A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise because that is how life is – full of surprises
– Isaac Bashevis Singer
Since Fielding’s startling news about Aunt Doris’ disappearance, Dana Bowman has kept her son David close to her where possible and arranged with Fielding to have a police car parked outside her house. David appears to be the only family member besides herself who is still around and Dana is worried. However, this morning she received a pay phone call from one of the missing family members, requesting a meeting in the library boardroom. Dana persuaded the constable in the car to come inside to keep watch on David as she didn’t trust what might happen to him if she brought him with her because of that abstract painting on the wall. So, Dana now sits in the boardroom waiting for someone from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2023), Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection.
The door opens. Dana swings around from her seat at the table.
Dana: Good. You made it okay. Were you followed? And where have you been?
Aunt Doris sits down: One thing at a time, please. I’m an old woman. I don’t think I was followed. Look, you know I’m not a fan of your brother, but when things affect Ronald’s (Note: Dana’s ex-husband) son, I have to do something.
Dana: Like disappear for a few days? Where were you?
Doris, lowering her voice: I hid out in a hotel – I’m not saying where.
Dana: Why? And how does this all affect David?
Aunt Doris, scowling her face into its gargoyle look: Things haven’t been normal lately.
Dana sighs: Tell me about it. Now, David.
Aunt Doris waves a hand: Let me tell this. First there were all those calls supposedly from your brother on my cell. But when I picked up there was no one there.
Dana: Fielding did mention that and that your cell is missing.
Aunt Doris: Still is. But now they’ve gotten into my land line? And that’s why I disappeared – so they wouldn’t find me and to think.
Dana: And you didn’t think to call me or the police at least?
Doris: I thought they would get to David. They said not to call the police.
Dana: Who are they, Aunt Doris?
Aunt Doris shrugs: I don’t know. But this time they left a message about David.
Dana, leaning towards Doris: What message? What did they say?
Aunt Doris: That David is next. Don’t call the police or David will be sorry.
Dana, her heart starting to beat fast: And?
Aunt Doris: That’s it. Is David going to disappear too? I don’t want him to go through all that again. You’re his mother so you need to do something.
Dana: I need more information than that. Did you recognize the voice? Man or woman?
Aunt Doris: I don’t know. It was muffled.
Dana: Have you told Fielding?
Aunt Doris: I did decide to call from a pay phone just before I came here. He wasn’t there so I had to leave a detailed message for him in his voice mail. I kept his number that you gave me last year when David went missing… But I am here now.
Dana: Hm. What aren’t you telling me Aunt Doris? You are being too co-operative with me and I don’t think it’s just concern for David.
Aunt Doris hems and haws.
Dana: Aunt Doris. As you pointed out, David’s security is at risk. Now spit it out.
Aunt Doris: Well, I never. You don’t need to be rude. Very well.
Aunt Doris opens her purse and hauls out an envelope which appears to be stuffed to its limits.
Dana: What’s this?
Aunt Doris: I’m coming to it. This came in the mail the same day as they called about David.
Aunt Doris dumps out the envelope. The contents appear to be some photos and a typed sheet of what looks like some list. Dana leans over to get a better look.
Dana: What is all this?
The door bursts open. Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson rush in.
Fielding: We’d like to know too. Hand it over.
Sharon A. Crawford
You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html