500 & Counting, a short story readers help write. ~ Scene 4

Recently, I ran across a short-story contest of five hundred words or less, and just for fun, I decided to write one. I knocked the five hundred words out in an hour, so I didn’t expect anything amazing, but the feedback from my family and friends surprised me, so I wanted to offer this up to my online community of friends and see what your thoughts are.

Each week I’ll use readers’ suggestions and write five hundred more words based on your feedback.

And just to make this interesting, I’ll offer up one of my novels free to the commenter whose suggestion I use.

Okay…let’s write a story.

(If you haven't read the first three scenes yet, please click on the link. Otherwise, the story won't make any sense, believe me. There's a link, which will bring you right back.) 500 and Counting First Three Scenes

Scene 4

Gino swallowed hard. “Homicide? No one has ever admitted my grandparents’ death was a homicide.”
Jackson took a sip of his iced tea and looked around the diner. “Well, I’ve always thought it was suspicious. Your grandfather meant the world to me; he was my mentor. And their death has troubled me for twenty years.”
A shiver swept through Gino. “Me too. What are the similarities?” He looked over his shoulder again, haunted by the sound and smell he knew couldn’t have been his imagination.
“We’ll discuss it back at the station. What are you looking for, Gino?” Jackson’s voice held an edge of irritation, and Gino couldn’t blame him because of how strange he was behaving. He must look like a paranoid schizophrenic.
He turned back toward his captain, afraid to voice his question, but he had to. “Did you see someone smoking a pipe?” Maybe whoever it was had gone to the restroom.
Captain’s brow furrowed. “Customers aren’t allowed to smoke inside the restaurant.”
Gino nodded. He knew that, he’d just hoped he wasn’t losing his mind.
“Jo, pick up!” a woman’s raspy voice rattled from behind the counter. Gino gasped and looked at the woman who sounded just like his grandmother, calling out for his Pap.
“Are you all right,” Captain asked. “You look as if you saw a ghost.”
“Did she just call for “Joe” to pick up?”
Captain huffed out a breath. “Yeah. JoAnn’s one of the waitresses. I think you need to lay off the coffee, Gino. You’re as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs.”
Inhaling a deep breath, Gino sunk into the booth.
Jackson leaned forward. “Back to your grandparents. Have you read their file?”
“I planned to today,” Gino admitted, wondering if that was unethical. “Of course, I was gonna check with you first.”
Captain sucked air through his teeth, a habit the other cops constantly mocked behind his back. “So, you haven’t pulled it yet? Never looked at it?”
Nervous at once, Gino shook his head. What was the Captain insinuating?
“That’s what I was afraid of. It’s missing. I went to pull it this morning when I got the call—” Jackson stopped speaking, his eyes glancing up at an older gentleman with a white apron approaching the table.
“Two specials, gentlemen—Gino!”
Gino glared at the man, questioning how he knew his name. He hadn’t been in here in years.
The old man bent down in front of him. “Don’t you recognize me, son?”
“What - did - you - say?” Gino asked each word individually, his voice almost a shout.
“Um…Your pap used to bring you in here.” The old man’s voice faltered, obviously taken aback.
Gino stood up. “I’m sorry. Excuse me.” He needed to get some fresh air.
He rushed toward the exit, opened the door, and started to walk out of the restaurant, but stopped and looked up. No bells. His stomach plunged and he thought he might get sick.

Okay, friends, what happens next? In our first four weeks, we have sufficiently scared the heck out of Gino, clearly something is going on. But before he orders himself exorcised, we’ll have to find his strength as a detective. Can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for us. J

Please feel free to jump in by leaving your comments below.

About me:

I write modern-day fairytales filled with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of my novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will hopefully make you cry, laugh, love, and hope.

I love talking about all things books, so please connect with me via one of the links below.

Books available:

When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.

After secrets and a mysterious background leave a wife’s life hanging by a thread, a husband must look for answers in the only place he knows—the past.

Now available at:

And coming soon, Entangled Dreams


  1. But a sudden thought brought him racing back to the present. His grandparents had been murdered and now their file was missing. Was it their spirits haunting him, pushing him to find the truth? He walked back to the booth and took a seat.
    "Tell me what you remember from the case, everything," Gino told Jackson.

  2. The captains gaze darts to the side as he fidgets, suddenly uncomfortable. Gino doesn't understand the sudden change of his superiors demeanor. The captain begins relating what he can remember from the scene. Gino listens in rapt attention, realizing something about the procedure used during the investigation seems off, not exactly up to par. When Gino questions this, his captain chalks it up to his memory not being what it used to be. He was a rookie back then, in training with his Gino's grandfather. That's why he needs the file. Gino accepts the reasoning. His determination to find the missing file is solidified.