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Archive for April, 2013

To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 78) She Waits

“Please have Marcus and Smokey be okay, please be okay.” Lyla mouths to herself as she takes a minute to think of what to do next. “Hide, I need to hide.” she whispers as she makes her way through the kitchen. She is being extremely quiet as she crawls on her hands and knees around to the other side of the island. As she rounds the corner of the cabinets, she remembers the short pantry door she found while unpacking. It leads to the attic.

From where she is squatting, there is a utility drawer directly above her. Staying low, she slowly pulls the drawer open and grabs a flashlight, then makes her way to the small pantry door.  “The attic, this takes me to the attic.” Lyla slowly opens the pantry and crawls inside closing the door behind her. She sits alone in the dark for several minutes.

Looking up she sees nothing but blackness and is too afraid to turn the flashlight on, at least not just yet. As she waits, it is as if her hearing has become amplified. She is picking up on every little sound from the music to the flushing of the toilet in the hall bathroom.

There is no clock to tell time by and she feels as if she has been sitting here for hours. Then she hears the tapping. It’s not constant and it’s not loud, but it’s something that is moving her way. With a squeaking sound she hears the swinging door of the kitchen open and someone taps twice on the island counter.
Excerpt 78

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 77) Who Is Real

“You nasty pest!” Crispin says in a low growling voice as he walks into the rain holding Smokey out in front of him. Lyla lunges toward Crispin as she tries to snatch her cat from his hand but he pushes her away causing her to fall to the floor. With Smokey still in his clutches, Crispin stares at the tubby cat with hate and Smokey begins to growl and hiss once again.

Lyla pushes herself back as she tries to get up on her feet when Crispin slings Smokey with great force out into the muddy yard. She lands in a puddle of rain water and does not move. Infuriated, Crispin quickly turns and realizes Lyla is gone. He smiles a very sly grin then slowly and quietly begins to explore the nearest rooms in search of her.

With tears streaming, Lyla squats down behind the island in the dark and quiet kitchen as she frantically tries to think of a place to hide. The murmured voices of her guests sound eerie as if they are off in the distance and detached in some way. Her mind is racing as she goes over the details of the past hour. Oh how she desperately wants to wake up from this nightmare that has encased her.

What is she to do? She knows she cannot run out and tell anyone what is happening, who would believe her? If Marcus and Marnie are gone, who can she possibly trust? How is she to know who is real and who is Crispin Duff?

Excerpt 77

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 76) Tossed Aside

Lyla is kicking and fighting as she tries to break free but Crispin is far too strong for her. Without relaxing his hold, he whispers in her ear, “Calm down.” Hoping he will release her if she acts like an obedient child, Lyla stops kicking and trashing about. To her surprise, she does not get the reaction she hoped for as Crispin rests his head near hers and whispers; “They say old coals are easiest kindled.” He tightens his grip on her waist pressing her back firmly against his chest and she feels as if she cannot breath. Crispin continues as his lips touch her ear, “But what if that old coal gets tossed aside? Will the fair maiden build another fire?”

Suddenly the cat jumps from a tall shelf onto Crispin’s head giving Lyla a chance to break away from her captor. She moves away as Crispin grabs Smokey by the neck pulling her off his head. Now with the fluffy cat in his grip, he holds her out in front of him as she growls and hisses. Angrily, Crispin shakes her once and this causes her to grow quiet. Glaring at the cat, he walks with her at arm’s length, out the door toward the rain-soaked yard. Slowly, Smokey begins to draw her hind legs up into a ball tucking them near her belly as rain pelts her back. It’s as if she knows what will happen next.

Excerpt 76

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 75) Where Your Loyalties Lie

“What’s gotten into those two?” questions a woman as she steps in front of Lyla blocking her path. Lyla gently pushes the woman aside and runs toward the hallway but neither Marcus nor Crispin are there. Aside from the music playing in the other room, there is no sound to help her find their location. The hall is dark, deserted, and she feels very cold and alone.

“I see where your loyalties lie,” says Crispin in her right ear. Frightened she quickly turns around to find one of the guests as he comes out of the bathroom. He gives Lyla a quizzical glance as he moves along. She is not sure if this is Crispin or simply a guest but she doesn’t take her eyes off him as he walks toward the crowded foyer.

Several minutes have passed as Lyla continues to explore the hallway, kitchen, and her office, but all three locations are unlit and undisturbed. She fears Marcus is terribly hurt or worse, dead. Suddenly Crispin pops out from behind her grabbing her at the waist lifting her off the floor as she screams. However, no one hears her as Crispin covers her mouth with his hand and carries her toward the veranda doors.
Excerpt 75

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 74) Struggle Ensues

“Penny was always in everyone’s business, asking questions, watching every move, and interrupting. Quite frankly she was intolerable.”  Crispin says as he rubs his chin with his fingers. “She witnessed my technique one too many times and shared those experiences with your pal Marcus.” He leans in very close to Lyla’s ear and whispers, “She should have played the coward instead, for now she is dead.”

Lyla tears up and does not know what to do. She sees Marcus coming down the stairs looking around as if he is trying to find her. Finally he locks eyes with her and she begins to shake her head no, trying to get him to go the other way.

Instead, Marcus rushes down the stairs toward Crispin who quickly turns, swiftly catching him as he reaches the bottom step. Immediately, Crispin grabs Marcus by the throat and pushes him against the stair railing where a struggle ensues until Crispin forces Marcus down the hall and out of sight.

Excerpt 74

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 73) Coward For A Minute

Lyla has moved back as far as she can while Crispin moves in exceedingly close to her. He continues his explanation of how he feels about her. “When I got to know you, the real you, what you believe in and the type of person you are. I knew I had to have you with me, no matter the cost.” Crispin reaches out and gently runs his fingers along the side of her face.

Lyla tears up, is full of emotion and very bewildered. She trusted Crispin, enjoyed his company, felt a true attraction to him, but he is not who she thought he was. How could she have been so blind? She turns her head attempting to avoid Crispin’s gentle touch. “What did you do to Penny?” she questions as she closes her eyes wishing this would all end right now.

Crispin looks shocked as he places one arm on the wall. “Penny?” he acts as if this is news to him. Lyla opens her eyes and looks at him. “What makes you think I had anything to do with that busy bodies demise?” He looks away and then back at Lyla. “Oh. Oh dear, I gave myself away on that one now didn’t I?” he continues as if this were a joke. “Let’s see, what might be the best way to explain this.” says Crispin acting as if he has to think this through. “There is a saying, it is better to be a coward for a minute, than dead the rest of your life.” he tips his head slightly and moves within an inch of Lyla’s face.

Excerpt 73

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 72) A Simple Tactic

“Your friends are all too concerned with themselves to notice us Lyla.” says Crispin. He is merely standing in front of her, not trapping her or holding her with his arms. He is stepping from side to side as she attempts to flee. “You know, I feel I need to explain.” he says softly, “Let’s go someplace private and talk. I know you’ll understand, just hear me out.” Lyla shakes her head no. “Please Lyla, let me explain and help you understand my purpose,” says Crispin as he moves in closer. Lyla backs up. “Alright then!” he says as if annoyed as he looks to his right. “We’ll talk here,” he looks back at Lyla tipping his head slightly as if popping his neck.

“You know, this all started because I needed you to help me gain access to people worldwide.” says Crispin in a very businesslike tone. “Don’t get me wrong, my goal is not to take over the world, but to rid it of meaningless people and to be blunt, dispose of the competition.” He waves his arms back as if to indicate the guests are on his list. He looks from left to right but always while keeping track of Lyla’s movements. “I’m like everybody else. I want wealth, power, companionship, and all the things I desire.” Crispin then steps even closer to Lyla as she moves back and presses her head against the corner of the wall. “You dear sweet Lyla started out as a simple tactic because you were the best at what you do. You were the key to simplifying my process.” he says in a calm eloquent voice as he follows the line of her face with his eyes.

Excerpt 72

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 71) What Are You

“You need not fear me, Lyla. I could never hurt you. I want you with me,” Crispin says as he reaches out for her hand. Lyla pulls back immediately and is shocked at how easy he can change from one person to the next and no one seems to be aware of his ability. She wonders how many times she has talked to other people but all along that person may have been Crispin!

“I care about you, Lyla. I know you care about me too.” Slowly he inches closer and closer. Lyla starts to feel faint and dizzy. “We can make things work wonderfully you and I.” Crispin says as he reaches out and touches her arm. Frightened, Lyla turns and takes several steps as she fights through the crowd to get to the staircase and to find Marcus.

Looking back she watches as Crispin morphs from one face to the next with no difficulty at all. She recognizes the faces as people in news articles about Duff Industries but most of them she does not recognize at all. The guests are so preoccupied they act as if Lyla and Crispin are invisible as she frantically runs from the room.

Crispin catches up with her in the foyer holding his arm out blocking her path as he backs her into the corner. “What is happening?” says Lyla as she reaches out trying to get someone to notice her. She then looks at Crispin and says, “What are you?”

Excerpt 71

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 70) Waiting For Applause

Marnie slowly turns around and stares at Lyla but does not say a word. Lyla begins to move in to hug her when she sees a familiar glimmer in the eyes. Marnie’s face slowly and strangely begins to change into Penny’s.

“Oh my god!” says Lyla aloud as she covers her mouth and stumbles backward. Looking around, no one seems to realize what is happening. Penny’s face has now transformed to someone else and then begins to transition to Crispin’s face. He smiles with a very sly grin as if holding back laughter then extends his hand to her.

“I know you know about me,” he says in a low tone as he methodically moves toward her. The jacket he had draped over his shoulders falls to the floor with a heavy thud. He looks at a man near him and instantly begins to take on his characteristics. Crispin holds his arms out as if waiting for applause for performing such a magical feat. He then repeats the process by changing into a woman standing nearby before morphing back to himself. Lyla continues to step backward away from him not believing what she is a witness to.

Excerpt 70

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 69) No Response

Is Crispin really an evil being that can play with people as if they are puppets? Is Marcus right about it all? Has Penny simply suffered a natural cause of death or is Marcus reading more into this than is real? Lyla begins to question if she truly knows what reality is anymore.

She makes her way to the center of the foyer where she can see into the living and dining rooms as well as the kitchen. With the power out and little lighting, many shadows fill these areas but something catches her eye in the living room. Lyla leans ever so slightly to look deeper into the gloom and is immediately drawn to the far right corner of the room. It appears to be darker than any other spot, but why? She takes several slow steps in that direction as she tries to force her eyes to focus in the dim candle light.

Making her way through the crowded room Lyla gets closer and closer to what appears to be Marnie sitting on a tall stool. As she approaches her friend, Marnie turns her back on the crowd and Lyla can see that she is wearing the wet jacket Marcus said he draped across Penny’s face. She recognizes it immediately.

“Marnie?” says Lyla cautiously as she gently taps Marnie on her shoulder. “I see you have Marcus’ jacket,” she gets no response. “You found Penny didn’t you,” again, there is no response. “Marnie. . . are you okay?”

Excerpt 69

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 68) Mind Running Wild

“I’m going to go upstairs and try to call the police.” says Marcus. “Come with me.”

“No, Marcus, I can’t. I feel responsible for these people. I’ll just sit right here and wait for you to get back. If I see anything odd, I’ll come get you.” says Lyla as she wipes away any remaining tears. Marcus sits down next to Lyla, facing her. “I’ve never told you this before, but I’ve always felt it.” He pauses slightly as he looks in her eyes. “I love you, Lyla. I always have, you mean everything to me and no matter what happens I want you to know that.”

Without hesitation, Lyla replies with “I love you too, Marcus.” They hold each other in a tight embrace. In all the years they have known each other and all the things they’ve lived through, they never discussed their friendship or the love they have for each other. They are best friends and have always been willing to do whatever it takes to put the other first. Until now, neither was brave enough to admit it.

Lyla watches Marcus as he gets to the top of the stairs where he looks back for one last glance at the crowd. Smokey, with her big belly almost touching the floor, waddles past Marcus. He smiles and points at the fluffy cat as he looks down at Lyla. She laughs and says to herself, “Even my cat loves that guy.” As Lyla turns and Penny pops back into her thoughts, she scans the crowd for Crispin or Marnie. Her mind is running wild as she thinks over the days since Crispin came into her life.

Excerpt 68

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 67) It Was My Double

“Wow, that storm is getting seriously bad.” says one woman to another as they walk past Lyla and Marcus sitting at the bottom of the staircase. With his arm around Lyla, Marcus finishes explaining to her how he came upon Penny’s body and covered her with his jacket. “I hate thinking that she is still out there in this storm.” says Lyla as she looks at Marcus. “Could you tell how she died?”

“No, and I know you think I’m nuts, but I’d say Duff got to her.” says Marcus as he stands up. “But for now we have to keep this quiet. If Duff finds out we are on to him, I hate to think of what his reaction might be.”

“Where are you going, don’t you leave me again Marcus.” says Lyla as she stands up as well. “I’m just looking around. I don’t see Duff at all.”  He says as he steps up one step for a better view of the room. “I don’t see Marnie anywhere either.”

“Maybe they are together.” says Lyla. “Then that would be very bad, Lyla.” Marcus takes her by the hand. “Marnie could be in danger.”

“So you truly think Crispin had something to do with Penny’s death?” she says as she shakes her head in disbelief. “The last time any of us saw Penny, she was talking to me, but it wasn’t me . . . it was my double.” says Marcus. “Remember? Marnie left to find Duff and that’s when I saw Penny run out of the kitchen just to be stopped by my double at the entryway of the living room.” he pauses for a moment then says, “When did you last speak with Penny?”

Lyla looks down and after several seconds she says, “I guess it was when I went to the kitchen after we heard that loud crashing sound.” Marcus nods yes that he understands. “I was talking with both Penny and Marnie.” Lyla pauses for a moment then sits back down on the step with a stunned look on her face. “That means Marnie was talking with both you and me at the same time? But how can that be?”

Excerpt 67

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 66) To Be Disciplined

“Your breath smells like decay and death yet you gloat as if you’re some wonderful catch.” Crispin says as he leans back but still keeps Marnie’s hands securely pressed to the rails. His voice calms a bit as he continues. “But nothing could be farther from the truth now could it Marnie.” He slowly looks toward the shrub where Penny’s body still lies.

Marnie stands there, trapped and in tears. “Why are you doing this?” she asks. “Why?” Crispin says in his normal steady voice as he tips his head slightly then looks her in the eyes. “Because you dear Marnie are a nuisance. You whine too much, complain about everyone, and want all the attention on you.” he says coldly. The calm tone to his voice is almost more disturbing than the words he is speaking. “So how do you like the attention now?” he grumbles as he presses his forehead against hers but doesn’t break eye contact. “Maybe for once you should think before you open that nasty mouth of yours. You my dear need to be disciplined!” says Crispin as it lightning’s twice followed by deafening thunder that shakes the ground.

Marnie starts to speak but stops when she sees Crispin’s eyes flicker wildly with green and yellow colors. The iris’ of his eyes spark and swirl wildly in no particular rhythm or pulse. He then grits his teeth and pushes against her once again as he says, “You need to shut up and listen when someone else is talking!” Marnie squints then tightly closes her eyes.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 65) A Narcissistic Soul

“You’re really something special, aren’t you Marnie?” says Crispin in a sly way. “Oh, definitely, especially if you think so Crisp.” says Marnie as she latches on to him for another kiss. Crispin abruptly stops her short. “Well I don’t think so and I wasn’t giving you a compliment, Marnie dear.” says Crispin in a calm tone as he presses against her causing her to take a step back. “What?” asks Marnie a bit startled. She laughs nervously unsure if he is joking.

“Maybe if you really listened to people for a change you would get a few things. But you don’t get anything, do you?” says Crispin as he backs Marnie into a corner and places his hands on the rails on either side of her trapping her there. “What are you doing?” asks Marnie nervously looking from one hand to the other and then directly at his face. “I’m teaching you a lesson.” says Crispin as he grits his teeth and lowers his voice. His eyes flash as if they are made of lightning themselves and this frightens her. She begins to panic but soon starts to feel sluggish and no longer in control, almost as if she is paralyzed.

“You have to be one of the most narcissistic souls I’ve ever encountered.” says Crispin as he grabs her wrists and pushes her hands down to the railing. Marnie squirms and twists as she tries to break free but Crispin is far too strong and she is simply wearing herself out. “You think you’re someone who is desired, someone who others want to be around, someone who others admire.” says Crispin as his voice grows louder and more harsh. He is very intense as he moves in close to Marnie’s face. Her eyes are open wide as she stares at him in disbelief. Gritting his teeth he continues, “You’re so self-centered you can’t see past your own ugly crooked nose.” He presses his nose against hers forcing her head back straining her neck under the pressure.

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To Dance With A Fetch (Excerpt 64) Invigorating

All this time Marnie has been sitting in a chair watching Crispin and Lyla as they danced. As soon as Marcus yanked Lyla out of Crispin’s arms she made her move and followed Crispin as he quickly walked out to the veranda. Rain is coming down in sheets and the ground is beginning to collect large puddles of water. Sneaking up behind him, Marnie taps at Crispin’s shoulder.

“Hey there lover,” she says as Crispin slowly turns his head to the side not looking at her but acknowledging her. “Well, well Marnie, it’s such a pleasure to be in your company, again.” says Crispin in an odd way as he looks back out at the yard. “Oh wow, that’s really really good to hear.” she says as she wraps her arm around his. “What do you think of this storm?” she asks as they stand there watching it rain. “Gives ya goosebumps, doesn’t it?” she says as lightning and thunder crashes down. She grabs Crispin’s arm harder as she squeals like a frightened child.

Crispin turns quickly and takes Marnie by the hand. “Ever danced in the rain, Marnie?” he asks as he quickly pulls her toward the end of the covered porch. The wind is now howling and outside is not the place to be during an electrical storm such as this one. “Well, not in a lightning storm, no!” says Marnie as she tries to duck back under the cover of the roof. “Let’s go to the gazebo then,” says Crispin as he pulls Marnie out into the rain. They run through the soaked yard as they head for the gazebo. A large bolt of lightning flashes and cracks just as they take cover. Both are completely soaked, Marnie more so than Crispin.

“Oh, that was invigorating I must say.” says Marnie as she wraps her wet arms around Crispin’s neck pulling him to her as she kisses him. Crispin pushes her back slightly.

Excerpt 64

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