Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Christmas Mystery

Part One--by Lenora Worth

Zelda Parsons found the package a week before Christmas. The chill of early morning greeted her as she hurried to get the newspaper, shivering with each step. She almost tripped over the big red box with the giant fluffy white bow jammed on top. But her red fur-topped booties shielded her from getting caught up in the curls of the ribbons.

“What is this?” she said into the cold air.

She wasn’t a morning person, but a present on her doorstep? That sure changed her grumpy mood. Glancing around, Zelda wondered which one of her neighbors had left her this early Christmas present.

Maybe that nice widower Mr. Gilbert two doors down from her Atlanta townhouse. Or it could have been the Garrisons. They were an older couple across the street. Their Victorian house was filled with antiques and quirky, creepy treasures from their many travels abroad. And they volunteered for just about everything in this quiet bedroom community a few miles north of the city. Or maybe … this intriguing gift had come from the equally intriguing man who’d moved in next door yesterday.

The man Zelda had waved to and later taken some fresh-baked pumpkin bread. (She’d made way too much, after all.) What was his name? Oh, yeah. Benjamin Rudolph. Like she could forget his name, or his ocean-smelling aftershave or his mysterious eyes or his dark hair. He’d certainly upped the interesting neighbor quota around here.

“Call me Ben,” he’d said, his voice deep, his dark blue eyes dreamy. “And thanks for the pumpkin bread.”

Zelda let out a sigh now, reminding herself they’d only spoken a few words. But she’d love to call him Ben any old time. Okay, so they’d connected but that didn’t mean the man had immediately rushed out and bought her a nice gift. Her pumpkin bread was good, but it wasn’t that good.

Forgetting the paper, she sank down beside the package on her porch, her chenille “101 Dalmatians” robe puffing around her like a belle’s ball gown. “Okay, let’s see what we have here.”

Then she saw the attached note, scrawled in a rather scratchy, shaky handwriting: Do not open until Christmas.


Linda said...

Great start. Is it really a Christmas gift or a stunt?

Jennifer Blake said...

Will she or won't she open the present? Well, if she doesn't there may be no story...hmm. Love this quirky heroine already. Next up?

Debbie said...

Great start!! I have 2 book signings today, so I'll read more this evening!!

PamelaTracy said...

Okay, I'm loving it. I'm seeing Terri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives and Ben is the plumber guy. Deep mystery. Of course, instead of "Where and Who is Dana?" We have this mysterious present. Whoooooo.

Margaret Daley said...

Love the beginning of the story.

Margaret Daley said...

Love the beginning of the story.

EllenToo said...

Ok you have me intrigued but I'll bet it's not going to be a nice surprise since it is a suspense story.

Lenora said...

All questions will be answered in a few days, ladies. I'm glad you all stopped by to read our little story. We did something like this at a recent NOLA retreat.(Our local chapter.) We had such fun and I loved being a part of it. You never known where a writer's mind will go. That's the beauty of this--seeing what each of us will write. So come back often to find the answers.

Janice Olson said...

What fun! Great beginning, intrigue, and suspense. Will she or will she not open the present before December 25th? Will the present be good or frightening? Is it something someone needed to hide in an unsuspecting place and then the night before Christmas the present vanishes? Hum .... A secret admirer that doesn’t want the new guy next door to horn in on his secret love? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s $100,000.00 because she is always giving and never receiving, and now it’s her time to be receive. So many possibilities … can’t wait to see. ;)

Pamela J said...

Such a surprise: a big red package with a giant fluffy white bow. No surprise in the fact that Zelda Parsons forgot the cold trying to invade her “101 Dalmatians” robe puffing around her like a belle’s ball gown as she sat beside it to study the colorful box more closely. Did she recognize the rather scratchy, shaky handwriting? She may have to think about that for awhile. If she knows whose handwriting it is, she hasn't heard from that person in too long to remember... for now at least. What about following the instructions? What if what is inside needs tended to right away: like food of some sort that needs refigerated? What to do? O dear!