Books & Paintings by JoAnne
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                                          BOOK EXCERPTS

 

Excerpts for “Twisted Love” twelve true cases of love gone bad

THE END OF AUTUMN

March 22, 2011, could have been just an ordinary Tuesday evening for the small industrial town of Logan, Ohio, population 7,152, if it were not for the glass-shattering screams of a female, emanating from the alley next to the Bancroft National Bank in downtown Logan.

The first witness was a twenty-one-year-old named Richard. He told police he was walking in the area of the bank when he saw a girl curled in a ball on the ground, with two grown men standing above her, Tasing her. When he got approximately one foot away from the woman and the men, a woman driver yelled to the men that someone was behind them. Richard was then pepper-sprayed by one of two male attackers when he tried to intervene. He raced off to an adjoining fitness center.

A woman named Rachel, who was outside the fitness center, called 911 to report that a man was pepper-sprayed while attempting to help a woman who had been attacked. According to Rachel, Richard was in severe pain when he ran up to her while holding his eyes and yelling for help.

Richard gave descriptions of the attackers as being two large dark-haired men, with the driver of the white Buick or Crown Victoria being an older female, with “bleached blonde,” hair.

Bob, an architect working in his upstairs office in the adjoining building next to the alley relayed that he had heard the commotion and told the persons to “ keep the noise down.”

At the same time, two female joggers witnessed a young woman being shoved into a white Crown Victoria. Reportedly, they were near the same bank as was Richard, when they heard a girl scream and heard a Taser go off. They proceeded to cross the alley, beside the bank, noting that as they neared the commotion, the woman being Tasered, seemed to be in a violent struggle with her attackers.

The joggers, too, described the young woman as screaming while two men stood over her with a Taser. The men were dressed in black and had ski masks covering their faces. The woman on the ground wore her hair in a ponytail, which they described as being a dirty-blond color. Then a woman’s voice from the driver’s seat yelled, “ ‘Get the hell in the car.’”

From there, the joggers witnessed the victim tossed into the back seat of the vehicle, which then frantically sped away. The woman driving the vehicle was “frenzied” and “the blinkers and turn signals” were being used erratically.

After talking with Richard, officers located the area of the attack. The victim was no where in sight, but what was found was one car in the bank parking lot, the back of a phone, a box of Tic-Tacs, a used container of Mace, a Mountain Dew bottle, a ball cap and a set of keys on the asphalt. Found in soft soil behind a hedge, said one officer, were what appeared to be foot and knee prints as “if someone lay in wait.” After checking with the bank, officers found it unlocked and entered. Inside the bank, all they found was an iPod lying on a counter.

Not until 11 o’clock that night did police identify the kidnapped victim as twenty-five-year-old Autumn Renee Williams. The green-eyed Culinary Arts student, who stood five-foot-four, was reported missing by her mother and stepfather, Candice and Mark Stevens, when she failed to return home around 9:30 that evening after her cleaning position at the Bancroft National Bank.

Shortly after arriving at the bank, seeing no sign of Autumn, the Stevens’ contacted the Logan Police Department. Two different officers then responded. From Mrs. Stevens, authorities learned that Autumn was a mother of three, and involved with a tumultuous pending divorce with her estranged husband of six-years, twenty-six-year-old Rodney Williams.

The center of the couple’s disagreements was custody of their three children, all under the age of five. According to Candace, Rodney did not want to pay child support for three kids. 

THE POSSESSION

NEW YORK CITY-2009

When a frantic 9-1-1 call came into the police station at 8:30 p.m. on July 7, 2009, a sobbing twenty-nine-year-old Valerie Harris told the dispatcher she wanted desperately to save the life of her bleeding father, Harry Ridge.

She gave the operator her apartment address. She would later tell authorities that she did not want to kill her sexually abusive father, but only to disable his weapon of abuse-his penis.

She informed the operator she was walking in the direction of the police station, and then hung up. She recalled walking to the nearby Hudson River, and tossing the penis into the ocean. She never arrived at the police station.

Instead, she called her big sister Carleen, and confessed to her of what she had just done to their Liberian-born father. Carleen recalled being in total shock at her baby sisters gruesome confession. She begged Valerie not to discard the appendage, saying, doctors had the medical technology to reattach such things.

Valerie, her hair adorned with cornrows cried into the telephone. “It was the evil in our father. Now the evil is gone. He can hurt no more!”

Carleen advised Valerie to come to her home, and called an ambulance when her sister arrived. After seeing Valerie, her face stained with tears and splattered with blood, with the scalpel in hand and in a “zombie-like state of mind,” the ambulance crew, decided to check her into the Richmond University Medical Center psychiatric ward.

Meanwhile, back at Valerie’s apartment, two responding beat cops arrived. What the officers found, they said, they never forgot, and neither did the two million five hundred thousand other citizens.

Initially, the officers thought the man lying in a pool of blood had been shot or stabbed to death. Not until they turned him over onto his back did they realize the sadistic nature of his wounds.

MAIL-ORDER MURDER

Few women find themselves in such a bizarre relationship, as did eighteen-year-old Anna Tonkov, a Russian native. Speaking minimal and badly broken English, the family expressed high expectations for their tall, voluptuous raven-haired daughter. Anna was the only child of senior and ailing parents, and her mother said she and her husband only wanted the best for her.

In a country where the average yearly income was three hundred dollars per person, Mr. and Mrs. Tonkov, believed that Anna’s future happiness lay with the United States.

Mrs. Tonkov recalled how Anna did not want to leave. It was the parents’ idea for her to be a mail-order bride. According to Mrs. Tonkov, Anna said, “‘what if I don’t find a husband? What if you and papa waste your money?’”

Mr. Tonkov recalled telling her daughter, that she was never a waste of their money. She was everything to them, and they wanted her to have everything America offered.

Mr. and Mrs. Tonkov then took Anna‘s photograph in a dress she had made, not like many of the other women posing for the magazine-loose women, half naked. “No good man wants them,” they said.

Anna was a lady, explained Mr. Tonkov-a good Christian girl. Hardworking and responsible. She was raised the right way, they both said.

In the spring of 2007, Anna became number M245 in a Russian mail-order catalog with a circulation of over twenty million viewers. The magazine was bursting with dozens of glossy, full-color photographs of young hopeful women, all looking for husbands to rescue them from their poverty, stricken and unhappy lives.

It was not long before Anna had her first letter from a perspective admirer. She returned to her small four-room home from her part-time job at a nearby bakery, and her glowing parents greeted her just inside the front door.

Mrs. Tonkov recalled how surprised Anna was when she saw her and her husband smiling. She then handed her daughter the pink envelope with trembling hands.

At first, Anna was afraid to open the letter, said Mr. Tonkov, but he told her it was from an American man. He said he and his wife watched as Anna read each word silently; her large dark eyes wide with anticipation. They said she was hesitant to respond to the sender. Maybe friendship would bloom. “If not you brush up on language skills,” said Mrs. Tonkov.

That made Anna laugh, recalled Mr. Tonkov. He still remembers her pretty laugh, “as if (she were) a small child without cares.”

THICKER THAN WATER

According to fifty-eight-year-old Fire Chief Reginald Whitehall, a phone call came into the station around 9 pm, on August 18, 2010, sending the short, plump, salt-and-pepper-haired man and other personnel rushing to the scene. When they arrived, it appeared a Molotov cocktail, had been thrown through a living room window-a homemade device considered a simple and cheap form of arson. Minute’s later, area police arrived.

The caller identified herself as being fifty-two-year-old Kimberly Michaels, owner of the bombed house. The tall round woman with gray hair and brown-eyes, made it safely outside and waited on the sidewalk. She was being comforted by her neighbor, thirty-six-year-old Bonny-Jean, a petite red-head with blue-eyes, when fire trucks arrived.

The first thing forty-four-year-old veteran Detective Erick Bowers said he noticed was that the glass from the alcohol bottle was mostly on the outside of the window, lying on the ground. That alone screamed “inexperienced arsonist,” such as a young person, said the sandy-haired and green-eyed bachelor. That area was known as a drug-infested high-crime neighborhood.

According to the Fire Chief, the home was insured. There was minimal damage to the burned area. He knew of Kimberly’s neighborhood watch, and within that area, she was considered a hero. He said it took guts to stand up to drug dealers and gang members, but she did it.

Kimberly kept tabs on the officers assigned to her home arson case, recalled her older sister Rachel. According to Rachel, Kimberly said she wanted the crime solved. She wanted the bastard responsible for setting her beloved home on fire to pay. She was a determined woman, and she was not letting up.

According to Det. Bowers, he had his officers out in full force. Officers canvassed the entire area for five city blocks, looking for any witnesses, who might have seen or heard something peculiar around the time of the bombing. Reportedly, they found nothing useful to explain the bombing, or who might be the bomber.

Unfortunately, before the minor damage was repaired, the home was bombed again. This time two bombs came through the master bedroom of the home, Kimberly’s bedroom.

The Fire Chief was not the only one involved with the initial investigation who thought it strange for the same house to be bombed twice within two weeks. He said he wondered whether maybe the Good Samaritan had video taped the wrong crime, and her good luck had run out.

Talking with Rachel, police discovered Kimberly was a very caring daughter to their ailing parents. The father had built the couple’s house in 1940, when he and his wife first married. Kimberly grew up in that house and kept it immaculate. She never married or had children. She worked hard throughout her life and saved her money.

With the fires happening so close in time to one another, the Fire Chief theorized they might be retaliation bombings. Kimberly Michaels, was known for video taping the streets outside her house for drug activity. She then turned the tapes over to police, which had resulted in the arrests of several drug dealers.

ALL FOR THE FAMILY

Texas-2007

If nineteen-year-old Molly had listened to her mother, perhaps the slender, freckle-faced felon and her now-divorced felon husband Ernie would not be sitting in a Texas prison. The way the auburn-haired Molly chose to make a new life for herself and Ernie shocked the town and became forever known as the cruelest and dumbest action one could take when one wants to do “all for the family.”

Candy will say she tried to talk her daughter out of marrying the lazy, drinking, sandy-haired, blue-eyed Ernie. But Molly was “starry-eyed head over heels in love,” or so she thought.

Molly insisted she knew the seldom-employed Ernie well enough to be his wife and allow him to be the only father her four-year-old son Mathew knew. Even though Mathew was conceived from an earlier relationship, Molly insisted that the uncouth and chain-smoking Ernie treated him respectfully. “He loves me and Mathew,” Molly would say.

After a two-month courtship, Molly married twenty-two-year-old Ernie Abbott. According to Candy, she hated Ernie and wanted everyone including Molly to know it. She told Molly she was making a drastic mistake by marrying Ernie, but her eldest daughter, insisted the two were soul mates. “He’s the one,” Molly said.

In a simple backyard ceremony with the theme of Harley Davidson motorcycles, the pair exchanged wedding vows. As if straight from the pages of American Rider, the bride wore jeans and a sleeveless Harley shirt. The groom donned black leather chaps and a vest emblazon with the famous cycle logo.

Friends and relatives surrounded the glowing couple and, happily toasted them with keg beer. A reception followed, with grilled hotdogs and burgers as the main course. They received numerous wedding gifts and money, to help them on their way to a long and happy life together…or so the giddy couple thought.

Candy was not the only one who disapproved of the courtship. Baby-sister Janie was as different from Molly as igloos are from tropical huts. Janie was known as the “pretty” sister and Molly the “plain Jane”. Janie thought Ernie was a loser, as did most of Molly’s family. She believed her big sister thought she was in love, because, according to Janie, Ernie was the first man to pay attention to Molly in a long time.

According to Janie, Molly called her jealous. Afterward, Janie thought it best to let Molly find out for herself what a “bad apple,” Ernie was. She gave the marriage two years, “Good things come to those who wait,” she said.

The next move for the newlyweds was buying the dream home Molly wanted so much. According to Molly, when she saw the two-story ranch-style house in a quiet and family-oriented neighborhood, with an adjoining playground and dog park, she knew, “This is the one for us.”

She said Ernie picked her up and swung her around, telling her the house would be theirs. They called the realtor, and three weeks later they moved in-but as renters, not owners.

According to the loan officer, both had inadequate credit. The loan officer informed the couple that with neither earning more then minimum wage, and Ernie’s upcoming legal matters, he did not see a home in their near future.

Molly was devastated, recalled Candy. Besides being a mother, Molly wanted so much to be a homeowner, she said.

Another person who had doubts about the couple getting the home was Rita, Ernie’s mother. Tall and skinny, with waist-length red hair, Rita dressed and partied like a teenager. When she learned of her son attempting to purchase a home, she told relatives, “With Ernie’s credit and legal matters, he couldn’t get a loan for a candy bar.”

A SENSELESS KILLING

It was a grand Thanksgiving evening for all at The Lakeway Lounge on November 25, 2010. The country band kept everyone on the dance floor. The occasional smacking of pool balls was heard above the laughter, and the crowd's favorite barmaid, June McSween, was serving them. She had asked a co-worker to allow her to work the night shift, to earn a little extra cash. It was a choice she would not live to regret.

“Better times are coming,” said the bubbly blonde, who had only begun working for the small neighborhood pub four months earlier. According to patrons, June was looking forward to moving into her own apartment next to the pub in just a few days. Her forty-ninth birthday was only hours away.

Little did the joyful crowd realize, that that cool autumn evening would be the last time anyone saw June, except for her killer.

According to June’s timecard, she punched out at 3 am. Her last duties were washing glasses and ashtrays. Black Friday was on the horizon. Her birthday party would consist of her daughter and son, and a few close friends. Everything was planned-everything except what actually happened to the tall slender grandmother.

According to the bar owner, fifty-four-year-old Pablo Corteza, he returned to the bar at 8 a.m. the next morning and noticed June’s car with flattened tires in the parking lot, along with two other vehicles with flat tires.

The short, heavy Albanian immigrant said he called police, who did a quick search of the perimeter and canvassed the street, from inside their cruiser, but found nothing and soon left.

Shortly afterward, thirty-eight-year-old James Wager, a boat mechanic, noticed Pablo, and told him he had notified police because two boats at his business, located near the bar, were vandalized. According to the tall, slender man with sand-colored hair, as he walked around surveying the damaged boats, he discovered a woman’s shoe and underwear. He told Pablo, “This doesn’t look good.”

HORRIBLE SIN

It would have been a nice day in California except for two things; the vicious and bizarre murders of two Asian women and the whereabouts of the killer.

According to veteran Detective Marcus Brown, when he and partner Jonas Nutter, entered the mansion-like home, they discovered what looked to be a robbery gone wrong.

Det. Nutter described each room inside the home as having been ransacked as if the killer or killers were searching for something. However, nothing at the time seemed to be missing.

The home contained expensive furnishings and electronics, as was money and jewelry lying around. The detectives' believed that if a robbery had occurred, the missing items must have much more value than material objects.

According to Det. Nutter, in one rear bedroom, officers discovered several cages containing snakes, and birds, of different species and sizes. The officers found it baffling that one family would have such a large number of birds and reptiles, but in police business, no two cases are alike.

WHERE’S CHRISTOPHER

With a population of 35,313 people, Lancaster, Ohio, the proud birthplace of many notable actors, authors, sports stars, and cartoonist was founded in 1800, and the famous merchant, trailblazer, pioneer and soldier, Ebenezer Zane incorporated it as a town in 1831. Like all cities, however, it was not immune to murder. In fact, Lancaster was the location of the worst murder of a child in the county’s history.

According to twenty-eight-year-old Christina Sims, she hesitated many times before turning in her older brother John Engle for the murder of his four-year-old son Christopher. Torn between her love for John, and Christopher, and doing what was right, the soft-spoken, slender blonde with dark-eyes, said she looked to Christ for guidance. After speaking with her minister, she made the devastating choice of walking into the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department on July 9, 1991.

Christina recalled that while trailing the short, young dispatcher down the dark hall, she recalled her first meeting with one-year-old Christopher, who was not yet able to stand on his own. It did not take the stay-at-home mom long to realize why the love-starved toddler was behind in his learning.

She described Christopher as her favorite nephew, and said, “All Christopher wanted was to be held and loved.” Christina explained that she occasionally visited her brother and sister-in- law, Edna Mae, and their growing brood. She described Christopher as "pitiful” and told how his siblings were mean to him, and hit him regularly. "He was such a loving child," she said. When she visited the family in the summer of 1989, she asked where Christopher was. Christina claimed, her brother said the child had gone to live with his maternal grandmother in Columbus, but then he started to cry. He said Christopher was in a better place.

THE DEATH OF INNOCENCE

The Plains, Ohio-2011

Home to Ohio University and Hocking College, Athens County, Ohio, was formed in 1805 and held a population of 64,753. Nestled deep in the Appalachian foothills of Southeast Ohio, its lively arts and music scene entertained locals and visitors alike all year round. It owed its eclectic shopping and dining scene to the presence of a large university as well as its rich Appalachian heritage. Hunting, kayaking, bouldering, hiking, cycling, and mountain biking are just some of the county's most popular outdoor activities.

Boasting more activities then ticks on a dog, the rare action the county was not proudly known for was cold-blooded murder. Monday, May 23, 2011, changed all of that, when the Athens County Emergency Medical Service received a call.

WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING:

Hoping to land a farm job and move close to his family, Jay Davis, then forty-seven, met his interviewer and walked with him through the autumn-colored woodlands of southeastern Ohio on November 6, 2011, at around 7:30 pm.

Everything went fine, said Davis, until he heard a curse word from the man who he knew as “Buck,” and then the click of a gun. He whirled around to find a pistol stuck in his face. He shielded the blow by knocking the firearm from its shooters hand, before running for his life.

Stumbling several times, while being fired upon, Davis raced through the thicket and hid in a creed bed under a tree for several hours; until he felt it safe enough to go for help. He feared bleeding to death he later told police.

This bizarre story was uncovered when a Noble County couple heard a knock on their farmhouse door. They were shocked to discover the terrified and bleeding South Carolina man pleading for help.

Immediately the victim was aided by the farm owners, and the authorities notified. Paramedics arrived, and the man was transported to the area hospital with a bullet wound to the right elbow. After interviewing the man in his hospital room, officials with the Noble County Sheriff’s Office, discovered that he had recently responded to an ad on Craigslist for a job on an Ohio cattle farm.

According to the victim, he had earlier that day met up with an older man who introduced himself as “Buck”, and a much younger male, who he was told was Buck’s nephew. The three ate breakfast in Marietta, paid for by “Buck”, before driving to the alleged cattle farm. Once there and according to Jay Davis, “Buck” told him the road to the cattle farm was closed due to a landslide and they needed to walk to the property through a heavily wooded area. A walk that nearly ended with murder.

GIRL NOT FORGOTTEN

Michigan-2008

When a frantic thirty-six-year-old Jake Buford drove to the police station to report his thirteen-year-old daughter missing, little did the father of three realize she was already dead and buried.

The brown-haired man with a thick mustache, built like a lumberjack, recalled how the middle-aged and pleasantly plump dispatcher had looked up at him blankly and quietly said. “Has your daughter been missing for at least twenty-four hours?”

He told her “no,” and she nonchalantly told him the girl was probably hanging out with friends and would return home shortly. She then returned to her snack. When Jake told her, he and his older daughter and ex-wife, had contacted everyone the young girl knew, the dispatcher shrugged her shoulders while washing her sandwich down with a soda.

Jake said he felt his fear for his missing daughter, turning to anger at this arrogant, non-caring person who took his dilemma with a grain of salt. He again asked her to allow him to make an official report. She said “no exceptions,” then closed the window. The desperate father turned and left.

HOME TOWN HERO: Solving the Deaf School Murders

Massachusetts-2008

According to Dillon Short, Jose Nezda, would never realize the amount of pain he caused his victims’ families’. The tall father with the receding hairline and glasses said there was no amount of apology from Jose that would fill the emptiness in their hearts. Jose, said Short, was exactly where his kind belongs.

At a time when young people are a step closer to their future, and parents look forward to being empty nesters, a parent’s worse nightmare took place, in a small college town, in up-scale Massachusetts’.

Using sign language, forty-two-year-old Sandy, said good-bye to her eighteen-year-old son and youngest child Jeremy, as he excitedly exited her vehicle in front of the Prestigious Rose Brick School for the deaf. “Call me every night,” the slender freckle faced mother said in sign.

“Don’t worry,” signed the scrawny red-haired boy who suffered from Cerebral Palsy, as he smiled and walked into the four-story brick building.

Forty-seven-year-old Dillon, recalled how thrilled the family was upon hearing of Jeremy’s acceptance into Rose Brick. “It was his first choice of college,” he said.

The energetic and always smiling student, shared his west wing dorm with similarly knowledge-craving and elated students, many far from home like him. Nineteen-year-old Mitch, a slender dark-haired and dark-eyed drama student, who dreamed of being the next Steven Spielberg, recalled how Jeremy religiously kept the door of his room open. He said the two became “fast friends.”

Everyone seemed to like the outgoing Jeremy with his infectious smile. He talked to everyone. No matter how late it was, if someone had a problem to talk out, Jeremy’s shoulder was readily available.

A female student recalled that Jeremy had two older sisters, and it didn't embarrass him to discuss girl stuff, such issues as boys or weight or jealously. He always gave good advice, she said. His advice and their talks were what she said she would miss the most about him.

Everyone at school missed Jeremy that early morning, just one short month after the start of the semester. Mitch, who had the room two doors down, reported Jeremy missing from math class. He recalled that when leaving his room that morning, he had noticed Jeremy’s door closed. He thought that strange, because Jeremy’s door was always open. “He liked watching people walk down the hall and would wave at all of us,” Mitch said.

 

 

Excerpts for "Flagitious"      

 

THE OTHER COUPLE'S CHILD: That evening as Jeff drove home, he thought of how hard it was going to be on the kids, but especially Charlotte when she heard the bad news he received from Doctor Blackstone, earlier that day.

He walked into his home and saw the bliss on his wife and childrens faces. It broke his heart, and he decided to talk to Charlotte in private. The children would be told later. That night after the children were asleep, Jeff sat with his wife on the couch and shard with her the most unconceivable news he ever received. Im gonna came right out and just say it, he said as tears swelled in his eyes. The doctor telephoned me this afternoon, and he said another couples embryos were accidentally implanted inside you.

Charlotte was speechless. She sat motionless as her husbands words sunk into her mind. Did she hear Jeff right, she wondered? Is he playing a sick joke on her? Bizarre thoughts of why her husband would say such a horrible and hurtful thing raced thru her mind. She couldnt think or breath at that moment. Are you okay? he asked noticing she was silent. Did you hear me?

She exhaled deeply. What did you say?

There was a mistake during the medical procedure.

A mistake! she screeched. She was livid. She paced the room seething in confusion. Tears streaked her cheeks. Jeff silently cried with her. Im pregnant! Theres no way out of being pregnant.

I know that. Lets sleep on it and talk tomorrow. Just then the telephone rang. Jeff answered it. Yes I understand. Im here with her now. He handed his wife the receiver. Its your doctor. He then walked away.

She reluctantly took the object from Jeffs hand. She shook like the wind. Her hand trembling as she held the receiver to her ear. Hello, she whispered as her voice trembled. She listened to her physician. The man whose hands she had put her life in these many years. The man who was a friend, not just her doctor. Who attended backyard cookouts at her home. Came to her childrens birthday parties and shared Christmas dinners with. Now he had nothing but devastation to tell her. Nothing but heartbreak and suffering. How did her life come down to this, she wondered. Was she being punished for something she had done? Did one of the clinics nurses switch the embryos on purpose, for their own spiteful reasons? She had to know the truth, and how this unconceivable mistake happened.

Is it true? She barely heard herself speak the words. Everything had become a fog. How could this happen to her? Yes I understand. Jeff stood nearby. He was sure she would faint. She listened intently as her doctor and friend apologized.

Charlotte, I cant tell you how sorry I am that this happened. Its never happened before at this client. Im just devastated over the whole incident.

Thank you for calling. She hung up and walked to her bedroom and closed the door. There would be no more conversation tonight. The thought of carrying another couples child, was unbearable. She cried herself to sleep. Jeff slept on the couch, for the first time in their marriage. Their seemingly perfect marriage had taken a terrible turn for the worst.

TO SOLVE HIS MOTHER'S MURDER

Sheriff Guy Brenner, born and raised in Laurelville, returned home after college to become a big fish in a little town...and loved it. Standing but five-foot-six, stocky and dark-featured, the bachelor sported a pencil mustache making him the pearl of his community. If a person did not believe that, all he had to do was ask him.

“Hello, Steven. I’m glad you could make the ceremony. The Air Force has been good to you.” The sheriff extended a gloved right hand. Shaking hands, Steven nodded. “I was the only friend Mom had.”

“You know that’s not true.” Brenner waved at the crowd. “I paid for the music. The mayor and his wife bought the flowers.”

“Why? No one on Snob Hill ever invited either of us to their home. Now she’s dead, she receives gifts? That makes no sense.”

“I know you’re upset, losing her this way, but I’m gonna solve this case. I promise you.”

“Oh, really. Got any suspects? Any leads?”

“A case like this is gonna take time, manpower and money,” Brenner explained. “You know this county is poor and under-staffed.”

“Maybe so, but you know I’m not gonna leave town until the animal who murdered my mother is in prison or dead.”

Steamed, Steven stomped off to retrieve the taxi he arrived in. Situated in the extreme southwestern corner of Hocking County, Laurelville achieved its name from the unique fern growing abundantly on its surrounding hillsides. The county, establish 1871, currently bragged about its three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, two award-winning novelists, a Major League Baseball player, a Major General, and a radio personality. Reaching the sidewalk, Steven saw his taxi left and a green pickup stood in its place. From its front seat, Noel Green waved to him. “Hey, Steven, over here,” he shouted. Extending a tanned callous hand, Noel replied, “The military fits ya pretty good, son.”

Steven, wondering what the grocery store owner wanted and approached cautiously. Shaking hands with the man he last saw delivering groceries to his mother, Steven said, “I fit it pretty good too. By the way, thanks for the dozen white orchids. How did you know they were Mom’s favorite?”

“Wanda didn’t tell me much, but she did say she loved white orchids. She said the flower reminded her of pictures she’d seen of Hawaii.” Noel hesitated. “I’m real sorry she died before she got to see the islands.”

“So am I, but the thought was kind,” Steven replied, looking for his taxi.

“If you’re lookin’ for your cab, I sent it away. I’d like to give ya a lift if I can. There’re a few things ya need to hear.”

“Sure,” Steven said, and hopped into the passenger seat of Noel’s 1996 Ford S10, decorated with bold door signs reading, ‘Green’s Grocery and Produce’. Once inside the vehicle, Steven noticed the floor cluttered with empty pop cans, potato chip bags, and fast food sandwich wrappers, leaving him little foot room. “I’m headed to the coroner’s office. So what’s the big secret?”

As soon as Noel inserted the ignition key, it fired up the engine and the Golden Oldies station simultaneously. Blasting through the air like a missile came the sweet voice of Patsy Cline. Noel quickly turned down the volume and shoved the gearshift into drive. “Sometime I forgit I got the damned thing on,” replied the large jolly man with a laugh. “The old truck don’ look like much, but it’s sure got a strong engine.”

“I don’t mean to rush you, but I’m on temporary leave,” Steven explained. “What did you need to discuss with me?”

Contemplating his words carefully, the grocer finally said, “Your momma's murder shocked the whole town. I hadn’t seen her for several days and it worried me, but I never dreamed she was dead. I just thought she met someone and left town for a while, ya know?”

“If you’re trying to spare my feelings about Mom’s being a ‘lady of-the-evening’, forget it. I knew all about it. I got over being angry and ashamed years ago.”

Turning left onto the coroner’s street, Noel replied, “I was thinkin’ you need to know what you’re up against, if you’re plan’n on find’n Wanda’s killer.”

Removing his uniform jacket, Steven nodded. “Then stop beating around the bush.”

Screeching to a stop in front of the coroner’s office and shoving the truck into ‘park’. Noel turned to his smart-mouthed passenger and said. “When your momma found out she was pregnant with you, she came up with a very clever scheme. She told a whole group of our townsmen each one was your daddy in order to get child support from ‘em all.”

 

THE TAROT CARD MURDERS

“Jenny!” Louie shouted. “Where are you? Get that wine up here.” Frustrated, the cook threw down his skillet. “Where is that girl?”

Louie Miles, the kitchen boss, agreed to work for his younger brother, Mitch, owner of The Boars Head Restaurant and Lounge. After the first year, promised a partnership that never came, Louie was now bitter, financially and emotionally drained, and secretly wished the business would go belly-up.

“I’ll get her,” called his dishwasher. Shirley, tall and grossly thin due to ulcers, had dark eyes and mousy brown hair, and dressed and partied like a teenager. A heavy smoker, some legal–some not, she loved hard rock and blackberry brandy. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she screamed. “She’s dead! She’s dead . . .!” The hysterical woman sobbed at the sight of her baby girl.

Louie and the others scrambled forward. Also gagging at seeing the remains of his server lying in a pool of blood, Louie yelled, “Oh, my god! Someone call the cops.”

Within minutes, police and paramedics surrounded the crime scene in the small town of Logan, population sixty-seven hundred and home to a three time Olympic gold Medalist, and named in honor of Chief Logan, Mingo warrior.

“What ya got so far?” Detective Nick Difozzio asked after dismounting his new 2000 Harley.

“Jenny Foster. Waitress, five-foot-five, and just a short time ago, one hundred and ten gorgeous pounds. Looks like somethin’ was feedin’ on her,” Medical Examiner, Don Miller, confirmed.

Nick scowled. “You doctors have a damned sick sense of humor. Anyone ever tell ya that?”

With a big Ohio grin, the robust doctor nodded. “All the time.” While gathering his equipment, he continued, “I also found a small abrasion on her right wrist, like maybe a bracelet was yanked off, but she’s wearin’ a gold chain necklace.”

“If it’s not robbery, it’s personal,” Nick said. “Someone was real mad at this young thing, but who and why?”

“The first cop on the scene found this atop the body.” Don handed Nick, a 'Hierophant' tarot card. “Keep it. I heard your momma was into black magic.” Turning his attention to the staff, Nick noticed some of the employees were taking the victim’s death calmly, a few gambling away their measly paychecks at craps, and two laughing into cell phones. With such a collection of freaks, Nick already knew he had too many suspects. His first choice to interview from the odd selection of characters shook like a leaf and was green as baby-shit. Nick approached him slowly. “What was the girl doin’ down here?”

Wiping his baldhead with a cold compress, Louie said, “I sent her down to get a bottle of wine for a customer. Who would do such thing? She just turned eighteen today. What a waste.”

“Murder usually is,” Nick said. “Is this all the employees?”

3381 Market Street

With a population of 35,313 people, Lancaster, Ohio, bragged about its being the birthplace of many notable actors, authors, sports stars, and cartoonists. Founded in 1800, the famous merchant, trailblazer, pioneer and soldier, Ebenezer Zane incorporated the own in 1831. Yet, now, like all cities, it was not above murder.

Hesitating, because of what she knew she must do, Katherine Sims tapped on the glass window of the Sheriff dispatcher’s cubicle. To the deputy inside, she huskily whispered, “I want to report murder.”

“What did you say?” the dispatcher asked.

Swallowing hard, Katherine tried again, “I-I said my–my brother killed his s-s-s-son.”

The dispatcher abruptly rose from her chair. “Follow me, Miss.”

While Katherine trailed the short, young woman down the drab colorless hall, she recalled her first meeting with one-year-old Charlie. Unable to walk on his own, it didn’t take Katherine long to realize why the love-starved toddler was behind in his learning.

Ethel, the other children are mean to Charlie. He tries to pull himself upright to walk, but the other children won’t let him stand. They jerk his arms and legs out from under him, and make him fall.”

But Ethel ignored Katherine’s pleas for the fragile, light-haired child. That day, Katherine’s heart went out to Charlie. Wanting to love and cuddle the little boy forever, Katherine wished she could take Charlie from that filthy crowded trailer and never look back.

Abruptly, the dispatcher opened a door interrupting Katherine’s daydreaming. Seated inside, a heavy-set man in a sweat-stained sheriff’s uniform talked on a telephone.

The dispatcher announced, “This lady said her brother killed a kid.” With those callous words, the dispatcher waved Katherine into the office, and returned to her duties.

Sheriff Norris replaced the phone and scratched his five o’clock shadow. “Have a seat.” He nodded toward a chair.

Still shocked by the dispatcher’s coldness, Katherine took in the room while easing onto a chair. It had a large wooden desk, two hard-back wooden chairs, one telephone, and an overhead ceiling light. The prison-like chamber had one small window, minus air.

After lighting a cigarette and wiping sweat from his double chin, the sheriff asked, “Okay, what’s this about a dead kid?”

Fearing her brother’s reaction to her betrayal, Katherine chose her words cautiously, “My brother, Jessie Ellis, confessed to killing his son, Charlie . . . and burning his remains in the back yard.” Having got all that out in one breath, she sat back releasing a heartfelt sigh.

The lawman lifted his bushy brows. Through a thick cloud of smoke, he asked, “Your brother admitted to killin’ his son?” She nodded vigorously. Pushing back her long, dark hair, she nodded. “Yes! Jessie confessed to me he killed Charlie.”

The sheriff leaned back, stretched and smirked. “Exactly when and where did this murder take place?”

Excerpt for "Murder Most Foul" a detective/mystery

Undaunted and short on patience, the agent stared at the fat jerk sitting before him gleefully puffing on a cigar, most likely homegrown in Detroit, Michigan, not Cuba. “I attend the Kingdom Hall on occasion,” he said.

“Well most of us like Malloy. He's helped rid this town of criminals. He was a volunteer firefighter, and his wife cooks for the annual policeman's ball. Hell, Malloy even coached volleyball for the kids when he wuz younger. Now a person who does that ain't all bad,” the chief declared.

Barstow's sudden burst of energy to safeguard his fishy friend, picqued Harmon's interest. What had Malloy done? He decided he wasn't leaving until he had the full, sordid story.

“So you and Malloy are pals, and he did something he couldn't get out of, and you tried to salvage his job, but the big shots said, ‘No!' Is that how it went?” Harmon asked.

“Yeah, Malloy did somethin’ real stupid.”

“I'm listening,” Harmon replied.

“The rumors of Malloy allowin' his friends and family members to snoop through the cornfield, and photograph the area after the victims were removed, was true. Everyone is curious about this crime. Nothin' this big ever happened in this town before, and the pictures were for souvenirs, you know. Then after the limbs were removed, he brought in a back hoe, and tore up the whole damned crime scene, involving Thomas.” The chief growled in disgust.

“Yeah, that was stupid,” Harmon said. “So Malloy's unethical conduct was the reason the disciplinary board was in session?”

“Yep, they made their decision this mornin',” the chief said. “He's out. There was nothin' I could do for him.”

“You'd think a cop with over twenty years’ experience would demonstrate better reasoning then destroy evidence. Unless he's covering his own tracks,” Harmon said realizing what he was implying. “Do you believe Malloy committed the murders?”

“Now, I didn't say that. A lot of officers were on this case, so a lot of mistakes happened. We never dealt with this type crime before. Many might have made the same mistakes Malloy did.”

Dismissing the chief's excuses for Malloy's incompetence, Harmon demanded an answer. He was tired of being duped by the local cops and wanted the truth, and wanted it now. Standing and placing both palms on the chief's shiny desk, the agent looked the chief square in his squinty brown eyes and said, “Cough it up, Chief! There's more to it then that. If there were numerous mistakes made by officers other then Malloy, why was he the only one kicked off the force? Now spit it out! What the hell did Malloy do?”

“All right, all right!” the chief whined, “Malloy screwed the dead girl three weeks before she was killed–and got caught!”

The Agent was speechless. Walking to the window overlooking Main Street, he stared vacantly. Hadn't one of our witnesses suggested something like that? But–with the crisp wind howling, the citizens dining in the local cafés, others window shopping for Christmas or starting their shift at the town's businesses–this seems unreal. How can such a seemingly sweet country town be so full of bad apples, savage murders, police misconduct and corruption, evidence tampering? This town is certainly no Mayberry, thought Harmon.

Excerpt for "Wicked Intentions" 7 bone chilling paranormal tales

Blood Ties

“Wake up, sleepy head,” said a cheerful Kyle Roper to his snoring sister

Audra. Living next door with a key to her place, he often visited

unannounced…like this morning.

Audra stirred in her canopy bed, then slowly opened one bloodshot eye.

“Is it morning already?” she asked, releasing a Wild Turkey and Coca Cola

scented yawn.

“Wooo…weee…” said Kyle as he waved the noxious fumes away from

his face. “I’m glad you’re on vacation so you can sleep late. What time did you

bad girls leave the bar?”

“One hour after closing,” she said rolling onto her back and pushing her

long chocolate-colored hair from her mascara-streaked face. “I feel like crap.”

“Maybe sooo…but if you’re gonna take Mom to the hairdressers, ya got

less then an hour to shower and make it on time.”

“Eight a.m. is too early to be getting a perm. What’s wrong with that sweet

mom of ours?”

“She’s an early bird, unlike a pair of twins I know,” he said pulling back

the covers to reveal his sister’s Asian inspired silk pajamas. “I gotta go. I’ll call

ya later.” He then left the room as Audra reluctantly rose from her bed.

Immediately she felt a severe pain in her abdomen and cried out, alerting

her brother just before he reached the front door. He raced to her side and found

her kneeling on the floor, holding her stomach with both hands. “Audra, what’s

wrong?” He lifted her petite body onto the bed. “Do you need an ambulance?”

Her face twisted in agony. Each word was a struggle to release. “Lisa!

Lisa!” She sobbed, horrifying her big brother.

“What about Lisa?” He shook her to get a response.

“Lisa,” she whispered before fainting. Kyle was shaking with the

realization his other sister needed help. He grabbed the nearby telephone from

the side table and frantically dialed Lisa’s number.

On the third ring, his brother-in-law Doug Smalley answered. “Hello,” he

said with a grumpy tone.

“Doug, I need to talk to Lisa,” Kyle said with urgency.

There was a moment of silence. “Do you know what time it is? She’s

asleep. She didn’t get in till after four. She’s dead to the world.”

“Well then…tell her ta call me or Audra as soon as she gets up,” said

Kyle. “Don’t forget, Doug.”

“When could I ever forget my in-laws?” The line went dead.

“Bastard!” said Kyle before returning the receiver to its base.

At that moment, Audra regained consciousness. “I need to call Lisa.”

“Don’t bother. I already did, and she’s asleep.”

“Your stomach feeling better? How’s your head?” he asked, sitting down

on the bed next to her.

“Can you get me two aspirins from the bathroom medicine cabinet?” Her

older brother obliged. He returned shortly with the tablets and a glass of water.

Audra swallowed the pills and liquid then said, “Something has happened. I can

feel it. Like when we were kids and Lisa or me got hurt…”

“And one twin felt the other twin’s pain?” he said, finishing the

explanation.

“Yes! It was just like that…but much worse.”

“Doug promised to tell Lisa I called.”

“So you didn’t talk directly to Lisa?”

“No, but you and I both know it’s not just alcohol Lisa is prob’ly on.”

Audra rebelled at her brother’s accusations against their sister. “So you

believe Doug’s lies about Lisa using drugs?”

“Don’t forget I had a drug addiction once. I know the signs of a heroin

addict. When Lisa calls you, make it clear to her that she needs to get help if

she wants custody of the kids in the divorce.”

“If Lisa loses those kids, she’ll just die.”

“And that’s exactly why she must get help. I gotta go,” he said, kissing

Audra on the cheek and leaving.

After hearing the front door shut, she remembered her previous obligation.

“Oh crap! Mom!” She jumped off the bed and into the shower.

 

Dark Visions

Waking from a nightmare was not the ideal beginning for twenty-six-year-

old Carrie Reynolds’ birthday. At least, it was not what she had hoped for.

“What the hell was that all about?” she asked herself as she climbed out of her

sleigh-like bed.

She ambled to her vanity and examined her peaches-and-cream

complexion in the tall mirror. “I look like a raccoon or hung-over from a

drunken binge,” she whispered, concerned about the dark rings around her

blood shot eyes.

She quit primping to enter her adjoining bathroom and begin her morning

ablutions, ending with a long, invigorating shower. Twenty minutes later, she

was drying off when the telephone rang.

“Hello,” she answered cautiously, her voice barely rejuvenated by the hot

water.

“Happy birthday, baby girl.”

“Thank you, Mom. How are you?”

“I’m great, but you sound tired.”

“I just had the strangest dream. More like a full-blown nightmare.”

“Oh, really! That is strange. What was it about?”

“It was about people yelling at each other, I think…and a loud noise—I

think it was some kind of an explosion—then I woke up.”

“Did you get drunk last night?” her mother asked with a chuckle.

“Mom! You know I don’t drink liquor.”

“But you had Italian food and wine for dinner. Spicy food and alcohol…”

“No, Mom, that wasn’t it. It was nothing, I guess…but it seemed so real.”

Carrie shook off the bizarre incident to ask, “So…who’ll be coming to my

surprise party tonight?”

“What party! You think just because I love you—”

“I’ll be there…when? Sixish?”

“Perfect! See you then.”

After hanging up, Carrie talked to the air. “Mom, I love you, but you’re a

ding-bat.”

Before leaving for the mall, she briefly put her Corgi, Mitzi, into the

enclosed backyard, then fed her and locked her in her kitchen kennel. Mitzi was

accustomed to being alone during the day while Carrie was at school, working

or shopping, so it was no hardship. All that alone time meant she would be

mighty eager to see Carrie on her return. Carrie liked to be enwrapped by her

warm, undemanding love on coming home.

Carrie quickly changed into her “shopping mall” outfit and bolted out the

door, heading for the shopping center. While she allowed her car to defrost, she

was shocked to be confronted by an unwelcome guest.

“Stick em up!”

She swung around to find a tall, hooded man aiming a .44 Magnum at her

face. “Give me your wallet,” he demanded. His deep voice approached a growl.

Willingly, she handed over her property. She included everything, even

her gold and diamond watch, an early birthday gift from her maternal uncle,

Doug Reynolds, police supervisor/trainer.

“Is that everything?” her assailant yelled, cocking his weapon.

“Yes! I swear that’s all I have,” she whispered, while scanning the area for

anyone who could help her.

The robber also saw her searching for a rescuer. “There’s no one here to

help you, pretty lady. It’s eight A.M. Most people are still in bed or gone to

work.” He then gave the slim, dark-eyed girl a more careful once over and with

a sick sneer added, “And I bet you’re a real devil under the sheets, uh?”

She immediately knew what he wanted and grew more horrified at her

impending fate. “Oh, please, mister…just take my money and jewelry…and

leave. I won’t tell anyone.”

“I know ya won’t,” he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her back toward

her apartment.

“No!” she yelled and resorted to her as-yet-untried self-defense training.

Abruptly applying a palm jab to his nose, she made him drop his weapon, but a

kick on his shin only angered him.

“You’re gonna regret that, bitch!” he said again in a near-growl. He then

grabbed her around the throat and pinned her against her vehicle. Just before

she passed out, her savior arrived in the form of Uncle Doug and his new

trainee, twenty-eight-year-old Officer Mark Ety.

“Stop! Police!” yelled Mark, pulling the creep off his partner’s niece, then

slapping cuffs on the guy who now lay face down in the snow.

Doug immediately checked with Carrie. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. Thank God you were in the neighborhood.”

“God had nothing to do with it,” Doug said, nodding toward his handsome

partner now placing the prisoner in the cruiser’s backseat. “My new sidekick

trainee saw what was going on from the top of the hill. He has the eyes of a

hawk.”

Mark then retrieved Carrie’s belongings from the ground and helped her to

her feet.

The Apartment

For a young couple in love with college ambitions Seattle, Washington

was the perfect place to fall in love and marry. Little did Bill and Gayle Price

know, but their happiness, their faith in each other and their sense of security

would be tested beyond human limits.

“Well…how does being a married woman feel?” asked friend and

classmate Sukie.

“Is it true the sex gets better after marriage?” asked a second friend Amy,

the bombshell horn dog.

Without hesitation, the plump and bubbly blond newlywed said,

“Fantastic. I would recommend marriage to anyone.”

“Well, I hope when I meet that special someone I feel and look as jubilant

as you are right now,” said Sukie with a big smile.

“You will,” said Gayle, noticing her groom driving up. “There’s my ride.

I’ll see ya in class.”

Sukie and Amy nodded and waved to Bill who waved back before opening

the door for his wife. The young honeymooners kissed and drove off.

“I found an apartment in a great neighborhood,” said Bill, passing the

newspaper to his startled wife.

She read the notice. “This apartment is located in the preppy part of town.

We can’t possible afford it.”

“It’s only fifteen dollars more than what we pay now,” he said. “And it’s

in a low crime area. I have a great feeling about this place.”

“Is that where we’re going now?” she asked, not recognizing the turns her

excited husband was making.

“Yes. I told the realtor we were sick of the rowdy campus life and wanted

a better neighborhood. She said this place sounded like what we were looking

for. She said to come right over.”

Minutes later they arrived at the perspective new home. The first thing

they noticed while approaching the first floor flat was the abundant amount of

torn and broken furniture in the front yard. “What happened here?” Gayle

asked, giving the rubbish the once over. “It looks like an animal chewed up the

stuff.”

Just as baffled as his bride, Bill said, “Maybe they had a big dog. I’m sure

there’s a reasonable explanation for all this.”

“There is!” chirped a voice from behind.

The couple turned and found the thirty-something realtor waiting for them.

“Hi,” she said. “You happy-looking folks must be Mr. and Mrs. Price?”

“Yes, we are,” replied Bill, extending his hand as his wife repeated his

gesture.

“Whose property is this?” asked Gayle, pointing to the junk.

“Oh…it belonged to the last occupant. They left unexpectedly,” she said,

still smiling.

“Did something happen here that we should be concerned about?” asked

Bill. “I mean, this area is known for its antique stores and art walk. Not riff-raff

tenants.”

“It was nothing criminal, I assure you,” she said. “Let’s go inside and have

a tour.” She gave no further explanation.

Bill and Gayle apprehensively followed the enthusiastic woman into the

apartment. Once inside they noticed extensive remodeling in process. “The

paint and carpets look brand new,” said Gayle, noticing the work crew moving

about.

“Yes!” piped the realtor. “We gutted the entire place after the last tenants.

New floorboards, new dry wall, new fixtures.”

“Well, the rent is certainly in our price range,” said Bill. “Isn’t it, honey?”

“Oh, yes…it is,” whispered Gayle. She had an uneasy feeling about the

place. But it would be silly to turn down such a great apartment, she thought.

“Great!” said the realtor. “You can move in Friday. I have the rental

agreement right here.” She promptly removed the lease from her briefcase, and

the young couple applied their John Hancock’s. It was a done deal.

For days, Gayle worked hard to make their new place comfortable. She

bought new pictures for the walls. New towels for the spacious bathroom and

new cookware to make her husband the gourmet dishes he so loved. She was

looking forward to their housewarming party. She had already told her

classmates about the apartment.

“I just love coming home to this place after work,” said Bill one night over

dinner. “All my co-workers got pea green with jealousy when I told them where

this place is and what we pay in rent.”

“Well, don’t brag too much,” smiled Gayle. “Envy causes trouble in the

work area.”

Bill nodded, and the two finished their meal with plans for the upcoming

dinner party.

Things went well for the couple and their beautiful apartment until three

weeks after they moved in. While dusting the living room before class, Gayle

had the strangest sensation she was not alone. Bill worked as a driver for a local

carrier during the day and took night classes, leaving Gayle alone most of the

time.

THE LEGEND OF LAKE MANOR

Twenty-three year old Cassandra Lopez, embarking on a long-standing

family quest, traveled by bus to Lancaster, Ohio, arriving late in the afternoon

of March 9. Opposite the depot, directly across from the parking coach, she saw

a taxi line running along the street. As soon as traffic permitted, she scurried

over, grasped the door handle of the first Yellow Cab and climbed into the rear

compartment.

“Lake Manor, please,” she informed the pair of dark eyes peering at her

via the rearview mirror. Eyes that widened in shock at her destination.

“That’s a bad hotel. I know many that are much better.”

Leaning forward, Cassandra politely told the middle-aged ebony driver,

“So do I, but take me there anyway.”

The man reluctantly removed his cigar. “If the lady wishes.” He then

kissed the rosary around his sweaty neck.

Cassandra nodded at the gesture. “I’ve never needed religion, but I’m sure

it’s calming to many.”

“For one not to need faith, one must have many guardian angels or be an

atheist.”

She smiled at his comment. She then removed her heavy hobo bag from

around her shoulders and breathed a sigh of relief. Her two-hundred mile

journey was finally over.

The taxi driver shifted into Drive and pulled away from the curb, heading

toward Route 22 East. “The only people who dare stay at Lake Manor are

fugitives or strangers who don’t know ‘bout its history. Which are you?”

“Neither,” she said. “I’m a thrill seeker.”

“Ahhh, even worse.” He added a hearty laugh as he turned onto the

winding Lake Road.

From the corner of the road, with the corn still low, she clearly saw the

brick and mortar mansion. The three-story building, built into a hill, was an

impressive yet daunting sight. Her first glimpse made the hair rise on the nape

of her neck.

SUMMER WIND

The summer of 1971 was a new beginning for Ginger Duncan, a mother of

two girls. Eight year old Betsy liked to paint and dreamed of becoming a

professional artist. Ten year old Daisy loved animals and wanted to be a

veterinarian. The girls had a pet raccoon that they kept in a cage. The animal

was a gift from their maternal grandfather, Ralph Weisman.

Ginger had recently wed businessman Mike Duncan. It was her second

marriage and his first. The couple wanted a new start and decided to move to

the small town of Destiny, located in northern Wisconsin, and buy a home.

“We’re almost there, dear,” said the realtor, Lucille Keefer. “It’s just the

right size for a small family unless you and your new husband are thinking of

having more children.”

“Oh no,” laughed Ginger, cutting off the nosey woman. “Mike is content

with being a step-father.”

“Another two miles, and we’ll be there,” said the realtor just as a large

ominous looking house overlooking the bay caught Ginger’s eye.

“Who lives there?” she asked, pointing out the car window.

The realtor stopped in the middle of the road and looked. “Oh, that white

elephant,” she said with laugh. “I own it, too, but you said a small home for

now.”

“I’ve changed my mind,” said Ginger flippantly. “I want to look inside. Do

you have the key?”

“Yes…but…” said the realtor.

“Let’s check it out,” said Ginger, interrupting without bothering to look at

the realtor.

“Okay, if you insist,” said Lucille, steering her Cadillac in the direction of

the two-story white mansion.

As the car pulled into the horseshoe driveway, Ginger marveled at the

structure, as if hypnotized by an uncontrollable and unknown force. “This place

has great potential. I can feel it.”

“It has something alright,” mumbled the realtor.

“What did you say?” asked Ginger, exiting the vehicle.

“Oh, nothing, dear. Here’s the key,” said the realtor, handing the item out

the window.

“Aren’t you going in?” asked Ginger, accepting the key.

“I never go inside that home. I always wait outside.”

“Suit yourself,” said Ginger, ascending the steps onto the front porch. The

boards beneath her squeaked with each step. As she inserted the key in the lock,

the heavy wooden door mysteriously opened. “That’s odd,” she whispered

before entering.

THE HAUNTING OF BARB MARIE

 

“Barb Marie!” calls the girl’s mother, Tricia, from the backdoor. “Come

in, and get washed up. We’re going out.” Tricia waits patiently for her only

child as her husband, Rob, warms up the car.

“Yes, Mommy,” replies the green-eyed seven-year old as she turns and

says goodbye to her deceased grandfather.

Then with excited anticipation about the new restaurant where her family

will dine that evening, Barb Marie races across the lawn into her house.

“Barb Marie, who were you talking to?” asks Tricia.

“Oh, it’s just Grandpa,” says the girl with a big smile, walking past her

mother to retrieve her coat.

“Oh…is that who it is?” says Tricia as she gazes around the large yard,

seeing no one before closing the door and joining her daughter. Tricia then slips

into her coat, and the two exit the home. They find the man of the house

waiting in the car.

“I’m out with the two prettiest girls in town,” he says proudly as they drive

to the bistro only blocks away.

As they drive, Tricia and Rob complain about their neighbor’s pooch using

their yard as a dumping ground. “You just let me catch that mutt doing his

business under my hedges again,” says Rob sternly. “I’ll scoop every bit of it

up and throw it on that man’s front porch.”

“Now, dear,” says Tricia, trying to calm her excited husband. “That will

only make matters worse…and… Barb Marie, who are you whispering to?”

She looks back at her daughter playing with her favorite doll in the backseat of

their station wagon.

“Oh, just Grandpa,” says the girl as Rob eyes her in the rear view mirror.

“He says he can take care of the neighbor’s dog.”

“Now, Barb Marie,” says her father with that stern tone again. “Didn’t we

have that conversation about talking to imaginary friends?”

Barb Marie becomes silent and fidgets with her dolly’s hair. “Answer your

father, dear,” coaches Tricia. Barb Marie knows only too well the wrath of

Father as she rubs her still sore arm.

“Yes, Daddy,” whispers the frightened child from the backseat.

“So who were you speaking to?”

“No one, Daddy,” says Barb Marie apologetically, combing her doll’s hair.

The rest of the evening goes well. Rob keeps his cool. Tricia laughs at his

silly stories about co-workers, and Barb Marie eats everything on her

plate…just like Grandpa tells her to.

It snows lightly as the family drives toward home. “That chicken fettuccini

was delicious,” brags Rob, fully satisfied for the evening.

“Maybe we should take your mother there for her birthday?” suggests

Tricia as Rob smiles in agreement.

As they near a red light, stopping behind a motorcyclist, Barb Marie blurts

out. “Don’t go yet, Daddy. Wait!”

“Wait for what, dear?” asks Tricia as she and Ron watch the light turn

green, and the motorbike zoom through the intersection. At that exact moment a

pick-up truck runs the parallel red light, smashing into the cyclist from the left,

killing the driver instantly from the looks of the mangled bike.

Barb Marie and Ron are shocked. Ron turns to Barb Marie and asks, “How

did you know that was going to happen?”

She smiles and says, “Grandpa told me so.”

 

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES ~ Laying the Norfolk Ghost to Rest ~

 

As I drove from the Norfolk airport in my chartered car on that warm

windy day in 2003, I steered toward Burnt Pine, the commercial hub of the

Island. It had been two years since I stepped foot on this small, but lush islet,

one-thousand miles north-east of Sydney, Australia. Being called in to

investigate American-born thirty-seven year old Ruthie Geil’s murder, I had the

haunting feeling that this case was the case that would make my career.

Before the horrific crime which occurred the previous afternoon, this

native land of mine, this tight knit community of sixteen hundred, had only

known peace and security. In the blink of an eye, Ruthie’s death put folks on

pins and needles. I suspected that feeling would last for years to come.

Norfolk Island was discovered by Captain James Cook on his second

voyage to the South Pacific in 1774. Abundant with tall straight trees and New

Zealand flax plants, he named the Island after the Duchess of Norfolk. It soon

became one of Australia’s most inhumane penal settlements before closing in

1855.

Chief Inspector Talent in my home district in Sydney turned the case over

to me when the local Island police force asked for additional help. No one had

been murdered there in over a hundred years. As I am a native of the Island, he

thought I might have more insight into the locals than someone else on the

force.

As I studied the flimsy case file the Chief Inspector gave me, I realized my

life and the lives and reputations of every resident on Norfolk could forever

change. After dropping off my luggage at the Resort, I drove to the police

station. I needed to check in and introduce myself. Also something in the

homicide report had set off a red flag.

I flashed my badge at the native dispatcher and gave her my name and

badge number. “I’m here to help investigate the death of the American. Were

there any other crimes that day?”

She thought momentarily, then flipped through a stack of reports. “Only a

rental car theft. The car was later recovered from the bottom of a cliff near the

Island National Park.”

That was near the area where the body was discovered, the case file said.

Was there a connection between the two crimes?

“When was the car rented?”

“At 10:30 am.”

“Who rented it?”

She looked again and said, “Ruthie Geil.”

I was stunned at hearing that. Why would my victim rent a car thirty

minutes before she went missing? And who drove it off the cliff?

“Thank you,” I said with a smile before leaving.

That serene Easter day is where my story began. My name is Ian Christian,

and I was the Federal Police Inspector assigned to the case.

* * * *

Excerpt from "Loves, Myths, and Monsters" 11 fantasy tales entwined within the human world

For the Love of Ginnie

I don’t know why I wanted to save the life of a person I never met. Maybe it was because I was tired of bachelorhood. Maybe it was because I was a chemist and the unusual, and unexplained, fascinated me. Or, maybe, it was because I was obsessed with this twenty-year-old, dark-haired beauty named Mary Virginia “Ginnie” Wade I had read about.

These questions filtered through my mind as I drove to the bar to meet my best friend Will.

Will’s favorite hangout was “The Bling,” originally an old truck stop on State Route 93, in Nelsonville, Ohio. The place became a restaurant/lounge/dance hall and brothel when semis no longer became a necessity for long distance hauling. The invention of the transporter also replaced many other primitive jobs such as mail delivery and travel. “The Bling” was best known for the large flashing lights suggesting scantily clad women in seductive positions above the front entrance, and its “bulldogs,” monster-sized bouncers in Armani suits who patrolled its two-block perimeter, inside and out.

“The Bling,” just another joint with a sleazy atmosphere, like all alcohol-serving establishments, differed only in that it catered exclusively to class “A” clientele. Politely—or maybe not so politely—everyone called it the “Whorehouse for the rich and bored.” Its reputation grew. Its income grew even faster.

I pulled up in front and exited my vintage DeLorian, tossing the keys to the baby-faced valet, by-passed the doorman with no questions asked. Just an exchange of large smiles between us. Will was also part-owner.

As I entered the twenty-four carat gold, electronic doors, Will immediately spotted me and motioned me toward the bar with his diamond embellished hand.

I loved sitting at the bar. It was the perfect place to see the shows. “Two double scotches and water,” Will said, as we shook hands, and I slid into my seat beside him, just as the tall, leggy waitress produced the drinks in an instant.

I immediately recognized the “girl” as one of the latest “do-everything-like-a-wife” robotics. Robot manufacturing had become a booming business since the last war destroyed the immune and reproductive systems in most humans, especially females.

“I don’t know why you waste your time flirting with non-humans,” I said, cautiously sipping my drink. The immense emptiness of not being able to acquire a wife and soul mate, I felt at this age in my life, almost drove me to alcoholism, but my boss and mentor, Doctor Obar Gabry, intervened, saving my life and promising career.

“Because, dear friend,” Will began, “beggars can’t be choosey, and ladies are in scarce supply. Beside, these ‘girls’ are all pink inside.”

Ugh!” I said, gulping down a large swallow of alcohol as if it could wash away my friend’s vile mental picture from my mind.

“Come on, Alex, loosen up. Live a little.” Will motioned to the waitress for another round of drinks. “You’re alive, so act like it. Don’t let your beautiful mind go to waste. This world needs people like you. People started treating me like a god once I became an entrepreneur, and I love it.”

I had to laugh. Maybe my self-pity stage had outlived its use. Only I can find a wife for myself. I certainly won’t ask Will to hook me up. His sense of values are as artificial as the women he beds.

The pain and loneliness I felt at times from yearning for a life-long partner and family wasn’t easy to accomplish. Scientific and Medical technology still could not reverse the sterilization effects on the female species.

Sure there were some human women to date. But most were either sterile, too old, too young, or there was just no chemistry between the two of us. I wanted that spark that unites between two people madly in love...like my parents. I never met any couple happier with one another then my beloved parents. That’s the kind of love I want…never ending.

The emptiness and frustration of not finding companionship at times made me want to die. But that was the loneliness talking. I know that now. I love life. I want to live, and I know who I want for a wife. It’s just that meeting her would be a little tricky.

Abruptly, I asked, “What do you think about time travel?”

“Are you serious?” Will asked. “Scientists have tried to conquer time travel for hundreds of years, and failed.”

“Maybe they failed because they weren’t Doctor Gabry and me.”

Will looked at me in awe. “Oh, my god, you’re serious!”

“We discovered something today in the lab,” I said, giving him an arrogant smile. “We believe this is the answer.”

“So who is to be the Guinea pig?”

“Me.”

Silence came from Will, then a gasp. “That could be suicide.”

“Or the biggest discovery of the thirtieth century.”

FLAGITIOUS- a four story crime/mystery anthology   

 

Release Date: Sept. 17, 2014

Pages: 231

Publisher: Melange Books

           

Blurb for “Too Solve His Mother’s Murder”

After his Air Force career was interrupted by his mother’s untimely murder, Steven Moore, returned home. Met with a cold reception of lies, secrets, and threats, he is determined too find Wanda’s killer, even at the cost of his own life. Was Wanda a victim of the legendary Hatchet Man? Was this loving and devoted mother killed because of her shady past, or for her inheritance? Between finding the truth and falling in love, Steven stops at nothing, too solve his mother’s murder.

Blurb for “The Other Couple’s Child”

Charlotte had it all. A loving and devoted husband. Supportive family and friends, and a house full of beautiful children. Everything was perfect for this Super Mom, until a medical procedure turns her life upside down, and spirals into a child abduction case. Time is running out. Will police arrive in time to save Charlotte and the other couple’s child?

Blurb for “3381 Market Street”

Katherine Sims, a young widow working for a brokerage firm in a small southeastern town, is tired of the excuses concerning Charlie’s absence. She knows something terrible must have happened to her favorite nephew with the sad blue-eyes. After exposing the killer, Katherine’s life is turned upside down and she finds herself fighting for her life. Filled with maniacal suspects, a Satanic Cult, and danger around each corner, this story depicts one woman’s courage too avenge a child’s murder, while finding unexpected love.

Blurb for “The Tarot Card Murders”

New Detective, and ex-navel man, twenty-six-year-old Nick Difozzio, returns to his small county determined too abolish crime. Not until death knocked on his door, did he know the face of evil. Will the decorated veteran destroy the Lycanthropes, or will he succumb to their murderess desires and become one of them? He took an oath too protect, honor, and uphold the law, but can he defy the lust, riches, and power offered, or are the ‘dark forces’ stronger than his will?

Amazon Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NOZGUPG

Paperback:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/joanne-myers/flagitious/paperback/product-21812982.html

 

                                                        

 

 

 

     BOOK EXCERPTS

                                                                                  * * * *

 

                                                                 * * * *

Excerpt for "The Crime of the Century" a shocking true story

 

At 5:45 pm., Chief White used his walkie-talkie, to radio Lt. Phillipes, who stayed at the command post with Richard and Nancy. Only a few short words were needed.

“We found something, but we don’t know what it is,” said the chief. What searchers found . . . was unthinkable.

Just 150 yards north of the railroad trestle spanning Bottle Neck River, Sheriff Reynolds and one of his deputies reported “something entangled in debris,” near their small boat.

The officers initially said they believed the object was an animal carcass. Once it was dislodged and floated down stream, they realized it was human.

The officers then followed the remains and discovered 30 yards south of the first torso, the second torso was located. Both torsos were reportedly snagged against brush along the riverbank just west of The Regency Supply Company. Both torsos were reportedly nude and so badly decomposed, officers said they were unable to determine their sex.

Upon the discovery, Jack Jones broke down and was seen “running and screaming” from the area. The remains were pulled to shore and coroner Rausch was summoned to the riverbank.

Law enforcement personnel cleared the immediate area of non-official personnel. Afterward, they stationed themselves around the perimeter of the area while the bodies were examined.

Many searchers, upon leaving the crime scene, were overheard by reporters asking one another “Are the authorities looking for one killer or two?”

After his initial examination of the bodies, the coroner said he was unable to rule on the cause of death or what sex the torsos were. What he did say, was that if one man committed both murders, it was “during a great rage” and by someone with something “very personal” against one, or both, of the victims.

Sheriff Reynolds reported an empty purse found, but did not know if it belonged to Babette. He told reporters, he did not believe the bodies were the missing Rolling Hills teens. Richard Lloyd told reporters that, when he and Nancy heard the bodies might not be that of Babette and Shane, they were relieved, and said, “That comment gave me and Nancy a speck of hope.”

The discovery of the bodies shocked and silenced the group of volunteers. Most returned to the Kroger parking lot after the first torso was found. Some remained silent, while others were seen conversing in hushed tones, telling reporters they “expected the search to turn up nothing.”

Sheriff Reynolds was placed in primary charge since all evidence at that time, pointed to the murders being committed outside of Rolling Hills’s corporation limit, which is the point of origin that the sheriff’s office jurisdiction begins.

When officers carried a body bag from the river, Lt. Phillipes approached “the quiet couple.” He claimed Richard calmly asked, “Is it them?”

At first Phillipes said, he did not know how to answer, but admitted it was two individuals. He told them the remains might belong to a young Columbus area pair, Chris and Peggy Lerch, reported missing around the same time as Babette and Shane.

Phillipes said Richard then asked if he could view the bodies, saying “me and Nancy need to know if it’s our daughter.”

Phillipes said he told the couple, “not right now.” He claimed Richard then asked, “Are they all chopped up?”

                                              

                                                      

                                                                                 * * * * *

                                   Sample Poems from "Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between"

I WAS

I was afraid to grow up.
Afraid of life.

I worried myself to death.

It was hard to breathe.

Like a fish out of water.

Like having asthma.

High school was hell-crazy wild.

My only plan.

Just get up and go.

Cant be like mom.

She always had a plan.

Living her life without any man.
Cant think that far.

Felt out of place.

Like dust floating in space.

Scared out of my mind.

Of what I might or might not find.
Cant hack relationships.

More drama.

Why waste the time.

Still confused, but still craving knowledge.

I need to do what I want-for myself.

Even if its just me who cares.

Even if no ones there.
It was a long hard road.

To get my act together.

All bad choices, solely I sowed.

Working for nickels and dimes.

Like a newborn.

Taking one step at a time.

---------------------------

 

SCARED

A new wife and mother.

Scared of life.

Scared to grow up.

Worry myself sick.
Never thought of a plan.

Didn't want to be like the others.
Living my life according to my mother.

My life seemed over, before it began.
Cant think or feel.

Cant plan ahead.

Like a foolish child wanting to be a woman.

Some days to hard, just cant deal.
To confused to understand.

That growing up comes with demands.

Married badly, blamed myself.
Got out fast, and never looked back.
I covered myself in chaos.

All out of faith, money, and time.

Need to step back and take deep breaths,
and take one step at a time.

I cornered myself in chaos,

in false love, self loathing and lies.

Writing my future off as a loss.

Nothing left but sorrow, despair and good-byes.
Feeling helpless, lost and alone,

I felt I could accomplish nothing on my own.

I retreated to a place called the dark.

To contemplate my choices,

before my life’s journey embarked.

My only failures were the ones I created.
My bad choices were thorns all around.

It took years to find happiness and evolve.
My will to succeed is my solid ground.

--------------------------------

 

ACHIEVED THROUGH STRIFE

In this bleak life of mine,
I walk the dark alleys of broken dreams.
A darkened corridor of lost tomorrows,
within a collage of unraveled seams.
My life simmered like a bad stew.
Hidden within a clutter of tear stained cheeks.
Living in darkness, an unbridled soul.
Torn between life and death, my future seemed bleak.
Despair cowered behind my eyes.
Once beautiful, I was left aged and alone.
Reflections in my sea of tears,
reminded me I was forgotten and solitary.
Stumbling over common life hurdles,
like a babe learning to crawl.
Losing everything to my lustful addictions,
of fear, failure, and shame.
Lost control of what was mine.

That poison controlled me for a while.
It felt bad and made me cry.
As emotional pain went on for miles.
I found courage with family and friends.
No more shadows, cold or rain.
The venom that once ruled my life,
is a faded memory I achieved through strife.

````````````````````````````````````````````

THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE


I wait patiently with the others,

and pray they choose me.

The one with the children and rent to pay.

The one who searches the want ads each day.

The one who will make beds or answer the phones.

The one who has three kids and lives on her own.

There’s only room for one more,

as another unwanted is discarded through the door

Each one with the look of fear or joy on their face.

All hoping for the same small slim chance.

Are they here, because they must?

Some seem so out of place.

They stab our hearts with another hope,

of cruel words I don’t want to hear.

They say they are here to help,

but offer nothing solid for under the belt.

The uncertainty I had, now subsides to lust.
My dreams of a job, now turns to dust.

So I put on my happy fake face.

The one that gets me through all the long days.

I wipe off the tears before I walk through the door.

My life has never seemed so empty before.
I tell my babies I love them and that life is unfair.

Then go about my life, pretending I don’t care.
Reality has now completely taken hold.
I’ve already spend the money from everything I’ve sold.
My head is spinning, don’t know what to do.

Cant give up though, ‘cause my kids are to precious to lose.
My fear of failure was not my imagination.
As my inner voice says you’re a beautiful creature.
The world is an evil place, filled with pain, hate, must.
My day was fruitless, filled with perfect disgust.

 

 

JoAnne’s Blog:
http://joannemyers.blogspot.com
 

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https://joannemyers.wordpress.com


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