Fear in Writing: My Happy Birthday Blogfest entry

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Friday, September 24, 2010

My Happy Birthday Blogfest entry

   Could have gone better, she thought to herself. The crumpled party napkin in her hand had started to bleed royal blue onto her skin. Crusts of petrified appetizers and dry grease pools spotted its surface. But it was the ink on the napkin that drew Cassandra's gaze.  It was why she'd picked the napkin up from its carefully balanced position on her favorite sculpture.  On the blue paper, Someone had drawn a perfectly childish stick figure--skirt and all--hanging itself with a neatly coiled stick figure rope.
   Ouch. She winced as the image penetrated her brain. Did someone draw that while I was speaking?
   Cassandra, or “Cass” as most people called her, tossed the used square in a nearby trash pile. She sighed and looked around her living room. There were little trash stacks everywhere. Some elements of the piles had attempted to escape, leaving crumbs and other bits trailing across tables and hardwood like Hansel's breadcrumbs.
   Slowly she bent to the first pile. Six discarded plastic plates, four napkins, and untold amounts of food stains. The group went straight to the plastic bin liner she had so geniusly tied to the dining room door handle.
   A loud crash above her made her jump and sent the pile in her hand hurtling toward the floor. Contact spread food pieces in every direction, and a misstep smashed a big chunk of chocolate into the area rug.
   Dammit, she thought. But it was really the crash that concerned her at the moment. She was alone in the house, wasn't she? A chuckle pushed the thought aside. She was always alone in the house. Tonight's party had been a very, very rare occurrence. And, as it turned out, a mistake.
   Cass had thrown herself a birthday party.  She hardly ever indulged, so this was a big event for her, even if it was just a ruse to get her colleagues in one place and ply them with alcohol.  Thinking back, she should have known a bunch of professor types wouldn't be interested in her big announcement, her foray away from the fold. Why should people who spent their lives encouraging exploration and education support her move into into a field where she could do just that? What good was all that academic knowledge if she couldn't use it to actually help people?
   So the big announcement and handcuff-shaped cake had fallen flat. Sure there was applause and Dostoevsky-linked jibes, but most didn't see why a renowned art scholar would choose to become a law enforcement consultant.
   But her problem here had nothing to do with art, and everything to do with what was messing with her house! No cats. No dogs. Cass doubted her fish caused whatever it was to fall over.
   Guess I'm getting my first test in detective work, Cass laughed to herself. And wouldn't you know it, my first case is in a creaky, old house!
   The 1920s Craftsman house had spoken to her when she first saw it and it was speaking to her now, every aching step of the way.  At the top of the stairs, she came to the closed-in upper hall and had to choose.  Right to the study or left to the bedroom?
   Neither.  The source of the crash was right in front of her, in the bathroom.
   It was an unusual bathroom.  The previous owners had raised the ceiling to give it a more regal look.  A strange contrast to the low-slung style of the Craftsman, but appealing in its oddness.  The literal high point of the room was the iron chandelier; dark in color and simple in design, with five arms reaching out before turning up at 90 degrees, where each held a glass-shaded bulb. 
   Cass loved that light, but she wasn't prepared for what hung from it.
   Happy Birthday, Cass.

If you have a Happy Birthday Blogfest entry, you can still sign up through Mister Linky and make sure you comment below with a link to your post!  Enjoy all the birthday fiction you read today.  And happy birthday to my Southern City Mysteries!


  1. Michele - Oh, I love it!! I am so intrigued!! Thanks for posting this.

  2. What a lovely story, Michele. Thank you for posting it.
    And no, I haven't forgotten your blogfest- I found that the date clashed with that of another, and the good thing about living in India is that I can post "tomorrow" and it would still be "today" for the rest of the world.
    I will post my birthday entry tomorrow, and Happy Birthday Blog- you are exactly 37 years younger than my hubby.

  3. Happy B-day, hope someone interesting and scantily clad will jump out of the cake :)))

  4. Happy Birthday Southern City Mysteries. May you have many, many more. Always enjoy your post Michele.

    Thoughts in Progress

  5. Margot- Thanks for the praise!

    Rayna- Happy Birthday to your husband! What a wonderful world this is--time zones and all. :)

    Dez- Ooh--should have chosen that for my Happy Bday button. ;)

    Mason- Thanks, Mason. And I always enjoy YOUR comments and posts.

  6. Nice story, cool ending. Congratulations with your anniversary >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  7. Oh, my...you got me hooked and then left me with a cliff hanger. Very interesting premise. Hope to read more!

    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  8. What was it? What, what, WHAT?! I certainly hope there is more of this story to come, madam! :)

  9. Happy blog birthday, Michele! I didn't forget you in all the confusion of the character fest.

  10. Intriguing! Who was hanging from the ceiling? :)

    loved this line: "Some elements of the piles had attempted to escape, leaving crumbs and other bits trailing across tables and hardwood like Hansel's breadcrumbs."

  11. Cold- Thanks and thanks.

    Diane- Thanks! I should have called it "bloggy." I like that!

    Raquel- Good! Maybe...(insert evil laugh)

    J.C.- See above comment and so glad you're hooked!

    Alex- Awww, thanks, Alex. I, somehow, noticed your TV blogfest, but not the one you hosted today. Thanks for stopping by.

    Summer- You assume 'who'...interesting. And that was my husband'd favorite line, too. I think it's b/c it rings so true.

  12. This was a very nice entry! I loved the description of the house, especially the bathroom. You gave it so much personality! I love how some settings can become a character unto themselves.

    My post is up. Took me until late in the day, but I made it in time. Thanks for hosting and happy Blogo-Birthday!

  13. Happy Birthday SCM! Now go forth and eat ice cream.

    Stephen Tremp

  14. Great hook! You mentioned no cats or dogs, eliminating the obvious, so what was it? What's her profession, that the police require a consultant?
    I was sure I was signed up for this, but I kinda cheated :)