Mystery and Crime Fiction posted December 1, 2017


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Did You Hear That-sentence starts the story.

Deja Vu

by frogbook

This Sentence Starts The Story Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.

“Did you hear that?”
 
“I didn’t hear a thing,” said James Barton. “Now would you go the hell to sleep!”
 
Shelly Barton’s lip flew out into a pout.  “Fine,” she muttered, but she thought to herself, ‘I’ll show him.”
 
There it was again. Shelly grabbed the pistol they brought with them, and crept outside the tent without a sound. She was shaking as she surveyed the area. The moon was about half full so there was light among the shadows. She saw a movement to her left, and spun to see a mother skunk and her two babies.
 
She laughed a shuddering chuckle, took a deep breath, and returned to the tent. She lay down on the one inch thick pad, and felt a couple of rocks underneath. She pulled them out and threw them hard against the ground, as if she could hurt them back. Her husband snored through the whole episode.
 
Why did she let him talk her into going on a camping trip? He knew she preferred camping in the Embassy Suites or a similar area, not in the cold tent, filthy with no shower for three days! He claimed it would help them get closer, but in her heart, she knew they would never be ‘closer’ again.
 
He just wasn’t like her. He didn’t care about other people. He was too wrapped up in himself. Finding out about the cheating was just the icing on the cake. She had been done for a while now.  When he had suggested this trip, she knew she should just say no, but she began thinking of how they were when they were young and really in love, and decided to go. As soon as they got to the camp site he began talking about what she could cook, and assigned her jobs to do. Meanwhile, he set up the tent as well as the hammock, plopped into the latter, and began his usual selfish tirade, while she carried supplies from the SUV like a pack horse.
 
She should have left then, but there was plan B.
 
She had no service on her cell phone, so she used the excuse of forgetting to bring some feminine products….an item that would take care of more than one problem. She drove the SUV to the General Store, nearly twenty miles away and made the call. Then she went back to camp.
 
James was already fussing that he was hungry. She also bought a couple apple fritters at the store so she immediately handed him one.
 
“I thought these looked delicious,” she said.
 
“If I wanted this shit, I could buy it myself, Shelly. I thought you would cook some breakfast.”
 
“Well, I thought you’d catch a few fish by the time I got back too, so we’re even,” she snarled back.
 
“Oh, I’m sorry Shel, let’s not fight. We came here to make things different,” he cooed massaging her shoulders.
 
Slowly his hands slipped to her breasts, then lower. She squirmed away, “I told you I had to get feminine products. There’s no use starting something we can’t finish.”
 
James’ face turned red and a vein in his forehead bulged. He stood up and started to stalk away, but then thought better of it.  He seemed to gather himself, then acted like he was doing something with the fire.
 
When he turned back to Shelly his face was composed and he said, “Well, things happen. Let’s take a walk together. There’s a trail down to the river that looks beautiful.”
 
She reluctantly took his hand and they started down the trail. It really was beautiful, so many wildflowers. Fat squirrels sat nibbling on acorns, seemingly impervious to the presence of humans. Feathery ferns swayed in a gentle breeze. When they arrived at the river, she was surprised to see a sandy beach, sparkling with bits of white quartz. The water was clear and deep. She saw fish swimming and a large turtle.  
 
She had just begun to relax, basking on a rock near the river. James stood up on the rock and began to act like he was walking a tightrope. He moved to another higher rock nearby.
 
Shelly couldn’t help herself, “Watch out Jimmy, you fool, you’re going to fall.”
 
“Yes, Mother,” he said laughing. “Gosh Shel, don’t be a fuddy-duddy. I’s fun, come on up.”
 
Just then he slid on a wet part of the rock, and fell to the rock Shelly was sitting on,nearly knocking her into the fast- moving stream.
 
“Dammit, you are an idiot,” she said dusting off a scrape on her bare thigh. “You nearly made me fall. Now look at my legs, they are bleeding everywhere from sliding down the rock.”
 
“Gee, Shel, I’m sorry. God, they’re only little scrapes.”
 
She looked at him and started up the trail toward camp, walking swiftly away from him.
 
“Shel,” she heard him call.
 
She used the thermos of water to wash the scrapes, put antibiotic cream on, and donned a pair of jeans.
 
The rest of the day, they barely spoke. She sat outside in a lounge chair and read her book, he sat in the tent. When evening approached, he didn’t tell her anything about cooking. Instead he was busy around the fire and the small grill. Soon smells that made her mouth water began to waft to her chair. It was getting too dark to read so she wandered over.
 
“Whatcha cookin’?”
 
“Now, I wanted it to be a surprise, this was our special dinner. Have a seat it’s almost ready.”
 
“Well let me help.”
 
“No, no, this is my treat,” he said putting their plates on a small folding table and moving it to where she was sitting.
 
Two perfectly cooked steaks with blackened shrimp and grilled veggies sat on china plates.
He said, “Wait a minute,” and produced a chilled Merlot.
 
“Ooh fancy,” Shelly said, thinking, ‘Gosh he really is trying.’
 
“Never too much for ma cherie,” he said in a French accent.  They both laughed.
 
 
 
When the second bottle of wine was opened they were both laughing much more. When it was empty, they were in the tent making love.
 
 
Just as they finished and he rolled over with a sigh, there was a noise outside the tent.
 
“What was that?” Shelly said feeling a déjà vu from the night before.
 
This time James quickly threw on a pair of sweats, and went out of the tent. Shelly covered herself with the blanket straining her ears.
 
Suddenly she heard voices. One was James talking in low tones, but the other was a man who was shouting.
 
“Oh, no, you’re not gonna welch out on this. I want the other half of my money.”
 
To Shelly, the voice sounded vaguely familiar. She heard James then.
 
“Okay, okay, calm down. I changed my mind but I’ll give you the money.”
 
“You don’t understand. You hired me to do a job and I’m going to finish it.”
 
Shelly heard a struggle, then a man appeared at the tent. As soon as she looked up, he shot her between the eyes. She fell back with a surprised look on her face.
 
“Shit, why did you have to do it. I gave you the money. I told you, we got back together. I changed my mind, I changed my mind,” James said, head in hands weeping.
 
“Sorry, old boy, I couldn’t leave any witnesses.”
 
“What do you mean? I’m here. She wouldn’t know who you were, or what you were doing here.”
 
“Oh, my dear James, but she would. She called and wired me the money this morning to kill you,” he said as the bullet entered James’ forehead.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 

 


This Sentence Starts The Story
Contest Winner


Ah, nice night for camping-care to come along? Heh, Heh, Heh.
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