Hello and welcome to the fifth of my posts about a brand new series of 13 suspenseful “Friday the 13th” short stories, each by a different author.
Today, I am happy to share Anna Kittrell’s “Scorned” – Now available for pre-order…releasing Nov 13.
While contemplating my upcoming “semicentennial” birthday, I was reminded of an experience I had a few years ago. A woman approached me following an author presentation and said, “The whole time you were up there talking, me and the gal next to me were just sitting here trying to figure out how old you are, trying to get clues from the things you were saying.” It was then I realized that I do the exact same thing! Why is knowing a person’s age so intriguing? Maybe it’s because aging is one thing we all have in common. Or maybe we just want to see how we measure up in the gray hair and wrinkles department. Whatever the reason, for some of us, age-guessing makes for a fun and fascinating pastime.
Gwen, the main character in my Friday the 13th story, SCORNED, detests the thought of growing old. But as I pedal without brakes toward the big Five Oh, there’s one thing I’d love to share with Gwen—there are plenty of things left to look forward to in middle age and beyond. Why should all of the excitement in life be reserved for the first half? Why can’t the second half be even more fun? At age forty I was published in Writer’s Digest, learned to apply false eyelashes, and got braces on my teeth. At forty-one my first book was published, and at forty-three I had the divine honor of becoming a grandmother! Today I approach fifty with ten published books and several magazine publications under my belt. My advice to Gwen and anyone else who abhors the thought of growing older is this: LOVE yourself fully—including your age. After all, growing older isn’t an affliction, it’s an opportunity.
When bank manager Gwen Chester discovers her husband, Robert, is seeing a younger woman, she does what any confident businesswoman would do—doubts herself. But her quest to get into shape leads her to a local gym, she comes face to face with Tara, the young beauty who has stolen Robert’s heart and, more importantly, Gwen’s self-worth. Overcome with rage, Gwen threatens Tara who, to Gwen’s horror, is found dead the following morning.
With all fingers, including Robert’s, pointing to Gwen as the killer, she enlists a friend’s help in a desperate scheme to find out the true identity of Tara’s murderer. The plan goes awry when Gwen finds her friend lying dead in a retail storeroom. Gwen decides to conduct her own investigation and discovers that not only is her marriage in danger—so is her life.
Can Gwen escape an intricate web of deceit and murder? Or is “till death do us part” a vow her husband intends to keep?
Anxiety eased from Gwen’s mind while she worked her muscles. Inhaling positivity and exhaling negativity, she closed her eyes, envisioning the unsightly parts of her life melting away with unsightly pounds.
“Thanks for the ride. I’ll see you in an hour, if that’s okay. The oil change should be finished by then.”
Gwen’s eyes snapped open. The same voice she’d heard two months ago, through Robert’s office door, right before she’d burst in. “I love you too, Robert,” the voice had said sweetly, awakening Gwen to her own ignorance and inadequacy. The words had emptied her soul. She’d never forget Tara Sanlander’s voice as long as she lived.
Oblivious to Gwen’s stare, Tara gazed into the wall mirror and pulled her long hair into a high ponytail. A short middle aged woman stood beside her, looking hopelessly out of place.
“Not a problem,” the shorter woman said. “I’ve got all day.” She glanced at the floor. “Well, would you look at that?” She grunted, bending over. “A penny!”
“Careful, Mom. You don’t need another fall.”
“It’s my lucky day!” She stood up, clenching the coin in her fist as she left the gym.
Gwen turned her eyes back to Tara, who tossed her head and gazed at her reflection, making sure the blonde ponytail was just right. Her gaze met Gwen’s and her movements stopped. Gwen watched with amusement, the girl’s suntanned features turning white as a chunk of provolone cheese.
“Hello, Tara.” Gwen didn’t bother to drop the kettlebell as she took measured steps to the woman and stood beside her, facing the mirror.
Tara tried to turn away, but Gwen grabbed her wrist.
“Let go of me before I scream for help.”
“Oh, you’ll scream all right,” Gwen said, unable to believe she could hold her voice steady. Controlled rage—it was the best she could describe it. She didn’t know where this part of her was coming from, but she couldn’t stop it. She didn’t want to. Her marriage was a disaster. Tara had won. Might as well scare the hell out of her.
“I said, let go!” Tara jerked her arm from Gwen’s grip with all her might, whipping Gwen’s entire body, causing the kettlebell to strike the wall mirror—shattering it into a million pieces.
Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved Oklahoma hometown where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations–stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.
Twitter : @KittrellAnna