JOINT MYSTERY PROJECT
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diedre™ Knight 5/25/14
Only one light glowed on a moonless night at the end of a darkened street and at ten o’clock sharp with a flick of a slender wrist, the widow Sage turned it off and reluctantly headed for bed. It was, after all, way too late to expect any visitors. Disappointment slowed her already delayed nightly routine, though she didn’t kid herself; there had been nary a trick-or-treater for going on twelve years. This year had proven to be no different and she once again had a year’s supply of left-over candy. But as she turned down her bed the doorbell rang.
Mary Darling 5/25/14
She left her bed downturned and shuffled toward the hallway. As she walked along she thought to herself, I’ll freeze most of it, and I’ll give some to the children’s ward at the big hospital in the next town, but I’ll wait until Christmas. The doorbell rang again. ‘Why are you in such a hurry?’ she mouthed to the ringer of the bell. ‘Who are you anyway to ring my bell after all the festivities are over for the day?’ When she entered her front room she went directly to a side window and gently pinched the drape so she could see the ringer of the bell. They were tall, and dressed all in white. Ghostlike she thought. She silently stepped up to her triple –locked door and said, ‘Go home. Halloween night is over.’ ‘Oh, we’re not here for Halloween, Mom. We’ve come to visit.’ Oh, but my children are dead, she silently screamed.
diedre™ Knight 6/6/14
It’s a dream, just a God-awful dream. Must have been the anchovies... she mussed. She let the curtain drop back into place, re-checked all the deadbolts and shuffled back to her bedroom, where she climbed between cool sheets and reached for the hand painted bedside lamp. The porcelain clown had once been a prized possession, but she refused to let the painful memories flow and testily switched it off. Her head hadn’t hit the pillow before the lamp came back on and the widow Sage stared wide-eyed at the visage of her youngest daughter, standing beside the bed. A solitary tear slid down the little girl’s cheek as she whispered “It’s okay, Mama. We know you didn’t cause the accident and I’m glad you kept the lamp.” Choking back an anguished cry, the widow Sage angrily threw back the covers and leapt to her feet.
Molly McKinney 6/7/14
The lamp flickered off and on again three times as if the clown had heard and understood every word. The blood-red porcelain grin no longer seemed cheerful to Prunella Sage. It was evil and mocking, mocking and evil. She felt the rage rising in her like molten lava as the memories came flooding back. The fire had swept through their old home like a tornado as the rest of her family slept. The acrid stench of burning wood and plastic still seared her nostrils. Her husband Sam, stepfather to her three children, was lost along with Donna, Pete, and little Rosie. It wasn't supposed to happen that way.
diedre™ Knight 8/13/14
He was the one who was supposed to suffer, she thought darkly. Instead, things had gone horribly, tragically wrong and she’d lost three of the very reasons she’d had for living. But Prunella Sage would not be defeated, not then, not now, not ever.
Snatching the porcelain clown from the bedside table, she stomped to the kitchen where she carefully wrapped the hateful thing in old newspapers and in a second thought of sheer defiance, deposited it in the compactor.
Pragmatic by nature, she attacked each problem with the methodical, if ruthless, clarity of mind one would expect of the ruler of an empire. Take no prisoners, remorse was unacceptable. Next problem?
For there were always more, problems seem to appear like weeds after a rain and if not handled swiftly, inexorable roots would set in. But the latest problem was as unprecedented as it was unpleasant and Prunella was utterly unprepared to deal with it. Roots, is that what ghosts were? Had they grown up out of the ashes she’d buried so long ago?
Molly McKinney 1/29/15
The widow Sage dragged herself back to bed, but found no rest. Instead the image of the clown filled her mind relentlessly. The lamp was a gift for her first anniversary with Sam, which her children had purchased with their piggy-bank savings from a door-to-door salesman who bore an uncanny resemblance to the clown.
It was barely a month later that she fancied she heard the porcelain clown speaking to her. At first it was a low whisper that she thought was her imagination. When it grew louder she discerned the words, "Sam is evil. You must kill Sam. Sam will hurt your children. Kill Sam."
She couldn't imagine where such a horrible voice had come from, but she had no intention of obeying it. Just to prove it meant nothing, she began watching Sam more closely to make sure he wasn't harming the children in any way.
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