****Previous installment of Vivid Black Finding Answers

Max running off. Ray blowing up. Henry was losing focus. He pinched his nose between his eyes to clear his mind.

McKinley was still in his duty car. He wondered if that would go sideways too. The car, diagonal in a handicap spot had McKinley waiting. Tears flowed freely and her mascara  ran. Henry opened the door and crouched down.

“McKinley, you wanna tell me what that was all about? Why were you with Max and why did he run? you tell me now, or we’re making a trip to the station. You chose.”

She turned to face him.   “Whatever”


Two for one today. This in spite of the free flow of my nose and the incessant barking which are both making me miserable. I guess you can be sick and create too. Someone send me a can of Lysol so I can disinfect my keyboard when this crud leaves me.

I’m writing for Lance and LeeRoy at “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog” for the 100 Word Song which features the song “Criminal” as sung by Fiona Apple.


And I’m also writing for Velvet Verbosity’s 100 Word Challenge. This week we have the word “Whatever” to  get the creative juices flowing.


Previous installment of Vivid Black – The Trouble in No Answer


The Trouble in No Answers went like this:

Henry Waters paced as he thumped his fist on his forehead. What happened? Everything was jumbled in his head. Sarah Jane wasn’t suppose to be there. Her dad warned his daughter to stay away from the Zombie Gauntlet and she promised. Waters spied Max behind the yellow tape, hands in pockets chewing on his lip, fighting shock.

Through clenched teeth he hissed, “Max, why was Sarah Jane here? Ray was under the impression she would stay away until these murders are resolved.”

Max’s face etched with fear and sadness answered, “Man, you know how that girl is, er, was. Thinks she’s knows, knew, everything she needed to know.”

Henry scrubbed his face trying to find questions to ask to get him out of the trouble he’d found. The Chief was on the way. He knew the trouble Sarah Jane found was now his trouble. His investigation had no leads; just bodies and every fifth Friday another innocent, surrounded in crimson.

A bright winter morning eight months ago, a body was found. Henry took the call with his partner Jerrod McEwin and CSU. Demarion Jones was viciously stabbed to death the night before. Deep bites covered his body. The investigation began and Henry was confident he would hang on to his record as best closer on the squad. Confidence waned into ambiguity as a pattern emerged with the third body. All the murders happened on a fifth Friday during one of those Zombie Challenges.

“Max! Sit on the curb and wait for me. We’ll finish this at the station.” He growled the order and pointed a finger to emphasize his words.

Blue and red wigwagged, capturing eyes while the siren’s shriek pierced hearing. Henry swiveled around as the white Tahoe rocked to a halt and Chief of Detectives, Ray Jacoby bound out of the truck.

He scanned the faces behind the tape, found Waters and stalked through. His happiness eaten away by grief and anger he grabbed Henry and snarled,

“Where’s my daughter!?”

After Henry shook his boss off, Max saw him shocked,  off balance as he searched for focus. Knowing the distractions, he decided to abscond custody, slid slowly into the crowd, and went home.


Trifecta’s  Trifextra Week Thirty-five challenge gave us the challenge to add another 33 words to a previous Trifecta or Trifextra post. I decided to fill in a blank between a posts that didn’t segue well into the next. It was awkward. These thirty-three words after the Trifecta prompted post “The Trouble in No Answers” clears up how Max got home in Revolution.  The large italic text is my extra 33. Here’s the challenge:

This week we’re again asking you to stand on the shoulders of another writer.  But this time that other writer is you.  Take one of your former Trifecta or Trifextra 33 word entries and build upon it with another 33 words.

Confronting the Hoard

Previous installment of Vivid Black – Hungry Like the Wolf (entire series HERE)



The chambers door swung shut like an old west saloon door. Ray felt like the Town Marshall getting ready to face the outlaw gunslinger. He wasn’t sure he would win the fight but the terror that ruled the town had to be drained. Townspeople wanted safety and order where none existed while the case remained unsolved.

A group crafted a special curfew and called it the Sarah Jane Rule to gain his support. It assigned excessive, radical, restrictions and had a remarkable number of supporters. Normally a town has curfew laws requiring teens be off the streets at a set time. Ray considered the so called “rule” that required everyone without a waiver be off the streets by 11:00 p.m., ridiculous.

Sarah Jane made the case fantastically personal for Ray, so he was determined his grief and pain, wouldn’t make him want to impart control that would limit what people could do and feed into their fear. He went through the door into the Equality City Council chamber where the angry beehive of a panicked community converged and gathered fear, hate and power.

Mayor Ben Johnson glanced up from the layers of paper meant to escort the collective to resolutions and conclusions as Ray walked in.

“Lieutenant Ray Jacoby. Thanks for joining us.”


“We’ve about talked this thing to death Ray. Anything you have to say?”

Ray stopped in front of the council, parted his sport coat; his right hand went to his hip and  his left lounged habitually over his 45 caliber Glock 21. Head tipped and a sardonic grin marred his good looks as he fervently confronted them.

“Are you people crazy? This is America. Equality, Wyoming America. We don’t hide behind a crazy curfew claiming it’s going to take away the terror. Leta and I aren’t hiding behind closed doors peeking out the drapes looking for the bogeyman. We’re gonna stand up and fight.”

He turned, pointed at the crowd,

“What are you gonna do?”


I wrote this chapter of Vivid Black with the help of the prompt at Trifecta. They give us one word which we use the 3rd definition as inspiration. The response must be between 33 and 333 words.

RADICAL (adjective)

3rd Definition:

  • a : very different from the usual or traditional : extreme
  • b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
  • c : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme changed : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>

Hungry Like a Wolf

Previous installment of Vivid Black – Lives Collide (entire series HERE)



Henry studied Zombie Murder files while he mindlessly wolfed down a tray of sliders. The stress was making him pig out.  If he didn’t get it controlled, it was going to kill him.


Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” works from several angles. Henry is hunting the killer and the title fits what he’s doing while he works the case. Gotta love the 80’s right?

A quick little snippet of Vivid Black thanks to the Trifextra prompt at Trifecta. Here’s what they gave us to work with.

This weekend we want you to write a 33-word response using the name of an animal as a verb.

Lives Collide

****You can find the previous chapter of Vivid Black HERE ~~


Sarah Jane carefully concealed the Tracfone. At home, she habitually moved it from place to place and the ringer was always off. It was under her pillow when she slept, or in her battered sling bag, an expected accessory. Her dad was a great detective which meant he was also detective dad at home and if she slipped up it would wreck everything she’d accomplished.

Zombie Gauntlet was her obsession. Max sent texts to “Zombies” and “Normals” with the route and time of the next challenge. Sarah Jane was the top competitor since it began. She had a reputation and a record to defend with each challenge.

Two years ago she asked for a cellphone. She carefully planned her reasons and arguments.

  • Her friend McKinley had one and her parents were super strict.
  • It would give them peace of mind knowing they could get ahold of her any time.
  • She promised she would never go over her minutes and texts or use it in class.
  • She was 14 and had good grades.
  • She knew kids who got smart phones in the third grade.

Predictably, her parents refused. Her Dad said the kids who are in trouble have few or no restrictions and kids and cellphones are a dangerous mix. Her Mom said kids don’t have filters and that they have neither time nor experience to understand the privilege and responsibility. Ray and Leta steadfastly refused to back down.

For Sarah Jane calmness was a rare commodity. In the face of defeat, she succumbed to the potency of her adolescence and her fury exploded like a roman candle. She stormed off to her room stomping, shouting and venting her outrage at the unfairness.

The refusal broke something. Two years later the collision’s wreckage had spun their lives out of control. Her determination to get what she wanted and their dedication to safeguard her innocence cleaved the family. Sarah Jane became disrespectful, dishonest, and defiant. Her parents found they no longer recognized their own child. Their home felt like a pot on the edge of boiling all the time.

The phone gently vibrated the text “ZGC Oct2910 1115pm”, then “21st along park/cemetery. End Lake” Sarah Jane felt the adrenaline rise knowing in two days she would “slay” Zombies and cunningly defeat the horde and win another Challenge.

Ray’s dire warnings didn’t affect her. The danger appealed to her; it was intoxicating.


This chapter of Vivid Black was inspired by the prompt over at Write On Edge and their Red writing Hood prompt. Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” is a no brainer for the backstory on Sarah Jane and the rift between her parents. This song came to me the moment I conceived it and it played through my head as I composed the piece.

Here’s what WOE gave us:

This week, you have 400 words to write about collision. It can be literal or figurative, large or small.

Her Serene Heart

****You can find the previous chapter of Vivid Black here.

Ray stepped into the garden of St. Therese Monastery and quietly wandered toward Leta who stood amid a carpet of flowers. Gently he slid his hand into hers and she calmly returned the grasp of his familiar hand. She turned to look into a his anguished face, crushed with grief.

“Leta. Sarah Jane.” was all he managed.

Gently she enfolded his shaking form into her own, and softly stroked his hair. They both wept.

He slid his hands up, held her face and tenderly kissed her forehead.

“Baby, she didn’t listen. She went out anyway and, and she’s gone.”

She tipped her head back to look in his eyes, pursed her lips, inhaled deeply and as the breath left her, her shoulders relaxed and her face smoothed into serenity.

“Ray, I knew—”

“But how? Brother John Mary said—“

“No. Not like that. I knew. Something just poured out of me and I knew Sarah Jane was gone. She has been so out of control, so defiant and it’s not your fault. Ray? Do you hear me? It’s not your fault.”

The stress and worry of the past day had no where else to go and his shoulders went slack as he collapsed onto the bench next to them. Leaning his head over the back, he let out the breath he’d been holding since he got the call from Waters. Smiling, Leta looked down at him and touched his cheek. Her serene heart and devoted soul, reminded him that her heartbeat was the other half his.

She took his hands and tugged until he stood. His arm around her waist, their hands joined in front, their love and grief carried them to the Abbot’s office where Leta would leave word of her departure.

Tomorrow would be another day, another test. Tomorrow they would learned how to live with the empty ache. Today Ray needed Leta’s heartbeat and Leta needed Ray’s courage to solve the injustice, to find the monster who killed their daughter.


Music and how it fills the space in my world has been on my mind a great deal thanks in large part to Lance at “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog” and his 100 Word Song prompts. I AM a musician, and have a ridiculous collection of CD’s and my iTunes library loaded with more music than will fit on my iPod. Consequently, and a good consequence I think, when I write, if a song isn’t running through my head already, I finish and then starting spinning through the jukebox in my brain for a song to go with the post.

Fix You by Coldplay came quickly when I finished this piece. It fits the emotion and the need between Ray and Leta.


Trifecta is responsible for inspiring this post with their prompt this week. They give us one word and these instructions:

Your prompt this week is the third definition of:
HEART (noun) — 3: personality, disposition ;

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.

The Stranger Inside

*** Previous installment of Vivid Black – “The Descent



He dropped his bags next to the sink, ran cold water, and splashed the heat behind his eyes. Dripping, he saw his reflection peering back at him. He was surprised, by the stranger he’d never seen before.

I’m not evil. I know I disregard the danger. It’s the job. I often drown in good intention. Hell, what did I do wrong?

Outraged he tore at the paper hanging from the dispenser, getting nothing. Exasperated he grabbed, yanked over and over, pulling feet of paper free. Angrily he wadding the paper, scrubbed his face and threw the towel across the room.


Lance and LeeRoy the WordSong Robot let me do the song choice this week for 100 Word Song. I went to my musical roots and picked “The Stranger” by one of my all time favorite artists Billy Joel’s. The song fits nicely with where the story is right now.