David Dykstal

Betty helped Mark up and they stumbled into the nearby brush that covered this section of the property. “Ok, Miss Beresford, do we have any ideas on how to stop Carmine?” She rummaged through her sleuth bag and pulled out a Swiss Army knife and her sapphire necklace. #mbnov

Carmine quickened her pace to get back to the car for more darts. “I love that these don’t leave any trace in the system. I’ve got to go back and take care of that rich Beresford bitch too before she causes trouble. I’ve heard she’s even more dangerous than her mum.” #mbnov

Updating second of five systems to Catalina. First one went smoothly and some critical VPN software checked out fine.

Heading out of town a bit early to avoid the snowstorm. Nearly 10” of heavy wet slop expected here.

Betty was rightfully angry. She hadn’t expected someone as dangerous as Carmine to be in the mix. “She’ll be back to make sure you’re dead,” she told Mark. “We have to hide. Can you stand? It’s dark now. We don’t need to go far.” “I think I can hobble a bit,” said Mark. #mbnov

Mark’s voice was recovering. “Carmine was going to turn double agent. Those plans were going to help secure the grid from attack. Turns out Carmine’s a snake.” Betty reproached him, “Damnit Mark, you sexist twit. We’re partners. You have to tell me about this stuff.” #mbnov

Carmine felt a sudden chill of recognition. “Betty Beresford, damn, that’s her name. I did a contract on her parents three years ago. Those two private dicks were getting too good and the boss didn’t like it. Called their company ‘Partners in Crime’ if I remember right.” #mbnov

Betty stroked Mark’s forehead, “Mark, it’s me, Betty.” Mark calmed down when he recognized her but was still agitated. “It was Carmine,” he croaked. The name sent a chill through Betty. They were on their own in a woebegone spot far from help. “Carmine,” she whispered. #mbnov

Carmine was nearly all the way down the path to her car, thinking of a little tune to hum as she went along. “My boss will be pleased to hear of Mark’s demise,” she thought. But something suddenly tugged at her memory. What was it that Mark had said once about his fiancé? #mbnov

Only a few more days left in microblogvember. I need be wrapping this story up. How the heck am I going to do that?

Mark’s vision began to clear. It was no longer like looking down a hollow tube. He felt the paralysis that had started gripping his chest ease, but his head still felt like he had gulped down three double martinis. He looked at Betty and didn’t recognize her. He panicked. #mbnov

Betty approached Mark carefully. His breathing was shallow. Her flashlight showed the scribbled note, then the stump and vial. She picked up the vial and, lifting Mark’s head, poured the contents slowly into his mouth. She saw him swallow once and then a second time. #mbnov

I’m back in May with my “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” backlog. Only 29 more to listen to and I’ll be all caught up!

You could say that some of my microblogvember story posts are a little forced and you’d be right. This one felt a bit like square peg and round hole. Nevertheless, I will persevere! 😂

Mark could feel his life abate. He thought he heard a soft rustling noise behind him and a short gasp. Betty had seen his nearly lifeless form huddled on the ground. She paused. “Be quick but do not rush,” her dad had said. “Size up the surroundings before taking action.” #mbnov

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