looked down at the panther’s as if they might give him the answer. Amity thought a look of sadness crept over his face, but in the shadows, couldn’t be sure.

“Not sure. I just woke up one day and started drawing.” His answer seemed simple. So simple it made her feel stupid for asking.

“Weird, huh?” He must have noticed Amity nodding, a look of confusion on her face.

“No, not at all.” She stammered. “I just figured this kind of talent must have been learned to some degree, but when I think about it, there’s no way someone could learn to draw this way. Could they? I don’t think so, but again I don’t know. I don’t think I could, but that’s just me.” Amity stop talking, she said to herself ending the rant before it became a full fledged monologue.

Dustin chuckled. “Sure you could. You just have to practice.” Amity thought he was just being nice, but appreciated the gesture.

“No, I’m pretty sure you’re born with these skills.” She dropped her eyes to his drawing.

“Probably, just like you were born with writing skills.” Dustin’s compliment gave her that warm feeling in her stomach. She wanted to debate learning to write since that’s what every English class was based on, that and reading books no less than a hundred years old.

“So, how do you decide what to draw? What’s your inspiration?” Amity hoped she wasn’t being too nosy, but thought it a valid question, one that would extend her time with him.

“Sometimes I draw things I’ve seen in books or on TV. Sometimes people I’ve seen or maybe combinations of people.” Dustin smiled as he studied her face wishing the light was better.

“Combinations? Sounds interesting, like pizza.” Amity imagined his mind worked like a Mr. Potato Head toy plugging traits from one person onto another.

Dustin laughed. “Yeah, but not as tasty.” He thought her quirky sense of humor fit her name.

The thought of eating brought Amity’s attention to Dustin’s mouth. His lips reminded her of puffy marshmallows in the shape of a heart perched peacefully under his nose.

Dustin bit his bottom lip under the scrutiny. He’d always felt like his mouth was a bit oversized for his face, so sometimes rolled his lips inward hoping they’d somehow melt under the pressure.

“You wanna walk?” He motioned his head toward the end of the courtyard.

“Sure.” Amity answered before thinking twice about walking with a stranger, at night no less, but in her heart she didn’t feel anything strange about him.

Dustin grinned as they turned and started to the far end of the complex. It wasn’t a long walk, maybe two or three minutes, but Amity aimed to make it longer shuffling her feet like a toddler.

“So, where are you from? Any brothers or sisters? What do your parent’s do?” Amity knew she sounded like a reporter, but she wanted to know everything about Dustin.

He stifled a full fledged laugh, a bit taken aback at her jump into this personal line of questioning. “Are you writing my life story?”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to offend you.” Amity looked down at her sandals.

“I’m not offended.” He smiled into her eyes. She thought for a second they looked the deepest shade of brown, but as he tilted his head toward the street lamp she could tell they were an orange eerily similar to that of the panther’s.

His gaze made her nervous causing a trickle of sweat to escape from under her arm and trace a path to her elbow. She quickly rubbed her arm against her side pretending to scratch her back. Dustin seemed not to notice.

“I’m from Oregon. I’m an only child. My dad works for the airline’s and my mom’s…” He hesitated looking off in the distance as if his mom might appear and save him from the painful admission. Amity watched him wondering if he might finish or leave her to decide for herself.

“My mom lives in New York.” Dustin looked Amity square in the eye, a solemn expression on his face. He wanted to hide the fact that his parents were separated, but couldn’t stand the thought of losing another friend when the truth came out. He didn’t know what it was, but every time he came clean it was like he had the plague losing friends over the course of a few weeks, sometimes days. No, he couldn’t wait to tell Amity. If she were going to reject him then he’d rather have her do it before they were friends and he really hoped they would be, friends.

Amity watched his face for a minute then smiled, “I heard Central Park is pretty cool, but they can’t see the stars like we can.”

A feeling of relief soaked Dustin to the core. “Really? Good to know.”

“Yeah, too many city lights not to mention the smog.” Amity grinned wide. He thought for a second how cute she looked with her cheeks all puffed out. “Take for instance those stars there,” she held her arm in the air and pointed toward a cluster of bright twinkling lights.

Dustin raised his head to the sky, “Orion.”

“How’d you know?” Amity sounded shocked and impressed at the same time.

“I like to read. Plus, Oregon has an even better view.” He winked at her, a sly smile on his face.

Amity felt her heart skip a beat. She thought Dustin might be too good to be true. What she didn’t know is that he thought the same about her.

~ **** ~

Chapter 3

Words In Color – Chapter 3

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Goo Goo Dolls, Here Is Gone

Words In Color – Chapter 3

Amity awoke to a beam of sunlight, like a laser, across her eyes. She raised up on an elbow squinting at the curtains, which she was certain she’d pulled closed last night, and noticed a small crack in the fabric. Small maybe to the naked eye, but under direct sunlight she thought it more like a huge gap.

“Musta forgot to pull ’em all the way last night,” she mumbled laying back on her pillow. Amity always left her curtains open until she could see the moon. Then sat on the chest under her window and watched it, glowing, breathing, pulling words from her. Words likened to prayers. It was a ritual she’d started as a little girl after her dad brought home a telescope. She still remembered the bruise in the shape of a circle around her eye from staring at the moon for so long.

Rolling to face the opposite wall she decided the curtain adjustment could wait. Besides, it was Saturday and she wasn’t getting out of bed before nine.

Holding her eyes tightly shut she tried to re-enter her dream: angels floating in the sky singing the words she’d written to Dustin while he sketched for her. Wacky she knew, but she could live with that as long as he was in it.

His eyes so kind, smiling at her while he drew images that magically appeared in the sky – a bear, elephant, butterfly. She thought it odd how he never took his eyes from her and yet all of his drawings were perfect, “Just like him,” she smiled at his image in her mind.

As she dozed, a spark of sunshine hit Amity in the face reflected off of a silver bracelet hanging over the side of her dresser.

“Oh, come on!” She sat up throwing the covers off. Stomping to the window she geared up to show the curtains who was boss. Grabbing the fabric edge of each, she yanked them together pulling not only across, but down. This proved a strain on the already bowing bar responsible for upholding the heavy window treatments, which caved under the pressure landing in a heap at her feet.

“My God. Really?” Amity thought the situation could’ve been a Murphy’s Law shoe-in had the bar actually hit her on the way down. She kicked the heap off her feet and resigned herself to the fact that the universe obviously wanted her awake.

Stepping to the window she cupped a hand over her eyes and looked out across the grassy lawn. Sometimes she spotted the French dog, for lack of a better title, who took it upon himself to go number two on the sidewalk just like the dogs in France at least that’s what her friend Sasha said. She wondered how she’d managed to avoid stepping in a steaming pile and chalked it up to the fact the dog was so fat he couldn’t waddle to this side of the courtyard.

Sliding open the window Amity breathed in the scent of the morning, fresh and dewy, before the sun strangled it with a deathly heat. Raising her arms she arched her back and stretched as high as she could, then lowered her hands to the window sill as her eyes came to rest on the sidewalk below. She thought for a minute she’d left her blanket outside, which was now on the sidewalk looking like a heap of dirt. Moving to the side peering only through the glass, Amity caught her breath, “Another drawing from Dustin,” she whispered, the warmth of her breath fogging the window.

Her heart raced as she turned to throw on clothes and get a better look. Bolting down the stairs, she stumbled on the second to last step and almost went head long into the front door, but managed to grab the banister and correct herself before spraining her ankle, a talent she’d perfected at least a dozen times in the last six months.

“Well you’re up early for a weekend.” The voice of Amity’s mother caught her by surprise.

“Yeah, well you know what they say.” She tried to slow her pace and excitement. The last thing she needed was her mother standing beside her wondering who’d drawn the graffiti in the middle of the night.

“No, what do they say?” A look of intrigue spread across her mother’s face.

“Uh, the early worm gets a head start on the bird.” Or whatever the saying was, she thought.

“Good one! I’ll make that the quote of the day on my Facebook page.” The statement made Amity flinch and by the look on her mom’s face, she knew she was serious.

“Please don’t. Isn’t there some old people stuff you can post?” She didn’t really mind her mom quoting her, it was the whole “I’m so hip because I post on Facebook” attitude that made her a little nauseous.

Her mom pursed her lips and wrinkled her nose as if she were thinking then said, “Naw, besides I’m not as witty as you are.” She flashed a smile at Amity who rolled her eyes while silently accepting the compliment.

“I’ll be back in a minute.” Amity reached for the door maybe a little too eager as she pulled against the lock still firmly in place.

“Where ya goin’ in such a rush?” Her mom sounded concerned.

“Just outside for a second. I think I forgot something.” Amity finally twisted the dead bolt open and was out the door before her mom got on a full roll with twenty questions.

Approaching the chalk drawing Amity’s hunch was confirmed, it was indeed a black panther, in a standing position, a cub between its front legs. Behind them a setting sun in hues of orange, yellow and red, made the cats seem all the more black as they popped from the picture in 3D style. Every muscle was outlined with such precision, every facial detail highlighted making the animals seem as real as if they were standing right there. The mother’s orange eyes stared at her as if trying to tell her something yet at the same time, looking right through her.

“Black panther’s,” Amity mused to herself. She’d read about their symbolism some time ago in a history book. Now what was it about them, she wondered. She remembered the guardian part, ability to know the dark, which she found kind of redundant given its black color and the fact it was a cat, then there was something about it symbolizing the feminine. She knew there was more, but for the life of her couldn’t think, not now.

Her mind was blank standing their in awe over their beauty, their silky black bodies reminding her of Dustin’s hair. Amity’s heart skipped a beat realizing the location again, just under her window. She felt her cheeks flame with embarrassment at the thought of him creating this especially for her, in the middle of the night, while she slept.

Images of Romeo and Juliet floated in her mind as she pictured the scene, a smile gracing her lips. Realizing she probably looked like a romantic idiot she quickly scanned the courtyard for his face and was relived not to see him. She looked a mess and felt sure her complexion matched the red Coca-Cola t-shirt she was wearing.

Heading inside she made a b-line for her bedroom where she pulled books from her shelf detailing symbolism, mysticism and ancient tribes. Pouring over each she soaked up everything she could find, and make sense out of as it pertained to black panthers, feverishly jotting notes in her journal. She had to respond to his effort, but she wanted it to be deeper believing it only fair since he’d shared a piece of himself through his creation.

Moving to her window Amity peered at the drawing again. “So powerful,” she thought. She found it interesting he depicted the mother in a stance that evoked protection yet the look in the cub’s eyes seemed somehow fearful maybe of something in her. Crouched low its head tilted up toward her face, its eyes questioning, even pleading.

Squinting Amity noticed one of its small paws wrapped around the outside of the mother’s leg as if trying to hold on, stop her from moving. “A piece of him,” she whispered to herself.

 ~****~

 I move through the darkness, welcome its solace, bask in the solitude. Here I find the light, one which once I did not understand being of great sorrow and fear. Yet time has opened my eyes, awakened my senses, allowed reclamation of a hope I’d exchanged for death. From the night I emerge, feeding on knowledge, blessed with truth, graced with power.

Amity wondered when Dustin would come as she stood looking out her window. It had taken her five hours to write the four lines, but that was nothing compared to the painstaking thirty minutes it took her to scrawl it next to his drawing. She’d like to blame it on the chalk, but really it was her fingers or more precisely, her nerves.

She second guessed almost every syllable she wrote wondering if it made any sense or, more importantly, expressed what she felt about him. Well not really him because she didn’t know him, but the him she saw in his drawings.

Amity didn’t want to miss Dustin reading her poem, almost as romantic as him drawing for her, so sat on the chest under her window, eyes glued to the courtyard. She tried to read, but quickly tired of losing her place between glancing out the window and fantasizing about seeing him, not to mention, re-reading line after line.

It was almost seven before he returned. Spotting his black hair, she caught her breath and sat up straight looking over the side of the window sill just enough to see him. Wearing khaki cargo pants and a white button down shirt rolled up at the elbows, she thought him a vision of perfection.

He stood over her poem then knelt in front of it as if to get a better view. Amity had to admit, she did write smaller this time trying to fit all of the words in one cement square.

Dustin looked up at the window and caught Amity staring. Her face went hot. She debated ducking out of sight, but decided against it. He smiled at her then waved. Amity returned the gesture. For a few seconds they just stared at each other, grins on their faces, unsure of what to do next. Then he motioned for her to come down.

Amity’s eyes bulged, “Us, meeting face to face?” The thought made her sick with excitement, but there was nothing she wanted more.

 ~****~

Chapter 2                                                                             Chapter 4

Words In Color – Chapter 2

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan – Silence

Words In Color – Chapter 2

In the still of my world, when the turmoil called my life seems, at last, unbearable, I wrap myself in the one saving grace I own. One day, they’ll take me far from here, show me truth, teach me love, give me peace.

Dustin stood over his drawing in the parking lot reading the words for the umpteenth time digesting every syllable as if it were the water of life. He hadn’t expected her to reply, except for maybe a “Hi,” but she had and written a poem no less. A smile parted his lips as he read her name, Amity. It reminded him of the horror movie. He shuddered to think a parent would name their kid after such a horrible thing. “Poor girl, no wonder she’s like a hermit,” he thought.

He’d noticed her a few months back when he moved here. Another apartment to add to his sketch book of broken promises, right behind the promise of a house with a yard big enough for a dog, a bike and set of oil paints, but that was before everything went to hell. Before his mom left.

Dustin didn’t half blame her. If she would’ve asked him to go with her, he would have, tired of the screaming arguments, the tension, the sadness. Now there was just sadness mixed with the occasional tension about his grades and why they weren’t higher than their regular A and B status.

Turning toward her apartment Dustin wondered if Amity were even there, maybe watching him out the window. Not that he knew which window was hers, but guessed it was the one upstairs, just like his. He squinted trying to get a better view through the darkness, but quickly decided it was too late for anyone to be up doing anything, much less observing the grounds.

This was his favorite time to be out, eleven or later. No one to bother you, no over bearing heat to make you wish you were dead and no sound. The silence was his peace, not that he didn’t get it at home, but this was different. This silence made him feel alive as though within his being began to grow the person he really was, wanted to be.

Visions of paintings, sketches, sculptures floated through his mind each distinctly different, but all his creation. He took out his chalk, knelt to the ground and studied the surface. The sidewalk was smooth. Better than the carport, but more foot traffic. He could only hope the dyslexic dog didn’t choose this spot to leave his deposit, a horror Dustin discovered a few weeks ago when exiting his apartment in a rush to get to school. He still couldn’t figure out why the dog went on the sidewalk instead of stepping four inches into the grass.

He remembered how the day stunk, literally. Without an extra set of shoes he was stuck. Wiping it in the grass didn’t help except to push it further into the grooves on the bottom of his Vans. Even turning the hose on it seemed a waste of time given the water pressure wouldn’t go higher than a dribble. So off he’d gone to school, soggy shoe smelling of dog poo. If there was anything that said, “Stay away from me,” louder than that, Dustin didn’t know what it could be.

Pulling an orange piece of chalk from a small case he began to draw. For some reason he thought of his mom. He wondered where she was. Thirteen months and three days ago she’d sent a postcard from New York. Her words seemed light and airy, “Getting to know the city. It’s so beautiful! Can’t wait for you to come visit.” Visit. The word made him feel less a part of her life than he ever had. Did she really only think of him as a visitor? The thought made him pause remembering the picture on the card, an aerial shot of Central Park. Sure it looked pretty, but there were lots of parks where they lived in Oregon. Heck, who needed a park when the entire forest was your backyard, Dustin wondered.

Putting a knee down and stretching his arm as far as he could to the left, he finished the outline of the drawing, which now spanned two and a half sidewalk squares. Next he grabbed white and started another sketch in the center. His hand flowed freely as if he were tracing lines already on the ground.

Dustin wasn’t sure why he could draw the pictures in his mind, he just knew that if he didn’t he couldn’t focus on anything else. They were like firefly’s trapped in a jar aimlessly throwing themselves against the glass until someone let them out. Sometimes he thought it a curse, up all night drawing until his hand hurt so bad he couldn’t even do his homework. Yet he felt somehow fulfilled if not relieved, to give them life.

The cool air felt good on the back of his neck. He leaned on his hand and looked up at Amity’s window. For a second, he thought he saw the faintest flicker of light, but decided it was a reflection of the street lamp in the window. Grabbing a handful of chalk he began to fill in the sketch using various colors. He liked this chalk. It actually stuck pretty well without smearing.

Dustin worked peacefully filling in details and accents from his vision. Finishing the final touches he heard a rustling in the bushes. Turning from his work he strained to see who or what it could be. The light was horrible and his eyes were having a hard time adjusting, but whatever it was couldn’t be bigger than a cat.

“Probably after a mouse,” Dustin thought returning to his work. Not more than a few minutes later the noise maker made itself known running across the chalk art leaving muddy footprints in its wake.

“Damn it!” Dustin whispered under his breath looking after the cat as if it might offer an apology.

Licking his finger he began to rub the mud off wiping it on the grass. Luckily it was mainly across the top of the sketch, but still annoying. He managed to get most of it off then colored over it using the orange chalk again, which didn’t entirely hide the obvious paw prints, but he hoped she didn’t notice.

Dustin sat back and looked at his creation. He nodded, a grin on his face. He was pleased despite the cat’s contribution. He laid back on the grass, his hands behind his head, and looked up again at Amity’s window. He wondered what she might do when she saw it and wished he could see her when she did. For a minute he debated spying on her, but decided it was dumb since he had no idea when she woke or came outside.

Laying in the still dark night Dustin was reminded of his home in Oregon. It wasn’t odd for him to sleep outside in the summer, alone, under the stars with only a blanket. After getting the hammock it was even easier. He could fall asleep right now if he wasn’t afraid Amity would find him under her window in the morning, drool running down his face.

The thought spurred him to collect his chalk and head home. As he stood to leave he looked toward her window one last time and smiled as if she were watching him through the curtains. He turned to leave contemplating when he should come back to check on his drawing and not for more paw prints.

~****~

Chapter 1

Words In Color – Chapter 1

Read the intro to Words In Color here.

Jason Mraz – You And I Both

Words In Color – Chapter 1

Amity leaned her head back against the wall of the apartment building. It was hot. Even in the shade she was sweating like a pig. She wished for a pool, a real one, not the one she created sitting on the vinyl couch suffocating under the glory of a swamp cooler. She’d never been in a steam room before, but guessed it was similar to the feeling in her apartment.

“Sit in the flower bed. It’s not as hot.” Her mom had said, but the thought of creepy crawlies and dirt on her butt wasn’t all that appealing, so she took an old blanket and spread it out as far as she could on either side of her. So far, it was working aside from the June bug that dive bombed her right eye.

Then she saw him. It had been awhile, but there he was, sitting on the sidewalk in front of the carport holding a book in one hand while the other scribbled quickly with what looked like a pencil. She wondered what he was writing, but didn’t have the nerve to ask, so, watched. She was good at that particularly when her subject didn’t know she was there, watching.

He put the book and pencil down then pulled something from his pocket and began marking on the ground of the parking lot.

“Hm, a guy who still likes to doodle with chalk,” Amity thought. For a second she classified it as juvenile, but decided if chalk were available right now she’d be doodling aimlessly on the ground too even if she was on the verge of sixteen.

She found herself mesmerized by him, so intent on what he was doing, drawing. His black hair glinted in the sunlight as he leaned back rolled his shoulders then stretched his bronze arms overhead and looked behind him. Their eyes met as if magnetically bound. Amity froze caught in his stare, but more than that, caught staring. He did a double take and sent a sideways grin before she brought her book up between them.

“Geez! That was embarrassing,” Amity said under her breath. She searched for the place she’d left off reading, but the words seemed unfamiliar as if she’d never seen them. A fact she knew to be untrue as she’d read The Black Stallion at least fifty times.

Amity lowered the book a hair to see if he’d gone back to drawing. He had.

“Oh good. He’s forgotten about me,” she thought surveilling him once again. This time she kept the book perched on her knees to make it look as if she were really reading, but lowered it just enough to see him over the edge.

The boy looked over his shoulder again studying her, maybe trying to decide if she were really reading instead of drilling a hole in the back of his head with her eyes. Standing, he turned facing her then crouched low and continued to draw. Every now and then he’d look up, even paused once for a few minutes and stared in her direction, his almond shaped eyes daring her to look at him for longer than a blink. Amity made sure to turn a page, or two, giving the impression she was, in fact, reading.

After what seemed like forever, but not long enough, he stood, picked up his notebook, smiled at her and walked away. She grinned behind her own book, but doubted he saw being at least forty feet away.

“I hope he doesn’t think I’m infatuated with him,” Amity thought as she watched him disappear around a corner. The truth was, she could hardly keep her eyes from him the whole time he was out here and that went for anytime he was out here, so she guessed infatuated might be appropriate.

Amity waited a few minutes remaining in her position. She wanted to see what he’d drawn, but couldn’t chance him swinging back around and catching her in the act. Not that it would be horrible if he did, catch her. It wasn’t like she didn’t have any business in that area, which she didn’t, but she couldn’t wait until her dad got home and parked over it. A tragedy marked by dripping oil and tire tread.

Finally, she closed her book and stood, making her way slowly to the carport while keeping her eyes fixed in the direction he’d walked. Her heart raced. What would she do, say, if he showed up? She wondered. She thought herself horrible with words, well saying them. She was better at reading them and had a certain knack for writing them, but coming out of her mouth, not good.

She reached the edge of the sidewalk where he’d been working and stopped. It was like nothing she’d ever seen. A beautiful angel, her wings wrapped around her in an embrace, eyes closed in a silent solace as she leaned one side of her face into the feathery pillow. The detail of her being was amazing. She wondered what kind of chalk he’d used to draw such precise features, but decided it wasn’t the chalk to be in awe over.

Her eyes traced the wings, their realistic beauty moving her to reach down and stroke them. She rubbed the dust between her fingers as if it might tell her something about the sketch, the artist, then continued tracing the outline to the bottom. Scrawled in a half circle under a wing was his name, “Dustin Knight.” Amity repeated it in her head a million times further engraving it on her memory. That’s when she saw it, the message, just below his name, two letters, “Hi,” with a smiley face below.

It was already a hundred degrees outside, but she felt her temperature rise another twenty knowing he’d probably written the message for her, the mute girl in the corner pretending to be a statue when she really wanted to be next to him. Embarrassed, Amity jerked her head up quickly glancing around expecting to see him spying on her around a corner, but he was nowhere in sight.

Taking a breath, she relaxed enough to notice he’d left a piece of chalk next to the message, so did what came naturally – wrote back.

~****~

Chapter 2

 

 

Johnny Mustang Illustrated Children’s Book Released!

You heard about it, saw a few illustrations, but then…nothing.

Well, here it is!

My illustrated children’s book, Johnny Mustang The Adventure Begins.

Currently only available on Amazon and here on my site.

 

Highway 90 YA Novelette Now Available

Too long coming! My debut YA novelette, Highway 90, is now available for purchase. Woo Hoo!!!

Amazon

Smashwords

You should be able to find me on Barnes & Noble, Apple and others by searching directly on their sites in a few weeks.

I’d love to hear your feedback, good or bad.

Thanks and enjoy!

P.S. The cover below is the winner and actually used on the digital file. Big shout out to my artist, Malice Bathory, for the design.

Short Story Cover Art Preview

Geez! It’s like a ghost town over here. Sorry guys!

I’ve been editing my young adult novelette while working with a few different artists on the cover art. I think I’m finally ready to publish, but thought I’d post the covers and synopsis to give you an idea about what’s been in my head for the past few months.

As you can see, I’m indecisive about the cover design, mainly the title. Below are only three of the many variations sitting on my hard drive.

Feel free to let me know which design you like better.

I’m planning on releasing the story January 1, but could be sooner.

Thanks!

Synopsis: For Brooke and Paige, life in a small border town is getting boring. The same faces cruising the boulevard and getting drunk in the desert just feel so ‘high school’ until a trip to a Mexican nightclub changes the way they view life, love and freedom.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy Tony by Terry Gelormino Silver – Free Short Story For Your Creepy Pleasure

CRAZY TONY

Although the sky was overcast with the threat of rain, the dull morning light coming in the high, bare window woke ten-year old Tony out of paralyzing dreams of blood, screams, and being chased. He lay there for a few minutes listening to the brush strokes of branches against the side of the building and breathed in the sour smells and dusty atmosphere of his “home,” an old storage building which one of his mother’s boyfriends had offered for their use.

Tony felt around his body to be sure his surroundings were real, patting the coarse texture of his mattress and reaching out tentative fingers to touch the rough, splintered floor boards. Finally reassured that he was safe, he stared up the cobwebs streaming down from the ceiling,, happy with their familiarity.

Any indications that Tony might be bothered by his nightly terrors or the stresses of his daily life weren’t obvious. He didn’t cry easily or have the nervous tics some children under stress tended to display–unless you counted the frequent venting of his odd laugh a tic of sorts.

Tony had the feeling that he had been laughing as he woke up and wondered about it, but finally decided he hadn’t since his mother hadn’t yelled her usual “Shut up, you idiot.” If she had yelled anything, he hadn’t heard her. In fact he hadn’t heard her come in during the night or early hours of the morning like he usually did when she came stumbling in, bumping into the crates and few pieces of furniture that occupied a small area of the cavernous, unpainted, weather-beaten building that was their home.

Many nights Tony would hear his mother laughing uproariously to herself. Other nights he would be jarred awake by a slamming door and her stormy passage from one end of the building to the other–muttering angrily the whole way. He’d cower fearfully as he felt the vibrations of her angry feet through his thin mattress that was only an inch or two off the floor.

Occasionally, he’d hear the high, keening found of her sorrow as she drank and brooded over the failures and rejections of her life. Her weeping made him want to comfort her, but he had learned better. When he was much younger, he would have instinctively run to her and beg her not to cry. Too soon he learned that what often started out as grateful affection from his mother, as he told her how much he loved her, would turn into anger against him and blame that he had caused her hard life.

Not having heard his mother come in, he was still young enough to hope that she had kept her promise to give up drinking, a promise she’d made the night she’d gotten angry and thrown him against the wall–breaking his arm. That time even she was horrified at what her anger had done.

“I’m sorry, baby,” she sobbed. “I wouldn’t hurt you for the world.” She had cried and petted him all the way to the doctor as she explained why he had to tell the doctor he fell out of a tree; otherwise he’d be taken away from her and placed in a foster home. Her stories about monstrous foster parents and the starvation and tortures taking place in their homes terrified him and he was more than willing to lie to avoid being put in a foster home.

Although curious as to why he hadn’t heard his mother come in, past experience made Tony less than eager to learn the truth about her condition; so he decided to just get ready for school. Wrapping his old crib blanket around his shoulders, he shoved his bare feet into his worn sneakers, pushed aside the sheet that curtained off his sleeping area, then tip-toed outside, his shoelaces flapping softly.

Although he usually went into the wooded area for his toilet functions, early in the morning he often just let go into the dirt behind the old abandoned factory. The old roller bearing factory stood like a fortress in front of their building, hiding it from the view of people in passing cars who had no idea that someone actually lived back there so close to the town dump.

After relieving himself, Tony felt a few rain drops and hurriedly took his best-looking pair of jeans from the clothes line he’d strung along the side of the building. He examined the jeans and sighed. They still looked stained and dirty even though he had hosed them good and scrubbed as hard as he could with the splinter of soap he’d found among his mother’s things.

It was a tough choice–to wash the jeans or himself. It was the only soap he could find. When his mother came back from a shopping trip and he’d ask if she’d gotten soap, she’d say she ran out of money or blandly tell him she’d forgotten. Sometimes he tried to catch her when she still had money in hopes he could buy it himself, but that merely made her angry.

“If you want luxuries,” she’d say, “and think you’re so high-class, why’nt you get a job?” He was too young to get a work permit and she knew it. When Tony did get hold of any money, he used it on necessities like soap, toothpaste and toilet paper, although he would have liked it spend it on maybe a toy or some candy.

Occasionally one of his mother’s boyfriends would give him a few coins and once he made a few dollars when a car broke down in front of the ball bearing factory. He helped the driver push the stalled vehicle to the side of the road, got him some water for the car, and ran to the nearest store for help since he and his mother had no telephone.

It had been a long while since Tony had gotten any money. He hated looking so dirty all the time and knew he must smell pretty bad the way other people, especially kids, pulled away and held their noses when he came near.

Tony vaguely remembered that he and his mother hadn’t always lived this way and wondered why they were always moving. He also wondered if his mother ever washed herself since they always seemed to be out of soap. Sometimes she drenched herself in perfume from Woolworth’s, which gave her a pungent scent when the smell of the perfume blended with her profuse sweat. At times Tony figured she washed at one of her boyfriend’s houses since she’d often return looking cleaner and smelling a lot fresher.

* * *

Tony turned toward the open door and listened anxiously. His mother wasn’t up yet and it probably was just as well since she was always in a bad mood if she didn’t get as much sleep as she wanted. Maybe he’d just hurry to school without waking her.

Tony put on his jeans and looked for his one good shirt which seemed to have disappeared. He wondered if he had misplaced it or if maybe, just maybe, his mother had decided to iron it. When he heard the guttural snoring coming from the front of the building, the momentary brightening of his mood was quickly replaced by the surer knowledge that he was plain stupid to be thinking along such lines.

As he headed toward the area that was more or less their living room when it wasn’t his mother’s bedroom, a strong smell of whiskey overwhelmed him and he shrank back, wrinkling his nose, before cautiously approaching his mother. He wished it wasn’t necessary to wake her but he had to have a shirt and had looked everywhere without success.

“Ma,” he called to the still sleeping woman sprawled out on the couch the way she had landed in the dark hours of the morning.

“Do you know where my shirt is? I have to get ready for school.”

“Huh? Whadda ya want?”

“My shirt, Ma. What did you do with it?”

“Geez, can’t you do anything for yourself?” She grabbed onto the heavy crate which they used for a coffee table with one hand and pushed against the floor with the other, trying to get up. She gave up and sank back into the couch which bumped against the wall, and closed her eyes against the annoyance in front of her.

Fearing his mother’s wrath, Tony hesitated for a moment and then leaned over her and gently pulled at her sleeve. When she failed to respond, he pulled more forcefully and then finally put his hand on her shoulder and shook her.

‘”I’m sorry, Ma, but I need my shirt for school.”

“You’re a damn pain in the ass,” his mother whispered through the haze of sleep. “Help me up.”

Although only 10, Tony was strong for his age and by bending his knees and stiffening his muscles he was able to pull his 300-pound mother into a sitting position and then helped her rise onto her unwilling feet.

Pushing her lank, blond hair out of her eyes, Lizzie Swink stared at her dark-eyed son reproachfully. He knew what she was thinking; she’d told him often enough. The words went around and around in his head like a song he couldn’t shake loose. You look just like your old man. That old bastard knocked me up and took off. Now I’m stuck with you.

Tony couldn’t help feeling resentful. She acted as though it was his fault his father didn’t marry her and was always saying if she hadn’t been such a good-hearted, religious woman, he’d have been put in an orphanage or foster home.

Sometimes he felt like punching his mother. He almost had the time she found his collection of shiny stones and tossed them out like they were just a pile of junk. The stones had been his prized possession, his only pleasure actually–sometimes serving as his toys, occasionally as worry beads while he waited in the dark night for his mother to come home. He mostly just liked to sit and stare at them, admiring their beauty as the sun lighted up their surfaces and brought out the different colors. Tony had retrieved the stones, hid them carefully and only brought them out to rub between his hands when he knew his mother wouldn’t be home for a long time.

I’m gonna leave her too, he often thought after his mother had been more abusive than usual. Then remembering a loving mother from long ago, Tony would feel guilty for a short while. He wondered, however, if the loving mother he thought he remembered was the same angry one he lived with or a kind and gentle mother from a book he’d read. Maybe it was just a fantasy he’d created in an effort to comfort himself when he was a small boy.

Suddenly realizing he’d been standing there just staring at his mother with what she called his dummy look, he blinked rapidly and felt his throat tighten as her eyes hardened into blue stones.

“Where’s my shirt, Ma?” Tony said in his softest, most placating voice, fearing it was going to be another one of those days when anything he said would hit her the wrong way.

“You got no right taking that tone with me,” she said angrily. “You’re always wanting something. I want this, I want that. It’s endless.” She drew back her hand and slapped him hard across the face. “You watch how you talk to me, you hear?”

“Why’d you hit me, Ma? I was only asking about my shirt. I can’t go to school with just a torn tee shirt. The kids already make fun of the way I dress and smell.”

Lizzie looked hopefully into the bottle sitting on the crate but it was empty. Sighing heavily, she swiveled slowly around and let her eyes search the various clusters and piles for a sign of anything resembling a boy’s shirt. Finally, she gave up and lumbered back to the couch to finish her sleep. Lizzie lifted up the faded and snagged afghan lying there and saw that she had been sleeping on Tony’s shirt.

“Here’s your damn shirt,” she muttered, throwing it across the room toward him. She fell back and closed her eyes, pulling the afghan she’d found along a roadside up to her chin.

The shirt was a dingy, wrinkled-up ball. Tony tried to smooth it while carrying it back to the curtained off area where he slept and washed up. After bringing in a pail of cold water from the yard, he washed up as best he could without soap, dried his hands on a strip of sheeting hanging from a nail, and searched for something to blow his nose on. Although he often just wiped his nose on his hand or shirt, today he wanted to look especially nice–for Elizabeth. Lacking either a handkerchief or a piece of tissue, he tore off a piece of sheeting and used that, stuffing it into his pocket for later use. His nose always seemed to be running and he sure didn’t want it running today when he’d finally get the nerve to talk with the prettiest girl in the fifth grade.

It was also important that his teeth look clean and his breath smell good when he got up close enough to tell Elizabeth he liked her. Not having any toothpaste, he tore off another piece of sheeting, dampened it and rubbed it hard against his teeth, then rinsed his mouth with cold water. He hoped his breath was okay. Maybe if he found some of that peppery weed before he got to school and chewed on it for a few minutes, it would definitely make his breath smell better.

Tony tried to ignore the pressure in his gut, hating to always use the wooded area in the back when he had to go, like some animal, he thought. If he hurried, he could use the school bathroom before class. That was about the only reason he liked to go to school. The other kids disliked him just about as much as his mother did and like the kids at earlier schools. Tony guessed it would always be that way, people hating him, his stained and shapeless clothing, ugly face and crooked teeth. He brushed his chopped-off hair with his fingers, grabbed his books and put them under his windbreaker for protection against the rain, and started running the half mile to school. Although he sidestepped the puddles, the moisture quickly seeped through the worn places at the bottom of his sneakers.

Today’s the day, Tony thought as he ran. He was finally going to talk to Elizabeth. What would he say? What would she say? Would he look good enough? Up to now, he had been content only to look at her or to walk closely behind her–as close as he dared.

But today . . . Today! The possible scenarios played themselves out in his imagination to the muted rumblings of his odd laughter, now an habitual accompaniment to his racing thoughts. At first, Tony imagined only happy conclusions to the day’s events, but it wasn’t long before thoughts of all that had gone wrong in his life came to the fore. Happiness always seemed just out of his reach. He began running faster as he worried and his laughter grew louder and louder until it was deep in his throat and chest the way that guy Gildersleeve sounded on the cassette tape of old radio shows that Mike Welch’s mother had.

Tony had first heard that laugh outside an open window of the Welch’s house and sometimes he could listen to a whole tape before Mike’s parents noticed and chased him away. Tony didn’t know why he had liked and adopted Gildersleeve’s laugh as his own, or why he spontaneously laughed that way when he was worried or tense Sometimes he was unaware he was laughing until someone mentioned it–particularly the kids at school. Some of them called him Crazy Tony because of it.

Tony reached the school yard a few minutes before the bell sounded. He ignored the catcalls and whistles coming from the crowd of boys over by the school fence.

“Hey, stinky Swinky!”

“Look what the cat dragged in.”

Then from the group of girls where Elizabeth was standing, he heard “Tony, Tony, smells like a pony,” and the sound of high-pitched giggling.

He glanced furtively toward the girls to see if Elizabeth was joining in the laughter, but she was only looking with disgust at his wrinkled shirt and jeans with the grease stains he hadn’t been able to wash out.

Elizabeth! It’s Ma’s name too, Tony thought, although he couldn’t imagine his mother being called anything but Lizzie. Elizabeth was a name for someone soft and clean and beautiful. He smiled shyly with open admiration toward the brown-eyed girl with chestnut-colored hair tumbling around her shoulders. Elizabeth lifted her chin and turned away.

“I can’t understand why that horrible dirty boy doesn’t leave me alone,” she complained to the group of girls rushing with her into the building as the bell sounded. She cringed as she heard the sound of hurried steps behind her and knew with certainty it was Crazy Tony trying to get close behind her, like always.

Tony caught up to her and she turned around to face him, angry that he dared to direct his attention toward her.

“Just listen, Elizabeth,” he whispered, not realizing that the sibilant sounds had made him spit on her until she glared at him and wiped her cheek.

“You spit on me, you stupid boy,” she hissed, and your breath smells. Don’t you ever brush your teeth?”

Stung by her venomous tone, Tony began to laugh and shifted uncertainly from one foot to the other. Then to his embarrassment, because he had delayed so long in getting to a bathroom, he passed gas loud enough for Elizabeth to hear. He watched her lip curl in scorn and felt the blood rush to his head.

“God, you’re such a pig,” she said, turning away in disgust while he rushed to the bathroom. Late or not, he had to go.

When Tony entered the classroom and headed for his seat, another boy who also had his eye on Elizabeth saw a good opportunity to win her approval. He put out his leg as Tony passed, tripping him and knocking the books out of his hands. The other kids started snickering and, out of the corner of his eyes, Tony looked toward where Elizabeth was sitting and saw her smile.

Tony took his seat in the back of the room where the teacher had assigned him because of his smell. The teacher tapped with her ruler for silence and glared at him for being late and disrupting the class.

As the kids started settling down, Tony found the old Gildersleeve laugh starting to bubble up from his throat and quickly turned it into a cough.

Because he’d had no friends and spent so much time alone, Tony had read many books–some he’d found discarded in the dump and some he’d brought home from the school library. In many ways, his general knowledge was greater than most of the kids in his class but he was always told to shut up when he wanted to participate in the after-school conversations.

Listening to the other kids’ naïve questions and replies as they interacted with the teacher stirred up the laughter he’d been trying to suppress all day. Without warning, the laughter surged up from deep in his chest to his throat and burst forth into a loud explosion. The class looked at each other and then at the teacher to see what if anything she was going to do about the freak in the back of the room.

Tony put his head on his desk, laughing and laughing until the tears rolled down his cheeks. The teacher commanded him to stop the racket and then pointedly ignored him the rest of the day as did most of the other kids, except for an occasional snicker or whisper aimed in his direction.

As soon as class was over, Tony grabbed his stuff and ran out into the rain, welcoming the downpour on his head and face, grateful that its stream was hiding any evidence that part of the moisture was coming from his eyes.

That evening Tony felt a strong need to lay his collection of beautiful stones beside him on the mattress. He sat there quietly and listened as the rain clattered on the tin roof of the building, then stared at the stones as he ate the baloney sandwich his mother had left for his supper. He waited for the old familiar warmth as the joy of owning such beauty overcame him. But no matter how long he stared and stared, all he could see were plain old stones. Tony gathered them up into an old sock and stretched out on the mattress to sleep, knowing he would probably be warned by his mother’s racket when she came home. He would have time to hide them in case she decided to look in on him.

About 3:00 a.m., Tony heard his mother slam the door and shuffle her way to the couch. He reached for the stones to be sure he still had them. When he no longer heard her stirring and knew that she had fallen into a deep, drunken sleep, he tip-toed over to the couch to check. She was completely out. He sat for awhile, just looking down at her, wondering why everything had gone so wrong. He thoughtfully lifted the sock of stones and hit his mother on the head, over and over again. This time he didn’t laugh.

***

Mrs. Terry Gelormino Silver was born in Bellaire, Ohio to Italian immigrant parents and spent my entire childhood in three orphanages: two Catholic ones run by a stern order of nuns in Columbus, Ohio:  St. Ann’s Infant Asylum and St. Vincent’s Orphanage; and in Xenia, Ohio at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home where I earned my high school diploma.  I moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1944 where I met my husband.  I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for approximately 19 years before returning to Ohio.  I worked for the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio for approximately 25 years, and am now retired and living in Georgia.  I will be 87 in February.

Crazy Tony is part of a five-story collection entitled “God Don’t Take Crap from Nobody and other stories.”
Contact Terry at tgsilver@att.net

Dangerous Times, Desperate Measures by Monica La Porta – Free Creepy Short Story

Dangerous Times,
Desperate Measures
by Monica La Porta

Yesterday
everything was perfect.

Today
I woke up to an outlandish scenario. There are no words to
describe what I saw when I opened my eyes. I am still shaking at the vivid
memory…

Something
warm, and yellow-orangey in color viciously touched my skin. I can barely talk
about it; you will forgive me if I skip to a few hours later, when I had to
leave the house to drive my kid to school. I couldn’t let him, my precious
little boy, take the school bus. What if the driver went crazy? On the road, we
witnessed the first signs that the illness had already touched several minds.
People were shielding their eyes, and changing lanes without even noticing it.
Driving back was even more dangerous. I barely made it home.

Now,
my kids and I are barricaded in the basement, safely surrounded by the familiar
humid darkness. Two hours ago, I last heard from my husband. He was stuck in
his office, watching horrified as hordes of people wandered at street level. He
told me about the vacant eyes, and the addled expressions…

My
daughter has found an old battered radio. A confused voice is giving
suggestions on what to do until this inexplicable phenomenon lasts. I shiver.
The voice says that it will continue until Sunday. I cry.

From outside I can hear little kids, lost
to the world, enslaved by this madness the voice on the radio called… the Sun.

***

Monica La Porta is an Italian who landed in Seattle, eleven years ago. She writes, paints, and tries her best to take good care of her family and house. On the house front she is losing the battle, but she has a good excuse: her first novel is coming out of the drawer. Visit her blog.

The Bike by Tim Kizer – Quick and Creepy Free Fiction!

The Bike

(from the under a 1,000 word story collection)

1.

“You’ve got a cool bicycle there,” said Norman.

“Yes, it is a nice bike.” Jesse propped his Schwinn against the wall and the men entered the house.

“Riding away from a heart attack?” Norman smiled. “This time I’m going to win.”

“Keep dreaming.”

They walked into the living room, where Sheila, Norman’s wife, was watching TV. Sheila and Jesse greeted each other.

The men sat at the table, ready to have another session of Texas hold ’em. In a minute, they were joined by Jack, Norm’s brother.

“Where’s Paul?” asked Jesse.

“Our son’s having a good time with a new girlfriend,” answered Sheila.

2.

“What are you doing?” asked Norman. “Are you about to fall asleep?”

“You shouldn’t have drunk so much,” remarked Jack.

Jesse yawned. He really felt an irresistible urge to go to bed. But he did not think he had drunk too much.

“I know–he just doesn’t want me to win my money back,” growled Norman.

“Guys, I guess I’m out.” Jesse put his cards on the table and tried to get up but unsuccessfully.

“Jack will take you home in his truck,” said Norman. “And don’t forget the bike.”

Jesse yawned again, closed his eyes, and fell into the abyss of sleep a moment later.

3.

He was woken up by the doorbell ringing. He got up, went barefoot to the entry hall, opened the door, and was surprised to see a cop.

“Your name is Jesse Greenburg?” asked the cop.

“Yes, that’s correct.” Jesse cracked a weak smile.

“Can you come to the police station with us?”

“What happened?”

“They just want to ask you a few questions.”

4.

At the police station, they took his fingerprints, as if he were some serial killer. Then Jesse met a somber-looking man in a gray suit.

“I am Detective John Lewis,” said the man. “I am going to conduct an interview. I suggest that you call a lawyer.”

They brought him to the interrogation room after he told Lewis that he would call the lawyer when he felt the need to do so. When Jesse and the detective took seats at the table, Jesse noticed a bicycle parked against the wall, which looked almost exactly like his.

“Is this your bicycle?” Lewis pointed at the bike.

“No, it’s not. My bike is at my house.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I am. I’ve been riding mine for five years now.”

“What if I told you that there’s your name on this bicycle?”

“Where?”

“On the seat.”

Jesse frowned. He had in fact had his name branded on the side of the seat of his bicycle.

“Suppose you did. So what?”

“What if I told you that this bicycle was used to commit a robbery?”

“I told you it’s not my bicycle.”

“Then why is it covered with your fingerprints?”

Jesse felt a chill in the pit of his stomach.

“What robbery?” he asked. He could hardly keep his voice from shaking.

“Last night, at nine pm, a man on a bicycle snatched a purse out of a woman’s hands on Lincoln Avenue. There were five hundred dollars in cash and a pearl necklace in the purse.”

“And you think it was me?”

“That’s right. You fit the description.”

“I assure you it was not me.”

Lewis shoved a piece of paper in Jesse’s face.

“Here’s a warrant to search your house,” he said. “And we’re going to search it right now.”

5.

They found the money and necklace. They were stashed in the garbage basket in Jesse’s kitchen, packed in a plastic bag. They put the evidence in the center of the table in the living room so he could see it in all its glory.

“Do this money and the necklace belong to you?” asked Lewis.

“No, I’ve never seen them before.”

“Can you explain how they got in your house?”

“I guess somebody planted them there.”

“Planted? Do you think it sounds plausible? By the way, can I see your bicycle?”

“I don’t see it in my house. Somebody has stolen it.”

Yes, his bike was gone. Or it was hidden very well.

“Someone has stolen your bicycle? What for?”

Don’t forget the bike, said Norman.

Jesse’s heart started throbbing. Damn, all this stress had made him completely forget yesterday’s poker night.

“Listen. I couldn’t have robbed that woman because last night at nine pm I was at my neighbor’s place, playing Texas hold ‘em.”

“What’s his name?”

“Norman Cooper. We played poker till midnight. Talk to him.”

6.

Jesse shifted a triumphant look from Detective Lewis to Norman, then back to the detective. Now this misunderstanding would finally get resolved.

“Where were you last night at nine o’clock?” Lewis opened his notepad.

“I was at home,” answered Norman.

“Did you see Mr. Greenburg at that time?”

“Jesse? No, I didn’t.”

“Norm?!” Jesse exclaimed as a thousand goose bumps popped up on his skin. “What are you saying?!”

“Is anything wrong?” asked Norman.

“Tell him the truth!” shouted Jesse.

“I told the truth. What’s going on?” Norman stared at the detective.

“So, Mr. Greenburg was not at your house yesterday at nine pm?”

“No, he was not. What happened?”

“What happened?!” Jesse was ready to charge at Norman, but restrained himself, being aware that it would only harm him.

“I guess we’re finished here,” said Lewis with a smile.

7.

“This necklace…How much is it?” Paul put his arm around Jane’s waist.

“I don’t remember the exact price.” Jane kissed Paul on the cheek. “You made a great robber.”

“And you made a great victim.”

“Having fun, kids?” Norman entered the room.

“Mr. Cooper, are you sure it was Jesse who killed your dog?” asked Jane.

“I am positive. I wish they had driving schools in prison.”

“Bad thing he’ll never know why we framed him,” said Paul.

“Why? I’m going to send him a postcard to prison,” said Norman. “A postcard with a picture of a dog. A dog riding a bicycle.”

THE END

***

Tim Kizer has authored several novels and numerous short stories in the horror, suspense, and action thriller genre.

He resides in Southern California. His current release is the thriller “Hitchhiker.”