Sebastian’s Story – Part 29 – The Arlington Hotel

The Arlington Hotel was a little over an hour drive southwest from the Roland Police Department, and Detective West wanted to commit to following up on the lead Finn gave about the matchbook when he collected his mother’s personal belongings. She had checked it out of evidence to take with her on her trip, following the protocols for transporting evidence, of course. She knew the matchbook was important to find out what happened to Georgia Marlow. Finn’s reaction to the matchbook made her very curious, as he was the one that knew her better than anyone. It was a good lead. She didn’t have a warrant, but she was hoping to get a gut feeling about the surroundings and go from there. She was on a quest to get to the truth of what happened to Ms. Marlow, and this hotel would hopefully give her and the family some answers.

Her only wish was that Finn could be involved in the investigation, and she saw him as a meticulous detective, which she learned by word-of-mouth and going through his personnel file. She imagined he would make a solid partner in the field also.  She had not heard from him in a few days, and she figured she would check in after checking out the location. In the investigation, she had to think that everyone was suspect and investigate their characters. She was happy to find that Finn was not involved early on.

If she had known everything about the Devilles, the fact that she could not reach Finn Marlow would have probably alarmed her further than what it did. His being absent from checking in with Detective West was a red flag, but she had not related Georgia’s murder to that insanely petty and unusual family just yet.

When she arrived at the hotel, she observed several cameras on her way through the parking lot and upon the building by the circle drive to the entrance. She was amazed at how historic it looked, but it had become a landmark for the old days of gangsters and mafia-like entities. As she entered the entry of the hotel, a circle drive, she was greeted by a valet when she pulled up to the door. Of course, she couldn’t let them park her cruiser, so she flashed her badge and walked inside the lobby of the hotel.

The front desk receptionist greeted her with a smile as she approached. She was an average girl with rosy cheeks and a big beaming personality. “Welcome to the Arlington Hotel, ma’am. Do you have a reservation?” She was very friendly and professional, at the same time.

“No, I am just wanting to look around a bit before I book my room. Do you have openings for walk-ins?” Detective West figured she would scope where all the cameras were located before telling the nice employee that she was a detective. “A friend of mine stayed here before and gave me your hotel’s matchbook, so I figured I would come to see what all the hype was about.”

“How wonderful! We do allow walk-ins if we are not at a full capacity, Miss…?” She was inquiring for the last name as many of the professional hotels do to make sure that you are not trying to get the room by the hour.

“West. Sarah West. My friend’s last name was Marlow. Sound familiar at all?”

“I think so, actually…she was a regular that would come here with Mr. Deville. She is such a beautiful spirit.” The girl smiled and fidgeted with her paperwork and mumbled a few lyrics from the music playing in the lobby.

 “Nice music you have playing…I’ll go ahead and check out the amenities, and I’ll be back to get my room.”

“Great, Miss West. I’m glad you are enjoying it. This song is my favorite. Have fun exploring, Sarah.” She was clueless that West had ulterior motives.

Sarah smiled largely at the dark-haired desk clerk and said, “Thank you. I’ll be back soon.”

Detective West walked away from the counter towards the elevators, observing each corner of the lobby and the waiting area by the elevators. There was a couple sitting in the comfort area with their son, who was the epitome of his father. You could tell they were a product of the so-called “Southern Hospitality” that Arkansas is sometimes known for. Detective West came from California originally, so she wasn’t buying the facade of it all. There was definitely a paradigm shift between the cultures of both states, and West really missed the West Coast most times. There are cameras everywhere, she said to herself. The lobby had a bookcase encased television that was a Zenith, one of the best brands of course.

The lobby played old country songs, like Kenny Roger’s The Gambler, and there was alcohol served in the dining area called the Venetian Dining Room. She had read before her trip that Al Capone frequented the establishment with many guards and a bird’s eye view to the Southern Club. The history of the hotel says that there is a suite with his name on it, Number 443. It did not give the young detective any satisfaction that the hotel idolized criminal activities. In fact, she rolled her eyes at the thought of it. This hotel was not winning any points with its shady background. Al Capone was one, and Lucky Luciano was two, and the devil makes three, she thought to herself.

Suddenly, as she reflected on the hotel’s past, her pager went off while she was browsing around the lobby. The beep and vibration startled her because they echoed loudly in the ancient room. It was a number she recognized. It was Finn Marlow. She observed a payphone by the public bathrooms in the lobby, so she checked to make sure she had some quarters in her pocket to call back. She didn’t want to ask the desk clerk of the hotel to use the phone line. She could imagine that the lady at the desk would be eavesdropping on her conversation, so the payphone was sufficient to return his call. She realized she didn’t need to rile anyone up just in case she found nothing. So far, she had not seen anything that would indicate criminal mischief, making it safe for her to call Finn. He used the code “911” after his telephone number, which meant something was up. Something dire.

As she took the steps to place the call, inserting quarters while holding the earpiece with her shoulder, she dialed the number on her pager. The buttons were metal, and the earpiece was quite heavy. It rang a few times and Finn picked up.

“Hello, Detective Marlow speaking…”

“Hi, this is Detective West returning your call from my pager.”

“Oh, thank goodness that you responded so quickly. I have some evidence being collected at my and Brooke’s home. Can you come by?” Finn was eager for Detective West to respond.

“I am in Hot Springs right now, so I can get to you in about an hour, give or take. I was following up on the matchbook.” West informed him.

“Sounds good. Have you found anything?” His voice was anxious.

“Not yet. I’ve just been here about 30 minutes, so what’s up?” West looked around to make sure no one was listening.

“You won’t believe what we found in our house. The CSI team is still here and will be awaiting your arrival. We will have some tea and coffee on to brew. It’s going to be a long night.” Finn explained to the detective.

“It sounds exigent. Are you okay?” Detective West could tell that Finn was distressed and sad. “I hate to say that the anticipation is going to drive me nuts on the drive back over to your place.” She figured she would make another trip to the hotel because of how his tone was; therefore, she found it best that she cut this visit short.

“Sorry about that…I am sure when you see what we have that you will think it to be unfathomable. It really speaks to the disdain people have in their hearts for others.” Finn sounded sad, yet still indefatigable. He left her dangling in the crosshairs of curiosity again.

“Okay, Detective Marlow. I am on my way out of here as soon as we get off the phone. Take care until I get there.” She hung up the phone and rushed out to her vehicle that still sat in the circle drive.

She waved and gave a nod to the valets that sat waiting for their customers as she pulled off and headed back to Roland.


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. I use several prompts to build on my novel, and their word prompts and challenges are linked, bolded, or italicized. Please be sure to visit them and show some love because without them I would not have nearly 40K words written in this novel.

Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Part 26

Part 27

Part 28

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 28 – The Picture and Device

“I see things, that’s all. Write enough stories and every shadow on the floor looks like a footprint; every line in the dirt like a secret message.”

― Stephen King, Bag of Bones

Brooke had seen enough “things” that it tarnished her view of her family and most people, in general. After seeing her mother on TV, she wept from the embarrassment. Her friends and colleagues would see the news. She thought they would judge her, and it had her frazzled and flustered. Still, she had to get back right. She had to put her chin up and suck up her pride to help Finn and the investigators with the mechanism. When Brooke collected herself and pulled it together, she joined the team of criminal investigators in her bedroom. She wanted to watch and make sure that they did not botch the collection of evidence for that gadget in her closet. Finn was standing attentive with them and looking over their shoulders with the same intent that Brooke had. It was the only evidence they had that could add charges and time to Megan and whoever else was involved in planting the spying equipment. Brooke had become a girl with a grudge when it came to her family, especially her mother. Nothing would make her happier to see all of them behind bars, and chances were that she would get her wish…eventually.

“Mr. Marlow…Could you come closer and look at this?” The investigator was waving for Finn to check something out. “This is very peculiar, and it’s something you should see.”

Finn stopped peeking over their shoulders and joined the scientist in the closet. “Can I get some gloves? I don’t want to compromise any evidence.”

The forensic scientist reached into his case and pulled out a pair of latex gloves for Finn to put on, “Of course…thank you for being so professional. This is strange though. Lift the device up.”

Finn did what the man said and grabbed the device and lifted it. “Ok. What am I looking for?”

“Look on the bottom of the device.” The man helped him lift the bulky, awkward piece of equipment. “Do you see it, there towards the back? Don’t quote me, but it looks like a picture of a dead woman.”

Finn focused his eyes on the photograph and adrenaline filled his body with rage. “Oh my God…is that my mother?”

Finn’s tears began welling up in his eyes. Brooke tried to get closer, but she was held back by the other investigator. His stomach was sick, and his body was feeling weak. What he saw would haunt him for the rest of his life.

“That dead woman is my mother, Georgia Marlow,” he said as he removed the photo and took it into his gloved hand.

The photo had been taped to the bottom of the device, and it was of a woman badly beaten and shot in the head. The woman had been brutalized, and the first thing Finn noticed was his mother’s blonde hair matted with blood and pond moss, and you could see the deadness setting in her clouded eyes. Whoever planted this device in the closet meant for Finn to find it, and they wanted to deliver a message. It was a jeer from whoever planted the photo to Finn, a warning of sorts with a taunting gesture. It had to be Jericho Flannery, he thought.

“I’m sorry…this is too much. What’s your name, Sir?” Finn asked the investigator.

“Ishmael…Call me Ishmael.” He hung his head because he felt bad for the detective seeing his mother in that state of morbidity.

“Thank you, Ishmael. I am in shock a little bit. Is it okay if I step away from this?” Finn was trying to keep his composure.

“Of course, I completely understand. We will collect this and wrap it up. You guys can step away.” The tall, red-headed expert was very kind and sensitive to the situation.

Finn stepped back from the crime scene and had to catch his breath. This was more than just the mischief of putting a snooping device in their home. This act was grisly and morose. He put his hands on his legs and bent down to breathe in some fresh air. Brooke was watching intensely, and she was curious about what the forensic specialist had found.

“Finn, what is it?” Brooke questioned while trying to get a better look. She kept getting pushed back by the detectives and the CSI team.

“Brooke, you don’t want to see this. Go ahead and head back into the living room.” Finn had already backed away from the evidence, and he helped lead Brooke out of the room. “It was a picture of my mother. After she died…she was dead, Brooke. My momma was tortured and mutilated. There was no carjacking. My mom was murdered in cold blood.”

“Oh Finn, my love, I am so sorry you had to see that.” Her puffy eyes from crying earlier became red and filled with tears again. “Are you sure it was Georgia?”

“Yeah…she had the barrette I got her for her birthday in her hair. It was in the evidence that Detective West had me go through at the station.”

Brooke was as shocked as Finn was. She had no idea how the device got in her closet, and she did not know who to trust anymore, except Finn, after finding that nonsense in their bedroom closet.

“Wow, I’m so sorry babe. This had to be by order of my mother. I cannot apologize enough.” Finn could tell that she felt guilty. “I’ll go start the kettle and make everyone some tea. I think it’s going to be a long night.” Brooke took off into the kitchen, grabbed the kettle from the stove, put water in it, and grabbed some lemon from the refrigerator.

Little did she know that the night would get worse, and she would never see her wish for the family come true. The verity of the situation would become perfectly clear in just a few hours.


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. I use several prompts to build on my novel, and their word prompts and challenges are linked, bolded, or italicized. Please be sure to visit them and show some love because without them I would not have nearly 40K words written in this novel.

Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Part 26

Part 27

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 26 – The Envelope

Image Credit: Leyne @ Morguefile.com.

Fiona had not sat with her feet up for the longest time, or at least it felt like it. It was the first time that she could relax. Sebastian was playing with his new best friend, Finn, and Lucas… She thought to herself, Lucas was doing whatever it was that Lucas did in this big house. Why did he need this big house anyway? She thought of all the ways that he could have acquired this mansion. Many of the conclusions she came up with were ridiculous, like robbing a bank, being a drug dealer, or human trafficking. She really wanted and needed some answers, but for now, she was enjoying wearing her favorite kind of shoes and resting her tired legs on the ottoman of the most comfortable chair she had ever sat in.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. As she let the air out into the room, she opened her eyes and was startled. There before her, standing over her, was Lucas. Smiling. Friendly. Without a care in the world about the situation or anything really. She found him quite annoying at times.

She sat up and rubbed her eyes, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t asleep. Is this your chair?” She thought he wanted to sit there. After she spoke the words, she felt stupid for spewing them from her mouth, shaking her head at herself.

“No, not at all. It’s nice to see that you were relaxing, but I wanted to take a minute to speak to you since Sebastian and Finn are busy. Are you good with that?”

She sat up in a more proper position, bringing her feet down from the padded leather ottoman. “Sure, I hope I…we…are not imposing.”

Lucas was very kind. He tried to stop her when he realized that she was feeling like a burden. “Not at all. No. You are very welcome here. That’s what I needed to talk to you about.”

He piqued her interest because he was being forthwith but cryptic at the same time. “Alright. I’m listening.” Her face was perplexed.

“This is going to be hard to hear, but it’s a good thing that I need to tell you.” He sat next to her in the adjacent chair with a matching ottoman. “Davina knew there would come a time when Cole and his minions would find her. The Marshalls should have given you all new identities in the protection, but they failed. In the event of her death, I am supposed to give this to you.”

He handed her a large manila envelope with a clasp on it. The front read, “Momma” in Davina’s handwriting. Fiona’s face when ghostly white and blank. She could not speak. She got a huge knot in her throat as soon as Lucas began talking about her baby…her daughter…her Davina. Lucas could tell she was in shock by the way she slowly grabbed the envelope and lost the color on her face.

“Sebastian is playing, and Finn is keeping him entertained. Take all the time you need to read and take in what is in the envelope. I will be in my office, down the hall that way, when you are ready.” He pointed to the room on the right next to the living room with the double doors and put a handkerchief beside her on the table. “You will probably need this.”

Fiona tried to smile. She couldn’t. He recognized her pain. He lingered for a minute until she got the strength to wave him on politely. He didn’t take offense. She watched him walk out of the room and close his doors to the office behind him. She sat there looking at the envelope wondering what could be inside. She was having a hard time bringing herself to open it. All she could do is stare at it. Blankly… she gawked at the writing on the front. She picked it up and smelled it. It smelled like Davina’s perfume. It had her scent on it. It was from Davina, she thought. It wasn’t that she did not believe Lucas. It was lingering and surreal.

She had tears rolling down her cheeks. She opened the envelope slowly and carefully. She did not want it to rip or get damaged. She felt like it was all she had left of Davina at that moment. She succeeded in her efforts to keep it pristine, and it was probably the most careful she had ever been with an envelope. She didn’t lick the sticky part, Fiona mused. It made her smile a bit. Davina could not stand licking envelopes. The tape served its purpose well along with the clasp anyhow. She was still scared to look inside. She tapped on the outside of the off-white paper cover for what seemed like an hour, but it was just a few minutes.

She spoke out into the empty room where she had earlier found peace, “Okay. I can do this. You can do this, Fiona.” It was a pep talk that turned her cheeks red because she feared someone would hear her talking to herself in the third person. “Just look in the damn envelope already!”

She pulled the paperwork from the envelope, setting the envelope on the table beside the hankie that Lucas had left her. She sat the contents on her lap and looked forward. She couldn’t look down at them just yet. After a deep breath, she looked down as she exhaled to see a letter on the front page of the packet.

Dear Momma,

I hate to be cliché, but if you are reading this, then I am no longer breathing. I have no idea how to explain Lucas just yet, but he is a Godsend to mine and Sebastian’s lives. I can imagine you are a bit miffed at the secret, but I was trying to protect you. I got myself tied into things that I could not escape in the early years of Cole and I’s relationship, and I put your life and my baby boy’s life in danger. I have many things to show you and tell you in this packet, so brace yourself.

The most important thing to know is that this house is in your new name. Lucas secured new identities for all three of us, but I did not make it obviously. I promise that once you get through all the information that your worry will deplete. You can finally be happy, Momma. Even without me, Sebastian will make your light shine like I did growing up with you. I love you. I’m sorry that my life choices made you suffer.

Tell Sebastian that I love him more than he could ever imagine and that he was my reason for breathing. Also tell him that I said, “Secrets Saves Lives.”

Your Daughter,

Davina


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. This part of the story is from this week’s Flash Fiction from Fandango (#FFFC).

Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Part 25

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 25 – The Hunt

The winter snow had come in full force this season, and Indiana was gaining much more snowfall than usual. The collection of snow and ice from the storms made it hard to journey on the highways, but thankfully Lucas had gotten them safe before the roads had gotten too bad. Fiona sat in her room and could not help but worry about Sharon, since she assumed he had been tracking them for a while. It was nearly seven o’clock, and she was beginning to smell the aroma of food seeping through the crack in the bottom of her door. The savory smells made her tummy growl out into the big room. She had showered and then dressed in clothes that she imagined Davina had chosen for her before her departure. They were trendy but comfortable. Davina knew her mother hated being uncomfortable when it came to fashion. Fiona was laid back and never flashy. It was part of the reason she could hardly stand Megan’s wardrobe and the personality that went with the threads. She shook off the thought of Megan as she heard a tapping at the sturdy door of her room.

“Yes, who is it?” Fiona asked.

“It’s Finn. Can I come in?” He spoke quietly.

“Of course! Come in, Finn.” She opened the door and waved him in past the entryway. “What’s up? You okay?”

“Oh…yeah. I’m good. I just wanted to see if you wanted me to escort you down to dinner. This is a big house.” Finn fumbled with the collar on his shirt. “I have no idea how they knew my size, but I have a whole closet full of clothes.”

“Same here. I think Davina set this all up.” She walked over and opened her wardrobe of hand-picked clothes. “See?”

“It’s insane. How in the world did she know I would be here too? Sebastian’s room is amazing. Do you want to go check it out?” Finn had that wholesome smile on his face that he wore on his face when he was not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He had no idea of the paradox that was unfolding around the friendly waitress and babysitter known as Sharon an hour away from their paradise. It wasn’t an island wonderland, but the house was its own mini-vacation compared to where they had been staying in the country.

“Sure. Lead the way. I am right behind you.” She felt hopeful for the first time in a while.

Finn escorted her to Sebastian’s room, and he knocked out of courtesy like he did at Fiona’s door.

“Hey kiddo! Are you ready for some chow?” Finn talked into the big, heavy door.

Sebastian came running to the door. They could hear his little feet pitter-patter as he ran towards it. “Mr. Finn! Is that you?”

“It’s me! Can I come in? I have a surprise out here for you.” Finn looked back at Fiona smiling with delight.

“I need help with the door. It’s too heavy.” Sebastian was grunting trying to pull the door open. The struggle could be heard in his voice.

“I got you, little man!” Finn turned the knob and pushed carefully on the door. He had to make sure not to knock the kid out with the heavy piece of wood with brass handles.

“GAMMY! Come see my room! Momma made it special for me! Are you my surprise?” Sebastian tackled Fiona’s leg with so much enthusiasm that he nearly knocked her over.

Finn laughed with them and exited the room to allow Fiona to explore the room with her grandson.

Sebastian led her over to his bookcase. Davina had stocked it with his favorite fables and stories that they would always read together. She put a great deal of thought into the layout of his room. It looked like the little nook that the two of them occupied on Davina’s days off. Fiona felt tears well up in her eyes. Sebastian noticed.

“Gammy, don’t cry. Mommy is all around me and you. She’s an angel.” He walked over and hugged her leg tightly, which made her eyes really begin to streak her cheeks with salty wetness.

Finn knocked on the door again, and the embrace Sebastian had on Gammy’s leg was broken. The knock was urgent.

“Finn, come in!” Sebastian belted out loudly to him.

“I have to go. Jericho was just spotted downtown in front of Boo’s. My source told me that Sharon came in for an unscheduled shift due to someone calling in. The Marshalls are going to meet me there. Save me some dinner?” Finn was disconcerted.

Sebastian nodded his head and said, “I got you, Mr. Finn. Go save Ms. Sharon, please!” He was a bit frantic in his own way.

Fiona followed Finn out into the hallway in front of Sebastian’s room. “Do you think he will hurt her?”

Finn put his head down, “My informant said that Flannery has been watching the café since we pulled away. He was right behind us. We barely got away from him.”

The Devilles used Jericho Flannery like a tracking dog, and Fiona’s concern for Sharon was not far off. He almost had to know about Sharon because he knew about the safety deposit box key and the other various aspects of Davina’s life. He was decisive and precise when he executed his contracts. No one could claim he was not good at his job. This man was trained to hunt, and the horns of the hunt echoed across the snow this night. His instruction in the armed forces was quite extensive. He was formulated for the front lines in the Marines. It was the only thing he was good at after graduating with low grades after high school. The military gave him a purpose. He loved to kill. He loved the chase. He loved the challenge of acquiring his targets. This life of crime was perfect for who he believed he was always destined to be…a psychopath. He was your worst nightmare if he was tracking you because Jericho was not leaving any stone unturned when looking for he meant to acquire you. He did not give up, and he always got his mark.
He sat outside across the street from the café when it was about time for Sharon’s shift at Boo’s. There was a jolly Santa that had his collection bell ringing as he paced the city street in front of Verve and Boo’s. Jericho hated Christmas. It reminded him of the past and a family that never wanted him. It made him think about how the best present he had received on Christmas was a pack of condoms from “Dear Ole Dad” …that’s what the card said inside the box. Other Christmas rituals in his dysfunctional family included getting knocked in the head by his mother for taking a cookie from the counter that she had just made, and cigarette burns from his pops as punishment for that same act. He had a harsh upbringing, and it showed daily in every move he made. He was truly a miserable human being, and he didn’t care to be considered so or to be seen as the murderer and criminal that he was. His truth was that he care less if he woke up the next day, let alone deal with Christmas and happy times with a family that never mattered to him.

He tossed a cigarette out of the window at the end of his reminiscing. He shook his head and snickered under his breath.

He repeated the card’s text under his breath in a sarcastic tone, “Dear Ole Dad…”

His eyes rolled and then came alert as he saw Davina’s friend pulling in the alley to park in the back of the restaurant. He thought to himself that the street was too busy to take a shot from his pistol that was hiding in his dash. He supposed he did not aim to kill her yet anyway. He needed information. He needed to know where his prey went. He wanted to collect his prize from his contract. He had a long time to wait before her shift was over, but he didn’t mind making her skin crawl while he stared her down inside while shoving food in his mouth. I could eat something, he deliberated. He couldn’t remember when he ate last.

He shut off the ignition of his van, and he gathered his weapon from the glove box. His trench coat had a special pocket for his weapon on the inside…custom made, and he placed it there before stepping out into the street.

The wind was gusty and smacked him in the face a few times before he got across the street to the door of the café. As he opened it, the bell chimed to let the staff know someone entered. Sharon was just coming onto the floor, and she greeted him with her usual, friendly smile.


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Part 24

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 24 – Lucas’s Demesne

Sebastian was like a tiny little Spartan because he was ready for any battle that came at him. He was having the worst time of his life, and he stood so tall and so very strong. Most adults would crumble with everything that had been happening in his young life. He had the heart and strength of a lion. He was like a veteran that had seen all the crimson bloodshed on the battlefield that was able to move on from what he saw unaffected. His mother would be proud of how he was handling all the loss and changes due to her death.

When Gammy and Finn pulled up to Sharon’s house, he was playing outside with Jenna. It startled Fiona a little bit that he was not inside of the home playing with all the Flannery chaos uprooting in their lives. Sharon was busy shoveling the little bit of snow from her walkway leading up to the porch. The pavement still had a shiny, frosty appearance to it where the shovel had scraped by. Fiona avoided it as she walked up to talk to her, as she feared she would slip.

Sharon was surprised to see Fiona so soon after Sebastian left with her, “Hey Miss Fiona! Everything okay?”

“I’m afraid not, Sharon. We are going to have to end the visit sooner than expected…” Fiona felt bad because Sharon and Jenna both had disappointing expressions across their faces. “Is Sebastian’s backpack inside?”

Sharon set her shovel down and head up to her door from the icy steps on her fence-framed porch. “C’mon in Miss Fiona! We will get that bag and get you on your way!”

Sharon was always so pleasant and courteous to Fiona and everyone she encountered. She gave a holler to the kids to follow the grown-ups into the house, and they obeyed peacefully.

“Thanks, Sharon. I’m sorry that we could not let him stay longer. I don’t want to put you in the same danger that we are in, and it’s possible with all the drama going on surrounding Davina’s death. Cole wants Sebastian.”

Fiona saw Sebastian’s backpack sitting by the door when she walked in. She picked it up and was able to certify all his belonging were already packed up. It looked to her like he dropped the bag and went to play, without any hesitation. She kept talking as she inspected the contents of the bag.

“I put some gingerbread cookies in there for him before we left the café, and there’s a few other snacks in there. I know how he likes his goodies!” Sharon said watching Fiona’s meticulous inspection of the bag.

“I appreciate you, Sharon…everything you do for us. You have become a close friend, rather than just part of the wait staff at the café. I am so sad to say that we may not see you for a bit. We are leaving, and I have no idea when we will be back. The last thing I need is Cole grabbing my sweet boy. He’s all I have left.” Fiona trailed off while ending her sentence and directed her attention to Sebastian to change the subject. Sharon realized the shift in Fiona’s mood.

“I appreciate you and that sweet little man too! Jenna will miss him, but your safety is the top priority. I will keep my eye out for you, Fiona. I love you guys!” Sharon developed a small tear in her watery eyes.

“We love you too! We’ll miss you! We will try to see you soon, okay?” Fiona leaned in to hug her easygoing friend. “You stay safe too.” The gratitude exuded from Fiona’s expression and interaction with Sharon.

As they ended their friendly embrace, Sebastian was running around the house with Jenna like a chicken with his head cut off. It was a bit of a madhouse, but the chaos didn’t faze Sharon as she got hit in the face with the ball they were playing with. Fiona stopped Sebastian as he got close to her when he was running about.

“Hey, kiddo! We got to get on the road. Are you ready for an adventure?” Her words were emphasized in an exciting way to prevent him from being worried.

“Yay! I like adventures, Gammy!” Sebastian put his backpack on and started jiggling the door handle to go outside.

“Wait a minute! Give Miss Sharon and Jenna some love before we go, silly boy!” She giggled at his excitement and brought the first smile for a while on her face.

Sebastian giggled too, whipped around to Miss Sharon, and he grabbed a big hug around her neck. Jenna awaited the end of their hug and immediately followed suit. She practically jumped on Sebastian.

“Bye Bastian…I’ll see you,” Jenna said to her blonde hair, blue-eyed best friend.

“Bye Jenna and Miss Sharon…thank you for letting me play.” He turned to Gammy and motioned for her to pick him up. “See you.”

Fiona picked up the little boy that felt like he put on ten pounds overnight, and she walked out the door to meet Finn at the unmarked cruiser. Sebastian wiggled out of her arms and ran towards Lucas.

“Lucas! We’re going on an adventure! Can you come too?” Sebastian tugged at his pant leg happily.

“Of course! I am going to lead the way! Are you good with that?” Lucas smiled down at him, lifted him up, and their eyes came together.

“Yes! That sounds good, Luke!” He fluttered over to the passenger door facing Sharon’s house and waited for Finn to open it up for him to climb inside. “Let’s go!”

Fiona buckled him into his booster seat in the car and proceeded to join him in the car, except this time she sat up front with Finn.

“Gammy needs to sit up here and watch the road for Mr. Finn, okay baby?” She looked back at him through the safety glass that separated the front from the back seat.

“Mhm. It’s okay Gammy. I got snacks. Can I eat them?” Sebastian was always so passive and easygoing. It was good he was so unaffected…for now anyway.

“Of course! Miss Sharon put some cookies and other treats in there for you on our trip.” Fiona nodded in agreement as she pointed out the perks in his bag.

Lucas pulled away, and Finn followed behind him. It was going to be about an hour’s drive to Lucas’s secret spot to hide them. Finn kept looking back in his rear-view mirror to make sure they were not being followed and to check on Sebastian in the back seat. Each time Finn looked back, Sebastian made a funny face at him to make him smile. It worked. Finn could not resist interacting with Davina’s baby boy. He felt like the long, lost uncle. He was growing so fond of Sebastian because he was so clever and resilient for such a young lad.

He looked over to Fiona, who seemed lost in thought while gazing out the window, and he looked back to the road. “You know, I think he’s a good guy. Lucas.”

Fiona came back to reality to Finn’s voice speaking, “Huh, yeah…he seems good.”

“I know you were having a hard time at first, but we had a good talk in front of the café. He loved Davina immensely. He’s hurting too.” Finn tried to win some points for the new guy. Typical guy move.

He was obviously Team Lucas, Fiona thought. She scratched her head that was smothered by a winter beanie. Her locks of hair flowed out the bottom of the beanie in loose curls. “I suppose…I just do not understand, for the life of me, why Davina would keep him as a secret from me. What else did I not know?”

She thought of all the opportunities that Davina would have had to tell her about this new love when they were telling stories between the two of them sitting at their kitchen table or while bundled up in a blanket watching movies on her day off. It would have sparked her interest, and she would have loved hearing that her daughter was in love with Lucas. The relationship with Cole had haunted her after they ran for their lives, and Fiona felt like Davina should have trusted her enough to speak of this man. This…guy… who apparently loved her sweet, dead Davina.

“It sounds like she finally found the real thing. Maybe she wanted to make sure that her divorce would go through first. I don’t know, Fi. You should talk to him. He knows a lot, and he was probably a ranking top 5 person in her life.” Finn had that caring tone in the way he talked to her about Lucas. He knew she was struggling to feel included. He couldn’t blame her for feeling left out in the cold.

“You’re probably right. I think I am just frustrated that my and Sebastian’s lives just keep getting harder behind lies and secrets. All she had to do is talk to me, for God’s sake. I should not have found out like this.” She looked back at Sebastian snacking on the cookies, smiles, and, with a whiffle that she exhausted out of her mouth, “I’ll talk to Lucas. Thank you, Finn.”

Finn gave a nod and continued driving towards their adventure behind Lucas’s black SUV, a Chevy Suburban. “Everything is going to be okay…it has to, Fiona.”

“One can hope…I just want to get wherever the hell we are going.” Fiona looked back out the cold window and held a healing crystal in her hand. She had gathered it from her purse before they left. It was Davina’s. Aventurine…to heal the mind, body, and spirit against erratic behavior. Davina had carved a wing on the surface of the stone for more protection. She said it linked her to her guardian angel. Fiona didn’t argue about it, maybe it did help her heal. Regardless, both Fiona and Davina had that erratic behavior. She wondered; would Sebastian have our temperament? She grasped the crystal tight, and she tried to relax. The reality of the situation told her that it was inevitable that they would never be able to go back to their quiet country home. They had to start over again.

Just then, Finn noticed that the SUV turned into a small drive up the way from where he was driving behind Lucas. They followed him into what would be understood as his demesne. There was a huge and beautiful yard surrounded by a gated area that led up to a big house, and there was a fountain that sat before the front veranda that held the entry to the home in a circle, paved drive.

Finn stopped his police car behind the truck, and Lucas stepped out and walked toward them waving for them to get out of the car. Fiona got out first, and she opened the back door for Sebastian. He popped out of the back seat very ecstatic and ran to Lucas.

“We’re home! Can I go to my room?” Sebastian asked Gammy while sitting in Lucas’s arms.

Fiona was put off again with shock from the question. “Can you…huh?”

Lucas noticed the defeat in Fiona’s lips as they curled up at him a bit. “Sorry, Mrs. Ridings. This all must be a lot to take in.”

She couldn’t help but snap at him, “Ya think? Didn’t you ever wonder about her family? She had me. Her family. This is too much!” She walked towards Finn, white with disbelief.

“Let’s get inside, and then I will tell you everything you want to know. Some of it will make you smile, and other things will not. Regardless, you are safe here. We are all safe here.” He motioned for Fiona to go first up to the door. “Ladies first.”

Fiona smirked at him. “Gee, thanks…” The sarcasm bit Lucas right at his throat.

Sebastian went quiet, and Finn joined him in silence. The tension between Fiona and Lucas was off the charts, and they did not want any part of it.

Finn followed behind Sebastian, “Show me around, kiddo!”

“You got it, Mr. Finn! I’ll show you how to get to your room!” Sebastian ran up the curved set of stairs on the left side of the foyer. Finn followed, and Fiona sat on the bottom stair with the grief consuming her.

“Mrs. Ridings…Fiona…come with me, and I will show you to your room too. Everything will make sense after you have a shower and some food in your stomach.” Lucas tried to show that he cared for her…even with only knowing her for a short time.

When they started walking up the right side of the curved stairs that went to the second level of the mansion, the chimes in the grandfather clock started to ring. She thought to herself, wow, it is midnight again. Fiona was exhausted. The clock reminded her of the bells that were ringing in town, but they were more peaceful and melodic.

As they reached the top of the stairs, Lucas stopped at the first door they came to on the right side. He opened the door and motioned an invite for her to walk inside. There were roses budding in a vase next to the large California King bed. The room was gorgeous, and it seemed to have all her favorites inside of it. It reminded her of her home back in Roland. Davina had to have done this for me, she thought, no one else would have known me like this. She smiled at Lucas, and he smiled back as he backed out of her bedroom suite.

He spoke softly and said, “Dinner is at 7. You will find everything you need in the wardrobe and bathroom.”

Fiona gave a kind nod to him and sat on her bed.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Part 23

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

After the Lights Stop #FFFC

Image Credit: Erean @ Morguefile.com

She awaited the last light dropping down as the music fell off of her ears.

She had to hold the pose until the curtain closed.

Once she heard the two heavy slates of fabric clap together, she took a deep and cleansing gasp of air.

She could finally breathe a breath into her lungs.

She could relax.

She could collect her money and cover herself up.

She hated this job, but she needed it.

As she walked out the door of the club…

Each and every night she walked out…

She swore she would never return.

Until she did…

Again and again…

Her torture was her addiction.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved.


This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction #146.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 23 – Acceptance

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Fiona and Finn watched Sebastian leave with Sharon at the end of her shift, and Fiona looked back at Lucas standing behind her waving goodbye to her grandson. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about this new guy that was secretly in Davina’s introverted life. Lucas smiled at her as they heard the revelry coming from the Verve Club next door. Loud songs blared out the door of the club and sounds of dance screamed from the inside to the full street. The imagination could wander just from the sounds of the bar stools full of people, and the men flexing their chests to get the attention of the girl across the room in the club.

Finn was surveilling the area to make sure that Sebastian’s babysitter was not being followed by anyone. Sharon’s car was long gone without any stragglers. The street was busy, and a jet passed over the top of the tall, poinsettia decorated buildings downtown. It was Christmas time, and the town looked beautiful. A pedant man who looked like a decorator was pointing out the final details to be added to the building across the street from the little café, like the holly that wrapped around the street lights.

The man waved a greeting to everyone who was walking by as he completed his work of making the street beautiful. When he got close to Lucas and Fiona, he gave a friendly nod and continued working like he was hosting the celebration of the century. They enjoyed watching him work as they all stood there on the sidewalk in front of the café, Finn’s hat blew off his head. As he chased it down, Lucas felt uncomfortable around Fiona. It was a rough way to meet Davina’s mother, and he could tell that he shocked her beyond words. He also felt like his presence spoiled the mood when he showed up in the café, and it was hard for him to stand in silence on the cold sidewalk…awkward silence, at that.

“So…what now?” Lucas broke the thick air with his voice. “Where are you going to go?” He rubbed his bare hands together to warm them in the cold.

Fiona shrugged uncertainly and looked at Finn, “I really have no idea for once. We cannot go back out to the house, but I really need to grab some things that Sebastian and I will need.” She was fibbing a little bit.

“I thought you grabbed as much as you could…it’s too dangerous to go back there, Fi.” Finn pleads to Fiona to try to talk her out of going back there. “You…you and Sebastian are in danger! Flannery is not programmed to stop hunting. My guess would be that Cole intends to get Sebastian back from you and that he assigned Flannery to kill you and get his boy.”

Lucas interrupted, “I might have a perfect place for you guys to stay. It’s not here…or even in this state. It’s about 45 minutes away from here.”

“We cannot go until tomorrow. We can explore that when I pick Sebastian up tomorrow afternoon. Also, Finn and I must do something tonight and, in the morning,” She trailed back into the café to grab some coffee, leaving the men behind on the street.

“Finn, did I do something to offend her?” Lucas had a puzzled look on his face as he watched Fiona walk inside while glaring at him.

He was referring to the snubbing and the constant cold shoulder he was getting from his dead girlfriend’s mother. It gave him goosebumps along with the cold wind on this cold, winter, December night in Terre Haute. The wind bit through him, and he stuck his bare fingers into his coat pockets. It was a different kind of cold, and he wasn’t used to it. Hence the fancy big coat and the meldrop forming at the end of his nose.

“No, you just surprised her because she didn’t have any idea that you existed. Davina didn’t disclose about anyone she was seeing or otherwise. She is just in a bit of shock. Give her time. She’ll come around. It’s been a rough week for her and the kid.” Finn tried to smooth the surface of the tension from Fiona.

They were wrapping up the conversation when Fiona walked out with her steaming paper cup full of coffee. It had a safety band around the bottom to keep a person from burning their fingers by the hot beverage inside the cup. Two sugars and two creams, she tells them. She looks at Finn and Lucas chatting like they had been friends the length of their entire lives. She could hear Lucas tell him how Davina spoke of Finn often in their time together. Tears welled up in her eyes thinking of her daughter bragging about her male best friend. She was a bit intimidated by all the new things coming into her life, but her hesitation would only make life harder for her and Sebastian. She thought to herself that she could accept the help from Lucas.

Finn’s pager went off as the men were talking, and Fiona was gawking at them. As he looked at the device, Lucas noticed Fiona watching them.

“I need to go make this call. You guys can meet me at the car in the alley in the back, and I will be right there.” Finn rushed off and went back into the restaurant to use the phone.

Lucas extended his arm to Fiona, “Can I walk you back there? It’s slippery, and it’s an alley…”

She accepted his arm, wrapping her arm in his in a friendly gesture, “Thank you, Lucas. You took me by surprise. I’m sorry if I seemed rude.”

“It’s okay, Ms. Ridings…I can only imagine how stressful things are for you right now. I want to make it better for you and Sebastian. Will you let me?”

“Fiona…you can call me Fiona.” She smiled at the tall, blonde-haired man. She could imagine that Davina thought he was quite handsome. “Let’s take it a day at a time, and we’ll see how it goes.”

She accepted him in her own way. Davina would have been proud of her. The thought of her daughter smiling and interacting with this man allowed Fiona to smile as they made it to Finn’s cruiser. Lucas was not what she expected, but Davina had chosen him at the worst time in her life. That counted for something in Fiona’s book, and Sebastian seemed to adore him to the moon and back. She could picture her daughter journaling about their love in one of her hand-bound writing books. Fiona could see her daughter doodling his name on random pieces of paper while waiting on food to deliver to her customers. Fiona pictured her sweet Davina being completely happy and in love with Lucas, and it took all the bad things that had already happened to their family away at that very moment.

“Thank you, Lucas…”

“For what?” He cocked his head curiously to Fiona.

“For escorting me back here…” and then she mumbled, “and…for loving my baby girl”. She said it under her breath like a child trying to get out of trouble.

Lucas turned his head to not let her see him smile, and then he came back to her gaze, “It was my pleasure on both accounts.”

Finn interrupted the moment by rushing out the back door. “We need to get out of here, right now!” He opened the door and gave a nudge to Fiona’s arm. “Go on! We need to move fast!”

Lucas was confused and flustered by the chaos that came out with Finn from inside. “What’s going on? Do you want me to follow?”

Finn darted an emergent gaze to him, “We need to follow you! I have to get her out of here and get Sebastian from Sharon’s. After I get him, we need to follow you!”

Lucas did not waste any time, “Go get Sebastian! I will follow you, and then I will get you guys safe!” He scurried off to get into his SUV.

Fiona dashed inside the back seat, and Finn followed suit in the front seat of the cruiser. They drove away from the café as fast as they could, and they didn’t look back.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

Part 22

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for inspiring this novel! This started from Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC)

xoxo, E.M.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 22 – Aurora Mitchell

Davina’s shock was setting into her body. She couldn’t say anything else. He was done listening to anything that she had to say now anyway. She was thankful when he exited the room and left her alone. He was no longer the good man that she had known throughout high school. That boy would have never laid a single finger on her…let alone wallop her across the face the way that he did. Davina took a deep breath of relief as she heard the door slam close. He was gone for the moment. She began thinking again about the necklace and its familiarity. She was walking into Sebastian’s room when she abruptly stopped in her footsteps.

She remembered where she had seen it. She slowly took the necklace from her own pocket and examined it closely. “Oh my God…” She said in the night air of her house. Her heart raced like it was about to schism inside of her chest.

She looked closer at the charm that rested on the gold chain, and it was a hummingbird, her favorite. Finn had gotten this for her birthday, and it had the earrings to match. This was Georgia Marlow’s necklace, she thought. How did Cole get it? Why was it in his pocket? The answers to those questions made her light-headed. She just kept thinking about the things he said, and she could not shake the threat he threw out into the air about people messing with their family. I don’t know what to do, her mind was screaming inside of her head. Perhaps this was Cole’s way of flaunting that he was an awful entity in her life and that she did not want to mess with him. She realized this was his way of showing his teeth to her, like a rabid dog, and laying all the cards on the table in an intense card game. It was a game that she was done playing, and she had no desire to play it with a rabid dog either.

All she could think about was talking to Finn, but Cole would be watching her closely now. She was so stressed that she felt a crease forming on her forehead, and it triggered the pressure in the wound on her face. It still hurt like hell. There would be no forgiving him for any of this…Davina knew that for sure. She would have to be careful not to piss him off. She could only imagine it would get more critical for her, but that wasn’t the thing that scared her the most. Her mind began racing with the necklace in her hand. The shock was really setting in and causing a panic attack. She thought, what would happen when Sebastian angered him? Would he hit Sebastian? Would he kill me? Her mind was moving fast, and it was chaotic inside of her psyche. It was heralding her to understand how crucial her situation was. She needed to save her son and herself.

Cole having Georgia’s necklace could only mean one thing. He was connected to her death. He basically had told her that she was killed for messing with the family. All she could think of was Finn and the twins. I will never be able to look Finn in the eyes again, she thought, and that thought led to other thoughts about Cole and her situation with him. The necklace missing from Georgia’s neck is why the police thought that she was carjacked on her way to town. It was a gorgeous necklace with an emerald-breasted hummingbird drinking from a pink diamond. Finn had paid a good bit of money for it, and the necklace and earrings were not anywhere to be found after she perished.

Davina and Cole had been in this relationship that went on for years now, and she thought she knew everything about him. She would have never predicted the abuse of that night or any of the others. The beatings escalated after that night, and they always came when he was drinking. He was getting more sinister and more violent, and Davina’s bruises got bigger and more serious. The mistreatment got so profound that he had to start taking her to the emergency room to get treated and give bogus excuses about how she was injured.

The excuses worked for her until meeting the nurse named Aurora Mitchell. She saw through the nonsense that Davina told for reasonings to her injuries. Davina reflected for a minute while in the waiting room of the emergency department to be seen. She had been choked out by Cole with a garter belt…her garter belt…from their wedding. Her neck was covered in welts, and it was so black and blue that it looked like she had tried to hang herself from the highest tree. The injuries were too many and too often, and Aurora knew how to be discreet and find out the information that she needed to treat Davina’s wound accordingly.

The people were moving around the room in a flurry as names were being called to be examined in the back of the waiting room…behind those big electric doors. There was a kind of cohesion in the madness of the people though. “Davina Deville!” The nurse called out her name to be seen by the doctor.

Davina stood up, and she went through the door of the emergency room. She was limping and holding a scarf tight around her neck to hide the bruising from being choked. The nurse had empathetic eyes. The dark-haired nurse tried to get a wheelchair for Davina, but she wanted to walk of her own free will.

The nurse, Aurora, motioned her hand to the left, parking the chair, and directed Davina, “Right this way, Mrs. Deville. We will be going to Exam Room 5.”

Davina put her head down as she walked by the nurse’s station in the center of the room to her assessment space. “Thank you, Miss. I had a terrible fall while I was handling laundry today.”

Aurora knew it was more than that, and asked, “Do you need help? Like legal help?” She sat down beside Davina in the chair. “This is the 5th time I have seen you in a month.”

“I’m very clumsy since my pregnancy…I’m not in any trouble. I swear.” Davina tripped over her words and spoke to the nurse very fast. “We need to do X-Rays, right?”

“Yes, but I want to talk to you for a little while if that’s okay? You’re safe here…in this room with me. Can you tell me what really happened so I can treat you properly?” Nurse Aurora saw tears form in the corner of Davina’s eyes. “It’s okay. I’ve got you. I promise what you say will never leave this room without your permission.”

“It will put you in danger if I tell you what happened. Can we just go to get the X-rays?” Davina pleaded with the nice nurse to let it go, but she knew she had already said too much.

She begins looking Davina over, and she continues talking, “Do you have anyone that you want to call to sit with you while you get treatment? That neck of yours is in bad shape, and I think “the fall” has caused a splintered fracture in your shin bone. Plus, your ribs have contusions. We are going to have to admit you.”

“No, he will see anyone that comes in, and I will get in more trouble. You can stay with me though. I trust you.” Davina reached out for Aurora to hold her hand. Aurora gladly holds her hand to calm her. She could have used a big hug, but she was too sore.

After the first time, his violence got out of hand and more often. She was cheating death each time he got done beating her. He had broken her arm, ribs, and wrist, along with giving her a handful of concussions throughout the past year, and Aurora had seen every single one of those injuries. She had a thick medical record of “falls”, and the kind nurse that always treated Davina had a hard time not reporting them.

Davina lived by putting on a brave face and pretending it never happened most times. She was the prototype of an abused woman…something she never thought she would ever think would happen to her. The abuse elevated like a plane taking flight into the sky. It escalated and escalated, and her medical visits got closer and closer together. Each attack was more brutal than the one before it. After every incident, the thought of getting away and fleeing the plethora of harm that she was enduring did cross her mind, but she couldn’t leave. Instead, she began wearing oversized shades and long-sleeved shirts and blouses to hide the bumps and bruises. Cole would cut off her casts and take the walking canes that were to help her recover from his assaults. He did everything in his power to keep his little secret that he was a vicious piece of shit. It was like wearing a mask every time she left the house.

“Davina, do take off those dreadful sunglasses and join us at the table,” Megan exclaimed, “Why must you always wear those in the house? We are not in Hollywood for Pete’s sake.”

“I’m sorry. The eye doctor dilated my pupils, and the light hurts. Would it be okay to just keep them on? My eyes are very sensitive right now.” She looked over to Cole as she lied to her mother-in-law, and he smiled at how good she lied. He lounged back cockily in his seat. It made her sick to her stomach.

“Oh, that must be horrible for you, Davina dear. Whatever makes you feel comfortable then… I suppose.” Megan was sarcastic, of course. She busy-bodied away from the couple into the kitchen as she finished patronizing Davina. “Cole, come help me in the kitchen. You can grab the sweet potato pie. Plus, I need you to grab the fine dinnerware. Chop! Chop!” She clapped her hands together to make him move faster.

He got up from his chair, smirking back at Davina as he exited the room. He enjoyed her torture like it was some kind of Hedonistic feeling to see her writhe with discomfort around him and his family. Chills ran down her spines so hard that it felt like frost on her back, and she was happy to see him depart her view. She had completely withdrawn from the relationship after the countless times that he had hit her in the past year. Part of her life consisted of hiding the abuse from the ones that loved her the most, and the other part of her life was being a mom to Sebastian. The latter being the most important.

Her seclusion became a mask to protect the ones that she loved. The problem with a mask is that sometimes you forget how to take it off. Anyone who loved Davina had become a target and their lives were in danger if they intervened in Cole’s business within his relationship. He warned her constantly that the ones she loved could easily disappear. So, to save them from her monstrosity of a partner, Davina had become accustomed to hiding herself from others, and no one really knew that there was a problem in the relationship because of her seclusion. Everyone thought it was a choice by her to stay away and be antisocial. They did not realize that it was because her marriage and life was a huge malfunction altogether, but her friends should have known…

“Davina, are you mad at me or something?” Brooke had asked her over a telephone call a few weeks after the attacks started.

“No, why would I be?” Davina answered, but she was defensive. “You’ve done nothing to me…”

“Well, I never see you anymore, and Finn and I were wanting to know if you and Cole and little man would want to come over for dinner this weekend. Finn is off for Thanksgiving break at school, and we thought it would be nice to gather over at Georgia’s house for a nice dinner like we all used to.” Brooke plead her case, but Davina was still very standoffish.

“No, Cole has me helping Megan with a few things. I will have to talk to him, but I am pretty sure we are going to be working. He mentioned his mother having a large gathering, and I was expected to be there.” Davina was glad that this time she would not have to hide bruises and cuts and bumps. She had been on her best behavior.

“The invitation stands indefinitely. I would love to see you. Maybe you could slip away while you guys are over across the street. Finn is really having a hard time since losing Georgia.”

She took the hummingbird of the necklace she was forced to wear in her fingertips, running her fingers along the stones, “Maybe another time, okay?” Davina hung up the phone on her best friend. All the lying and deception were beginning to drain Davina’s spirit.

It had been two years since Cole started beating the life out of Davina, and the only person who had an inkling of an idea was the ER nurse who treated her each time she came in. Her own mother, Fiona, did not know anything about the abuse, but she would soon.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

Part 21

The bolded and hyperlinked words in the story were using word challenges from the Daily Spur, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, Word of the Day Challenge, My Vivid Blog, Your Daily Word Prompt, E.M.’s Random Word Prompt, MLMM’s Wordle, and Three Things Challenge. This story started from a flash fiction prompt from Fandango.

xoxo, E.M.

The Winter Walk – Aria and Cooper

Image Credit: Morguefile.com

Aria had been walking forever it seemed, though it had only been minutes. The cold breeze in her face had turned her nose a bright pink, and her feet were freezing in her boots. The snow made her steps harder and heavier. Each step made the cabin feel farther away and made her legs feel like wet noodles from keeping her balance.

When she saw the cabin come into sight, her pace quickened as much as it could without tripping her in the snow. The light in the cabin was flickering, and she could see her father’s silhouette reflecting off of the window. She could smell the smoke from the fireplace hanging in the air. It smelled good. She was almost home. Thank goodness, Aria thought. It was too cold to speak the words aloud, and she wished she would have worn a warmer coat. She underestimated the snowfall while coming back from her aunt’s cabin up the road.

“Just a little bit further”, she said to herself.

The path had gotten a little icy from melting and re-freezing throughout the daylight into the night. She worked hard not to slip

Her father waved his hand happily with his face lingering in the window. When she reached the porch, she snuffed out the lantern and rested against the strong wooden porch to catch her breath. She heard something wrestling around in the trees behind her as she leaned against the rail.

“Is someone there?” She asked out into the cold darkness behind her. The moving stopped.

She was scared to move because she did not have any idea if it was an animal or a human moving around behind her. Cautiously, she looked behind her without moving too fast or too much. When she finally saw what was making the noise, she busted out in laughter.

“Cooper! You silly hound! You scared the wits out of me!”

Cooper wagged his tail, ran up for puppy kisses, and they both walked into the house where Aria’s father had dinner ready for the both of them.


This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved.

Sebastian’s Story – Part 21 – The Necklace

Cole’s pocket was deep in his cargo pants, and Davina reached in and felt around. Her soul was starting to immolate as she demeaned herself by digging in this man’s pocket and doing as he told her to…like she was a child. He was her master, and this was not what she signed up for when she signed that marriage license. Still, she kept her hand in his pocket and dug for the supposed treasure awaiting her. At the very bottom of his front, she felt a chain and grabbed it with her fingers. She cupped it in her hand as she pulled it out. She didn’t want to open her hand. She felt like he was bribing her after treating her so badly, and she honestly did not want anything he had to offer her anymore…including his love.

“Open your hand and look…go ahead.” He was excited and joking around like a jester, and she wasn’t feeling this little game he was playing with her.

She was flippant in her actions towards him, and her face was so serious as she looked up to him and rolled her eyes. Davina opened her hand and saw a gold necklace, probably over 14 karats, with a charm on it. The charm was familiar to her, and she was sure she had seen it somewhere before. Her mind was racing trying to figure out who this beautiful necklace belonged to.

“What’s this for, Cole? I’ve seen this somewhere before.” Davina allowed her eyes to cast a glare in his direction, and she probed at him with her questions about the pocket trinket. She knew that him having this necklace in his pocket was not something that he did in his good graces. “Where did you get this?”

“Oh…you know? Flannery deals with some people for us, and he thought you would like it.” His sneer was eerie and made Davina sick to her stomach. “I just wanted you to have a reminder of what happens to people who do bad things to our family. You know…just in case you were thinking of calling someone.”

Davina remembered Flannery, and she always thought he was just a layabout since she had never seen him go to an actual job of any kind. He always had just hung around the Deville house waiting for Megan, Corbin, or Cole to beckon him somewhere. He made her skin crawl. He was the villain in her story of life, and that was a chapter in her book that she had a bad feeling about.

Davina was still searching deep inside her brain to remember where she had seen the necklace before, but his threat had sidetracked her. She did not even recognize her husband right now. He had never been violent with her before, and the guy she knew most of her teen years would have never hit her or threatened her like tonight.
“I’m not going to call anyone, Cole…I do need to get my eye checked out though. I have a terrible migraine, and I’m dizzy.” Davina held her hand to her eye to try to relieve some pressure. The room was spinning a bit. She thought to herself…concussion probably.

“Take an aspirin and go to bed…you are so overdramatic.” Cole threw his hand up in the air and made Davina flinch backward away from his hand. “Oh, gimme a break…now you are going to jump every single time I move? Grow up, Davina!” He grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey off the table.

“So, this is who we are now?” Davina questioned her husband. “This is who you are…hmm?” She showed him that his haughty ways did not scare her and kept talking back to him.

She had obviously not learned her lesson on talking at him a certain way and in a certain tone, but she was true to herself. She was never one to back down to mean girls or bad people. It drove Fiona absolutely insane when Davina was growing up. The calls from the principal were common, and the teachers had gotten used to breaking up fights between her and those that would try to pick on her for being small.

He got into her face with his, “Are you sure you want to talk to me like that? Don’t push me, Davina. You’ll start ending up like your friends.”

This time she backed down and backed up away from her bully, and she was terrified of him. He followed her with steps forward matching her steps back. His face was different. His eyes were darker. She did not know this man…this dangerous man. He looked down at the necklace in her hand and laughed. “Ask around…you’ll find out whose neck that came off of.”

He continued his evil laugh as he turned his back, grabbed a beer from the refrigerator,  and walked away from her into the garage. The door slammed behind him, and Davina jumped once more. Unfortunately, it would not be the last time.


For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19

Part 20

The bolded and hyperlinked words in the story were using word challenges from the Daily Spur, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, Ragtag Daily Prompt, Word of the Day Challenge, My Vivid Blog, Your Daily Word Prompt, and Three Things Challenge. This story started from a flash fiction prompt from Fandango.

xoxo, E.M.

© E.M. Kingston – All Rights Reserved.