Excerpt from Novel in Progress
I’d mentioned that I might post an excerpt from the novel (a mystery/suspense) on which I am currently working. It is a -work-in-progress and will most likely endure more editing ~ it always does ~. But, here it is so far! And I would love to get your feedback. Please leave a comment on my blog. Thanks!
The package—the one I’d anxiously awaited, the one I’d sent to myself—had finally arrived. I’d half-expected that this would be the day; it was not difficult to estimate the arrival of a package from the next state, however, the one from Indonesia had taken some calculation. Although I was supposed to be elsewhere, I’d waited around, not wanting to leave the house. I knew that I’d have to come up with a reasonable excuse for the tardiness. It was not something that I was going to worry about though; lying has always come easy to me.
The summer heat was horrid, but when I woke at seven, I cracked open the front room windows so that I would hear anyone in the driveway. I waited around drinking coffee until my intuition paid off. About nine, a delivery van pulled its heavy carcass into the neighborhood.
I am not a foolishly giddy person, but it makes me smile now, gazing through a crack in the curtain at the young deliveryman walking up the driveway to the front steps, that if I were, this would be the time for it.
The man first knocked, waited a few seconds, and then rang the doorbell. I stayed where I was behind the curtain. I wasn’t about to sign for anything. He knocked once more, louder this time, before setting down the box and walking back to his van, scratching his butt. I waited until he drove away, then I slid on the rubber gloves that I’d had ready and waiting, opened the front door, and retrieved the package from the steps.
The package was a half-box with a cellophane-wrapped gift basket nestled inside. Studying it, I considered how to dismantle it. My face began to itch—it sometimes still did that—and I rubbed at my skin, thinking about how to handle the basket. The cellophane was delicate and if I tore it, I might not be able to put it back together again so that it would look untouched. The newspaper, which secured the basket into the half-box, was easy enough to remove enabling me to lift the basket out and onto the kitchen counter.
Between the newspaper crunching and the cellophane crackling, it made enough noise that I was glad to be alone in the house. The thought of that nosey cleaning lady showing up made me grimace; that’s all I needed. The only reason I’d hired the woman was to keep abreast of everyone else in the area. Fortunately, today was not a cleaning day, at my house anyway.
Lifting the basket, I scrutinized its bottom, looking for tape. The cellophane was wrapped entirely around the basket and brought together at the top of its handle by a wire twist. I let out a breath, thankful that there was no scotch tape to deal with, and that my plans would be easy enough to accomplish.
Carefully, I removed the twist wire at the top of the basket and spread the cellophane apart from the handle. Inside the basket were quick mixes of cranberry orange scones and corn muffins, a scattering of Lindt chocolates, a floral teacup, and a tin of Indian tea. Pulling a bowl from the cabinet above the counter, I emptied the tin. The tea emanated a nearly over-powering combination of mango, peach, and mint fragrance, strong enough to fill the kitchen. This was to my satisfaction because the tea was selected for its deep aroma rather than for its calming or anti-oxidant qualities.
Reaching beneath the sink, I pulled out a small gray bag. The bag itself was thickly weighted paper, lined with plastic, and non-descript with no labeling. I laughed, thinking that the manufacturer wanted to be as discreet as I did and might well be able to guess at what his patrons would do with the powder, the finely ground seeds, inside.
A surgeon’s mask was waiting in the towel drawer to the left of the sink; I’d placed it there weeks ago in anticipation of this moment. I pulled it out and tied it over my mouth and nose before opening the bag. I’m working quickly now, not wanting to take the chance of any air-borne exposure to the powder, and emptied the powder into the tea. Using a plastic spoon, I mixed the contents of the bowl until there were no telltale signs of the finely ground seeds.
Within five minutes, the tea was returned to its original container. A few minutes later, with the cellophane wrapped around the basket, the basket placed back into the half-box, it looked like the gift-package that had arrived on my doorstep. I cleaned up—finished with the first part of my mission.
The second part would be a little trickier, but I wasn’t going to worry about it; it would be out of my hands. I would have to trust that the fool could do his part of the job right. The only disturbing part of my plan is that my victim would not know that I was the one who killed her. There was no way to do that without giving myself away. Still, I would have loved to watch the bitch die.