David Dykstal

Betty waded through the creek quietly. The noise from the small dam downstream was enough to mask her movements. She wondered why they would build such a thing here. The clearing was just ahead, but the half moon was now behind the trees and it was almost completely dark. #mbnov

Betty came up to the sulphur spring and wrinkled her nose, “Rotten eggs, phew.” She scanned the area with the flashlight and saw Mark’s sign on the tree. “Ahh, superb!” She knew she was on the right path. The clearing should be just across the nearby creek. #mbnov

Mark was face down, but was able to lift his head and scrawl “stump antidote mouth” in the dirt with his finger before he lost strength. He found he could still hear. He almost chuckled, “Selective hearing,” Betty’s mother Prudence would say, “It’s a male thing.” #mbnov

Carmine continued, “Just to show that I’m not all bad, here’s the antidote. Just drink it down and you’ll be OK. I’ll just put it on the stump for you.” She left. Mark could hear her laughing down the path. The stump was out of reach. Things were beginning to get murky. #mbnov

The dart hit Mark in the neck. He slumped to the ground, still conscious but too weak to stand. He saw Carmine enter the clearing. She liberated the packet. “Too bad you won’t get the plans,” she said. “That dart should take care of your meddling ass once and for all.” #mbnov

Mark was barely able to see, but the note was definitely in Carmine’s handwriting. “The box is 10 paces west from the stump. Place the money there. The plans will be there tomorrow. No money, no plans. Final offer.” He pulled the payment packet from his dinner jacket. #mbnov

@amit Interesting. These flash fiction posts are a little challenging to write and keep a thread. I have a general idea of bits to include but find it nearly useless to write anything ahead of @macgenie’s prompt words.

Betty could stay in the room no longer. She must follow Mark. He could be in danger. Blackmail was no joke. She grabbed the flashlight and headed back to the pool area. It was quite dark now, but she knew the way to the spring and thought she could trace him from there. #mbnov

Betty’s examination of the room turned up nothing. She remembered the few times where she was allowed to tag along with her parents on their crime solving ventures. Those memories gave her a touch of sadness. “ I really miss them,” she thought. #mbnov

Betty rushed upstairs to their room, stowed the sapphire necklace into its case, and quickly changed into black jeans and mock turtleneck - what she called her “sleuthing clothes.” She briefly searched the space for anything that Mark might have left as a clue. #mbnov

Betty knew Mark had to be mixed up in something. This note had the smell of blackmail all over it. “Get a grip Beresford,” she thought. She had to follow Mark but evening dress wasn’t going to cut it. The trail was already getting cold. #mbnov

The writing was very faint in the dark. Mark took out his phone to get some light, but it was nearly dead. He spread the note on the stump so the half moon would light it as much as possible. “Might as well be reading by the north star,” he thought. #mbnov

Ahhh. I finally have selective cross-posting to twitter working. Thanks to @manton for the advice and fix.

Mark reached the other side of the creek. The clearing was just ahead. Nothing frightening here. He entered half expecting to see Carmine, but there was only another note folded under a small stone on top of a stump. He opened it. #mbnov

I always check the “share crash and usage data with developers” box. In Catalina’s case it might be even more useful than usual.

Updating the first of eight systems to Catalina. The first is a non-critical system. Already checked several for 32-bit apps. Adobe’s LR issues should not be a problem since they seem to be isolated to functions I don’t use.

Betty carefully detached the paper from its stick. It was a note addressed to Mark. “Dire consequences. Must meet immediately. Follow path past spring and cross creek. More instructions there.” The handwriting was unfamiliar. “Damn,” Betty whispered. #mbnov

Thanks to @amit for the flash fiction idea for #mbnov. I don’t have the time to do NaNoWriMo and the story is being built one day at a time. Not sure where it is going, but that’s half the fun.

Betty was puzzled. Mark had said he’d be by the pool but there was no Mark. She walked around to the front, glanced up and down the street, and returned back to the pool. A flutter caught her eye. A sheet of paper was stuck on a thorn of a nearby tree. “Odd,” she thought. #mbnov

Mark hadn’t planned on tracking cross country after he got that note. His shin was bruised after a brush with a particularly mean cypress knee, and his good shoes were ruined from the mud. “I should’ve changed clothes first,” he muttered, “Evening dress is just not made for this. My tailor will have my head.” #mbnov

Betty adjusted her fancy sapphire necklace, admiring the way the three blue gems showed themselves in the platinum setting. “Mark will love this,” she thought. She grabbed her keys from the dresser and hurried out into the Florida night to meet her fiancé down by the pool. #mbnov

Mark paused. He sniffed. It was unmistakable, the acrid smell of a sulphur spring nearby. He was close. He cut a small mark on the tree next to him so that Betty would know and moved forward with caution. #mbnov

I like listening to “Key to the Highway” while eating key lime pie on Key Largo. #mbnov

Starting a new fitness regimen with app assisted training. Wish me luck!

Now in Galway for the day!