I got a bit more feedback this time. Thank you all who helped me out. Two books, Sidetracked and Alton & Velda got an equal number of votes, so I discussed it with my son, and decided to post Sidetracked this time. For those of you who wanted Alton & Velda, I will post it once this novel is done.
Sidetracked began as a challenge from author friend, Karen Vaughan. She encouraged me to try a cozy mystery. I didn’t expect it to be particularly easy, because cozy mysteries aren’t supposed to contain sex or bad language. (Well, there went that idea.) She suggested, as an alternative, I should simply write a mystery. I thought I could probably handle that, and I’ve been wanting to try one, so I set out on the first of November with a happy heart. By page 11, it turned a bit downbeat. By page 20, it was dark, then it got rather grim. All that aside, it’s a great book, and I’m very proud of it. ~ Dellani
Early morning dew speckled the grass and hung heavy in the air. Ready for her run, she stretched all the stubborn muscles that had tightened up overnight. Even though it was early, the sun not even up, there was a muggy heat to the air. Shoes tied just right, light jacket over her crop top and shorts, she headed to the door, keys and cellphone in her pocket. Earbuds plugged into the phone, she was ready to jog. AWOL Nation’s Sail began as she reached the street. Starting at Silver Palm Drive, she headed east toward US-1, about two miles away. She ran twice a day, early mornings and evenings. It helped her focus, ridding her mind of distractions. She was close to her goal now, closer than she’d ever been.
Vulfpeck’s 1612 started as she reached the first cross street. Liking the jazzy tempo, she punched the air, matching her steps to the song’s beat. She didn’t notice the dark van following her, couldn’t hear the noise of the motor over the music. When the van pulled up onto the grassy verge between the bike path and the street, she saw it. Curious, her steps slowed, and that was her undoing. Dark clothed figures jumped out. One grabbed her, another covered her mouth with duct tape. Together, they lifted her struggling body. She was no match for the men, they simply tossed her into the back of the van, slammed the door and took off. More duct tape secured her hands and feet.
No one saw her. No one would notice she was gone. As she bumped along in the van, she knew they’d been sent to silence her. Sobbing with frustration, she sensed that these would be her last moments. Determined to fight them for every victory, she prepared for the ordeal she knew was coming. Hers would not be a quiet, nor an easy, death. But she would confront her end with courage. They wouldn’t make her beg.
The van pulled up behind a low, cinder block house. It looked virtually colorless in the gray light of dawn, but she knew where she was. She didn’t know what was worse, the fact they intended to kill her, or that they would kill her here. The ignominy of her situation, knowing her last breaths would be taken in the one place she despised the most, filled her with regret.
The men carried her inside. The stench met her nose, worse than ever, if such a thing were possible. Throwing her on the kitchen floor, they did unspeakable things, with the television blaring in the front room. When they’d had enough of pleasuring themselves at her expense, the torture began. One of them got off on it so much, he violated her again, choking her. Her last sight was his face blurring above her, cumming as he choked the life from her.
“Mom! Where are my Vans?”
“Where did you leave them, Aiden?”
“If I could tell you that, I’d know. Oh, shit…. Never mind. Found ’em.”
“Honey, where are my car keys?”
“Check yesterday’s pants.”
“Got ’em!” her husband called. “Boys, move it along!”
“Can I drive, Dad?” Burl asked.
“No, Dad. Please, for the love of God, do not let him,” Corin, the youngest, entreated. “I want to get to school alive.”
“I’m a very good driver!” his older brother fussed.
“Yeah. You and Rain Man. Great in the driveway.”
“Lunches?” Deirdre said over the mayhem.
“Going to McDonald’s,” Aiden said. “Riding with Lance and his girlfriend.”
“Can I go?” Corin asked as they headed out the door.
“Oh, sure. We want the lame ass freshman along.”
“He won’t even let me go,” Burl whined. “Why would he let you?”
“I’m cuter than you.”
“Goodbye!” Deirdre called, blowing kisses.
“Bye, Mom!” the boys chorused.
Her husband, Fred, stopped at the door and gave her a kiss. “Bye, darling. See you in a few.”
“Love you,” he replied, giving her another kiss.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes