Possession by a house?

Got some good writing done this week, including for the More Odds than Ends Week 35 prompt. My prompt this week came from Anne and Jim: She kept trying to send in her application, but they wouldn’t accept it. They kept saying her address was invalid. My prompt, The dragon floated on the inflatable raft in the middle of my pool went to Fiona Grey.

I worked my prompt into the Cursebreaker series. Jack is getting a massive headache from this one!


“I would really love it if you could help me out,” Jack said. “I’ve got about ten mages, including my brother-in-law’s family, and yes, their kid, and you, all of whom have been cursed into dolls by the same two witches. What the hell did all of you do to piss them off so badly? And why did Caitlin Blackwell get killed when she wrote down who had cursed her into the doll? And what about that house?” He realized all his frustration was coming out at once and it sounded like he was blaming Greg. Monica left her place in the doorway and came to stand next to Jack putting a calming hand on his shoulder. Greg looked taken aback by the vehemence of Jack’s response.

“I’m sorry,” Jack continued softly. “I’m just frustrated and tired and getting more stressed by the day. It’s like somebody is doling out clues but, in the meantime, more mages are getting caught. I don’t want another one to die.” Monica squeezed his shoulder and kissed the top of his head.

Greg nodded. “Don’t worry about it. I understand. And, I think somebody is doling out clues to you. But I don’t think they’re teasing you. I think that they can only do so much.”

“What do you mean?” Jack asked.

“This picture you took at the front of the abandoned house? That one spirit that’s looking right at the camera? I’ve seen him before. Or at least a picture of him. He’s one of the first mages to live here, in town. Or, rather, in this area,” Greg said slowly.

Monica interrupted. “Before you dive into what seems like is going to be a long story, let’s have some dinner. We all need to catch our breath, and I know the dogs need to eat too.”

Jack and Greg shared a look. “She’s right,” Greg smiled.

“She usually is,” Jack grinned at his wife.

“Usually? Try always,” she laughed.

“I’m not arguing,” Greg held up his hands in mock defense.

Jack and Greg concentrated on giving the dogs their dinner while Monica pulled a roasted chicken and potatoes out of the oven and put sautéed green beans on the table. While they were eating, the conversation was kept purposefully light. Jack once again reminded himself that he’d won the lottery when he’d met Monica. Not only did her personality complement his, but her magical talents complemented his as well. And, most importantly, in Jack’s view, she didn’t care that his magic was limited to breaking curses or pulling apart spells, instead of creating them. She’d told him early on that their combined talents meant that they could both create and break spells which made them a well-rounded team.

After dinner, humans and dogs moved back into the living room. Monica and Jack settled on the sofa, while Greg took the comfy chair facing them. The three dogs spread themselves out across the floor.

“Okay. So. Let’s hear your theory about the house,” Jack said, pouring everybody a couple fingers of the good Scotch. He figured they were going to need it.

Greg took a sip of his Scotch and rolled the glass back and forth between his hands.

“Okay. Well, you know the main part of the story…the original owners were found dead, presumed murdered, but nobody was ever caught. Then, that developer bought the land a few years ago and built a house. But they only lasted about a year before they ran away as fast as they could. At the time, I was doing some research on spirits, ghosts…what have you, and possession. The pictures you showed me before dinner confirmed some of the theories I had. Where did you get that camera anyway?”

Jack shrugged. “Found it on Amazon…on the mage side of the site. I didn’t know what it did until I happened to take a picture of the troll doll that showed up. There was nothing in the product description. But I figured I should start documenting things. Since then…the troll doll was my third case…I’ve taken a picture of every doll that’s showed up and every time I’ve seen the person inside the doll. The guy in the troll doll, Geoffrey, told me to check out the house. I took the camera with me to the house just on a whim. Glad I did.”

“Yeah, I am too. The guy in the front, looking right at you is Nikolas Jonnson. He’s a for real Viking. His ancestors were some of those Vikings that made it all the way here to North America. Them and the Knights Templar. I ran across his history when I was looking up the story of that piece of land. It seems that he was killed there, but he was killed as part of a ritual summoning. Something went wrong and fortunately the summoning didn’t work. But the evil intent is still there and I think it’s baked into the ground. I think that the summoning did bring something to this plane, or at least partially to this plane. And, I think it’s still here. That’s why that first family was killed, and that’s why there are so many shades hanging around that house. It attracts them.

It kinda looks like Nikolas wants your help. I know he didn’t sacrifice himself willingly. From what I’ve been able to dig out, there was a bit of um…a political fight, I guess you’d call it, in the group of Vikings that made it this far. Some of them wanted to go back and bring back more people to colonize and others wanted nothing to do with this area and thought they should leave. My working theory is that there was already something evil here, or it had been the site of some sort of evil action and that’s why they split. Whatever was in the area was controlling the Vikings and pitting them against each other. That led to Nikolas being sacrificed in some attempt to appease whatever it was. In the end, I think they freaked themselves out and they all left. No Vikings returned.”

“Okay. A dead Viking is dropping me clues. But how did Armina Grove and Camilia Sharpe get involved? They are the common thread among all of the cursed dolls,” Jack ran his hands through his hair.

Monica cocked her head to one side. “You know…Armina tried to buy that house before the developer did. The bank wouldn’t give her a mortgage. She kept applying but they wouldn’t accept it. They said her address was invalid. Maybe she’s trying to get back at somebody? And Camilia’s helping?”

Jack stared at his wife. “If Armina tried to buy the house…she might have walked through it…” he trailed off and turned to Greg. “You said the Viking…Nikolas…was sacrificed to stop some demon. And that it might still be connected to this plane…what if Armina got possessed when she went through the house?”


Thanks for reading! I’m working on turning this into a full-length novel, probably first in a series. If you like my writing, my very first book (!) is linked at the top of the page. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited!

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay

Visions of…what?

Yesterday was the first day of classes. For the last 20 years, I would have been on campus in the midst of the frenetic hustle of lost freshmen, growing sophomores, confident juniors, and worried seniors. Today, a Tuesday, I would actually be standing in front of my first classes of the semester (I taught Tuesdays/Thursdays). Today, for the first time in 20 years I am not on an academic calendar. I am not teaching. Today I got to spend the day working on my own projects, writing my own stories…stories, not research articles. It’s a little weird. But feels very right.

This is also Week 34 at More Odds Than Ends. My prompt this week was It involved a flatbed truck, a raccoon, the bones of a rat, and a dragon (or was it?)… and was gifted to me by Cedar Sanderson. My prompt about an expanding closet went to Leigh Kimmel.

I worked this into the ever-growing Cursebreaker story. The entire series is here if you haven’t read the previous installments.


Jack stared at Greg. “Okay. So, you saw a gargoyle crossing the road. Let’s start there. Which road and in which direction?” He was going for simple in the hopes that something, some clue, some idea would jump out at him.

“Richardson Street. Um…it goes east-west, I was driving…um…west, so the gargoyle crossed from south to north. Why does that matter?” Greg stared into his mug, absently rubbing both dogs. He sat back on the sofa and Scout immediately climbed into his lap. Jake shoved himself in closer as well.

“I don’t know yet. But, I’m just trying to get a handle on things. I think there has to be a pattern. When this first started, I just thought that an unusual number of magic workers were pissing off witches. Then, I discovered it was the same two witches. And always magic workers with dogs. And the dogs show up here…but one died…” he trailed off petting Captain who laid his head in Jack’s lap.

Greg glanced up sharply. “What do you mean one died? Who died?”

“Caitlin Blackwell. Captain here was her dog,” Jack replied quietly.


“Yeah. Oh, and somebody threw this in my car this morning when I went to your house. I found it when I left. I haven’t really looked at it and I don’t know what it means and I don’t know if the phone works,” Jack fished in his pocket for the cell phone with the puzzle piece taped to the back, that had somehow found its way onto his passenger seat.

Greg took the phone and stared at the puzzle piece. He turned the phone over and hit the power button. The phone lit up and Greg swiped the screen.

“Well, there’s no password on it,” his voice was wary.

“Ooookaaay…anything else?” Jack leaned over to look at the phone.

“Looks like there’s a text message here…um…that’s a little strange…it’s addressed to you,” Greg handed Jack the phone.

“What?” Jack read the message. “What the hell? Jack, Find the flatbed truck with the racoon carrying the rat bones and guarded by the dragon. That’s not exactly informative.”

“Tell me about it,” Greg set his mug down on the coffee table. The dogs were still intent on maintaining their places on and around him. He wasn’t moving any time soon.

“I think I can help,” Monica’s voice came from the kitchen door.

Jack looked up at her. “This makes sense to you?”

“Not completely, but while you were at Greg’s house, I went out to run some errands. I came back past that house you said was haunted…the abandoned one over on 47th? As I was passing it, I saw a flatbed truck parked in front of it and I swear there was a racoon sitting on the back,” she paused. “I didn’t see a dragon, but then, I didn’t look up.”

“That house. It’s all coming back to that house,” Jack rubbed his temples.

Greg’s eyebrows went up. “You mean that house that’s been abandoned for a few years? The one that developer built and then left? It’s haunted?”

“Yeah. Hang on,” Jack went into his office and grabbed his camera. He came back and sat down next to Greg. “This camera shows what’s…um…inside of things. So, like it showed me you inside the bobble-head. Here. These are the pictures I took at the house.” He scrolled through the photos until he found the ones from his excursion to the house.

Greg stared at the photos, scrolling back and forth between them. Jack was beginning to wonder what Greg saw, when the astronaut looked up. “I think I know what’s going on,” he said quietly.


I’m working on melding these things into a cohesive whole. It’s at least a stand-alone novel and possibly a series or at least a world I can go play in. Who knows how this is going to turn out. If you want to join us in our prompting, just go to More Odds Than Ends. It’s simple, easy, and most importantly fun!

Image by Emslichter from Pixabay

Panic and control

Get people to panic. Then tell them you can fix what’s causing the panic, if they’ll simply follow your lead. Then tell them that your solutions are the only ones that will prevent the cause of the panic from returning. Rinse and repeat. Now you’re in control. This is what our political class has been doing to us. Gaslighting is the word you’re looking for. It comes from a story and movie starring Ingrid Bergman as a woman who’s husband is deliberately trying to drive her crazy. One way he does it is to have the gas lamps in their home go high and low. When she comments on it, he says nothing happened. He also has the servants in on it. So, she thinks she’s the only one who can see the lamps going up and down. Combined with other despicable acts by the husband, like telling her that whatever else she’s seeing and experiencing is in her head, she begins to believe she’s crazy. Her husband has gaslighted her.

The end goal is not elimination of the virus. That’s not going to happen. Even with a vaccine, it will be back. The flu comes back every year and we have flu shots. A coronavirus is what a common cold is. This will be back. Bear in mind, though, it is most emphatically not lying in wait for you to walk out of your front door without a mask (despite what you’ve been allowed to assume). Nor will you get infected by walking past somebody on the sidewalk. About the only consistent, and apparently reliable, data we have access to points to age and underlying medical conditions, in combination, as the highest risk factors for death due to COVID-19. Does that mean somebody who does not hit those markers cannot get infected, and cannot succumb to this illness? Of course not. What that means is that is is HIGHLY UNLIKELY they will. There are always outliers. Always. Look at it this way…a product/drug/whatever, claims that 99% of those using it have found relief. That means that 1% did not. When you hear those stats rattled off in TV ads…suicidal thoughts, nerve damage, blindness, cancer…that means that in the trials of that drug THOSE THINGS HAPPENED TO SOME PEOPLE. That’s how they know!

Yes, we’ve had approximately 150,000 deaths in the US from this virus (that’s .04% of the total population). But something like 80% of those deaths were people over the age of 75. You can thank Andrew Cuomo and Tom Wolf for their policies of requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to readmit residents who had tested positive or had symptoms of COVID-19. They stuck all those sick individuals back into homes with the rest of the most vulnerable population and then locked them all in. Here in PA immediately prior to issuing that order, the PA Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, pulled her mother out of her assisted living facility and put her in a hotel. It’s almost as if she knew her mother would be in danger is she stayed in the facility…hmmmmm.

The entire “response” to the virus has become an exercise in inducing continued panic while presenting greater and greater controls. It has gone well beyond actually having anything to do with slowing the virus. I don’t buy into conspiracy theories, but this is certainly one of those times when the political class (and I am excluding POTUS, which if you can control the frothing OrangeManBad!! actually makes sense…states are responsible for state policies and those states with the highest death rates are…wait for it…blue states!) follows Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and never lets a good crisis go to waste. Need more evidence? Look at the ever changing demands of BLM leaders, teacher’s unions, state level policy makers, etc. Once the virus itself was as controlled as it’s ever going to get, they’ve started backing and forthing on everything that went before. Open up and get new cases? Yes, that will happen. What we’re not getting is how many of those new cases are 1) NOT the result of false positives (just search for “false positive tests” and see how many stories come up), and 2) how many of those new cases actually get sick. We’re told that large numbers of people are wandering around with the virus but are asymptomatic. What’s yet to be clarified (and likely won’t because it makes all these lockdowns and other mandates useless) is how frequently those asymptomatic cases are actually contagious.

In the end, if large numbers of us are asymptomatic, then the point of wearing masks, social distancing, etc. is gone. And when those are gone, control is gone. When control is gone, well, we go back to doing what we all do best…living our lives and taking care of our families.

Keep going. Do what you feel most comfortable doing. But don’t expect me to copy you. I don’t expect you to copy me.

In the end, we win and they lose.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


This week prompt was a visual from Leigh Kimmel. It is titled “Wave Motion” and you can see it on this week’s list at More Odds Than Ends. I went back this morning to remind myself and see what I could come up with in response. What popped out surprised me. I love the beach. I mean, I feel a need to walk on a beach on a daily basis, something I have not been able to do except for brief periods of time for the last twenty years. Growing up I was on the beach almost every day. I used to say that I could never live very far from the ocean because otherwise I would feel hemmed in and claustrophobic. Well, adulting and adult life has done the impossible and pulled me away from the beach. Leigh’s picture exposed a great deal of longing I hadn’t been paying attention to. I really need to get to the beach and soon.

This beach was two blocks from my high school. Yeah, I was spoiled. It was a magical place to grow up and I miss it all the time (not that I can afford to move back, mind you…)

Windansea Beach, La Jolla, CA - California Beaches
Windansea Beach, La Jolla, California

The beach has always been a happy place for me. A place where I can rest, relax, let my mind wander and my soul refresh itself. Being near water is good; I live a couple of long blocks from the Schuylkill River now, for which I’m grateful, but there’s something about the ocean that just resonates with me. So, here’s what I came up with:



Waves breaking on the shore, hissing through the sand.

Lapping at my feet and pulling pieces of seaweed back out to sea.

Surfers rising and falling over smaller waves, looking for “that one” to drop in on and ride.

Memories of body surfing and tumbling in the waves.

Big waves crashing down, creating that distinctive beach roar.

Breaking apart over the rocks.

Small waves rippling across a toddler’s feet, eliciting squeals of happiness combined with trepidation.

Waves creating rhythms which keep me grounded and free at the same time.

Light waves sparkling off the water.

Waves of sound from people, dogs, and wind.

Life comes at you in waves.


Feel free to join in the fun over at More Odds Than Ends.


Ethics, health, presidents, & vice-presidents

I read a post in Legal Insurrection this morning discussing a Chris Cillizza/CNN piece suggesting that the reason Biden picked Kamala Harris for his running mate is because “…if and when Biden steps aside” she’s more than qualified to step in. My first reaction was “Wait. What?” Are we now supposed to be voting for candidates whose slogan is “Vote for me…I’ll step aside for my running mate!” Really? I have to wonder if after posting this “analysis” (it’s linked in the Legal Insurrection piece) Cillizza looked at it and thought Did I say that out loud? I mean, I know Biden’s health and competency have been discussed many times in many places, but it is a serious issue.

In 2016 my mother died from what were described as complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She died from complications from her second concussion in one month due to falling on her head because the Alzheimer’s left her incapable of understanding what she was doing in addition to affecting her balance. I spent ten years watching my mother succumb to this horrible, disgusting disease. I know what it looks like. I see my mother’s eyes in Joe Biden and hear her in his attempts to answer questions. I don’t like Joe Biden the politician, but it is heartbreaking to watch Joe Biden the human being struggling in public as he is. I have nothing but anger and loathing for the people around him who are pushing him to continue with this farce. This is an attempted power grab by them, nothing more. The worst perpetrator of all of this is his wife.

Doctor (if she still upholds her oath) Jill Biden should know better on a professional level, and on a personal level she should want to protect the man she says she loves. My father did everything in his power, spent any amount of money it took to keep my mother safe and as happy as possible. He gave his life trying to keep her safe and protected. Jill Biden is pushing her husband into what I am convinced will be a very public break down. It’s disgusting. I’m not sure what she thinks being First Lady for what a year? two? will get her, but she’s clearly willing to sacrifice her husband to get it.

If the goal of pushing Biden and selecting Harris is to get Harris into the Oval Office, then there has been an enormous ethical lapse on the part of the DNC (quelle surprise…ethics? We don’t need no stinking ethics!). Harris didn’t make it in the primary race…why? Because…um…let me think…oh, yeah. Democratic voters didn’t like her! But, hey. They’ll be perfectly happy if we shoehorn her into the job, right?

Democrats are showing themselves to be unethical, power hungry, authoritarian, and self-serving with their 2020 presidential ticket. Don’t believe me? Go back and dig out tweets and articles about Harris in 2019. I’ll give you a freebie: Look up that snake-oil salesman Shaun King. Then compare them to today’s tweets and articles. The supposedly considered opinions have switched 180 degrees and Harris has done nothing and said nothing different from nine months ago.

I am appalled at the treatment Joe Biden is being subjected to by those who supposedly care about him. I appalled and angered by the blatant machinations and obvious subverting of the process for electing the highest office in the country, by the Democratic Party leadership. And, I’m saddened by all the people I know, like, and love who are willfully buying into this crap.

But, in the end, I’m cautiously optimistic that the blatant actions of the DNC and their lapdogs in the media will make ordinary voters sit up and take notice. I’m positive that those voters will not like what they see. In the end, I will keep harping on the hypocrisy I see and keep bringing it up. I will do this if for no other reason than to hopefully plant some small seed of doubt in even one person’s mind.

You want to keep this country functional and free? Do not let them get away with this crap. But, you must be willing to fight.

Be not afraid.

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay


It’s been an off week or ten days. Not off in anything bad, just feeling off-kilter. Hubby went into the office for a couple of days last week for the first time since mid-March, which was weird in a “this is not our usual day” sort of way. I haven’t made a lot of headway on Book #2, although I have some ideas and I’m working them out. And finally, I missed sending in a prompt last week for More Odds Than Ends, so I used a spare one this week.

The spare was “Why did the gargoyle cross the road?” I used it to continue the Cursebreaker series (complete series linked above). This is definitely going somewhere and I’m trying to keep up. Once I get a draft of Book #2 out to beta readers I will be focusing on this one for a time. That’s the plan at any rate. So, here’s Cursebreaker Part XII.


Jack pulled up into his own driveway. He grabbed the backpack as he climbed out of the car. He let the dogs out and slowly walked up the steps to his front porch. The dogs clustered around his feet as he dropped into the Adirondack chair next to the front door. Putting the backpack on the floor between his feet, he pulled out the bobble head of Greg Leland and stared at it. Jake and Scout both gave half wags and let out small whines.

“I know, I know. I promise we’ll get him out,” Jack murmured, scratching the dogs’ ears. “I just wish I knew what the hell was going on. Why would somebody drop a phone in my car? And, what does it have to do with Greg?”

Captain stood up and balancing his front paws on Jack’s lap, gave Jack a long, sloppy lick up the side of his face.

“Oh, man! C’mon!” Jack laughed, wiping his face. “Okay, okay. You’re right. We’ll figure this all out. Maybe Greg can help out.”

Still cradling the bobble head, he grabbed the backpack and stood up. As he was reaching for the door handle, it opened to reveal Monica with a concerned look on her face.

“Honey? What are you doing out here? I thought I heard voices. Is everything okay?” his wife sounded worried.

“It’s fine, I’m fine. The dogs are fine. I was just talking to them and to myself. Things are getting weirder, but now I’m thinking that somebody may be trying to help out,” Jack smiled and gave her a quick kiss.

“Okay. Well…did you find the doll with Greg in it? Can we get him out?” Monica patted the dogs as they pushed into the house.

“Yeah, I found it and something else happened. I’ll fill you in after I get Greg out,” Jack replied.

He followed Monica back through the house to the kitchen. She pulled out a bag of jerky treats for the dogs as Jack went into the living room. He carefully set the bobble head doll on the coffee table before going back into his office for supplies. Unlike the curse that had bound his brother-in-law and family into a figurine, Jack thought that this one felt like the first three dolls he’d uncursed. He could not have said why, but it just felt more straightforward. I don’t like that I’m getting so used to this, but it does help, I guess.

Fifteen minutes later, he breathed a sigh of relief as Greg Leland appeared out of the bobble-head doll and Jake and Scout went wild with joy. Monica appeared almost immediately afterwards with mugs of tea for all of them.

Greg grinned at Jack. “I knew you’d figure it out. Thanks,” he carefully juggled the mug of hot tea and two enthusiastic dogs.

“Well, thanks for your confidence. I’m glad we got you back,” Jack returned the grin. “But what happened? I mean, I read your letter, but it’s still murky. And, you do know you’re like the sixth or seventh magic worker who’s been cursed into a doll, right? What the hell is going on with you guys?”

Greg’s expression grew thoughtful. “I have some ideas and I want to know what you think. But there are a couple of things you need to know first. There’s a couple of things I saw…” he trailed off.

“Like what?” Jack leaned forward.

“Well, for one, I saw…a…gargoyle. A live gargoyle,” Greg grimaced.

“What?? It takes a hella lot to animate a gargoyle…even more to make it look alive…” Jack frowned.

“I know. But I’m telling you it was alive. It was crossing the road,” Greg stared into his mug.

“Why did the gargoyle cross the road? Which road?” Jack was starting to feel lost. This was getting out of hand. Assuming it was connected to the cursed dolls, which he figured it was because why would anything be simple? He dropped his head into his hands.

“I have no idea. I have no idea,” Greg sighed.


Image by sollrox from Pixabay


Hurricane Isaias has hit Philly, so I’m writing and listening to the rain. It’s rather nice. We are now in Week 31 of prompts at More Odds Than Ends. I am still having a hard time believing that I’ve been doing this for more than half the year. And, it’s likely given me the first (and several ideas for the second) book in what would be my second series. I’m very happy and grateful for that. This week ‘nother Mike and I traded prompts. His prompt to me was: Someone had tossed a cellphone with a puzzle piece taped to its back into the car. I was able to work it into the ongoing Cursebreaker saga (earlier entries can be found at the link above). This one picks up right where the last one left off. I hope you enjoy!


Jack pulled up in front of Greg Leland’s house and sat for a minute looking over the front of the house. Nothing seemed out of place, but he still had an itch between his shoulder blades…as if he were being watched. Pulling out his phone, he lowered his head pretending to read something on the screen while his eyes scanned the area. The three dogs in the back seat were quiet.

After a minute, and not spotting anything out of the ordinary, Jack got out of the car, walked around to the curb and opened the back door to let the dogs out. Jake and Scout immediately headed toward the side gate leading into the back yard, Captain close behind. After glancing around once more, Jack followed the dogs to the side gate.

Pulling out the set of keys that had been attached to Jake’s collar, Jack found the one that opened the gate and followed the three dogs into the yard. The fence was high enough that anybody in the yard could not be seen from the street. As that thought struck him, Jack put a cautionary hand on Captain’s head. Captain gave a short, low bark. Jake and Scout stopped their forward movement into the yard and turned towards the big German Shepherd. Jack gestured to the two dogs and they returned to his side. Flanked by all three dogs, Jack walked cautiously into the yard.

Nothing seemed out of place. Dog toys were dropped here and there around the yard, and a small plastic kiddie pool sat just off of the patio. Jack straightened up from a crouch he didn’t realize he’d gone into and continued to scan the yard. Suddenly Scout froze and pointed, eyes trained on the sliding glass doors opening onto the patio. The door was partially open.

Jack lifted his hand from Captain’s head. “Go!”

All three dogs raced toward the door and into the house, Jack following on their heels.

The front door slammed as Jack and the dogs skidded into the entry hallway. Cursing, Jack pushed through the canine bodies clamoring at the front door and pulled it open. The dogs rushed down the front path, but stopped at the sidewalk, whining and looking in all directions. Jack ran to the middle of the sidewalk and looked up and down. There was nobody and nothing in sight.

The dogs huddled around Jack, tails now between their legs. “What’s up guys? What’s going on?” Jack kept staring up and down the street but couldn’t see anything but a quiet suburban street, looking perfectly normal in the middle of the day.

Glancing around one more time, Jack patted each dog. “C’mon guys. Let’s go in and see if we can find what we came for.” He moved back up the walk leading to the front door.

Back inside, Jack carefully closed and locked the front door. He turned in the small entry hallway to orient himself and find Greg’s office. He spotted a small den a few feet down the hall and headed into that. This was clearly an office. A very nice, very big desk, with a closed laptop sitting on it, filled one corner. Behind the desk were four or five rows of shelves. In the place of honor, in the center of the first shelf was a bobble-head doll of Greg Leland in his NASA space suit.

Jack pulled out his camera, pointed it at the doll and took a picture before moving toward the shelves. The digital photo did indeed reveal a human figure trapped inside the bobble-head. Breathing a sigh of relief, Jack reached up and carefully pulled the doll off of the shelf. He wrapped it in a dish towel and tucked it into the backpack he had brought for that purpose.

“Okay, guys. We’re good. Let’s lock up the back and get out of here,” Jack looked down at the dogs. On impulse, he pulled the doll back out and held it toward Jake and Scout. Both dogs sniffed at the doll and whined. “I’m going to take that as confirmation,” Jack muttered putting the doll back into the bag.

He made a quick tour through the rest of the house making sure it was secure and locked up the back. Leaving through the front door, Jack surveyed the neighborhood once again before walking to the car. He let the dogs into the back seat and then moved around to the driver’s side. As he sat down, he noticed an object on the front passenger seat. Someone had tossed a cellphone with a puzzle piece taped to its back into the car. What the hell? Note to self, don’t leave the windows open even a bit, no matter how warm it is…

Jack stared at the phone for what felt like an hour, although it was probably less than a minute, before picking it up. The puzzle piece provided no clues. It was an edge piece…sky blue, with what looked like the tip of a blade of grass. He shrugged and tucked the phone into the backpack without taking the puzzle piece off. Getting Greg out of the bobble-head was the top priority right now. He’d worry about the puzzle piece and the phone after that.


As always, please feel free to join in the fun! What few rules there are (well, okay, there aren’t any rules) can be found at More Odds Than Ends. This is the first group I’ve ever done the prompt thing with, and I’m loving it. This group of people is very encouraging and helpful for the newbie and the experienced writer.

Image by Zoltan Matuska from Pixabay