Some Turn to Writing

Some Turn to Writing

 

In this enforced alone time, some of us turn to writing. I highly recommend it. If you aren’t a writer, you can become one! You really need to keep an account of your daily activities because, guess what? This won’t last. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Last spring, I’d never have guessed that this spring we’d have a new virus to deal with, world-wide, and that our out-going lifestyles would change. Thankfully, “this too shall pass” and, lest we forget, I’d like to suggest that you and I write what’s happening.

Just for fun this morning, and a diversion from the day, I’d like to give you a sample of what I’ve been doing–writing! Ned McNeil, of course, is in a terrible pickle, trying to solve a very old murder case that was supposed to have been solved already, but wasn’t–at least, not to Ned’s satisfaction. So, here you are. I hope you enjoy it:

Chapter Twenty-Eight

“It’s not as if I’m in any sort of danger,” I told Ulysses, the next day after the fire. “I’m not out trying to find a guilty party or anything. The crime that happened fifty years ago at the Saunders house has already been investigated. But, I admit I’m curious about the Saunders and Newton families. What could possibly be wrong with trying to find out more about them? And, who would know more than Tom Newton?”

     Ulysses wagged his tail, trudged to his bed, and flopped down, keeping a wary eye on me.

     With purse in hand, I headed for the door. Slipping on my jacket, I made sure of the security alarm, and went out to my car, parked in the porte cochere.

     Tom Newton was busy with a customer as I went inside the hardware store. He turned to Hershel and asked him to help Mrs. Blain, the woman at the counter, carry out her purchases. I smiled at Hersehel as he brushed past me. He glanced my way, nodded, and followed Mrs. Blain to her car.

     “Good morning,” Tom said, coming from behind the counter. “Are you in need of some nuts and bolts this morning?”

     I smiled. “Not at the moment. Do you have time to talk?”

     “Sure,” he said. “Pull up that stool and tell me what’s on your mind.”

     “I’m just being nosy, Tom, and you can tell me to shut up if you want. Somebody told me that your father and Cletus Saunders used to be partners in this store.”

     Tom’s eyes took on a far-away look. “Yes, they did, way back before I was born. I’m not sure what happened, but Cletus and Dad had a falling out and Cletus withdrew from the store. It’s odd, too, that my mother and Marvie Saunders were once friends. Marvie became a school teacher and Mom worked in the bank for a short time.”

     I fidgeted on the tall stool. “How sad that all four of them wound up being enemies.”

     “I don’t think Mrs. Saunders and Mom were what you’d call enemies. They just didn’t have anything to do with each other after Cletus left the store and then refused to pay the big bills he ran up.”

     “Strange, how old feuds have a way of hanging on,” I said.

     “Listen, Ned, I heard about the fire out at the house. I doubt that it was accidental. No one was living there and there wasn’t any lightning. It sounds like arson. I want you to forget that I asked you to dig into that trouble. I’ll never believe my dad killed Cletus, but what’s done is done. It sounds to me like it might be dangerous for you to be involved.”

     I drew a deep breath. “Actually, Tom, I believe you’re right.”

     Marianne cooked supper that night. We had homemade chicken and veggie pizza with applesauce and gingerbread for dessert. Cade ate with us. He loved being with his daughter and Bonnie, and, I’m happy to say, with me too. It was nice to eat someone else’s cooking and listening to Bonnie’s happy chatter banished the traumatic memories of the day.

     Cade and I sat in front of the fireplace after Bonnie and Marianne had gone up to bed. I wanted to talk to Cade, but hated to bring up a subject that might disrupt the contentment of the evening.

     A shower of sparks flew up the chimney as a log burned through and dropped. The wind blew a scattering of leaves against the window, and I snuggled closer against Cade’s shoulder, feeling blessed with the peace of this fall evening.

     He was the one who brought it up. “Jud Penson swears he didn’t start the fire,” he said.

     I sat up straight. “Well, you’d hardly expect him to confess.”

     “I know,” Cade said. “He told me he found the kerosene can in the barn, and he was hiding there because he knew it’d look suspicious if he was found at the burning house.”

     I picked up our coffee cups and went to the kitchen to re-fill them. “But, Cade,” I said, as I sat down again, “he was there, he was wanting to buy the old place from Daisy, and he…well, I guess he wouldn’t have wanted to burn it if he wanted to buy it, would he?”

     “Exactly,” Cade said. “I believed him, and let him go.”

     “But, Cade, if Jud didn’t set fire the house, who did? Do you think he may have written the threatening notes Daisy and I got? Or, is there another person involved?”

     Cade shook his head and sighed. “I wish I knew the answers. Just, please, try not to get any more involved than you are, Ned. Supper was delicious, Bonnie is a lot of fun, and you and I are here in front of the fireplace, alone at last. Let’s talk about something else.”

     So, that’s what we did until Cade noticed the time and decided he needed to get some sleep before showing up at his office tomorrow or being called out for some emergency. I sat on the sofa for a while after he left, staring into the fire, then climbed the stairs to my bedroom. Maybe I’d dream the answer. I had heard of such things happening.

    

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Wind roared through the trees, sounding like a restless soul. The limbs of the towering oak in the back yard scratched at my window. I couldn’t sleep. 

Blanche Day Manos

A Ned McNeil Mystery (3 Book Series)

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