Angela Goff posted a new Visual Dare that hit me right in the gut...and not because of the prompt - gutted. And gave me the opening lines of my upcoming mystery, "Not a Whisper", that I will be writing during my August participation of Camp NaNoWri Mo.
Needless to say, what you'll read below is a rough draft and much of it may never make it to the final book, but it gave me the kick in the butt I needed to get started. Now I am defining my characters and may attempt a rough outline before August 1st hits.
Pansy Tucker, her aunt, was the unofficial founder of this unorthodox group - or maybe the unorthodox founder of this unofficial group would be a better description. She sipped her tea and listened to the voices rising above the clatter of dishes and silverware as everyone finished eating and continued sharing their snippets of gossip.
“Yeah, that fire was something else. The volunteers had their hands full. I heard they brought in the Bradford Fire Department, too. The chief told Tony it was so tough to fight cause of the way it’s been built up and added to over the years. That and it had probably been burning for hours before it got seen and called in.” This from the gentleman at the end of the table, Tom she thought, struggling to remember who was who, married to the tiny lady beside him.
The oldest person at the table, Bob Rounder spoke up. “Well I heard it was so bad the walls fell smack into the basement. They had to let it burn to the ground.”
“My Jimmy said it was really bad. Worst he’d ever seen since he started as a volunteer.” This from a woman who walked over from a neighboring table.
“Hi Janie. Was Jimmy at the fire?” asked Tom’s wife, Edy.
Before Janie could answer, Ed Williams piped in, “You know this ain’t the first fire at the Drop Inn. Back in 80’s when old Earl owned it, there were a couple of ‘em. Never burned to the ground though and he just kept adding on.”
The only waitress and also owner of Kat’s Klondike Kafe, Kat Dailey, started refilling coffee cups as she listened in on the conversations. “More tea, Pansy?”
“Sure, but fetch me some more Sweet n’ Low, too. Gotta watch my girlish figure.” Pansy hefted her more than ample bosoms in her hand, smiling innocently at her table mates.
Edy looked up from her coffee, “Did you hear about the fire last night, Kat? I can’t believe the Drop Inn is gone.”
“I know,” answered Kat, looking over her shoulder at her son Danny sitting by the cash register listening to his iPod. “Danny.” No response. “DANNY!”
He pulled out an ear bud, “Yeah?”
“Turn up the scanner, might hear some more news about the fire.”
Danny reached over and turned the volume up a bit, then went back to his music.
Kat turned to Edy’s husband, Tom. “You up for another cuppa decaf?”
“Sure thing and you got another sugar-free blueberry muffin back there?”
“Sure do, been saving it just for you, Tom.”
She walked towards the counter where she stored the pastries and made a note to pick up more blueberries when she went to town. Bradford was a good fifteen minutes away and she liked to make as few trips as possible.
The conversation around her stopped as the screen door slammed and Ed Williams walked in. “They found a body,” he announced. “They found a body in the basement of the Drop Inn.”