A collaboration with Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess – In search of Happiness.

Beckie and I are going to work collaboratively on writing a poem. I said I would start the ball rolling with two lines, then pass it on to her and we’ll bat it back and forth until we feel it is finished.

So here is the beginning:

What is this thing called Happiness?

I search and search, but I confess…..

Ok, Beckie, my friend, over to you. 🙂

Beckie has added:

That some days of searching high and low,

it feels as if,  happiness is suppressed

My addition:

No matter where I am, how far I go.

Feeling Lonely, lost and dispossessed. 

Beckie’s addition:

My heart, mind, body, and soul often thinks, is this a test?

I know happiness is out there, I have to believe.

My next lines:

but while I endlessly search without sleep or rest, 

this cruel world is ever ready to deceive. 


Beckie’s next lines:

Though challenges are around every corner,

the search for the secret to happiness must be achieved.

My next bit:


Or is life just a meaningless empty space?

God’s creative vision totally misconceived?

From Beckie:

This questioning in my mind is a disgrace,

God would never allow me to continue being this peeved.


And from me:


Yet when the darkness holds me in its embrace,

I cannot but feel bitterly aggrieved. 

From Beckie:

With gritted teeth, I become red in the face,

Am I worthy of happiness to be received?


From Me:

and yet, before I fall and sink without a trace

a ray of hope lifts me, a miracle to be believed. 


From Beckie:

This warm fuzzy feeling as if my heart is being embraced,

a feeling washes over me, I hope I’m not being teased.

my next bit:

As happiness emerges from a forgotten deep place

The tormenting brooding darkness is finally eased. 


Beckie’s Part:

God lent his hands and darkest clouds soon were erased

The sunlight poured through and the negativity soon ceased.


My addition: 

For now, the battle ends leaving just an aftertaste

I have fought off once again that dark depressive beast. 


Beckie’s next bit:

There is light at this terribly long tunnel, and so I race

my longing for happiness, my running towards it increased.


And my last bit:

I discover, at last, that life is a mad steeplechase

and this thing called happiness is like a strange feast. 



A Collaboration With Kristian of “Tales From The Mind of Kristian” In Search of Happiness







Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too – A collaboration in Lunacy ;-)


I have been tagged by Christine Bolton, an excellent poet, of the blog Poetry for healing, see her post here:

Poetic Tag “Twas Not, Twas”






This was a collaborative poem started by Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, see his post here:

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too


The Mysterious Case of Twas Not Twas!

Rory’s Start:

I am sure, well pretty sure NO, of course l am sure!
Twas not twas, twas not there before!
And yet, here l am looking upon it with widened eyes …
This thing that twasn’t, and yet now it twas a surprise!

Paula of Light Motifs II‘s Addition Twas

When I told my friends what had transpired,
They laughed and said I must be a liar,
For things like THAT surely are not real;
Then it came back and said let’s make a deal.

Fandango of This, That and The Other’s Addition Twas

So it wants to make a deal?
Well that does have some appeal.
I asked it, “Whatsit all about?”
And that twas when it started to shout,

Christine of Poetry for Healing

Yes, whatsit all about Alfie?
Do you have bats in your belfry?
Was it this or was it that?
I know ‘twasn’t tit for tat,

Who has passed the baton onto Kristian – Tales of the mind of Kristian

Here is my addition.

Are you following all this closely?

What’s that you say? Mostly?

Well then, you’re far cleverer than I,

When you inherit lunacy, embrace the sky.


So who shall I pass this onto?

How about my friend, Beckie, of Beckie’s Mental Mess? Fancy a go?

😿June 8, 2019: Quote of The Day & A Personal Heart Felt Mention…


I have also included the following word prompts:

FOWC with Fandango — Inherit


Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too! – Ode to the Writers of Words (continued)



I have been tagged by Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess (see link to post below) to take part in this collaborative poem. The poem was started by A Guy Called Bloke and has passed through the hands of many excellent bloggers.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!!!

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!!!

A Guy Called Bloke’s Start

I am quite the writer you know, it has to be said,
My imagination runs wild, loose and amok,
Creating literary havoc within my head,
Luckily, however, I haven’t experienced writer’s block!

Fandango’s Addition

Each morning I think about topics on which to post
But what stirs my imagination by far the most
As I try to conjure up what it is I want to write
Is using the daily prompts while keeping my writing tight.

Leigha Robbins Addition

Sometimes the words leave me to struggle

But that’s when I take the words and juggle

To fit them into their proper place

Where they do more than take up space


Sandy’s Addition

The words they come, the words they go

At times MIA, a total no show

In the end, it’s all worthwhile

When flowing freely, one big smile

Angie of King Ben’s Grandma‘s Addition

More words do I read, than write, by far
Writers are my heros, like rock stars
Through all my troubles, pain and strife
Words have comforted me, saved my life

Grandma passes the baton to Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess

Writing is artistry without a brush but with a pen,

You start with a beginning and surprise yourself with the end,

Word prompts, picture prompts, sentence prompts work on our imagination,

Where ever our minds take us, we end up with some kind of creation.


Beckie passed the challenge on to Tales From The Mind of Kristian


Here is my addition:

These virtual worlds that we create in our heads

The possibilities, endless with more patterns to find

The plots, esoteric or quizzical with many varied threads.

Show the deepest, darkest recesses of the creative mind.


So I am going to pass the baton to Sadje of Keep it Alive



I have also included the following word prompts:


FOWC with Fandango — Quizzical




Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!! – My addition to the Crazy Bucket List.

So, that Marvel of the Blogosphere and thoroughly cheeky chappy, Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, has tagged me in one of these fantastic collaborative poems. This one is about a Bucket list of desired experiences.

See his post here:

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!!

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!!

So, so much to do, and with so little time,
I want to do everything, nothing to be missed,
But how do I plan it all, how do I define,
The perfectly crazy bucket list?


First up is a lush tropical jungle,
Jaguars and waterfalls… all quite insane;
I do hope my parachute isn’t all bungled,
When I jump from the doorway of this airplane!

Perfectly Crazy Bucket List!

I want to take a rocket into space,
Or maybe a submarine ride deep in the sea.
I sure hope they will save me a place,
Because that’s where I really want to be!

Rory’s Perfectly Crazy Bucket List!

A trip to the mountains is what l’d choose,
I’ll make sure to wear climbing shoes,
Rocks are high and edges slippery,
Wouldn’t want to fall off the periphery,


I’d like to see the world, visit the sands of Abu Dhabi
take a cruise down the Golden Gate Bridge in my Maserati
head to New England and catch a game at old Fenway Park,
then board a ship to Costa Rica where I can swim with a shark.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too! (collaboration poetry)

I’d travel to the desert in Egypt
And photograph the pyramids
Then board the Cairo railway,
To the Chocolateria in Madrid.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!! – Bucket List

Swimming with dolphins in the ocean deep
A worldwide cruise, though it won’t be cheap
I want to write a novel, and hope it’s a best seller
To see my book upon a shelf, wouldn’t that be stellar?


I’d love to ride a zip wire high up in the trees
And to do so fearlessly as often as I please.
A Starfighter pilot I’d dearly love to be
I smash the evil aliens and set the good world’s free.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two, Too! – Bucket List

For the longest time, I have dreamt of Tuscany
Not merely to visit, but to eat, live, and dine
Vacation in ’16 felt like my destiny
I’m ever so convinced, I will fit in just fine

Not Just My Verse, Yours Too

Gallowayshire, the ancestral home,
the trip of my dreams with enough £s to roam;
to meet with some long-losts in Wigtown for tea
to stroll through the heather; gaze out o’er the sea.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two, Too – The Bucket List – #poetrychallenge

To see the Northern Lights is my one true desire
I could look at them forever, and never really tire
Color painting the skies, brightens earth and sea
The Aurora Borealis, now that’s the scene for me

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two, Too – The Bucket List – #poetrychallenge

My feet walking along the shoreline of a pristine island
with crystal clear water, pink sand, and beautiful palms.
Doesn’t much matter which one as long as the weather is grand.
Shades on, lotion lathered, now let’s work on releasing qualms.

And here is my addition….

I want to dance the Time Warp on the fancy New York stage,
And when feeling lacklustre, have a cup of tea with the Queen.
I want to represent for everyone the epitome of a bygone age,
And be the best dressed celebrity, the world has ever seen!


So who to pass this on to? How about the lovely Sadje of Keep it Alive?

Trite performance


I have also included the following prompts for the day.







Not Just My Verse Your Two Two Too! “The Wrong Side of 40” Poetry Challenge Created by Rory (A Guy Called Bloke)

I was tagged by the lovely Beckie, of Beckie’s Mental Mess, click below to see her post:

Not Just My Verse Your Two Two Too! “The Wrong Side of 40” Poetry Challenge Created by Rory (A Guy Called Bloke)

This challenge was begun by Rory, A Guy Called Bloke and the idea is simple, keep to the topic of  The Ageing Process and add four lines of your own, then tag someone else to continue the chain.

The Wrong Side of 40

Rory’s Bit

How l wish, that when l was younger,
My parents had been somewhat bolder,
Concerning the aging process and the wonders,
Blunders, pitfalls, and perils of getting older!

Dorinda’s Bit

Wrinkles in my skin have begun to bloom
I dare not look in the mirror much longer
Mom once said, child, you can forego this doom
Honestly, she couldn’t have been any wronger

Walt’s Bit

How can I write about the wrong side of 40
When that was over 35 years ago

I’ve seen the wrong side of 40, 50, 60 and 70
So I wish you all luck, “Care for some tea?”

Linda’s Bit

Me, I’m in my middle sixties
With new lines on my face each day
Road maps I call them of my twenties
And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Beckie’s Bit

Several types of tissue, skin, fat, muscle, and bone

I’ve proudly earned my crows feet and wrinkles so thin

No, I don’t want a facelift or botox, just leave me alone

Ageing naturally and gracefully is not a mortal sin!


Here is my addition:

They’re evidence of my venturesome ways;

Each facial line, each mark, each spot.

I’d tell you some tales of bygone days,

But unfortunately, my minds forgot.




So who shall I tag to continue…. who do I know who would enjoy this sort of thing?

How about my pal, Mel of Crushed Caramel?





Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too! — The Night Out [multiverse] – A poem challenge from A Guy Called Bloke.


I missed this one, sorry about that.

Rory, A Guy Called Bloke, started a challenge, to add an additional 4 lines to his poem about a Night out.

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too!

He passed it to Sadje of Keep it Alive who then added 4 more lines then passed it on….

Eventually, it was passed to Li of Tao Talk who then tagged me. And there it has languished until now.

Check out Li’s post here:

Not Just My Verse, Your Two Two Too! — The Night Out [multiverse]

The Night Out!

Rory’s bit:

Quite excited l am, seriously,
Not often that my friends and l go out,
For a night on the town so mysteriously,
To have a laugh and a fool about!

Sadje’s bit

Though we have plans to go to town
But it is pouring down by buckets
We may go to see the circus and the clown
Let’s start the evening by first buying the tickets

Di of Pensivity 101’s bit

Oh what a shame, they’re all sold out
Whatever will we do now,
I know, we’ll all go down the pub,
Have a pint and some decent chow…………..

Paula’s bit

But I hear an unearthly sound
Along with fiendish laughter and howls;
I would prefer to turn back around–
It’s two for one monsters’ night out!


Li’s bit

As we turn, our way is blocked

By something large and yellow

He’s Big Bird – but his eyes are red

A zombified, HUNGRY fellow!

My Addition:

And behind him appears a shape,

Woolly with some blood-soaked stains

The Snuffleupagus’s mouth agape,

Desperately hungry for some brains.


So who likes to write a bit of poetry now and then?

How about Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess?

😜March 21, 2019: Quote of The Day & My Thoughts


Have fun 🙂





50 Word Thursday #1 – The Results

In collaboration with Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, I am continuing the 50 word Thursday Challenge that was hosted by Deb Whittam of the blog Twenty Four. Deb has decided to call it a day with the challenge and move on to other things.

Teresa and I both thought it such a shame and have agreed to try keeping it going, taking it in turns to play host.

Here is my post from last Thursday:

The Phrase: “You’ll stay here until it’s time to go. I’ll take you to the transport and then you’re on your own”
Phrase taken from The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

And here are the entries:

From Fandango – This, that and the Other:

From Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith

And the other entry is my own:

There was quite a bit of interest, but no more entries. It’s early days. If you’d like to take part in this, look out for a post from The Haunted Wordsmith tomorrow.

The Big Day – Time for Something Different

Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith has started a new experiment and asked me to be the first to have a go of playing along.


  1. Copy the story below as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please)
  2. Add somehow to the story in which ever style and length you choose
  3. Tag only 1 person
  4. If you choose to not participate or finish the story, please tag me (the Haunted Wordsmith) so that I know.




The Big Day

Charles and Edward looked forward to this day every year. All their friends would gather at Charles’ house, pack up, and drive over to the field. Once there, the party began immediately. Edward would pull out the grill and throw on some ……..


Here is my continuation of the story:


……home grown corn of the cob, home made burgers and some of the best sausages that Edward, who came from England, called bangers.

“Why do you guys call them bangers, Eddie?” Judy asked perplexed.

“I think it comes from when they used to be cooked on the stove in a frying pan. They usually contained a lot of water and when heated up on a high heat would suddenly explode. They don’t tend to do that now. These are 80% prime pork. I make them to an old family recipe but I put more meat in them” replied Edward.

While Edward was in charge of the food, Charles would go round chatting to all their friends, sharing out the wine he’d made from their own grapes. He was pretty much a failed actor but together they’d made enough money to buy their little bit of heaven in the Napa valley.

Charles would tell jokes and generally entertain the crowd. Judy and Franklin used to work with Charles in the movie industry, although Franklin then became an agent. Judy had been a bit more successful than Charles and had actually made a movie with Spielberg, of course you can’t see her under the alien costume but it was her claim to fame.

Colin and Maggie were friends from England, Edward had known them from before he moved to the US back in the Seventies, they flew out to spend a couple of weeks with them every year. It was a cheap holiday for them.

Sebastian and Juan were friends from San Fran who Charles and Edward used to hook up with in that wonderful time of free love in the late seventies and early eighties before the Aids epidemic had devastated the scene.

They were a disparate bunch of people but they all had one thing in common, they all liked to have a free holiday on Charles and Eddies Ranch and they were also prepared to put up with Charles ego and laugh at his terrible jokes.

Just as Charles was telling the one about the Left-handed waiter and the Disc-Jockey……….

…………………………………To be Continued……………………………………………………


Ok, to continue this story I will nominate……


Kristian at Life lessons from around the dinner table.




Have fun.






A Dead Man Walking – A Collaborative Story

This story is a collaborative effort. A total of 10 different bloggers worked on this, myself included. Each person added their own spin on the story. The result is something quite unique. 

Thank you to Denny McBride and Em for coming up with the idea and organising it.

Thank you Liz Charnes for designing the cover picture.

I hope you enjoy this story and please check out the blogs listed below:


Denny McBride, https://theceaselessreaderwrites.wordpress.com/

Jo Frei, https://eclecticexclamations.guru/

Liz Charnes, https://lizcharnes.com/

Melisa Lewis, https://fingerstosky.blog/

Kara Bernard, https://bernardsbookblog.wordpress.com

T. Shaw, https://tshawwriter.wordpress.com/

The Britchy One, https://bitchininthekitchen.org/

Rachel Ann, https://fitfulfearfulphantasmal.wordpress.com/

Em, http://earthlybrain.com/


Part 1 by Denny McBride, https://theceaselessreaderwrites.wordpress.com/

Darla Nyte plugged her PalmPal into her car’s navport and set her office as the destination.  The car drove, and she half-heard the radio report of the mysterious death of the young heir to the Bond family business fortune while she observed the faces of other riders as they passed.  Most were lined with worry or concern.  Darla smiled, pleased with her own good fortune.

America had endured a long, difficult recovery following 20 years of the disastrous Great Again wars and the resulting Trumpocalypse that finally prompted the Joint Chiefs to forcefully remove the ancient, senile President from the Oval Office handcuffed to his hospital bed.  Darla was one of the MPs escorting the removal detail.  She had been appalled by the corpulent, ranting despot as he raged, apopleptic and foaming at the mouth, unwilling or unable to accept his ignominious end.

While the country worked to heal and recover, Darla had remained in the Army.  When her final term of enlistment was up, she had enough money saved to buy a small apartment and an even smaller office in the city, where she achieved her dream of opening the Nyte Detective Agency.

She parked and took the stairs 5 floors up to her lobby.  Her assistant, Steve, greeted her.  “You’ve got a doozy of a case in there today, Boss.”  She sat down behind her desk and was struck by the strange pair across from her.  The older man wore a white lab coat with a name tag identifying him as a coroner, and the extremely handsome younger man was uncommonly pale.  He stood and extended his hand.  Darla stood and shook with him.  His hand was dry but shockingly cold.  “I’m Franklin Bond,” he said, “and I want you to figure out who killed me.”

Part 2 by Jo Frei, https://eclecticexclamations.guru/

Darla covered her surprise by taking a sip of the coffee that Steve had left for her.  She made a face at the awful taste.  She was going to have to teach him how to make a better cup of joe. Sighing to herself, she lifted her gaze to Franklin. “It would seem to me that if you are dead, you would be your own best witness,” she said.

Franklin gifted her with a beatific smile.  Her breath caught in her throat.  He was completely not her type, but he made her heart skip a beat.  “I assure you that I am quite dead,” Franklin said.  “I brought Dr. Dawson here to testify to that fact.”

Dr. Dawson, looking a bit shell-shocked, said, “By every scientific test we ran, he is dead.”  He handed her a signed death certificate.  “Thank you, Dr. Dawson, I think you can leave now,” Franklin said.  Dr. Dawson, looking much relieved, headed out the door.

“So, Ms. Nyte, now that I have assured you that I am indeed dead, will you help me find my murderer?”

Darla tilted her head and looked hard at Franklin.  “Before I agree to accept your case, I will need to hear more,” she said.  “First you must to agree to this,” Franklin replied, pushing his PalmPal across her desk.  She looked down and saw what appeared to be a standard non-disclosure agreement.  After reading it, she had the AI notarize it with her thumbprint and retinal scan, then handed it back.  Her PalmPal chirped to let her know that it had her copy and that it had been filed.

Franklin sat back looking satisfied.  “I am cursed with being a draugr until our family heirloom is recovered and returned to my family,” he told her.

Part 3 by Liz Charnes, https://lizcharnes.com/

A draugr?  That’s a new one.  Darla sat, careful to remain professional.  No need to vex the crazy.  “What do you remember?”

Franklin ran a hand through his thick blonde hair, frustration marring his handsome face.  “I don’t know.  It’s all a blur.  The last thing I remember is dinner the night I died.  It was at my Uncle Jeff’s home with him, his new wife Alina, my sister Ingrid, and her husband Malcolm.”  He grimaced.  “It was bad.  Ingrid and Alina were at each other’s throats.”  He paused.  “I’m sorry.  That’s probably not relevant.”

It wasn’t, but it made for some lucrative gossip she could sell later.  One good thing that came of the Trumpocalypse was the demise of NDAs.  These days only fools thought non-disclosure agreements had any power.  “Why doesn’t your sister like your uncle’s wife?”

“Alina was a strip… Uh, exotic dancer.”  He chuckled.  “Jeff’s got a thing for exotic dancers.”

“Don’t we all?”  Darla winked, then swallowed a burp.  Damned acid reflux.  Where are my Rolaids?  “Anything else you remember?”

Franklin shook his head.  “Other than the fighting, no.  I was tired, so I went to the summer house.  When I awoke, the room was dark, and I was dead.”

“That’s it?”  The Rolaids were hiding under her calendar.  She took two, then two more just in case.  “You died in your sleep?”

He nodded.  “Pretty much.  Oh!” He snapped his fingers.  “And the Spear of Destiny was missing!”

Oh, for God’s sake.  Darla felt a headache coming on.  “You’re saying that your family has the Spear of Destiny?  The Spear that supposedly…”

“… killed Jesus Christ, yes, my family has…er, had, the Spear of Destiny,” Franklin finished. “My great-grandfather brought it back after World War II.”

Darla stood.  “Frank, you need a therapist, not a P.I.  I can’t help you.”

Part 4 by Kristian Fogarty, https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com

“You must help me, Ms. Nyte.  I’d hoped you would do so voluntarily, but I took a precaution in case you wouldn’t.”  He smirked, “How was your coffee?”

Darla felt a cold feeling in her stomach, a feeling of dread, as she caught the threat in his question.  “What did you put in my coffee, you freak?!”

“Nothing that will harm you permanently, dear, there’s no need to call me names.  Have I not suffered enough?  It’s not easy being dead, you know?  I have a dose of the antidote to the potion, and I will give it to you if you help me.  Please find out who murdered me and help me retrieve the Spear of Destiny.  Then I can rest.”

“I don’t seem to have much choice, now, do I?  I think we should start at your uncle’s home, the scene of the crime.  By the way, how did your uncle and the others react when you woke up dead?”

“I don’t know.  No one else was there.”

“Tell me more about your uncle, his wife, your sister, and her husband.  They are after all the chief suspects here.”

“Uncle Jeff has always been an eccentric, but then, most of us are in our family.  You don’t become guardians of a holy relic without it affecting you.  Alina is a tramp on the make, nothing more.  I believe Ingrid, who’s ten years older than I am, rather resents me, the heir, but I don’t think she would have murdered me.  Her husband Malcolm has always been … distant.  I never knew what went on in his head.”

“Well, let’s get back to your uncle’s and start looking around.  What is that stuff you put in my coffee going to do to me exactly?”

Part 5 by Melisa Lewis, https://fingerstosky.blog/

“It’s a hallucinogenic.  Ancient Mayans supposedly used it to see the future.  Some people say it opens your mind to unimaginable possibilities.”  Franklin stood, ignoring the perplexed and worried look on Darla’s face.  “Will you drive?  The law doesn’t look kindly on deceased drivers.”

Darla nodded and gathered her belongings as quickly as possible, her mind counting down the minutes until she might start hallucinating.

On the ride over, Darla was increasingly uncomfortable, noticing her breath was the only sound between the two of them.  They arrived at a large stone mansion surrounded by wrought iron gates.  Security cameras swiveled about and turned toward the car as they drove up to the intercom.  Franklin reached over her and placed his forefinger on a scanner.  Darla arched her head back to stay out of his way.  She noticed he smelled like sandalwood and citrus.  She quickly reminded herself that the shoulder that grazed her chin was cold because he was dead, not because of the weather.

The gates creaked open, and they drove just a few feet inside when a tall man with a fur coat and skinny blue jeans held up his hand to stop them.  His thinning hair was greased back, and he wore a gold ring on every finger.

Franklin stuck his head out the window and hollered, “Uncle Jeff! Is something the matter?”

“You’re not welcome here, Franklin!  You are a thief!  I’m filing a police report!  Stay back now, don’t come any closer!”  Uncle Jeff remained planted with his hands out in front of him. Darla checked Franklin’s expression, unsure if she was starting to hallucinate or if she really did see a smirk as he lowered his head back into the car.

Part 6 by Kara Bernard, https://bernardsbookblog.wordpress.com

Her gaze drifted back to Franklin’s uncle.  Darla leaned out of her window and directed the mass of fur blocking the driveway.  “Mister Bond… Do you mind if I call you Jeff?”

“You get away from here, you hear me?  I’m warning you, Franklin!”  The rings on Jeff’s fingers clinked as his hands shook, the sound crashing like thunder in Darla’s ears.  She winced as she stepped out of the car. Her thoughts went … fuzzy.

She took a step forward.  “Look, Jeff, I need you to step aside.  My name’s Nyte, and I’m here to – oh, god. Oh, god!”  Darla sank to her knees, eyes wide, as the rotting corpse of an animal slithered its way out of Jeff’s fur coat.  Matted fur dripped off its skin like oil.  A slimy tongue smeared itself between black, jagged teeth.  A sound like bones on metal pierced the air as the creature fell to the ground and began dragging itself toward Darla.

A collision of sounds – screams, claws on gravel, dragging limbs – forced its way under her skin. She covered her ears and shut her eyes before an ice-cold slab of flesh gripped her arm.  Darla cried out, tried to pull away, and then … nothing.

She woke to the smell of cinnamon.  Slowly opening her eyes, she saw Franklin kneeling beside the couch she found herself on.  He held a steaming cup of tea up to her.

“Welcome to my humble abode.”  He smiled.  “Well, Uncle Jeff’s humble abode.”

“What?”  Still groggy, Darla’s words slurred together.  “Wha’appened?”

“Well, you see, the thing about hallucinogens is, well, they make you hallucinate.  Sorry ‘bout that.”

Darla groaned and reached for the tea.  “Wait, you said we’re inside.  He let us in?”

“Hm.”  The corner of his mouth twisted upward.  “Not exactly.”


Part 7 by T. Shaw, https://tshawwriter.wordpress.com/

“What do you mean, ‘not exactly’?”

“Shortly after you stepped out of the car and politely introduced yourself to nice Uncle Jeff, the hallucinations started.  You fell, and my previously unwelcoming uncle was so startled by your altered disposition that he bent down to see if you were alright.  Who knew you’d almost kill the guy?”  Darla’s eyes enlarged as she sprayed Franklin with the gulp of tea she’d been about to swallow.  Franklin reached for his handkerchief and annoyingly dabbed his pale face dry.  Darla would have apologized, but since Franklin was the reason she had lost control of her faculties in the first place, she held back.  “Like I was saying, you fought valiantly.  Unfortunately for Uncle Jeff, he got a little too close.  I’m pretty sure your punch to his throat is what sent you both into darkness, which is why I maintained my place on the sidelines.”

Darla set her cup of tea on a nearby end table that looked a few hundred years old.  “Before becoming a detective, I served in the Army.”  Darla stood up; although still shaky, she was ready to gain momentum in Franklin Bond’s case.  “Is this the same room where you woke up and realized that you were dead?”  Darla began her search before Franklin could respond.

“No, this is the parlor.”

Spying several gaudy antiques, Darla said, “Seems like you and your family really admire objects with a bit of history.”

Franklin smiled.  “Yes, but we most prize the Spear of Destiny.”  After perusing the room with no luck, Darla decided they should visit the kitchen and interview the cooks to determine whether Franklin had been poisoned, but before exiting the room she glanced back at a portrait on the mantelpiece.  The subject’s eyes reminded her of Dr. Dawson’s.

Part 8 by The Britchy One, https://bitchininthekitchen.org/


Leaving the room, Darla stumbled and had to lean against the door frame.  “Wait,” she commanded, “you want me to solve your murder, but you’re withholding facts.  Why did your uncle accuse you of theft and threaten to call the police?  That’s not exactly the reaction of someone who thinks you’re dead.”


“Ahh, Ms. Nyte,” Franklin chuckled, “here are the shrewd deductions you’re famous for.  It’s true, I have been economical with facts.  I was hoping you would solve my murder without incriminating me.”


Darla ground her teeth.  Coherent thought was becoming difficult.  “If you want me to solve this, give me the antidote.  I can’t proceed if I can’t think.”


“Very well.  I’ll give you half now, which will abate your symptoms, and the full dose upon revelation of my murderer.  If you take too long, I’ll be stuck as a draugr forever.”


He gave Darla a small vial of clear liquid.  She wouldn’t normally take anything without knowing what it was, but she’d never been in a situation like this.  She felt her mind sharpen. “Where were you when you started to feel sleepy?  Were you in this house?  Why did your uncle accuse you of theft?”  She had more questions plus the niggling feeling there was more to Dr. Dawson, but she had to start somewhere.


“You’re correct in guessing I wasn’t inside the house.  I was in the summer house near the tennis court.”  “I’ve had a bad run at the casinos lately, and my creditors were pressing for payment,” he whined.  “I’d arranged to sell a couple of treasures that I would’ve inherited anyway.  It wasn’t really theft.”


Darla wasn’t surprised at his attitude.  She’d seen his type before.  “Surely you weren’t selling the Spear of Destiny?  Is that why you’re still here?”

Part 9 by Rachel Ann, https://fitfulfearfulphantasmal.wordpress.com/

“Do you know how much the Vatican would pay for it?”  Arms crossed and frowning, Franklin’s façade of victimhood had vanished.  “Anyone would’ve done the same.”

Darla was reminded of the former president thrashing in the Oval Office.  His comb-over had flapped around like a wounded vulture’s wing, its white roots long overdue for a dye job.  “Don’t you know who you’re dealing with!?”  Trump had railed.  “None of you will ever work again! Believe me!”  The Velcro straps had held, but that hadn’t stopped his mouth.  Nyte had to listen to that sewer-pipe overflow as she escorted his gurney to the waiting ambulance.

Why are the rich such egomaniacs?  Darla wondered.  If Bond is a draugr, she thought, it’s due to sheer stubbornness.  Everyone owes a death, but when his came due, he’d been too arrogant to succumb.

“You can’t buy your way out,” Darla said, wrinkling her nose. “And holding me hostage won’t change facts.  Your cologne won’t cover the stench of your decomposition much longer.”  Franklin glared.  “But you were murdered, and the culprit must be brought to justice.”

“Right.  To the summer house then, shall we?”  Franklin gestured.  As they approached, they heard a woman’s screams.  Darla kicked the door in, gun drawn.  A man had a woman pressed against the wall, in flagrante delicto.  Her screams weren’t of fear, but passion.

“Alina…really?” Franklin said. “With the gardener?”

The gardener’s pants slipped down farther than they already were. A metal object fell from his back pocket.

“The Spear!” Franklin yelled. “Thief!”

“What, this?” the gardener said, picking up his pants first then the object.  “This is just a Hori-Hori.”

“What did you call me?” Alina shrieked.

“Not you,” he said, brandishing the Spear of Destiny, “isn’t this a weeding knife?  I need it to weed the rose bushes.”

Darla stared at the gardener.  She felt her mind going fuzzy again.  “Doctor … Doctor Dawson?”

Part 10 by Em, http://earthlybrain.com/

“What doctor?” Alina squeaked.


“D-Dawson,” Darla stuttered, pointing a shaky index finger at the gardener.


Franklin shook with fury.  “That’s not Dr. Dawson, that’s our son of a bitch of a gardener who’s stealing MY inheritance.  Focus, Nyte!”


The gardener stared at Darla, his eyes burning a hole in her skull.  His lips slid into a crooked smirk.  Darla tried to visualize his scheme:  he’d seduced the distressed Alina after dinner, coercing her while Franklin slept in the summer house.  “Let’s bend the rules a bit”, he teased, sensing that Alina ached to be mischievous.  After acquiring the Spear, he had spiked the air purifier with Dragon’s Breath and zombie powder.  Overnight the substances numbed Franklin’s senses, made him pale, ghostly cold, and clouded his perception of reality.


“I am Dr. Dawson,” he’d whispered as Franklin lay in a drugged stupor, “you have been unjustly murdered and robbed of your most precious inheritance.  Seek revenge within 12 hours or forever remain a draugr.  I have retained an apt detective to solve this mystery.  Give her this potion, and she’ll be compliant.”


Darla’s vision swiftly evaporated into floating shreds.  The sound of cracking bones on metal reverberated in her ears once again.  She shifted her gaze, and the creature revealed itself anew, hauling a horrid pile of disintegrating flesh and bones.


Darla pointed her gun at the repugnant creature and pulled the trigger repeatedly without hesitation.


“NOOO!” Alina screamed.


Franklin dropped like a stone.


Uncle Jeff ran in to the room.  “What’s with all the—“.  The sight of the half-naked Alina, the exposed gardener, and Franklin’s lifeless body in a spreading pool of blood scorched him mad. “MURDERER!”


Darla saw only stars, spinning in infinite spirals.


Dawson pulled his pants up and sauntered out, simpering as he fondled the Spear in his pocket.


The End