Jeanne Owens, author

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It’s A Date – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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Delilah was sitting on the couch, snacking and watching TV when the phone rang. She answered it.

“Hello?”

“Hey there, Delilah,” said Tony’s voice, causing a shocked Lyla to drop the date she was about to bite into.

“Tony, hi!” she said, trying to hide her surprise. She’d never expected him to call her after their brief meeting at the gym the other day, though she’d continually hoped he would. She had completely embarrassed herself then, after all, and she wouldn’t have blamed him if he’d conveniently lost her number. “What’s up?”

“I was just wondering if you’d like to go to dinner Friday night? That is, if you’re not busy or anything.”

“Oh, no, I’m not busy. Dinner on Friday sounds great!”

“Awesome! It’s a date, then. See you at 8p.m.?”

“Perfect! See you at 8p.m.!”

Tony hung up and Delilah quickly marked the date of the date on her calendar so she wouldn’t forget – as if she could ever forget it! Then she called her best friend, Janie.

“Janie, guess what? Tony just called!”

“Who?” Janie asked, slightly confused.

“Tony! You know, the guy I met at the gym!”

“Oh, yeah! He’s really cute. So he finally called you? Even after…what happened?”

“Yes! He wants to take me to dinner on Friday!”

“Well, you’d better quit stuffing your face with dates if you want to look good for your big date!”

“I know. I will. And I also plan to start using the treadmill again – once I figure out how to work it correctly so I don’t slip on it again!”

“Want me to go to the gym with you and show you?”

“Please? Maybe this evening? I only have a few days until Friday.”

“Ok. Sure. It’s a date.”


This silly short story is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “date”:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Aug. 20/16

 


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On Second Thought – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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“On second thought,” Allie muttered as she stared at her reflection in the mirror, checking her makeup, “maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe I should just call and cancel.”

She sighed. “What would Margo say, though? She went to so much trouble to help you out and set this up for you. Do you really want to hurt her feelings?”

She fixed a stray strand of blonde hair and continued debating with herself. “Am I really ready for this, though? It’s only been a couple of months. And I don’t know anything about him except what Margo’s told me. But then again, I guess that’s why they call it a blind date.”

Allie heard a call pull up outside and gave her head a small shake. “Stop worrying and second guessing yourself, Allie,” she told herself. “It’ll be fine. He’s probably feeling the same nervousness.”

Footsteps sounded outside the door, then the doorbell rang. Allie took a deep breath and called out, “Coming!”

She hurried over to the door and opened it to find a tall, dark-haired young man standing nervously on her porch. She stared at him in surprise. He matched the description Margo had given her, but she hadn’t expected him to be so good-looking.

He stared at her a moment, too. Then he cleared his throat and offered her his hand. “Hi,” he said with deep, rich voice that Allie instantly liked. “You’re Allie, right? I’m Margo’s friend, Jake.”

“Oh, uh, right,” Allie said, shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you, Jake.”

“So, uh, are you ready to go, then?”

“Sure.” She started to step out, then paused. “Oh, just a second. Let me grab my purse.”

She hurried back inside to grab her purse from the couch, then returned to Jake. “Ok,” she said with a smile. “Let’s go.”

 


This short story is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt “second”:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS July 23/16

 


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Have A Drink On Me – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

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She sat at the bar, nursing her drink. She idly watched the clear liquid slosh along the sides of the glass as she swirled it aimlessly, her mind wandering as she tried to come to grips with what had happened. She still couldn’t believe he was gone, that he would leave her alone.

A handsome young blonde man sat down on the empty stool next to her. “Hi,” he said cheerfully in a strong tenor voice. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“I have one, thanks,” she said glumly as she raised her glass to her lips and took a swallow.

“I see that. I also see that it seems like you’re going through a rough time right now and another drink probably wouldn’t hurt. So let me get you one. What are you having? Vodka? Gin? Maybe a white wine?”

“Water. I don’t drink.”

“Really? That’s odd. What are you doing in a bar then, if you don’t drink?”
“I just come for the atmosphere.”

“Really?”

“No. I’m the owner.”

“What?! I thought Smitty was the owner.”

“He was. He just passed away and left this place to me. I’m his daughter and his only family.”

“Oh, man. I didn’t know. Smitty was a good guy. What happened?”

She fought back tears and explained the situation.

“I’m sorry, he said tenderly.

He started to take her hand but she suddenly stood up and set a five dollar bill down in front of him. “Here,” she said with a small smile. “Thanks for offering me a drink, and for listening. Have a drink on me instead.”

She then walked behind the bar and set an empty glass down in front of him. “What would you like to drink?”

 


This story is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday:
The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS June 25/16

 

 


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Yarn – Tuesday Use It In A Sentence #tuesdayuseitinasentence

As Michael stood beside the table and watched the nurse lead his grandparents into the room and over to him, he recalled all the times as a child that he’d watch his grandmother knit while he listened to his grandfather spin one yarn after another about things that had happened in his youth.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he watched them sit down at the table and look at him with smiles on their faces but not really knowing who he was. He wished again that he could go back and be a kid again with them.

He sat down across from them, reached into a bag, and pulled out a ball of red yarn and some knitting needles. “Grandma,” he said, “knit something for me, please.” He turned to his grandfather. “Grandpa, tell me again about that time you went fishing and caught that huge catfish.”

His grandparents grinned, and he saw a spark of recognition in their eyes at last. “Michael,” they said happily.

 

This post is part of Tuesday Use It In A Sentence:
https://awordadventure.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/tuesdayuseitinasentence-yarn/

 


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Waft – Tuesday Use It In A Sentence #tuesdayuseitinasentence

Taylor stopped unpacking and opened the window. The scent of honeysuckle wafted into the room on a light, summer breeze, accompanied by the sound of crickets and bringing forth unbidden memories of playing in the field and down by the creek with her childhood best friend, Johnny. She regretted once again never having told him her true feelings before she’d left town. She’d never had the courage to, and had hoped by being away she could have forgotten about him, but he always turned up in her dreams at night. Now she was back home on break from college and finally ready to tell him, but she worried he might not want to see her, since she’d left without even telling him goodbye.

Besides, when she’d called a couple months ago to tell her mom she’d be home for break, she’d heard that Johnny had just started seeing Marnie. Did she even have the right to confess to him at this point? She didn’t even know if he was still seeing her.

She wiped a stray tear from her cheek, turned from the window, and resumed unpacking.

The sound of a distinct knock echoed down the hall from the front door , and Taylor caught her breath and looked up from her suitcase with wide, hopeful eyes. At the sound of Johnny’s voice calling her name excitedly, she grinned and hurried from her room to answer the door.

—————————————

This is a bit more than a sentence, but as soon as I came up with the sentence for the prompt word “waft”, this whole little story just seemed to develop. And so, here is my entry for this week’s post for Tuesday Use It In A Sentence:

https://awordadventure.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/tuesdayuseitinasentence-waft/

 


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Having a Ball – Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS #amwriting

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Layla opened the envelope that had come through the mail slot on the door and looked at the card inside. Her eyes widened and she gave a little gasp.

“What is it?” Shelia asked, coming over to stand beside her sister. Layla handed her the envelope and she opened it. “An invitation?” She read the card more closely and her eyes widened. “An invitation to a ball? Saturday night?”

Layla nodded. “What do you think? Should I go?”

“I don’t know. Who’s it from?” She turned the envelope over and looked at the return address. “What?! Jessica sent this to you? She’s got some balls, inviting you to this after what she pulled!”

“I know. What do you think?”

Shelia considered it for a moment. “She may be trying to make amends. I know the two of you were pretty close, Sis, but she hurt you with her little stunt. Go. Accept her peace offering. But don’t forget what she did. If you get the chance, get a little payback while you’re there. We’re Carringtons, and we don’t just let things like that go.”

Layla nodded. “You’re right, Sis.”

***

Layla arrived at Jessica’s party to find the high school stadium she’d rented out was packed with attendees in formal attire mingling with each other and dancing to classical music being piped in through the stadium sound system. She recognized some of the guests, but many she didn’t.

Layla looked around to see if she could find Jessica, and spotted her at the far end of the stadium, talking and laughing with a few other ladies. A jolt went through Layla when she saw Jason walk up to Jessica and hand her a glass of champagne with a bright smile on his face.

Layla took a deep breath and wended her way through the crowd to where Jessica was. “Hello, Jessica,” she said as she stopped nex to her friend. “Thank you for the invitation. It seems you have quite the turn out here.”

Jessica started at the sound of her voice and turned to face her. “Oh, Layla. Hello. I’m glad you came. It’s good to see you again.”

“It’s good to see you, too. And Jason, as well. I admit, I was a little surprised to get your invitation and wasn’t sure at first if I’d come or not. But since we were best friends once, I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt and come.”

“I’m glad you did. I wanted to apologize to you in person. I really didn’t mean to hurt you the way I did, Layla. Honestly. Hurting you and our friendship was the last thing I wanted to do. I hope you know that. But things just happened and…”

Layla gave a small shake of her head. “It’s okay, Jessica. I’m over it now. I hope you and Jason will be happy together.” She turned to head back into the crowd, but called over her shoulder, “Give me a call sometime. We’ll do lunch and catch up.”

Layla mingled with the crowd for a few minutes, then worked her way through the press of bodies to the wall, where she spied a big red alarm button. With a grin and glance back at Jessica at the far end of the stadium, she pressed the button.

A blaring alarm sounded, and the sprinklers in the ceiling cut on, spraying everyone in the stadium with water. Layla laughed as she watched as everyone started screaming and running for the doors to get away. After a couple of moments, she made her way a bit more calmly out of the stadium and into the school parking lot. She took a cell phone out of her handbag and called Shelia.

“Hey, Sis,” Shelia said as she answered the phone. “How’d it go?”

“Great, Sis. I had a ball. I’ll be home shortly.”

———-

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday:
The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 12/16

 


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Karma – a New Year’s short story #amwriting

With the Christmas holidays over and New Year’s coming up, I thought I’d share a short story I wrote a while back that’s set at New Year’s. It’s one of my few non-fantasy stories. It’s a cute little romantic story and involves a kitten (of course – I love cats, after all 😀 ). I’m also playing with the idea of turning it into a novel, so if you’d like you can let me know what you think of that idea. Anyway, enjoy the story 🙂

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Karma”

Is it ever going to stop raining?” complained the pretty redheaded woman in her early thirties standing by the front window of the little bookstore. She heaved a sigh and watched as people and vehicles passed by outside in the late afternoon, rushing to get to their destinations before the stores closed early for New Year’s Eve. It had snowed for Christmas, but rain had moved in the next day and had hung around for the rest of the week, washing away all traces of the white Christmas and dampening Julianna’s spirits.

The only child of a wealthy New York businessman and his socialite wife, Julianna had eventually grown jaded with that haughty lifestyle, and when her parents died in a freak car accident, she took her inheritance and moved away so she could start a new life. She found this little town, fell in love with it, and decided to settle there. That had only been a couple of months ago.

It should clear up by tonight, if the weatherman is right,” said a slightly older brunette woman with short hair from a step stool behind the checkout counter where she was taking down a red and green HAPPY HOLIDAYS sign from the wall. “Just in time for the party, too. You’re coming, right, Jules?”

I don’t know, Liza,” Julianna replied. “I really don’t know anyone here yet. I’d feel really awkward.”

Liza climbed down from the stool and walked over to stand beside Julianna and place a friendly hand on her shoulder. “You should come, Jules. It’ll be good for you, the new kid in town, to get out and meet new people.” Julianna turned to face Liza, who winked at her as she added, “Who knows, you might even make a new friend.”

Julianna got the feeling that Liza was trying to play matchmaker, and started to turn down the invitation. She had just gotten out of a bad relationship, only a couple of weeks before her parents had died, and was really not in the mood to start up another relationship just yet. But Liza looked so happy that she hated to disappoint the only friend she had made since moving there. “All right,” she said. “I’ll go. Eight o’clock at the Blue Room, right?”

Beaming a smile, Liza nodded. “Great! Don’t worry, Jules. You’ll have a good time. I promise. Now let’s hurry up and finish cleaning so we can lock up and go home and get ready.” She walked back behind the checkout counter and bent down behind it. A moment later, she stood back up and held a red and yellow polka dot umbrella out to Julianna. “Here. Take this and take out the trash, will you?”

* * *

With the open umbrella in one small hand and a trash bag in the other, Julianna walked out the back door of the bookstore and crossed the alley to the Dumpster. No sooner had she dumped the trash and closed the lid than she felt something bump against her leg. Looking down, she saw a little ginger tabby kitten beside her foot. It looked up at her with big brown eyes and let out a tiny little meow, then wound itself between her legs, brushing up against them as much as possible. Julianna smiled and picked up the kitten. It purred in her hand and licked her finger, its small pink tongue barely feeling rough against her skin.

Julianna giggled. “Well, aren’t you just a sweet boy. You’re alone and you don’t have a collar, so I’m guessing you must be an orphan, huh? And I’ll bet you’re hungry, too. Well, little fellow, I’ll tell you what. Let’s go inside where it’s warm and get you something to eat. I think I have some tuna left over from lunch that you can have.”

* * *

Oh, he’s adorable!” cooed Liza when Julianna showed her the kitten after she had dried him off and given him something to eat. She reached out to pet the tiny cat’s head. “Are you going to keep him? I know you’ve been talking about getting a pet because you’ve been feeling lonely, living in that big house by yourself.”

I think I will. He’s so sweet, and he seems to like me.”

What will you name him, then?”

Julianna thought for a moment. “How about Karma? It seems fitting, since it was like fate brought us together, what with me needing a pet and him needing someone to care for him.”

Liza smiled. “Karma, huh? That’s a cute name. I like it. Karma the cat.”

Julianna held the kitten up so she could look it in the face. He purred as they looked at each other, and placed a small paw on the tip of her nose. “That’s it, then,” she told him with a smile. “Your name is Karma.”

The kitten sneezed suddenly, and its nose began to run. Julianna frowned and felt its nose pad. “His nose is a bit warm,” she told Liza. “I think he may be getting sick. I’d better get him to a vet.”

There’s a new one that just opened recently nearby. If you hurry you might get there before it closes. Don’t worry about locking up. There’s not much left to do. I can finish it. Let me know later how it goes, all right?”

Thanks, Liza. I’ll do that. Where’s the vet?”

* * *

Julianna parked her red Volvo by the glass front door of the small red brick building that housed the vet’s office just as a tall, dark-haired man in a white doctor’s coat was locking the door. Julianna picked up Karma from the passenger’s seat, grabbed her purse and umbrella, and somehow managed to get out of her car and open the umbrella without dropping anything. The man just stood at the door and watched her.

Please, don’t lock up yet!” she called to him from beneath her umbrella. “You’re the veterinarian, right? I need your help. I think my kitten might be getting sick.”

The man looked at her a moment, gave her a quick nod, then unlocked the door and opened it for her. “You’re lucky, miss,” he said in a strong, deep voice as she and Karma entered the foyer. As Julianna worked to close her umbrella, he turned the lights back on. “A minute later, and you would have had to look for another vet.”

I’m glad I made it,” Julianna said. “Can you take a look at my kitten? I think he might be catching a cold or something. I found him out in the rain by the Dumpster where I work. I don’t know how long he’d been there.”

You found him? So I take it you’ve adopted him, since you’ve been calling him ‘my kitten’.”

Yes, that’s right. I decided to keep him. I’d been considering getting a pet, and when I saw him, well…” She shrugged.

Quite understandable. He’s certainly cute. And may I add that it’s also a kind and noble gesture on your part. Well, let’s go in the back and take a look at him, Miss…I’m sorry. What’s your name?”

Julianna. Julianna Fairchild.”

He held out a hand, and Julianna grasped it and shook it briefly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Fairchild,” he said. “I’m Dr. Jonathan Forth.” Julianna took a good look at him for the first time, and noticed that he was about her age, maybe a year or two older, and was rather attractive, with beautiful green eyes. His voice was rather nice, too, she thought.

The doctor led Julianna to an examination room where she placed Karma on the metal examining table. Dr. Forth looked the kitten over and took its temperature.

He’s certainly a very cute kitten, Miss Fairchild,” he told her. “Very sweet tempered, too. What did you name him?”

Karma. And please, call me Julianna.”

Karma? That’s cute. And fitting, too, I suppose, considering the circumstances of how you found him, Julianna.”

Yes. That’s why I picked it. It was like fate had brought us together.”

The doctor gave her an appraising look. “Do you believe in fate? In karma?”

I never really thought about it before, but I suppose I do.”

I’ve never really been one to believe in it, myself, being a man of science and all.”

Julianna raised an eyebrow. “You don’t believe in fate? So, you’re saying you’ve never had any experiences that you could attribute to fate?”

He shrugged his shoulder nonchalantly. “Oh, I’ve experienced coincidences before, of course, but nothing that I would call fate or karma.”

Julianna shook her head. “What a pity. I wonder if there is anything I could do to change that.”

Sorry. Nothing comes to mind.”

Oh, don’t worry.” She gave him a wry smile. “I’ll think of something.”

He returned her smile. “Thanks for the warning,” he said sarcastically.

I understand your practice is fairly new here?”

That’s right. I just moved here and started my practice a couple of months ago.”

Really? I’m new here, too. I moved here a couple of months ago, also.”

What a coincidence.”

Julianna and the doctor looked at each other in silence for a moment, then down at Karma.

So, how’s Karma? ” Julianna finally asked.

He’s running a very slightly high temperature,” Dr. Forth replied, somewhat relieved with the subject change, “but otherwise he seems all right. I’d say it’s just a small cold. I’ll give him a shot of antibiotics to ward off anything worse. You’ll have to make sure he gets plenty of food, water, and rest. And he’ll eventually need to be thoroughly checked over and get his vaccinations. But one thing at a time. Let me give you my card. It has my home and cell phone numbers. You can call me tomorrow to let me know how he’s doing.”

Okay,” she said with a smile. “Thanks.”

Dr. Forth took Karma through the other door in the room to the back laboratory for the shot, then brought him back to Julianna. He then led Julianna and her kitten back up front to the foyer, where he gave her a business card then opened the door for her. As Julianna looked out, she noticed with relief that it had stopped raining at last. She turned back to the doctor. “Aren’t you going to charge me for the visit?” she asked him.

No. It’s on the house. Consider it a late Christmas present. Or if you like, a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ gift.”

Julianna blinked, then smiled. “Well, all right. If you’re sure about it. Thank you.”

You’re welcome.” Julianna turned to walk out the door but was called back by the doctor’s hesitant voice.

“Oh, uh, Julianna?”

Yes?”

I’m going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight. Would…would you like to go with me?”

Julianna stared at him, surprised, and couldn’t answer for a moment. She liked him, thought he was rather nice, and would like to get to know him better, but… “I’m sorry,” she said with a sad smile. “I’d like to go with you, but I’m already going to a party.”

Oh,” he said simply, a small frown of disappointment crossing his face. “Well, I guess I’ll see you around then. It was nice to meet you.”

Likewise. I hope you have a good time tonight. Bye.”

Dr. Forth stood in the doorway and watched as Julianna got in her red Volvo with Karma and drove off.

* * *

Julianna, in an emerald green evening gown, sat at a far table in the Blue Room’s ballroom by herself, nursing her second glass of red wine and watching the New Year’s revelers chitchatting and dancing. She was bored. She had been there for about two hours, and nothing really exciting had happened. Liza had kept her company for a little while at first, but Julianna had finally managed to talk her into going out onto the floor to mingle and have some fun. A few acquaintances, mostly people she had met at the bookstore, had stopped by to say hello and chat for a minute. And she had been asked to dance half a dozen times, but she had turned them all down, claiming a sprained ankle. But she was really just not interested in any of them. She knew she probably should have accepted for appearance’s sake to make Liza happy, but she just couldn’t stop thinking about the veterinarian, Dr. Forth, and wishing she had accepted his invitation.

After another hour, another glass of wine, and declining three more dance invitations, Julianna was ready to go home. The clock had just chimed eleven when Liza, in a shimmering dark blue gown, approached her table. A tall, dark-haired man in a tuxedo was behind her with his head down so that Julianna could not tell who it was.

Jules,” said Liza with a big grin as she stopped at the table. “I have a surprise for you. This guy is a friend of mine. He’s been dying to talk to you all evening, but couldn’t pluck up the nerve. I finally talked him into coming over. I think you might know him. He certainly seems to know you.”

At that, the man lifted his head and looked at Julianna, who gasped. “Dr. Forth!” she exclaimed.

Please, call me Jonathan,” he said with a small smile as he sat down across from her. “It’s good to see you again, Julianna.”

Likewise, Dr…. er, Jonathan,” she replied with a small smile of her own. “I didn’t know this was the party you were coming to.”

Nor I you. This day has certainly been full of coincidences, hasn’t it? Though I suppose you would be more inclined to call it fate – or karma.” He gave her a wink.

Her smile widened. “Yes, I suppose I would. But at this point, I don’t care what it’s called. I’m just glad you’re here.”

He grinned. The live orchestra started up a slow dance tune, and Jonathan stood up and held a hand out to Julianna. “Care to dance?”

She returned his grin and took his hand. “I’d love to.”

* * *

So, what made you decide to move here?” Jonathan asked as they danced.

A desire to start over,” Julianna replied. “To make a long story short, I recently ended a bad relationship – the guy I was with was more interested in my money than in me. Then my parents died in a car accident. I decided to take my inheritance and get away. I wanted to go someplace where no one knew me. I found this place, liked it, and bought a house. And so here I am.”

Ah. And here I was expecting to hear you say it was fate.”

She looked up at him and smiled. “Maybe it was. So what about you? What brought you here?”

He looked deep in her sea-blue eyes. “Fate,” he said bluntly, and she grinned. “That, and a desire for a fresh start, too,” he added.

What a coincidence,” Julianna teased, and Jonathan chuckled and grinned.

The orchestra played a few more slow songs, and Jonathan and Julianna danced to them, too. Across the ballroom, Liza watched them with a pleased smile on her face. “I told you that you would have a good time, Jules,” she said softly.

Just before midnight, Jonathan asked Julianna another question. “Do you have any plans for tomorrow?”

Not really.”

How would you like to come to my place for dinner, then? I’m a fairly decent cook, you know.”

Sounds terrific,” she said with a smile.

The clock then began to chime again, and everyone stopped what he or she was doing. As it chimed for the twelfth time, balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling and everyone called out “Happy New Year!”

The orchestra struck up “Auld Lang Syne” and most of the party attendees sang along. Julianna and Jonathan stood where they were and looked into each other’s eyes.

Happy new year, Julianna,” said Jonathan softly.

Happy new year, Jonathan,” Julianna returned.

As his lips met hers for the traditional New Year’s kiss, Julianna had a feeling that it would be a very happy new year indeed.


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The Dognapped Princess (Chronicles of Riss excerpt)

I’ve decided to share an excerpt from one of the stories that can be found in my Chronicles of Riss story collection (available as e-book from Amazon and other sites). Hope you enjoy it. I had fun writing it and have been playing around with the idea of doing something similar some time (a fantasy Nancy Drew-ish series of stories or novels).


I was sitting at a back table in Eli’s Tavern in Westover, eating a delicious bowl of lamb stew, when they walked in. I spotted them out of the corner of my eye as I was taking a bite of stew. Two people stood in the tavern’s doorway, looking around the room. One of them was a tall, skinny young man about my age of sixteen years. He had a pock-marked face framed by greasy black hair and wore the plain clothes of a houseboy. He also seemed to me to be rather nervous, like he really didn’t want to be there. The other person was a plump, middle-aged brunette woman richly dressed in a red silk dress and fur-trimmed traveling cloak. Instead of nervousness, I picked up a sense of anxiousness from her, as if she was desperate for something. The duo spotted me, and made their way toward my table. I continued to eat as I watched them approach. I knew what they wanted. They wanted what everyone who comes to me while I’m eating wants – my help as a problem-solving sorceress-for-hire.

“I’m terribly sorry to bother you while you’re at lunch, Miss Marissa,” said the woman as she and the young man sat down across from me. The young man kept his head down, not bothering to look at me or his companion. “However, I am in desperate need of your help.”

See? I told you.

“Naturally,” I said as I set my spoon aside and brushed cobalt blue hair out of my eyes. “So, what can I do for you?”

“My baby is missing and I want you to find her and bring her back.”

“Your baby? Well, sure, I could find her for you. But isn’t this a situation more appropriate for the city constables to handle?”

The lady shook her head emphatically. “No, no, no. I can’t get them involved. The letter expressly said not to.”

My brow wrinkled slightly in suspicion. “Letter? What are you talking about? I thought you said she was missing.”

“She is. She’s been stolen.” The lady reached into a pocket of her cloak and pulled out a folded slip of parchment, which she held out to me. “Here. This should explain things somewhat. I received it this morning.”

Curious, I took the note and read it. Here is what it said:

If you want your precious Princess back, deliver 1,500 gold pieces at noon tomorrow to the

abandoned warehouse down by the docks. I will return Princess to you then. Do not go to the

authorities. If you do, Princess will die.

Sounds like a fairly standard ransom letter, I thought, so I doubt we’re dealing with a criminal mastermind here. There was one thing in the letter that stood out to me, though. “Princess?” I asked.

“Yes,” the lady answered. “That is her call name. Her full registered name for showing is Lysa’s Little Snow Princess.”

“Call name?” I repeated in confusion. “Registered name? Showing?” Then I realized what she was saying. “Wait a minute. Are we talking about a dog?!”

“Yes. My baby, Princess, is a champion show dog. She has won multiple Best In Show awards. She’s entered in the annual Westover Dog Show that is scheduled for tomorrow night. Please, Miss Marissa, get my Princess back!”

“I don’t know. I’ve never looked for missing pets before.”

“Please? I need my Princess back. I don’t want to pay the ransom, but I will if I have to. But if I have to pay to get my baby back, I’d rather pay you, Miss Marissa, than the villain who took my Princess. I’m even willing to pay you the ransom price.”

My eyes lit up at the though of 1,500 gold pieces, but I kept my voice neutral as I answered. “Well, I do like animals, so I guess I can find her for you, ma’am. So, could you tell me everything that’s happened so far? But would you mind starting with why you felt it was alright to come to me if the ransom note didn’t want you to go to the authorities?”

“My husband suggested I go to you, after I showed him the letter. He said that you had just returned last night from a mission for the Lords of Westover, and that he doubted anyone else in the city knew you were back yet, not even the ransomer.”

“True. I was on a job for them, and I did get back very late last night. But how did your husband know that?”

“My husband is one of the Lords, of course. Lord Abarond.”

My eyes widened a little in shock. What?! I thought. That rotund, bald, mustachioed annoyance is actually married?!

“I’m sorry for neglecting to introduce myself earlier, Miss Marissa,” she continued. “My name is Lysa, and I’m the wife of Lord Abarond. The young man with me is our houseboy, Dirk. He also helps me take care of Princess.”

Dirk continued to look at the table, not even bothering to acknowledge Lysa’s introduction.

“All right,” I said. “So, what exactly happened to Princess?”

“Well, Dirk had taken Princess out for a walk late yesterday afternoon. When he returned, it was well into the evening. Princess was not with him, and he seemed a little upset. When I asked him what was wrong and where Princess was, he said she’d been taken.” Lysa paused to see if Dirk would say anything, but he just continued to stare at the table, so she continued the story. “According to Dirk, someone came up behind him and hit him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. He was only dazed for a couple of moments, but by the time he came to and got up, he saw Princess being carried by a someone running down the street in a hooded black cloak. They turned down a street, and Dirk gave chase, but by the time he got there, they had disappeared. Dirk searched until it got dark, but he wasn’t able to find them or anyone who had seen them. So he came back to tell me what had happened. By then it was too late to keep searching, so we decided to look again in the morning, in the meantime hoping that Princess might find a way to escape and come home on her own. But this morning, I found that ransom note waiting for me instead of Princess. I showed it to my husband, who suggested I come to you for help. And so here I am, Miss Marissa, asking for your help.”

I thought over her story for a couple of minutes while I ate. “Do you have any idea who might have taken her?” I finally asked.

“No,” Lysa answered. “No idea.”

“How about any dog show rivals? You said Princess is a multiple champion, and she’s entered in the show here tomorrow. Maybe a competitor took her to get her out of their way.”

“But the note said that if I pay them at noon, I’d get her back. And the show isn’t until six in the evening…”
“It’s very possible that whoever took her only said that to get your money, and they actually have no intention of returning Princess to you, even if you pay.”

“It is? Then you have to find her, Miss Marissa! Please!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll find her. I promise. Now, what about any dog show rivals? Given the timing of the incident, it’s highly possible one of them took her, and I’d like to start by investigating them.”

Lysa thought for a minute, then hesitantly answered, “I hate to think that someone could hold a grudge against me and Princess enough to do something like this. But if you think it might be someone in the dog show, well, there are two people who come to mind, whom I’ve had arguments with at the last couple of shows. I suppose it’s possible one of them might have been more angry with me than I thought.”

“Who are they, and do you happen to know where I can find them?”

“Alfred Jemmson, who is staying at an inn on the east side of the city, I believe, and Myra Alistar, wife of Noel Alistar, the prominent merchant.”

I nodded. “I know of him. So his wife shows dogs, huh? All right. I’ll begin investigating after I finish eating, and will let you know what I find out as soon as possible.”

Lysa nodded. “Thank you, Miss Marissa. I really appreciate your helping me.”

“Oh, one other thing. What does Princess look like?”

“She is a small dog, about the size of a house cat, with long white fur, black eyes and nose, and a pink collar studded with diamonds.”

“Okay. Thank you. I’ll let you know something soon.”

Lysa stood up, and Dirk followed suit. I’d almost forgotten he was there, he’d been so quiet. “Thank you, again, Miss Marissa,” Lysa said. “I look forward to hearing what you find out.”

And with that, she and Dirk left. I finished my bowl of stew, which had grown cool by then but which still tasted good, and then left as well to start looking for the purloined pooch, Princess.



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$0.99 Sale This Weekend – Chronicles of Riss

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Chronicles of Riss will be on sale this weekend only for $0.99 on Amazon. It will be available at this price through Monday.

Get Chronicles of Riss here


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Aye, Sir (Untitled Story Part 7) – Stream of Consciousness Saturday (I/Eye/Aye)

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“So you still managed to come up empty?” the captain said, narrowing his eyes at Detective Lucy Johnson and her partner, Mike Evans.

“We’re still actively investigating it, sir,” Lucy replied from her seat across from the captain. “We just wanted to let you know that we’d asked all the neighbors and they’d not noticed anything suspicious prior to the crime. I know it sounds unbelievable, sir, but we did ask every possible neighbor…”

A knock sounded at the captain’s door, and a lab tech with a manila folder in hand entered without waiting for a response. “Sir, I thought you should see this,” he said excitedly, handing the folder to the captain.

Lucy and Mike leaned over the desk as the captain opened the folder to reveal a grainy black-and-white photo of a somewhat blurry man in a hoodie exiting the back door of the crime scene and heading for the shed.

“What is this?” the captain asked.

“It’s a surveillance photo of the victim’s back yard. We only just now were able to retrieve the data and go through it, as the system was highly secure. We’re doing our best to clean up the photo and get a better view of the man’s features to identify him. But from what we can tell, this is not Jared Martin.”

“I agree,” Lucy said. “This guy isn’t Jared Martin. He’s not the right build, and though his features are a little blurry, they don’t match.”

“All right,” the captain said. “You all keep plugging away at this. Find out who this guy is, what connection he might have to Jared Martin, and stop him before he can do anything else.”

“Aye, sir!” they all said with a salute before leaving the captain’s office.

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This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday
http://lindaghill.com/2015/03/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-2115/

 

Previous parts:

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6