Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The only answer I get is another chilly gust, shrieking at me.

 “Have a cigarette?” asks Marcia, licking her mouth greedily. 

“Sorry,” I say. “I don’t.”

“Too bad,” she says. Her eyes are framed unevenly by a dark eyeliner, and her lipstick is smudged. Under it, you can spot her bluish lips. “My son told me not to ask people for cigarettes, or anything else for that matter, but at his age, well, what does he know? Why not give people a chance to show some generosity, especially when it helps me and at the same time, makes them feel important?” 

“Yes. Why not?”

“He’s angry with me. I thought he was in a bad mood, but it’s been a few years, so I guess that’s who he is.”

By all indications, her rebellious son must be one and the same as my stalker. His name must be Gore, too.

I can find nothing to say to her, so I turn instead to my landlady. “Mrs. Gore, may I ask you something?”

She glares at me. “If it’s about your apartment, I told you to take care of it yourself. Remember, you’re paying next to nothing because I don’t need the headache of fixing stuff.”

“I am taking care of it, Mrs. Gore! No problem at all about that—”

“What, then?”

“I wondered about something else.”

“Such as what?”

“The room upstairs.”

“What room?” she asks, her face reddening.

Strangely, a sudden glint appears in Marcia’s eyes, which tells me she must know something about it. At a stare from Mrs. Gore, she lowers her painted lids.

So, I press on. “I spotted a small window directly above my bedroom. It’s visible only from the backyard, see?” I point a finger at it. “I wonder, is there a way to get up there?”

“No,” says the landlady, a bit too bluntly. “There isn’t. This window, well, I suppose it’s just an architectural decoration for the house. Nothing more.”

I try again. “You sure?”

“As sure as can be!” she insists. “As far as I know, there isn’t any such room, let alone a way to get to it.”

“I could make use of the extra space—”

“Listen,” she tells me, her voice thickening. “If you’re unhappy with the place, perhaps it’s time for you to start looking for a different one.”

With that, she turns sharply on her heels and stomps away from me, with Marcia trudging meekly behind. They rush off before I can bring myself to ask the more important question, the one that has been on my mind for the last few days. 

Stepping out of the back gate, “Mrs. Gore,” I cry, but by now she’s out of earshot, perhaps because the wind has kicked up, blotting my words. “Mrs. Gore! Who lived in the apartment before I took over?”

The only answer I get is another chilly gust, shrieking at me.


(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)

Paperback Hardcover


The last thing Ash expects when she lands in Clearwater, Florida is to be stalked by a troubled teenager. If that's not bad enough, she is caught in a shooting spree next to the nearby elementary school. The cops think it’s an attempt at mass killing, but Ash wonders if the only victim was specifically targeted by the killer. Will she manage to identify him and have him arrested before he comes after her?

"Suspenseful as well as downright scary and will draw the readers into a web of mystery. The author's descriptive passages throughout continue to trap and at the same time, shed a sufficient amount of doubt into our minds. Who is this shooter and what is his connection to the main story?" 
~Serenity, Hall of Fame, Top 10 Reviewer

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