Whom To Believe?

My sister has been missing for nine days. That doesn’t seem like long, unless you know her.  We text a couple of times a day and talk twice a week. She lives seven miles away on the other side of the city. I went over to her place this morning and used my key to get into her apartment. Her phone and wallet were gone, but she didn’t pack a bag. Her cat, Matisse wasn’t there. She’d never leave him alone overnight. Wherever she went, she took him with her. And no, she didn’t run off with a guy.  Yvonne and her ex, Espen broke up eight months ago.

I called our mother, who’s retired and lives in St. Lucia. Mom said not to worry; that Vonnie is fine. She probably needed a change of scenery. I mentioned to Mom that i could contact Farley Friday, her old boss. She said under no circumstances should i do that.

I called Farley Friday. Right before Mom left for St. Lucia a year and a half ago, i got my hands on her little orange moleskine with her list of Agency contacts and their numbers. I could probably sell this little book for a mint, but i’m going to keep it in my safe hands. If Mom didn’t want anyone to get it, she should have been more careful. She shouldn’t have left it in a safety deposit box.  Kind of obvious.

Back to Farley. I called him, and he was surprised to hear from me. I told him Mom gave me his number.  He said he’s not concerned about Yvonne. He said, though, that if i’m worried, i can try looking in Thirty Emerald Days One. I’ve never heard of it, but he said it’s close to Portland. It’s in southwest, one left turn off SW Maribel.  I’ll stay for a couple of days, make a mini vacay out of it.  If i don’t find Yvonne, i’ll use this little gem of a book to contact agents who know Mom. There are many family secrets because of her job. Then it occurs to me that what would be fun is to try to find the Three Fates’ velvet couch. I’d love to have the $400,000 reward. Not that i’m broke. I’m far from it, but the trips i could take! But then i figure i can keep the couch for myself. The Fates will never know.

My phone buzzes with a text. It’s from Espen!

It says, Sabrina, i’ve not heard from Yvonne in six days. Do you know where she is? Worried. Call me.

Six days? I thought they hadn’t talked in months! Yvonne didn’t tell me they were back in touch!

I text him back. I’ve not heard from her either. When did you two get back in touch?

Then i figure it would be better to call him. I can hear his voice and tell whether he’s lying or not. I call the number, but he doesn’t pick up.

I text back. Where are you? Just called.

From him, i’m coming over there.

I feel nervous. Why am i nervous? Because i’ve been left out of the loop again? Can i trust Espen? Can i trust my mother or Farley? What about Yvonne? On a hunch, i flip through Mom’s notebook. Yes.  On page seven i see his name, Espen Davidsen.  It’s printed in green under Duncan de Seckcee. My heart pounds.  I look for Yvonne’s name. I scan every page. No Yvonne Clarke. Well, that’s a relief.

I think quick. I want to be out of here before Espen shows up. What does he want? I pick up the little notebook with the telling names, and i pull my little silver lockbox out of my top desk drawer. I place the book in it, lock it, and put the key on the fob with my apartment key and my car keys. The box goes in my suitcase. Glad i’m already packed.  I’m ready to walk out the door, and the doorbell rings. I can’t breathe.

Sabrina! Sabrina it’s Espen! I have to talk to you!

I will not answer the door. The hairs on the back of my neck feel electric.  I hear a whisper. It says, Sabrina, go to your hall closet and take your suitcase. Wear a rainjacket.

Again, an urgent knock on the door.

Sabrina! Open up dammit.

I whisper, who are you? Who’s talking to me?

Here on the fireplace mantle. I’m the jaguar.

All righty then, i think. All these secrets have finally driven me over the edge.

I walk over to my mantle and look at my lovely porcelain handpainted jaguar with green amber eyes. He’s eight inches tall and was a gift from my grandmother on my fourteenth birthday. I realize that yes, this is where the voice is coming from.

He says again, go to your closet. You can trust me. You can’t trust Espen. Go to the closet.  Close the door. Face the back, and whisper the words, three sapphires and a glass of chardonnay. It will take you to a safe place for a few days.

The banging on my door becomes insistent.

I do what my jaguar says. I don my raincoat and go in my hall closet with my suitcase. I say the words and it starts to sprinkle. It’s raining in my closet. Who knew? I feel a breeze. The knocking on my apartment door stops, or maybe i just can’t hear it anymore. I feel sleepy. I drop into a blue velvet chair that wasn’t here two minutes ago. Apparently, this is going to be some trip!

To Be Continued

M. Raynes

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Us

Time to remember

For introspection and love

Those who fought for us

************

The Scent of Danger and Discord

Hold on, Matisse! I’m still trying to digest the fact that you can talk.

And i think, is this really happening? I want a cat to explain why he can talk? The kitty who has lived with me for two years can talk. Isn’t that something!

So i’m waiting, Matisse. Explain yourself. Have you always been able to speak and you just hid that fact from me, or did you recently, like just now, discover this ability?

Take a few deep breaths, Yvonne, and i’ll tell all. But first, you need to drive away from this neighborhood. We need to be at least six miles away from NW Gareth. Do you smell what i smell?

I sniff the air, in the car and out the driver’s side window that i roll down halfway. I smell the magnificent scent of gardenias. It’s intoxicating. I say so to Matisse.

He frowns again. Okay, Yvonne, that scent is too strong. Danger is closer than i thought. No need to stand beside the tree. Close the window, put your seatbelt back on, and let’s get out of here. As you turn the ignition, say the words, summer succotash and cod filet.

I’m tempted to laugh, but Matisse looks genuinely afraid, so i do what he says. As soon as i say the words, the scent of gardenias dissipates.

Okay, pull out and step on it, Yvonne. We’re heading out to the suburbs!

So i step on it. I say, you haven’t explained a thing yet, Matisse. You’re a cat who talks. Why and how?

Please just drive for now, Yvonne. Head for Seven Lime Velvet Months Eleven.

This time i laugh. I look at Matisse like he’s nuts, but who’s the one who’s crazy? I’m taking orders from my talking kitty who wants me to drive to a place i’ve never heard of.

Sure, Matisse. Seven Lime Velvet Months Eleven! No problem. I laugh some more.

No need to be sarcastic, Yvonne. I’ll tell you where to go. Take a left at the next light and head out of the city. This place is secret. At least, i hope it still is. Lena has a safe house there.

So, you’re telling me that the Gardenia place is dangerous?

Yes, Yvonne. That Gardenia place, as you call it, belongs to Eris, the Goddess of Discord herself.

But you knew that’s where i was headed. Why did we come this far?

Because i wasn’t absolutely certain. I wasn’t sure until i saw the house and smelled that trance inducing scent. And hey, Yvonne.. could you drive faster?

I’m going as fast as i dare, Matisse. I don’t want to get pulled over. I hear a heavy sigh..

Well, okay. Take the next right at Three Aprils Park.

Where? I’ve never heard of it. I’ve lived in Portland for twenty years, since i was seven.

We’re not in Portland anymore, Yvonne.

I start. I realize i’ve driven a lot farther than six miles, and nothing looks familiar. But, i do as Matisse says. I take a right just before a gorgeous sequoia and rose garden filled park. I see only one person, a man in a blue suit, sitting on a bench, reading the Oregonian. I whiz past.

Okay, now you can slow down Yvonne. See that gray gambrel house on the left? Pull into the driveway and park. As you turn off the ignition, say the words, four shrimp skewers and two beers.

I roll my eyes, but i pull in, park and say the words.

He says, okay, Yvonne. We’re going in. It might not look like much on the outside, but it’s an extravagant residence fit for Fate on the inside.

Do you think we were followed, Matisse?

I can guarantee that we were not. Oh, and before we go in, Yvonne, open your glove compartment and take out the little black box.

Little black box?

Yes. I believe Stephanie delivered a package to you very early this morning before you woke up. Either it was Stephanie herself, or one of her assistants.

Fate broke into my car?

Well, Yvonne, The Fates do what they want. It’s not considered breaking in. Go ahead, take out the box.

I take out the box, open it, and see a lovely ruby ring.

Put it on, Yvonne. It will fit you perfectly. It’s the Twenty Fourth Ruby. Fate thinks you’re ready for it.

To Be Continued

M. Raynes

A Place of Danger?

Five Gardenia Years Nine is where i’m headed. My guide, an orange tabby cat named Matisse is in the passenger seat. I can drive as far as NW Gareth, and i’ve been instructed to then park in front of #738. It’s a parallel parking spot, and that freaks me out a little. I haven’t parallel parked in ten years, since the day i took and passed my road test and got my license. I digress.

Once i park in the reserved space, i need to put Matisse in his carrier.  He won’t like it one bit, and i’m(we’re) to walk down the narrow alley between #738 and #742. It will look, from where i park, like there’s a street behind and parallel to Gareth, but there isn’t. It’s an illusion. There is; however, a tall white pine behind the yellow Queen Anne house that is #738. I’m supposed to stand beside the tree, let Matisse out of his carrier, and say the words, pierogis with mushrooms and capers. I know. It’s weird. But those are my instructions. The text came from Farley Friday. My mother worked for Mr. Friday for eighteen years.  She’s retired from The Agency now, and living in St. Lucia. I tried to call and tell her about Farley, but i couldn’t reach her. I think, though, that Mom would want me to do this job, whatever it turns out to be. I’m not afraid at all, though it strikes me as odd that Matisse is supposed to be my guide. What does that mean? He’s a cat.

One more left turn and a half a mile, and there it is. I pull in to park. It’s not hard.  I was worried for nothing. There are only three other cars on the street, and they’re nowhere near mine.

Wait. What’s this? Who’s whispering to me? Am i losing my mind? I look over at the passenger seat, and Matisse is looking at me with his piercing amber eyes. I think he’s scowling. Cats can scowl?

Yes. He’s whispering. He says, i’m not getting into that carrier, Yvonne. Don’t even think about trying to make me.

But Matisse, Farley said…

I don’t care what Farley said. Lena would never expect me to get in there! Neither would Isabelle or Stephanie.

You know the Fates, Matisse?

Then i think, am i listening to myself? I’m talking to a cat, and the cat is talking back. What the… ?

Yes, Yvonne. I know all three Fates and i know Venus. Farley is up to something. Let me explain before we get out of the car. I’m not going to let you go behind this house.

M. Raynes

To Be Continued Tomorrow ( For Reals) 😀

No Darkness

This is just a little note to explain something –

I’ve been asked for the ‘severalth’ time why all my stories here are magical, and either don’t have a definite end, or have a happy ending. And i’ll repeat, because i don’t ‘do’ dark, miserable, or hopeless. At least not on this site, but this isn’t the only place i write. I’m all over the place.

Anyway, there’s a hell of a lot of darkness in the world. We all get that. It’s exhausting much of the time. I get tired of depressing. Sometimes, i want a little fun and happiness. I’m a big fan of fun, in fact. If you want dark, and i don’t mean this in a sarcastic or catty or angry tone, there are plenty of places you can find it. Sad is everywhere every single day.

You probably will never find anything real here either. Where do you ever find tulip or rose forests? Gods and goddesses living in penthouses in Portland, OR? Time traveling couches? Talking cats and dogs? The list goes on. You’ll never see kidnapped kids, abusive parents or spouses, or anything similar on this blog. Ever. I don’t live under a boulder. I’m not in denial. I don’t wear rose colored glasses, (though i do wear glasses to drive and see things distant.) But – i write what i write. That’s the way it is.

People have said that my stories have no end.. that they don’t ‘go anywhere’. Well, they go places, but to imaginary places. 🙂 And as far as definite endings.. well.. we all have imaginations. Most of us, including myself, sometimes, don’t exercise ours enough. How would you end my stories? Choose any ending you want!

So there it is. I’ll be back soon with a new story, the next part of a story in progress, or who knows what?! I’ll surprise you. It will not be sad or dark though. You can 100% count on that.

Bye for now!

Mary xo