Thursday, August 17, 2017


Ok, I'm late with my Write..Edit..Publish Reunions excerpt. I started this thing about three weeks ago, and the more I write/edit it, the longer it gets. I think dear old Isaiah thinks he should be a short story; I've been reading (listening to) lots of detective novels. Isaiah, a really bad guy, sort of developed from my book and movie preferences. Aargh!!

My submission is nearly 1300 words, unedited. I just ran out of time to fix this. Blame my MC for being such a needy, impatient brat. If his story feels like an unfinished prologue, it probably is. If I'm lucky, my muse will stick around long enough for me to find the time to work this into a Noir short story. I know what comes next, just don't have the time to develop it. Yes, I do hate that writing is not my priority at this moment.


“Welcome back Mr. Harvey,” a young man in gold and crimson cheerfully said. “Please, step this way so we can expedite your registration.”

Isaiah stood his ground in line. Twenty years in maximum security prison had trained him to distrust special treatment.

“Sir. If you would follow me. Please.”

The fresh faced boy looked distressed as he motioned for Isaiah to step out of line and follow him.

Isaiah looked left, right; up and down the lobby. He made a production of checking out all the angles. His eyes lit on cameras on the ceiling, ornate columns, fake flower pots and fountains. His gaze lingered on this man, that woman, a trio of foreigners. He looked everywhere.

“Please Sir. We have been expecting you. The Management wishes that you not linger overlong in the lobby.”

“I am weary, and have come a long way,” Isaiah intoned.

“For sure, Sir. This way, if you please.”

Not the response Isaiah had expected. “Lead on,” he agreed, and grabbed the handles of his suitcases.

The concierge led him to the right, and then the left along a brightly tiled path through the casino. Isaiah huffed and sighed, letting his guide know his bags were heavy as he fell behind.  Another right brought him to a set of elevators.

“The bell hop has your key Sir,” said the fresh faced boy.

A Cuban appeared, his oversized attire garish in white and yellow. Isaiah frowned, looked back the way he’d come. “I am weary,” he began.

“Yes sir,” the Cuban bell hop interrupted. “Shall I attend to your bags for you, Sir?”

Isaiah nodded and allowed the Cuban to take control of his luggage. He loaded his two bags onto a wheeled rack, then pushed the button for the elevator to arrive. Isaiah wondered if all his preparations had gone awry. Years he’d planned this reunion. He’d called in all his markers, promised money he wasn’t sure he still had access to. Now he was free. But, had his patience paid off?

The elevator arrived and he stepped in. The suite was more sumptuous than Isaiah could have imagined, even at the height of his nefarious career. He’d climbed far, risked much, and when finally cornered by the FBI he’d kept his mouth shut. He’d expected support and special treatment for his loyalty and silence. His position had guaranteed him certain considerations. He’d been wrong.

After inspecting the three rooms, paying particular attention to areas that might logically conceal video and listening devises, he was surprised to see the bellhop still standing near the door.

“Oh, uhm,” Isaiah started, hands in his empty pockets in embarrassment.

“No need, Sir,” the disheveled man assured him with an ingenuous smile. “I’ve been generously taken care of.” He stuck a hand into his back pocket, pulled out a wad of papers, and offered them to Isaiah. “For your entertainment, Sir. Address is on the coupons.”

“Thank you,” Isaiah said dubiously. Entertainment was the last thing on his mind

Alone in his rooms, Isaiah sank to a knee and let his emotions overwhelm him. Where had he gone wrong? No one had appropriately responded to his carefully crafted codes. Were any of his old contacts still viable? Had everyone been bought, killed, or just been dormant so long they’d forgotten their allegiance?

No, he decided. He would not despair. He would shower, shave, and dress as if he still had a plan for his revenge. He had hoped all the players would be together in a spot of his choosing. But he still had his patience, his most valuable skill.

He stood, and angrily tossed the papers into the waste can. They fluttered as they fell, and he recognized a slash of writing. Retrieving the two slips of paper, he noted one was a prepaid entrance to The Right Spot night club. The other, the one that caught his eye, was a hand written note stating, “See you at ten. Don’t be late.”

Isaiah checked the ornate wall clock and noted he had an hour and a half before his appointment.
He entered the club amidst angry cat calls and profanity from the head of the waiting line.  By the time he ordered his second whiskey he was getting antsy. Crowds still made him nervous. The waitress that delivered his drink was not who he expected.

“Hello Darling.” She set his drink on the table; kissed him softly on his left cheek, right cheek, lips; then flopped into the empty chair opposite him.

“Helen,” he said, hoping his monotone conveyed displeasure. In truth, he was delighted to see this dark and deadly beauty.

“Don’t be rude Darling,” she admonished, draping her overlarge and voluptuous form into the chair opposite him.

He waited while she sipped her white Russian. He’d learned not to rush her. But he was growing impatient, the noise of the Club grating on his delicate nerves.

There was a lull in the music. The DJ announced a break and the crowd shifted and cleared around them. Helen leaned towards him. “Your network has been compromised.” Her voice was a husked whisper.

“Compromised,” he repeated, looking desperately around the room.

Helen flicked a manicured finger under his chin. “You’re safe here, Sweetie. You know I adore you?”

Isaiah leaned back and picked up his melting drink. Helen wasn’t his type; he preferred his women natural born, petite. Race wasn’t important, but gender was.

She laughed again. “I adore you, Isaiah. Your honesty, in this depraved business.” Her eyes remained on his, though he wanted to look away and assess the crowd.

“You’re safe here,” Helen assured him. “For now. Maybe not tomorrow though.”

“What happens tomorrow?”

“I don’t know,” she said, sadness pursing her red lips. “I had control of today, and you were late.”

“Well,” he began.

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Someone leaked your codes, and they were prepared for your scheduled reunion.”

Isaiah choked on his whiskey. “I’ve been very careful,” he sputtered.

She raised her hand again. “You’ve been gone a long time, and your payments are suspect.”

“I’m good for it,” he grumbled.

“I know. Which is why I’m still here,” Helen said, her smile somehow sadistic.

Isaiah glanced around, knowing the gesture was fruitless, but unable to help himself.

“You’re safe here,” she said. “But everyone that knew your intentions are dead.”

“Except you,” Isaiah said, working hard to keep the dread out of his voice.

“Except me, yes,” Helen agreed. “As I said, I adore you.” She slid a bulging envelope across the table to him. “Had you shown up to your ‘reunion’ tonight, you’d be dead too.”

He eyed the package skeptically, then seeing no reason not to take it, he snatched it up and quickly perused the contents.

“Walter Cronin,” he asked.

“I owe you,” she said.

“And – “

“Nothing,” she said, sipping her drink and looking into the milling crowd.

The DJ had returned to his kiosk. Looking closely, Isaiah realized he was the shabby bellhop.

“I, ah,” he began, looking through the lavish documents.

“I hope never to see you again Isaiah,” Helen said, carefully dabbing tears from the corner of her eyes. “But, knowing you, I will.”

“I hope not too,” he said with a smile he did not feel in his heart. “Thank you.”

Click here for the linky to more WEP Reunions participants.


Blogoratti said...

That was a lovely piece to read, dark and filled with mystery. Greetings!

Elephant's Child said...

Oooh. Dark, promising and intriguing.
I do hope that your muse stays around. I could offer to nail its little feet to the floor if you think it would help.

Denise Covey said...

Ah, Donna, it didn't seem overly long, so that's good, isn't it? Isaiah definitely wants a short story. His type isn't happy with a little flash fiction, after all. Maybe you could continue the saga of Isaiah for Dark Places. He's definitely going there...

Better late than never, Donna. Glad to have your sassy little story added to the listorama.

Happy travels!

Denise :-)

Nilanjana Bose said...

You had me thoroughly hooked from the title onwards. Wouldn't have noticed the word count was over if you hadn't mentioned it. Definitely a short story, please! Crime, mystery and an unwanted reunion with one sided love, another non-reunion because everyone is dead, whoa! packed and promising! It's always rewarding coming in to read here!

Hope you get back soon to a place where you can give your writing the time and priority you want.

Best wishes always,
Nila :)

Pat Hatt said...

Sure clamored for more indeed. Left wondering where he'll go now. With everyone toast could start anew or delve deeper in. Great entry indeed.

Stinks when time gets sucked away and when can't write.

Yolanda Renée said...

The word count wasn't a problem here. Great writing! Mystery fills the piece and more is definitely needed or should I say wanted. It's perfect as is, but if the muse desires more I hope you accommodate! :)

Donna B. McNicol said...

Too long? Um, NO! Not long enough...I hope you will continue this tale. Loved it!

Deborah Drucker said...

Would like to know more about the backstory and why he wanted revenge. Seems like he will be lucky to survive himself. And why is everyone else being killed, all the people he wanted to meet? Definitely feel a sense of foreboding.

Olga Godim said...

Great piece. The tension rises so fast and so high, I didn't even notice the length.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I hope you do continue this into a short story!

D.G. Hudson said...

And then? I want to know more too. I love the pace of the dialogue, short and hidden with meaning. I would expect someone who had been in prison to be short with words. . .Good luck with finding writing time. I know it seems to elude me lately.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Donna, this is super writing, I read it without even blinking I was so intrigued.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - what a very intriguing tale ... had me tied to find out more - please can we have more and then could I know some history ... Isaiah has a lot to tell us - let alone Helen, and then the bell hop ... congratulations and cheers Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, I agree with everyone else - I never would have noticed the word count was over the limit! I was totally engrossed in the story and left wanting more. Great work!

Arlee Bird said...

You kept my attention with this. Interesting piece of writing that I wanted to keep going.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

dolorah said...

Blogoratti: thanks

EC: lol, yeah! But better to tie her up and suff her in the trunk.

Dx: needy bastard, huh?

Nila: I really do miss sitting for hours and writing.

Thanks Steve :)

Yolanda: yep, I'm hoping to make this my new/next project.

Hello Donna :) Too long for the WEP excerpt is all.

Deborah: yeah, got lots of juicy backstory to add to a longer version.

Olga: I really wanted it to be intense :)

Shannon: I hope so too.

DG: yep, short works well sometimes. I saw on your entry how short your time is too. Keep your spirits up through your challenges. My heart is with you.

Rachna: thank you

Hilary: Helen snuck up on me, I wasn't expecting her. I am intrigued myself :)

Julie: Glad it intrigued you.

Arlee: thank you for stopping by.

cleemckenzie said...

Full of intrigue and left me wondering what next! Glad you made it to the WEP. I always work on the "better late than never model.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Exciting story. You have to tell us what happens next.

J Lenni Dorner said...

A very interesting take. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

Chrys Fey said...

Sure is an interesting reunion. I'd rather read about an intense and dangerous reunion than a simple, happy one. :)

Misha Gerrick said...

Hehehehe it's the same with me. I would want to write one short piece, and it wants to turn into a book.

Sometimes, I think my brain isn't wired for short-form writing. :-D

Brian said...

Good for you completing this, it was really enjoyable and kept my attention all the was through!

Michele at Angels Bark said...

Hi Donna,
Very interesting read! I definitely want this story to continue. It felt a little John Wick in the mystique. I'd love to know the reason for his revenge and then more about Helen... Great character there too!
Thanks for stopping by at my place. Had you not, I wouldn't have had a chance to read this intriguing tale!

Michele at Angels Bark

Gina Gao said...

This is great writing! I really enjoyed the content.

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I could offer to nail its little feet to the floor if you think it would help.