Tag Archive 'Fiction'

Jun 02 2016

Interview with Deborah Walker (and Kedra Crich)

Published by under Interview

Deborah Walker

Today, we have an interview with two people — at least to incarnations of the same individual. A little over six years ago, Deborah Walker decided to throw sensible advice to the wind, quit her day job, and, as she puts it, “give this writing malarkey a try.” She hasn’t look back since. Translated into more than a dozen languages, her stories have graced the pages of a number of prominent magazines, journals and anthologies, such as Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, Nature’s Futures, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and The Year’s Best S. 

Kelda Crich sprung from the mind of Deborah Walker and is now out in the open lurking through the streets of London, exploring strange things in the city’s medical museums. Kelda’s poems have appeared in Nameless, Cthulhu Haiku II, Transitions and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Both writers were gracious enough to discuss with me their work, and their thoughts about writing in general.

So, taking that leap, quitting your day job and plunging into a career as a writer must have been daunting for you. What made you decide to do that?

I’d vaguely thought before that it might be something that I’d be good at, but every time I tried to write something my first draft was very weak. I didn’t realize that was often the case. But, I decided I wanted to have a real stab at it. At the time I remember thinking that if I managed to get one thing published in the first year, I’d be quite pleased. I managed to get something published, and I’m still at it.

Why Speculative Fiction?

Because I love the strange and offbeat. Because that’s the way my mind turns. Because I’m not sure how non spec writers actually do it.

Who’s your favorite writer?

For short stories: Philip K. Dick, D.H. Lawrence, H.P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. le Guin, Tanith Lee, Al Reynolds, Robert Silverberg, Liz Williams, Scott Wolven, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Eudora Welty.

How did you come up with your stories?

My process is quite usual I think, I do a lot of research. My usual process of creation begins with the initial idea, the seed.  Then, I then copied swathes of Wikipedia about the initial idea: changelings in this case, into my working document.

Without any idea of the story I just start to write, reading the research as I go and deleting it as I read.

The research leads me onto more ideas for the story. I always add a new element. In the case on one of my recent stories, it was worm biology and Mythos and nuns, which led to more research being copied into the working document, and sparked off new ideas.

I love, love, love Wikipedia. For instance, before I started writing I didn’t know much about changelings but Wikipedia has over 4000 words on them.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m always working on shorts stories. I’m on a bit of a competition binge at the moment, looking for short story competitions that are free to enter. I like the challenge of a prompt. I’ve also got a novella on the back burner, but I keep getting distracted by the allure short stories.

You can check out Deborah Walker’s blog and extensive bibliography here.

For Kelda Krich’s Horror blog go here (if you dare).

No responses yet

Oct 11 2015

New SF Fantasy story “Blackbird Fly” to be published in New Realms Magazine

Published by under short story,Uncategorized

I’m happy to announce that my short story, “Blackbird Fly,” based on characters from my ShadowRealm series has been published in New Realms Magazine.

Check it out:  New Realms, Volume 3, Issue Number 12



No responses yet

Jul 20 2015

Check out the short story, Supersedure, in the latest issue of Nebula Rift!

Published by under short story

My short story, Supersedure is now featured in the magazine Nebula Rift! Administrator Queen may be the last thinking man left in the world.  At least it seems that way to him.  When the first traffic accident in over a decade happens, the system calls on Queen to try and figure out what went wrong.  Only solving this mystery may elicit more questions than answers.  Check out this, and other great SciFi stories in Vol. 3, No. 6 of Nebula Rifthttp://www.fictionmagazines.com/shop/nebula-issues/nebula-rift-vol-03-no-06/

No responses yet

Jun 25 2010

All About Me, Chapter 3.5

Published by under All About Me



There was a knock on the hotel door room, and everyone jumped. It wasn’t a really loud knock or anything. But, you know how it is when everyone is focused on one thing, and then something else happens, kind of unexpected. Everyone’s attention suddenly gets shocked out its orbit. For me it was no big deal. I get distracted a lot, if you haven’t noticed. I have this A.D.D., thing, remember? But, anyway, when that knock came, even they looked at the door as if it might explode or something. It didn’t. Of course, Leon became hysterical anyway. “Oh my God,” he shrieked, “Who’s that?”


No one seems to pay much attention to his panic attack. Even the rabbi didn’t seem to pay much attention to it, which was kind of surprising to me. I mean, Bobby and I were used to it, having lived with him all these years, but most strangers seem to take his drama seriously. I know you’re probably wondering who this rabbi was and what he was doing there in the hotel room with Leon, Bobby and me. I mean, that is, aside from filling out a great opening for the joke. I wish I could tell you. The truth is, I had no idea myself.


Actually, truth is, there were actually a lot of rabbis in the hotel. We, that is the terrorist and I, had taken over this whole convention of rabbis as a protest against all the inhumane and horrible things that were going on over in Palestine. Of course, unfortunately no did nay research as to what kind of rabbinical conference it was, which was a bit of a problem because this particular convention was a conference of rabbis who were against Zionism.


It took us all a bit by surprise, actually. We never expected a bunch of rabbis to be against themselves. I mean, the rabbi that was trapped in the room with me told me that Zionism was a part of Judaism from the time of the Bible. Which kinda makes sense to me. Not that I know anything about it.


By the way, it was Mustafa’s idea, actually; the takeover of the hotel, not that rabbi should be stuck in that hotel room with me. You see, this particular rabbi had nothing to do with the convention, or the takeover for that matter. Well, that is except that he was there now, so I guess he was one of the hostages. He certainly wasn’t one of the terrorists. Though, he didn’t seem to act much like a hostage to me. Then again, I was having a hard time in my role as a terrorist, so I guess we were even. For some reason, he came with my parents. They were outsiders too. I mean, they were insiders, now, I guess. I mean you’re not really allowed to take your parents hostage, are you? Isn’t that part of the Geneva Convention, or something?


Does anybody really understand that thing anyway? I mean, whose idea was that anyway? What bunch of people sat down and tried to figure out rules for killing each other? I mean, wouldn’t it have been a better idea to work out a bunch of rules for getting along, or at least tolerating each other? And, it’s really kind of silly idea, too, if you think about it. Like there’ll be some referee walking around the battlefield throwing little yellow flags, every time someone violates a rule? “No, sorry France, you’ve violated rule 16a. You’ll have to withdraw your troops from that city you just conquered, give the other side a chance to regroup, and then try and take it again, according to the rules.” I don’t really remember reading anything like that happening in the history books. It seems that the only people that ever violated the Geneva Convention were the ones that lost the war. Kind of funny the history works, huh?


Anyway, I made the mistake of calling Bobby before we actually took over the hotel. To tell you the truth, I was kinda nervous. As, I might have mentioned, I’ve never really ever done anything to feel guilty about. You might consider this to be a pretty big exception. I thought I might die or something, and wanted to give a final farewell to my loved ones. I think I may have inherited some of my father’s drama.


Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I told her we were taking over a hotel or anything. I’m not that big of a loser. I didn’t call her up and say, “Hey, Bobby, guess what I’m doing this afternoon.” But, you know how mothers are. Or is it fathers? I don’t really have a good point of reference to tell you the truth. Anyway, parents always seem to be able to figure out what’s going on, even when you think you’re hiding it pretty well. Growing up, I was convinced my mother worked for the CIA or something.


I remember one winter. I think I was in second or third grade. I came home and Bobby asked me why I didn’t wear my coat during recess. How did she know about that? I wondered. It spooked me out, to tell you the truth. I mean, how could she have possibly known? The next few days I was always on the lookout for cameras hidden in the trees of the playground. You know like the stuff you see on television, where the camera cuts to some hidden camera in the knot of a tree that the hero didn’t know about as he was infiltrating the enemy base. I figured my mom probably contracted out to some secret spy organization or something to keep an eye on me at school. As I’m sure you figured out, I never took my coat off again during recess.


Anyway, as I was saying there was this knock on the door. We all stared at the door. And then, there was a second knock. No one moved. Finally the rabbi said, “Maybe you should see who it is?”


I looked at him for a moment like he was speaking Swahili. Is that a real language? “Why me?” I asked.


He made one of those faces that most people make when I tell them my name, and said, “You’re the one with the gun. That tends to make you in charge.”


“Oh, yeah,” I said. He had a point. He really did. So, I took a deep breath, unlocked and opened the door a crack and peeked outside. It was Steve, a fellow member of S.TO.O.P.I.D. I released a deep breath. I didn’t even know I was holding it.


”It’s okay,” I said to the rest of the people in the room. “He’s one of us.” I looked at the others in the room. “Well, I mean, he’s one of me.” Bobby gave me one of those looks that made me feel like I was eight years old and had just lost her favorite fishing rod. I try to offer her a smile, but it didn’t melt any of the ice, even with the million degree heat. I let Steve into the room.


“Where’ve you been, man?” Steve asked.


Steve’s not so swift, really. For some reason he had trouble realizing the obvious. Couldn’t he connect the fact that he knocked on the door, and that I was the one to let him in? I know what you’re thinking, but no, it wasn’t him that came up with the name for the organization.


Anyway, to help him out, I tried to answer him as directly as possible. “I’ve been here,” I said.


It didn’t help much. “No,” he said, “Like, where’ve you been?”


I gave him “the look,” which is now becoming quite popular and Steve said, “Everybody’s like wondering what happened to you man. Mustafa sent me to check all the rooms.”


To tell you the truth, I wasn’t so concerned that Mustafa wanted to know where I was. He can manage just fine without me.


But then Steve said, “Alisa’s worried about you too.”


Have I mentioned this thing I have for Alisa Copper before? “Really?” I asked Steve. It wasn’t that I thought that he was lying or anything, but sometimes the truth is difficult to believe. You need to hear it at least twice.


“Yeah,” Steve confirmed. He noted my expression, I was getting a little excited, and then thought about it a second. “More like concerned, really,” he said. He knew I felt about her and didn’t want to give me any false hopes.


He succeeded. “Oh,” I answered.


“Yeah, man, so like, are you coming or what?” Steve asked.


I took a deep breath. “My parents showed up.” I nodded in their direction. Steve looked up and suddenly noticed that there were other people in the room.


“Oh wow,” Steve said, “What a drag. It’s kind of like you’re mommy driving you on your first date.” He then looked towards them and said, “Hello, nice to meet you.”


“Nice to meet you too,” everyone responded.


“Finally, we get to meet one of your friends,” Leon added.


“Yeah, anyway,” I said to Steve, “So tell Mustafa, and Alisa, where I am, and tell them I’ll join you guys in a minute. I got to finish up with my parents, ok?”


“He’s going to be pissed,” Steve said. “He’s counting on you.”


“I’ll be there in a minute,” I said, and pushed him towards the door. “I got it under control.” Of course, you know that was a bald faced lie, but what else could I say. I don’t think I’ve ever had it under control. Even if I was the one holding the gun.


No responses yet

Jun 07 2010

The Haunted Heart, Chapter One

Published by under Haunted Heart


Chapter 1


“Here we are,” Richard said as he turned into the wide circular driveway. The seven year old girl sitting in the backseat of the SUV leaned forward, eyes widening almost as much as her smile.

“Your first sleepover, Nell. A little excited?” Richard smiled. He was so happy to see his daughter smile. It had been a rough few years. Man, had it been.

“Wow!” exclaimed Nell.

“Yeah, it’s pretty big house, huh?” Richard said as he opened his door. He eyed the expansive Craftsman/Bungalow styled home. “Nice,” he thought. He especially liked the large reflective bay windows that stretched the entire height of the three-story home. Richard looked over his shoulder. They probably have a nice view of the hills over the tree line facing the property. The house was only one of less than a half a dozen on the street. Wood lined the south side of the street. That’s a rarity, today, thought Richard.

“Yeah, Sally’s got two brothers and a sister.” Nell looked at her father, who had now opened her door and was lifting her out of the car. “Daddy, will I ever get a sister?”

Richard rolled his eyes. “I don’t know sweetheart. We’ll have to see. Not for a while anyway.” He grabbed the “My Little Pony” backpack from the seat and shut the car door. “Well, let’s go meet Sally’s mom.”

Nell grabbed her father’s hand, squeezed it and led him towards the house. As they approached, the white double doors opened and a little girl about the same age as Nell came running out. “Nell!” She screamed as only a little girl can.

“Sally!” Nell answered.

“You’re the first! Cool! Marcy’s coming. Stephanie too. Wendy can’t come cause she’s got some kinda of bug or something. But Amy said she’d be come. Is this your Dad? Wow. He’s cute. Come on! I’ll show you my room!” As Sally led Richard’s daughter running through the doors, they almost collided with the woman that was now exiting. She laughed as the girls scrambled around her.

“You must be Mr. Faux,” she said offering a hand and a smile. “I’m Barbara, Sally’s mom.

“Richard,” he said taking her hand. “And yeah, judging by the blur, she could almost be your twin.” He paused. “In another fifteen years, I mean.”

Her smile widened. “Well, looks and charm. We’re going to have to find a girl for you, Mr. Faux,” she said. “Richard.”

Richard shrugged and rolled his eyes.

“In fact, I may know someone, a friend of mine?”

“Is she as pretty as you?”

“Mr. Faux, keep talking like that, and the next time my Bill takes a business trip, it won’t be you’re daughter I’ll be having for a sleepover.”

Richard laughed, a little nervously. It was only innocent flirting, he knew that, but a shudder ran up his spine. He turned, a little too quickly, and looked at the woods across the street. “You have a lovely view, Barbara.”

“I’m sorry,” she offered. “A little too much, huh?” A glimmer of sadness touched her eyes. “I know about your …”

“Yeah, the whole world knows about it.” Richard sighed. “Um,” he turned back towards Barbara. “I’m sorry, I’m a little off my game.” He shrugged. “Anyway.”

“It’s okay.” Barbara smiled.

“Yeah, anyway.” Richard drew a deep breath. “That’s why we’re a little early. “You see Nell’s had it pretty rough. This is the first time she’s going to be away from me for any length of time, and …”

“You want me to have her call you with hourly updates?” Barbara joked.

Richard chuckled. “Yeah, it’s going to be a little rough for me too, I guess, but …” He shifted nervously. “But, uh, I just wanted to prep you, and leave my numbers, and …”

“It’ll be okay, Richard. This isn’t my first sleepover” Barbara put a hand on Richard’s shoulder. “Come on in, have a cup of coffee, check things out a bit, and leave me your numbers. I’m sure Nell will be fine, really.”

Richard allowed himself to be escorted inside. “I just mean, if she gets nervous or something, it’s no problem for me to come back and pick her up, if she needs.”

Barbara laughed. “You’ve never experienced a girl’s sleepover have you? She won’t have time to be worried.”

“I mean, you never know.”

“You on the other hand,” Barbara offered another smile. “When Tracy, Sally’s older sister, went on her first sleepover, I was a bundle of nerves. What if? You know?”

“Yeah, I know. You have no idea.” It was Richard’s turn to laugh. “Maybe I will take you up on that cup of coffee, until the other kids get here.”




Richard pulled his SUV into the driveway of his little bungalow. He released a chuckle. At least he had a home now. Small as it was. Richard decided he was going to enjoy tonight. After dropping off his daughter, he picked up his supplies for his first night of peace in a very long time. It seemed like a lifetime really. Maybe it was. Grabbing the grocery bag and pizza he headed for the front door.

That’s strange, he thought. I thought I left the porch light on. As Richard got to the door, he looked around. That strange shiver rolled up his spine again. He released a sigh. “Nerves,” he said. “You’re being paranoid, Richard. And now,” he laughed. “You’re talking to yourself.”

“After all this, you’re going to go crazy? Just when your life starts getting normal again.” Richard unlocked the two deadbolts and then the doorknob. “Relax, Richie. It’s going to be okay,” he told himself. “It’s going to be okay.”

And it would be. He really felt it would be. His little encounter with Sally’s mother was awkward, but normal. He could learn to have a real life again. “I hope Nell’s doing okay,” he said.

Richard shut the door behind him with his foot, quickly put his wares on the floor and went to disarm the alarm. It only had a thirty-second delay. But, as he went to enter his code, he stopped short. He looked again at the liquid crystal display. Did he forget to turn on the alarm? Was that possible? Richard was dumbfounded. Suddenly, that shudder rolled up and down his back again. He drew a breath. His stomach rose to his throat. His eyes searched the foyer. He listened to the empty house. His hand went to his mouth. Someone is here. Richard felt his pulse increase. He couldn’t catch his breath. He closed his eyes. Don’t panic!

“Too late,” he said out loud, a little too loud. “Calm down. She can’t be here. It’s not possible. It’s just your imagination. Nell is safe. Nell is safe,” he repeated. Richard laughed. He was worried about letting his daughter go to the sleepover, but at least now she was safe.

That actually helped. Richard inhaled deeply, trying to force himself to be calm, to think. “I don’t know. Maybe, I was so worried about the sleepover, I forgot to set the alarm. Everything is fine. She’s not here. Jane is not here. She can’t be. She’s locked up. She can’t hurt us anymore. She is not here.” He allowed himself to sit on the staircase. He sat there for a good while.

When his pulse returned to normal, Richard picked up the grocery bag and pizza and went into the living room. He dropped the pizza on the table, removed the six-pack from the grocery bag and brought it to the kitchen.

“Well, that was fun, Richie. Now you’re pizza’s cold and your beer is warm. Does it ever get any easier?” He put five of Heinekens in the freezer, and opened the sixth. “Well, here’s to good friends, panic and paranoia,” he said as he took a long pull on the bottle. “Tonight is kinda special.” He took another pull. “No, that’s Lowenbrau.” Richard shrugged. “I’m doing well tonight.” He returned to living room.

“Okay, a little Springsteen, some pizza and The Dark Tower. We can salvage the evening.” Richard paused. “I gotta stop talking to myself.”

Richard’s pocket started vibrating while chiming “Born to Run.” He looked at the cell phone. It was Steven, his lawyer and probably his last friend on the planet.

He flipped open the phone, but before he could say hello, Steven practically shouted, “Where are you? Turn on Channel Five News, right now. And sit down.”

“What is it?”

“Just do it, right now. I’ll stay on the line. Are you at home? Good. Sit down, man, and take a deep breath.”

That was out of the question. Richard’s breath seized in his chest. He grabbed the remote and flipped on the television. His eyes riveted to the screen. Automatically, he sat on the edge of the couch. “What is it?” he whispered into the phone, but he knew, somehow he knew.

A fire danced in the background of the screen as the voice of a young woman described the news event. The words at the bottom of the screen seemed to laugh at Richard, “Live from the Bergen County Female State Penitentiary for the Criminally Insane,” and he knew. He didn’t really need to hear the announcer describe how three women escaped, killing two guards and wounding four others. Two of the prisoners were killed, but the third was still missing.”

“Are you okay?” Steven asked.


“Are you okay? It’s not as bad as it sounds. They’re not identifying the escaped prisoners yet.”

“I know. You know.”

“We don’t know anything yet, Rich.”

“Yes we do. That’s why you called me.” Richard buried his face in his hand. “Oh God, what am I going to do?”

Suddenly, the whole evening returned to Richard in a flash. The door. The alarm. Did he smell her perfume when he walked in? She was there. She was in the house. Nell. Oh God, what if she gets to Nell. He had to get to Nell, to make sure she was safe.

“Steve, I got to go.”

“No, Richard, wait. Let me help you. I’ll be there in twenty minutes. Don’t do anything till I get there. Okay? Rich?”

Richard had already hung up the phone. He went to the closet and grabbed his Louisville Slugger. “Okay Bitch, where are you?”

The house was deadly quiet. The one thing that helped him keep his grip on sanity was the fact that Nell wasn’t home. She was safe. Even she couldn’t know where Nell was. Richard walked towards the stairs. She must be upstairs. The sound of his breathing echoed in his ear with each step. “How did you do it Jane? How?”

Before Richard made it to the upstairs landing, there was a loud knock at the front door. Richard’s heart smashed into his teeth. The bat fell from Richard’s hands and clattered down the stairs. Richard gasped. There was another loud knock on the front door. Mr. Fax,” a deep male voice boomed, “Are you there?”

Richard collected himself and descended the stairs. He picked up the bat and opened the door to two large men in suits. They both held out their police identification for Richard to see. “Mr. Fax?” the first one asked.


“May we come in, sir?” the blonde one asked. “Did you happen to see the news?”

“Or are you just getting ready for spring training?” the first one pointed to the bat.

“Yeah, well, I …” Richard shrugged, “Come on in. I suppose this is about the prison break, right? It was Jane, wasn’t it?” He led the two detectives to the living room.

“How did you know?”

Richard looked at the two cops. “Are you at all familiar with this case officers?”

“Yeah, it is pretty ‘Outer Limits,’ I guess.”

“But you don’t have anything to worry about,” offered the second one, “That’s why we’re here. She’s dead.”

“What?” It was too incredible to believe.

“Well, in the course of their escape, a gas canister ignited and exploded. We found two bodies, and parts of a third.”


“Your ex-wife is dead, Mr. Faux.”

“You’re sure? She’s dead?” Richard repeated. His legs gave out and sank to the floor. Richard began to cry. “Oh God.” He breathed deeply. “Oh God.”

“Are you alright, Mr. Fax?”

“Mr. Fax?”

“It’s Fox, as in the animal,” Steven said as he stepped through the door.” “Is everything okay, Richard?”

“She’s dead, Steve.” Richard looked up at Steven’s voice. “I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.”

The blonde detective turned to Steven, “Sir, what’s your involvement in all this, if may I asked.”

Steven sized up the two men quickly. “I’m his friend.” Steven shifted his gaze from one officer to the other. “And attorney. What’s yours?” Steven asked.

“We’re with the State Police,” said the one with the deep voice. “I’m Sergeant Banes, and this is Detective Hackman. “We came to inform Mr. Faux of the news.”

“And?” asked Steven, knowing there was something else.

“Well, his daughter is listed as the next of kin,” confessed the one called Banes, “and we need to know how to …” His voice trailed off as he searched for the right words.

“Dispose of the remains,” offered his partner.

Banes scowled at Hackman, “He means that we need to know what type of arrangements should be made.”

“What do you guys normally do with psycho killers?” asked Steven.

“Steve, please,” pleaded Richard.

“What? You’re going to defend her, now?” Steve asked Richard. “Five people are dead because of her. What would you have me call her?”

Richard sighed. “She’s dead Steve. I was married to her, and she’s still Nell’s mother. Let it rest.” Turning to the detective, he asked, “What do I need to do?”

“Well, as your daughter’s guardian, you can take custody of the body, and have it transferred to a funeral home, or you can sign off on it, and let the state ‘dispose’ of the remains.”

“No, we’ll give her a proper funeral.”

“I don’t believe you.” Steven rolled his eyes. “After all she put you through? You’re a fucking saint.”

“What are you?” asked Hackman, “The other woman?”

“Shut it, asshole,” Steven shouted. I’ve seen what she’s done to him.”

“Hackman,” Banes cautioned.

“Sorry, counselor.” There was almost some sincerity in Hackman’s apology.

“Hey, where is Nell?” asked Steven.

“At a sleepover.”

“You were free tonight, and you didn’t call me?” asked Steven.

“I just got back from dropping her off, when you called,” Richard answered. “And, I just needed some time for myself.”

“Girls, can you hash this out later, I want to get home to my wife,” interjected Hackman.

“Hackman!” Banes chided.

“Do I have to sign for her tonight?” asked Richard.

Banes pulled out some folded documents from his jacket. “We brought you the forms, Mr. Foax. You want to look at them, counselor?”

“Yeah, let me see them,” Steven said reaching for the papers.



“Thanks for your cooperation, Mr. Foax,” Banes said as he walked towards the door. “Good luck.”

“Thanks, officer. Um…” Richard paused while escorting the police officers to the door.”

“Is there something else you need, Mr. Foax?” Bane asked.

“Yeah, I know it’s kinda silly, maybe even a little crazy, but could you give the house a once over. Check upstairs …”

“What for?” asked Steven.

“Paranoia.” Richard forced a smile. “Just to put my mind at rest, you know.”

“Sure, Mr. Foax. Come on Hackman,” Banes said, as he mounted the stairs.

“The guy’s a little nuts isn’t he?” asked Hackman when the two of them were upstairs. “What’s he expecting, her ghost?”

“Look, the guy’s on edge. He’s been through a lot. Besides,” Banes looked at his partner, “I’m not going to give up an opportunity to check out his house.”

“What gives?” asked Hackman.

“Oh nothing. Just intuition,” Banes entered what appeared to be the main bedroom. “Look, there’s no way that lady was able to break out without outside help. I don’t believe it, and …” Banes eyes caught something on the bedroom mirror. “Look at this.”

“So what? He’s got a picture of his wife,” said Hackman.

“Ex-wife,” corrected Banes. “And, after all she put him through, too. Makes that Fatal Attraction lady look like a girl scout. He was even set up as the murderer. Sat in jail for awhile.”

“You don’t think that this guy …”

“Probably not. But something’s not right about all this. Just don’t know what it is. Come on, let’s get back downstairs.”



“You want me to stay awhile?” Steven asked after the police had left. “I can sleep over, and then I can ride over to the funeral home with you in the morning.”

“Don’t you have a life?”

“No, not really.” Steven laughed, “It’s what I get for hanging around with you.”

“Thanks, man,” Richard said, “You really are good friend. There’s some cold pizza and some Heineken in the freezer.”

“Why don’t we warm up the pizza? We’re not in college anymore.”

“Go ahead. I’ll go fix up the guest room,” said Richard.

Steven headed towards the kitchen when his Blackberry began to ring. He looked at the Caller I.D. and scowled. “Yeah,” he said into the phone.

Steven became increasingly impatient as he listened to the caller. “Look, I’m little busy… Don’t be a …” Steven looked to see if Richard was within earshot. “Just let yourself out … And you too … Deal with it.” Steven closed his phone and shoved it back into his pocket.

“What’s up?” asked Richard.

“Nothing,” said Steven, “nothing at all.”



“Come on Steve, we’re going to be late,” Richard called from the doorway.

“I’m coming, I’m coming.” Steven jogged towards the door. I couldn’t find my shoe.”

“Arm the alarm, will you?” Richard asked as he held the door.

“Sure,” Steven answered as he coded the alarm box. “I don’t know why you need this thing anymore.”

“Humor me,” replied Richard.

Steven exited the house, and Richard double locked the front door. “I’ll drive,” said Steven. “Are we picking up Nell first, or going straight to the funeral home?”

“No. We’ll pick up Nell on the way home. I already talked to Barbara, and she says Nell can stay all day if I want.”


“The girl’s mother. She’s really nice.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little soon,” Steven chided.

“She’s married with four kids, Steve.” Richard laughed. “She did say she had a friend for me though.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet,” Steven joked. “Just be careful. I’m tired of bailing you out of trouble.”



“Are you sure you don’t want to come in?”

“No, I’ll wait in the car. Just don’t take all day.” Steven leaned back in his seat. “I’d like to salvage what’s left of my Sunday.”

“You won’t even know I’m gone. I’ll just grab Nell, say thank you and we’ll be off.”

“Are you going to tell her?” asked Steven

“I’m going to wait till the funeral on Tuesday. I don’t want to ruin her day. This is the first time she’s had friends and a sleepover …”

“Yeah, whatever. Just go.”

“You asked,” Richard said as he closed the car door. He admired the house again as he approached the door. This time, he had to knock.

But, he didn’t have to wait long for an answer. The door opened and Barbara greeted him warmly. “Richard, so good to see you. Come on in.”

“I can’t stay long. My friend is waiting in the car.”

“Nell, you’re father’s here,” Barbara shouted into the house. “How are you doing? She asked Richard.

“I’m okay.” He smiled. “A little confused, to tell you the truth. A part of me is relieved, but I’m also a little sad. You didn’t say anything to Nell, did you?”

“No. You’re not going to tell her?”

“Not today. The funeral is going to be on Tuesday, and I want to wait till then.”

“Well let me know if you need anything.”

“Thank you. Really.”

Nell and Sally came running down the stairs like screaming banshees. “Daddy!” She yelled as she jumped into Richard’s awaiting embrace.

“Had a good time, kitten?”

“Oh yes! It was fantastic!”

“The girls spent all night telling ghost stories, and didn’t fall asleep till the middle of the night,” offered Barbara.

“Wow. How do you manage?” Richard asked Barbara.

“Oh, I’m fine. I love little girls. Just wait till you have a son,” she joked.

“Come on kitten, Uncle Steve is waiting in the car,” said Richard.

“Uncle Steve?” Nell said. “Come on Sally, you’ve got to meet Uncle Steve, he’s really cool.” Nell raced out the door followed by Sally.

Barbara walked Richard to the door at a slower pace. She placed a hand on his forearm. “Listen, I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but if you need a hand, you want me to watch Nell or have her sleepover, please feel free to ask. I’d like to help.”

“Thanks. I may take you up on that. We need to get our balance, and start living again.” Richard placed his hand on Barbara’s. “I appreciate it.”

“Pretty friendly woman,” Steven said to Richard as he entered the car. “Where’s her husband?”

“Business trip.”

“Ahh,” mocked Steven.

“Stop that,” chided Richard, “You sound like …”

Richard swallowed hard at the thought. Her,” he said. Richard shook his head at the memory and turned in his seat to face Nell. “All strapped in, honey?”

“Yes, Daddy,” answered Nell.

“Did you have a good time?”

“Oh it was the best time. Can I stay over again? Sally wants me too, and Aunt Barbara says its okay. Can I?”

“We’ll see honey. I’ll talk with Aunt Barbara and we’ll work it out?”

Steven laughed. “Aunt Barbara? So now she’s part of the family?”

“Give it a rest, Steve.”




“Isn’t it suppose to rain at a funeral?” whispered Steven to Richard. They were standing graveside, as the two men on either side of the grave lowered the casket into it. Nell was holding her father’s hand, staring into the grave.

“You didn’t have to come, Steve,” Richard whispered back.

“Ah well,” Steve shrugged. “I don’t understand why you’re going through the trouble, but you are my friend. Might as well see it through to the end.”

“Mommy can rest now, right Daddy?” asked Nell.
“What did you say?” asked Richard.

“Well, I mean, God will take care of her now right?” Nell looked at her father. “You said the doctors would help her, that she’d find rest in the hospital.” Nell’s face was very serious. “Now, that she’s with God, he’ll help her right?”

“I’m sure He will, sweetheart. “

“She’s probably roasting marshmallows,” Steven whispered to Richard.


Someone approached the grave. Both looked up and were surprised to see Sergeant Banes.

“Sergeant Banes?” Richard asked.

The detective smiled. “I came to offer my condolences, Mr. Foax.” He offered his hand. Richard shook it. “This must be Nell,” he said kneeling before the seven year old. “I’m sorry about your mom.”

Nell looked up to Richard. He encouraged her to take the detective’s hand.

“It’s okay, Daddy says that Heaven is better than the hospital.”

Banes stood up. “I’m sure it is, dear. Hopefully she can find peace.”

The gravediggers began filling in the grave. Banes, Richard and Nell began walking towards the gravel road where the cars were parked. Steven hung back. When the others were a few yards away, he turned and spit into the grave. One of the gravediggers looked up, but said nothing.

“Rot in hell, you little wench,” Steven hissed. “Game over!”

Bane walked Richard to his car. “Didn’t she have any friends? Family?” he asked.

“Well, everyone kind of abandoned us, when the killings started. You know, everyone thought we were just bad luck to be around at first, and then when everyone found out …” Richard sighed. “No one knew how to handle it. It was easier to avoid it.”

Bane smiled. “Well, he stuck by you.” Banes nodded towards Steven who was coming towards them. Richard buckled Nell into her seat.

“Yeah, Steve’s been great. He was my roommate in college, the last of the old gang.”

“Talking about me?” asked Steven.

“Just telling the detective what a good friend you’ve been to me, and to Jane.” Richard sighed. “You coming back to the house?”

“Yeah sure,” said Steven.

“You were Jane’s friend too?” asked Banes.

“Once. You know how it is,” answered Steven.

Banes nodded. “Not really, no.”

“You know, before she flipped out,” offered Steven.

“I see,” said Banes.

“Well, we need to get going Sergeant. Do you want to come back to the house? We have a spread,” offered Richard.

“For a woman that made your life a living hell, you’re going to an awful lot of trouble,” Banes said.

“Yeah, well,” Richard demurred. “My shrink would tell you I have some conflicted feelings about her. She’s Nell’s mom, she was my wife. A part of me will miss her, and now that she’s dead, the part of me that was terrified of her is…” He searched for the right words. “I’m trying to make my peace.”

“Is there a reason you’re asking all these questions, detective?” Steven asked.

Banes smile widened. “No, no, just curious by nature. It gets me into trouble with my wife all the time.” He turned to Richard. “Mr. Foax, thank you, but I’ll have to take a rain check on the offer. I do need to get back to my job.” Banes took out a business card and handed it to Richard. “I can’t imagine why you’d need this, but just in case, please feel free to call if you need anything.”

“Thank you,” said Richard, placing the card into his pocket.

Banes turned and walked to his car. Steven looked after him. “I don’t trust him,” he said.

“Now look at who’s being paranoid, Steve,” Richard chuckled. “It’s all over.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” answered Steven. “I guess it’s just my nature. I am an attorney.” He patted Richard on the shoulder, before turning and walking to his car.


No responses yet