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DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy DARK SECRET-PART 6.   



TIM SAT ALONE AT a table in a room inside the police station.  He looked up at the clock.  With all that had happened, he forgot he was wearing a watch.  It was four-fifty a.m.  He had been there for an hour.  He was supposed to be there for some routine questions.  He was exhausted and needed sleep.

A green blanket was wrapped around his body.  An officer had given him the blanket when he was brought to the station.  He leaned his head on the table and pulled the blanket tightly around him.

Unable to sleep he stood up and left the blanket in the chair.  He walked around the room, again.  Come on, he thought.  How long did he have to be there?  He was in mourning.  DAMN IT!  He just found his wife dead.  How much more inhumane can these people be?  This was not the way to be treated after experiencing the worst tragedy in a person’s life.

Officers walked back and forth outside the door.  A small window in the door gave him a glimpse of the activity.  He thought about going to the desk at the front of the station.  There was an officer sitting behind it when he came in.  Maybe he would tell him he was leaving.  Maybe then whoever wanted to ask him questions would ask him.  Then he could go home, or to a hotel, and get some sleep.  He was trying to cooperate.  It was no secret that when a spouse dies the other spouse is always investigated.  But, this was taking it too far.  He looked at the clock again.  It was a few minutes before five.

That was it, he thought.  He was…

The door opened.  A man around six feet and stocky with dark hair walked into the room.  A badge was on his belt.  His holster was empty where a gun would be.  “Sorry about the wait, Mr. Brown,” he said in a deep tone.  “I know this is a trying time for you.  I’m Detective Vincent.  I just have a few questions for you and we’ll let you go.”

Tim nodded.

“Please, go ahead and have a seat for me,” Detective Vincent said.  “Can I get you a cup of coffee or anything?”  Tim told him no and sniffed.  “I’ll get right to it.  Then you can leave.  Again, I’m sorry.  But we have to ask these questions while they’re fresh in your mind.”  Tim nodded.  “Thank you for understanding.”  He opened his notepad.  “Did you enter the room where your wife was?”  Tim told him he had.  “Did you touch anything in the room when you entered it?”  Tim told him just his wife’s foot to wake her.  But she did not wake up.  “But, nothing else?”  Tim told him no.  “Did you get a good look at your wife when you tried to wake her?”  Tim said that he could not.  He believed he turned his head.  “So you didn’t see her face at all?”  Tim told him no.  “How did you know she was dead?”

Tim sighed and covered his face with his hands.  He looked up with tears in his eyes.  “I know you have to ask me questions,” Tim said, annoyed.  “But if you’re trying to ask me about my DNA, it’s going to be in the house.  I live there.  I mean…did I touch anything else in the room?  Why are you asking me these kinds of questions?”

“Mr. Brown, we have to eliminate you as a suspect,” Detective Vincent said.  “That’s all this is.  Police procedures.”

Tim pushed his hands through his hair and pursed his lips and shook his head.  “I just knew it,” Tim said.  “I knew she was dead.  She was…She was laid out naked.  Legs and arms spread apart like some…” he shook his head, “She would have never laid in bed like that.  She’s a lady.  Not some…” he bit his lip and shook his head.  “And, she wouldn’t even answer when I called her name.  I just knew.”  He put his elbows on the table and put his head in his hands and looked down.  “I just knew,” he whispered.  The door opened.  Tim looked up at the door.

A man came into the room.  He was around five ten and smaller than Detective Vincent.  He had a badge on his belt, too.  His holster was also empty of a gun.  “Mr. Brown,” the man said.  “I’m Detective Marren.  I’m sorry.  But I just have a few questions for you.”  Detective Marren looked at Detective Vincent.  Detective Vincent gave him a nod to go ahead and ask his questions.  “I’ll make this quick.”  Tim swallowed and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  “Do you know a Miss Bonnie Forr?”

Tim squinted and looked confused.  “I can’t recall that name,” Tim said.

“Never heard of her?” Detective Marren asked.  “Take your time and think about it?”

“No,” Tim said while shaking his head.

Detective Marren paused and exhaled.  “This is where we have a slight problem, Mr. Brown,” he said.  Tim sat up straight.  “The woman you found dead in your house was not your wife.”  Tim gasped and recoiled.  His mouth hung open.  “It was Bonnie Forr.  We matched her ID with her body.  Her purse was inside your house.  We don’t know where your wife is at the moment.  We’re looking for her.  We need your help to find her.  Do you have any idea where she could be?”

Tim shook his head and looked confused.  The color in his face disappeared.  It was pale.  His mouth opened.  Nothing came out.  Muscles in his face began to twitch.

“Mr. Brown,” Detective Marren said.  “You don’t know where your wife is.  And, you’re sure you have no idea how this Bonnie Forr came to be deceased in your house?”  Tim shook his head.  His breathing was getting louder and louder.  “Does your wife know her?”  Tim squinted harder and bit his lip.  He was breathing loudly through his nose.  “Mr. Brown.  Are you okay?”  Tim looked away.  “Mr. Brown.  Mr. Brown.”

“I don’t…” Tim said, wobbling in the chair.  “I’m not feeling well.  This is taking a toll on me.”  He was close to hyperventilating.  The detectives stood up to go to him.  Curious expressions were on their faces.  “Where’s my wife?  What’s going on?”  Tim stood up.  His knees buckled.


I hope you enjoyed Part 6 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.



Stephen Wallace



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DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy DARK SECRET-PART 5.   



THE TAXI STOPPED AT the end of the driveway.  Tim gave the driver a twenty for a fourteen dollar fare and told him to keep the change.  The driver thanked him and waited for Tim to exit his taxi.  Tim closed the door and waved as the taxi drove off.

Tim carried his carry-on bag up the steep driveway.  He stopped at his wife’s SUV and put his hand on the hood.  It was cold.  He took a deep breath and exhaled and headed for the front door of the house.

He stood at the front door and leaned back and looked to his left and right at the windows.  Curtains were over them.  The house was dark.  He expected a light to be on inside.  It was three-thirty in the morning.  It should be dark, he thought.

His hand shook as he put the key in the lock.  It was a bit chilly.  But it was also warmer than normal for that time of year.  He pushed the door open and went inside and turned on the lights.  He closed the door and stood near it.  It was quiet.  He was not use to the house being so quiet.  The heat was off.  When it was on it was loud.  The house was a little cool.  Normally she would have it warm, he thought.

He walked quietly down the foyer.  Not wanting to wake her.  He turned on the light in the family room and stopped.  It was too quiet.  He looked around and continued down the hallway.  The carpet seemed difficult to walk on.  Each step felt as if he was sinking into the floor.  His feet suddenly felt like deadweight.  Like cinder blocks were attached to them.  His heart beat quickened.  His breathing was laborious.  He hesitated to go forward.  Several times he told himself to keep moving.

He got to the bedroom and looked in.  Light from the hallway barely lit the inside of the room.  But it was enough for him to see.  His wife lay naked on the bed on her stomach.  Her legs splayed far apart.  One leg from the calf down hung off the bed.  She did not look normal.  She did not look like herself.  That was not how she slept.

He swallowed hard.  He wanted to say her name.  But he could not get it out.

Unable to call out her name he walked up to her with his head cocked.  He stopped a few feet away from the foot of the bed.  He turned his head to the side to avoid looking at her.  Slowly he leaned forward and reached out and took hold of her foot and lifted it.  Her foot was limp.  He shook it.  She did not respond.  He shook it again.  It moved as if there were no bones in it.  Panicked, he let go of it.  It dropped to the bed.

He dropped his bag and half-closed his eyes and backed out of the room.  Once in the hallway, he ran back to the front door and snatched it open and ran outside.

He took his cell phone from his pocket and dialed nine-one-one.  The operator answered and asked what his emergency was.  “My wife’s dead,” he said, crying.  The operator asked him what happened to her.  “I just got home and…walked in.  She’s dead.  I felt her foot.  She’s dead.  There’s no movement.  She’s laying naked on the…Oh…I…I…She’s dead!  I need the police!  I need the police!”  The operator told him to try and stay calm.  She asked if he knew how to do CPR.  “She’s dead!  I need the police!  Help me!  Help me!  Please!”  She asked if he could tell her what happened to her.  “I think someone killed her.  She would never lie like that.  She would never…”

Sirens were coming down his street.  Lights were flashing.  “Sir,” the operator said.  Tim was yelling he needed help.  His wife was killed.  Someone killed her.  “Sir.  There’s a car coming to you.  They should be to you.”  She could hear the sirens in the background.  “Do you see them?”  Tim was on his knees crying.  “Sir.  Sir.  Can you see them?”

“I don’t know,” he said.  “I…I think so.  I see them.  Oh…”

“Stay on the line, sir,” she said.  Tim was crying, loudly.  “Sir.”  Tim sat down on the concrete driveway.  His head hung down.  His phone fell from his hand.

Three police cruisers drove up his driveway and stopped in the middle of it.  Six officers with guns drawn jumped out of the cruisers and rushed toward the house.  Tim’s head stayed down as the officers yelled instructions at him.  He put his hands up.  But he would not look up.  One of the officers zipped tied Tim’s hands for his safety and theirs.  They thought he could be the owner of the house.  But, his lack of identification and cooperation made that hard to determine.  One officer thought he may have been in shock.  He put Tim in the back of a patrol car and stayed with him.  He asked Tim who he was and what happened.  Tim would not talk.

Two officers checked the front and back of the house.  The other three entered the house.  The ambulance arrived a few minutes later.  It stopped at the end of the driveway.  Two medics rushed up the driveway carrying a gurney and first response equipment.

After securing the house the officers watched the house until two detectives showed up.


I hope you enjoyed Part 5 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.



Stephen Wallace



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DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy DARK SECRET – Part 4.   


DARREN WALKED SOFTLY DOWN the short hallway past the dining room and family room.  He was thankful there were no stairs to climb.  He was tired and let out a silent burp.  He fought off the hiccups that sometime followed his burps.  Quiet.  Quiet.  Quiet.  A silent voice inside his head repeated over and over.  He was at the first bedroom now.

Standing in the doorway he stared at the woman sleeping in the bed.  A sliver of light came from the bottom of the window blinds next to the bed.  Curtains were on the window too.  But they were pulled back and secured by ties.  A big Wingback Chair sat in the corner of the room.  A midsize dresser was to his left.  Another large Wingback Chair sat in the opposite corner.

He wished he had time to back up his pickup to the house.  He would load those things on the back of it.  Maybe he could come back for those things one day.

He reached inside his pocket and took hold of a small bottle.  His other hand reached inside his other pocket and removed a thick cloth.  He unscrewed the top of the bottle while watching the woman.  She had not moved.  He covered the top of the bottle with the cloth.  He turned the bottle upside down and shook it.  He repeated this until the cloth was soaked.

He screwed the top back on the bottle and put the bottle back in his pocket.  Holding the cloth at his side he approached the sleeping woman.

He stood over her.  He wanted her to move so he could get a clear path to her face.  The blanket almost covered her face.  How was he going to quickly get the cloth over her nose and mouth without her screaming and struggling?  A fight was not what he needed.  He needed to subdue her quickly.  Neighbors would call the police immediately if they heard screaming.

Grab the blanket and pull it down fast or slowly? He wondered.  He eased his free hand toward the blanket.  The woman stirred.  The blanket slid down.  He panicked and pounced on her.

He quickly got the cloth over her nose and mouth.  The woman kicked and grabbed at his thick hands and arms.  Her fingernails dug deep into his skin.  She twisted and turned and kicked and struggled.  Her fight stunned him.  This was supposed to be easy.

He laid on her to hold her still.  Her fingernails raked across his face.  Blood streamed from four deep gouges across his cheek.  But the chloroform and his body weight were too much for her to overcome.  The violent movements of her arms and legs slowed and then stopped.  They lay in a rag doll state.

Darren struggled to his feet and looked down at her in disbelief.  Her body laid there like it was dead.  Breathing hard he shook his head.  What a fight she put up.  She was strong as hell, he thought.  “Easy, my ass,” he whispered.

He went into the bathroom and closed the door and touched the walls to find the light switch.  He found it next to the door and flipped the switch up.  The lights came on.  The bathroom was clean and organized.  White on white.  That fits, he thought.  She was supposedly neat and anal.

Cabinets were under the sink.  He opened them and looked inside.  Everything was neatly in place.  He grabbed gauze bandages and first aid tape.  He set them on the counter and looked in the mirror and examined his face.  It was red and bleeding.  If he had not been wearing gloves and long sleeves his arms and hands would be too.  That bitch had done a number on him, he thought.

He took large pieces of gauze bandages and covered the gouges on his cheek.  Then he taped them in place.  He examined his medical treatment and nodded at what he had done.

He turned off the lights and opened the door and went back into the bedroom.  The woman was still unconscious.  He pushed back the remaining blanket that covered her.  She was naked.  During their struggle he missed that.

This was going to be easier than he thought.  He straightened her body in the bed.  Her arms were over her head.  Her legs were spread far apart.  He undressed and removed a condom from his pocket.  He tore off the wrapper and put it on the nightstand.  He would get that when he was finished.  He slid the condom on and got into bed with the woman.

He would have liked to skip this part.  She was not his type.  She was not bad.  He had seen better.  But an agreement was an agreement.  He positioned himself between her legs.


I hope you enjoyed Part 4 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.







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DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy Part 3 of DARK SECRET.   



DARREN PARKED DOWN THE street and waited.  His giant Ford pickup truck was backed into the woods down a narrow dirt path.  It was around twenty feet back from the woodline.  Passing vehicles on the road would not notice him sitting there and waiting.

He discovered where to park in the neighborhood on one of his dry runs.  He checked his watch one more time.  It was exactly one-thirty a.m.  It was time.  In and out, he thought.  This was not new to him.  He wiped his hand over his mouth and exhaled.  Why was he nervous then?  What he was about to do was not new to him.  But, the way he was about to do it was.

He picked up the black gloves from the passenger’s seat and put them on.  He pulled them on tight and wiggled his fingers.  He then opened the door, got out and eased it shut.  Nothing had better go wrong, he thought.

He leaned over and hurried across the road.  Not sure why he had leaned over.  Except that it made him feel as if he was sneaky.  He stopped at a telephone pole and stood beside it.  Even though his body was turned sideways the pole did not hide it.  He looked the area over and checked near the cream colored stucco house.  Everything looked okay.

He rushed across the yard and got tired.  It was steeper than it looked.  At six feet, four inches, and close to three hundred pounds, he was not made for running up hills.  His large muscles were not a benefit to him at the moment.  Beads of sweat on his forehead had become lines of sweat running down his face.  He leaned over and put his hands on his knees to catch his breath and rest.

Noises came from behind him.  He looked over his shoulder and stared hard into the night.  Nothing was there.  He then realized he was standing in the middle of the yard.  Taking giant steps he got to the house.

At the corner of the house he stopped to catch his breath.  Tall, thick, manicured shrubs ran down the side of the house.  He sidestepped between the shrubs and the house and stood there.  This gave him the cover he needed to fully recuperate.  He exhaled loudly and quickly put his hand over his mouth.

So far, this was not what he expected.  Getting up to the house was not supposed to be a challenge.  Things had to get easier from here, he thought.

He turned and walked between the shrubs and the house to the backyard.  It was darker in the backyard than it was in the front.  Still he peeked around the corner.

Convinced it was all clear he walked up to the steps that led to the back door.  Branches breaking and wings flapping froze him in place.  His heart was ready to explode.  Silhouettes of birds shot up toward the sky.  “Damn it,” he whispered, looking up at them.

Damn suburbs, he thought.

He walked up the steps and stopped in front of the doormat.  He looked around and leaned over and lifted the side of the doormat.  The key under it gave off a dull shine.  He picked it up and looked over his shoulders and back at the door.  He then touched the key lightly against the lock several times before he found the keyhole and eased the key inside it.

He grabbed the doorknob and pulled back on it and turned the key.  He doubted the door would open.  Compared to how things had gone so far, why would it?

The dead bolt slid back.  He was shocked.

He slowly turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.  He stepped inside and eased the door shut.  He then quietly turned the dead bolt to lock.  He found himself in the kitchen.

The kitchen was small with lots of windows.  Pots and pans hung from the ceiling above an island in the middle of the floor.  A large stainless steel refrigerator sat in the corner.  A matching dishwasher was next to it.

The clock on the wall ticked and ticked and ticked.  It was one forty-three.  He was good for time.  But he was thirsty.  What was in that refrigerator?

He walked over and opened the refrigerator door.  Light poured from it.  He closed it quickly, stood still and listened.  The house was quiet.

He had seen a large bottle of orange juice inside the refrigerator.  He silently counted to three and opened it again.  Light poured out again.  He grabbed the orange juice.  Snatched it out and closed the door.

He waited and listened before taking the top off.  He sniffed inside the bottle.  It smelled okay.  He brought the bottle to his lips and took a large gulp.  That was good.  He quietly smacked his lips and took another drink.  Then he set the bottle on the table.  He would put it away on his way back through.  Now he had to take care of business.


I hope you enjoyed Part 3 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.





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DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy Part 2 of DARK SECRET.   


Happiness Is Tricky


BONNIE JERKED THE STEERING WHEEL.  She had been daydreaming.  The Lexus SUV had drifted to the left and out of her lane.  Now she had overcorrected the Lexus SUV back across her lane into the right lane beside her.  A car horn sounded off next to her.  She quickly steered the Lexus back into her lane.  Her heart was in her mouth.  Squeezing the steering wheel, she looked straight ahead.

A dark colored sedan pulled up beside her and stayed with her.  Scared it was the police, she slowly looked over at it.  The driver gave her the middle finger and sped off.

What a jerk, she thought and pressed down on the gas pedal.  She felt the Lexus pick up speed.  “Shit,” she said and exhaled loudly.  You have to be careful.  You cannot afford to get pulled over.  You will not talk your way out of this.  She tried to calm herself.  But she found herself getting angry.  You should not have to think about getting pulled over, she thought.

Her worry was quickly being replaced by anger.  She thought about abandoning the surprise she had planned.  It was actually the second part of her surprise.  She had come up with the second part on her way to Carol’s house.  But she was not sure if she was going to do the second part until the moment Carol opened the door and let her in to use her phone to call a tow truck for her car.  It was then that she knew she had to do the second part of her surprise.

The second part of her surprise would be a perfect end to her night.  It would also be a perfect start to her new life.  It gave her goose bumps when she thought of it like that.  She could imagine her surprise unfolding.

She was amazed at herself for coming up with it.  The first part of her surprise was great by itself.  The second part was ingenious, even if she said so herself, she thought.  But now she was having second thoughts about giving the second surprise to Tim.  Did he even deserve it?  She sighed and looked down.

Seventy-five miles per hour was ten miles over the speed limit.  She eased up on the gas pedal.  Getting pulled over in Carol’s car would not be good.  But she would not be driving it if not for Tim.

None of this would have been necessary, she thought.  Tim should have taken care of his end in the first place.  Sometimes she questioned his love for her.

For six months he had been telling her how much he adored her.  How special she was.  He was going to take her away from that undeserving job.  She was tired of men touching her and pretending it was a mistake.  She had told Tim this.

For six months she had told him how she felt every week.  The only reason she had not quit stripping was because the money was good.  And she picked up private clients for her on-the-side business.

She had told Tim she would like to say good-bye to both those businesses.  He swore that the thought of her being with other men was tearing him apart inside.  He knew what went on with these on-the-side clients.  He used to be one.  It was how they met and eventually ended up in a relationship.

Bonnie giggled and cried when she thought about how it all started.  It was rather romantic.

Tim was just another customer in the club that night.  Then his friend bought him a lap dance.  She was lucky that Tim chose her to dance for him.  After she finished dancing for him he was already crazy about her.  He asked if they could go out sometime.  She told him maybe.  He gave her his number.

The first few months he paid for her time like everyone else.  But his constant promises to her of what he would do for her if he could have her all for himself began to sound good.  But she forced herself to be cautious before taking him seriously.  Men had told her that before.  Tim, however, seemed sincere.  He seemed to love her.  And she had developed feelings for him.  It was not the same level of love that he had for her.  But she began to want that boring dependable life and husband that he kept promising her.

She did not even care about their twenty-year-plus age difference.  Nor did she care that he looked like an average middle-aged man.  He was what she wanted.  And he desperately wanted her like no other man had ever wanted her.  This may have well been her best and last chance at real love.

But he had one problem.  Carol.  He could not get up enough nerve to end it with her.  He worried that when he divorced her he would lose everything he owned.  He thought a divorce would financially decimate him.  That was why he stayed in their marriage.

He was not in love with her.  He had said so.  She was an old boring habit of a wife that he needed to get rid of.  But he would not do it.  There was always an excuse.  But the truth was clear.  He was too weak to allow them to live their new life together.  So they both had to suffer for his weakness.

That is why when Tim told her that he was going out of town for a day and a night she saw her chance to do what he could not.  In a way, his weak loyalty to his wife was one of the admirable qualities that she liked about him.  It was also holding them back from enjoying their life together.

That was over now, she thought.  Nothing would ever come between them again.

She smiled and drove down the highway.  She could not believe it.  Nothing was in their way now.  It was finally their time.  Carol was out of the picture.  Tim was in the clear.

She sighed and imagined their wedding day and their first child.  Then she burst into laughter.


I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.



Stephen Wallace



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I have been absent for a while.  I have been writing a book series.  I thought if I burrowed deep into the world of the hermit I would write with incredible speed and clarity.  I was wrong.  I did get a lot done.  But I missed posting as well.  The next time, if I need to be gone for a period of time, I will let you know.  Now, to get reacquainted with you, I have a story for you.  Have you ever talked with someone about a plan that you knew was bad from the start?  But they thought they were smarter than you and everyone else.  Bonnie, who you are about to meet, has a plan like that.  Meet Bonnie in DARK SECRET.

DARK SECRET is a short story about what happens when everyone wants what they want.  But, no one considers the consequences.  DARK SECRET is in the realm of my books in The Ripple Series—suspense and intrigue.  I’ll bring all the parts of DARK SECRET to you in the next week, or so.  I’ll introduce you to some interesting characters, to my writing and to one of the many stories that I will bring you.  Enjoy DARK SECRET. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy PART 1.


BONNIE LED A DAZED and blindfolded Carol by her arm down a dark dirt trail.  A small flashlight with red plastic covering the light beam shined down on the ground in front of them.  Carol twisted away from Bonnie and fell.  With her hands tied behind her back and dizzy, she could not catch her balance or break her fall.  She hit the ground hard.

Bonnie sighed and reached down and grabbed Carol by the arm and hair.  Carol sat on the ground.  She was not going any further.  Bonnie yanked her by the hair and arm.  Carol’s head shot back.  It took a few seconds for the pain in Carol’s scalp to get through her drugged system and register in her brain.

Carol yelped and got to her feet.

“You keep it up and you’re going to hurt yourself,” Bonnie said.  “I told you once.  We get our money from your husband and we’ll let you go.  Now come on and stop stalling.  I’ll drag you by your hair with both hands if I have to.”  Bonnie jerked her along by her arm.

Carol slurred when she asked what money she was talking about.  Carol’s steps were unsteady.

Bonnie considered she may have given her too much of the drug.  She had purchased it in a syringe.  One shot was supposed to make her groggy and compliant.  Carol seemed to be ready to pass out at any minute.  Bonnie stopped and smacked Carol across the face.  “Wake up.  I can’t carry you.  You can rest when we get to the cabin.  That’s where you’ll stay until this is over.  We’re not that far.  Come on.”

“I just want to go home,” Carol said, whimpering.  “Please.  This is a mistake.”

“Shut up and keep walking,” Bonnie said and pulled Carol by her arm.  “Stop.”  Bonnie looked around.  The red beam from the flashlight cut through the darkness.  Trees were to their left and right.  The trail continued to the edge of a steep cliff.  A two hundred feet drop was beyond the cliff’s edge.  Carol stood five feet from the edge.  “Don’t move.  You’re going to be picked up and taken to the cabin.  It’s a secure location.  You don’t have to worry.  Nothing is going to happen to you.  Understand?”  Carol sniffed.  “I just need a yes or no.”

“Yes,” Carol said, crying.

“Good,” Bonnie said and shined the red light beam on Carol’s back.

Bonnie backed up a few feet and looked around again.  The red light beam jumped from place to place.  No one was there.  She shined the red light beam on Carol’s back.

Carol stood and waited for what to do next.  She turned her head to the left and right.  She wiggled her fingers and moved her hands.  Her wrists were tied together, and tightly.  She was still dizzy from whatever drug they had put into her.  She told herself to stay calm.  This could be over soon.  She could not remember what the woman looked like who kidnapped her.  There was no reason for anyone to hurt her.  She decided not to give them one.

Bonnie smiled at Carol.  Carol was pathetic.  She was a typical housewife who forgot what it was to be a woman.  Her stupid head moving around, Bonnie thought and exhaled.  Look at her, fat and disgusting.  Hatred filled her eyes.  She bit her lip and squeezed her fists and walked fast up to Carol.  She drew her hands back and thrust them out as hard as she could.  The heels of her hands struck Carol in the back.

Carol grunted.  Her body shot forward.  The force sent Carol stumbling six feet forward and over the edge of the cliff.  She screamed a split second later when she realized the ground had not caught her.

Bonnie heard Carol’s body crashing through tree branches on its way down.  She waited close to the edge of the cliff, listening for any signs of Carol groaning, or any life.  She heard nothing else.  It was eerily quiet.  The area spooked her and gave her chills.

Bonnie hurried back to Carol’s Lexus SUV.  She got in and locked the door and started the engine.  This area gave her bad vibes.  It was an area where people came to commit suicide.  Carol would not fit that group.  Suicides did not blindfold themselves and tie their hands behind their backs.

She reached into the brown bag on the passenger’s and took out the brown wig.  She put it on and tucked her black hair under it and pinned the wig in place.  She turned on the interior lights and looked in the rearview mirror.  A quick glance boosted her confidence.  The wig was not perfectly on.  “It has to do,” she whispered and reached behind her and put on Carol’s black coat.

She could pass for Carol.  That was depressing when she thought about it.  She was more than twenty pounds lighter than Carol.  She was also twenty years younger and in better shape.  But that horrible wig and dumpy coat helped her look more like Carol.

She drove out of the woodline and onto the road feeling good about how things had gone.  Questions still came to her.  Had she forgotten anything?  Did she leave anything at the edge of the cliff?  Did she drop anything on the trail?  Had anyone seen her on the trail?  Were there any campers near by?  Did anyone see her knock on Carol’s door?  What about when Carol let her come in, was anyone watching?

“Stop it,” she scolded herself.  “You’re paranoid.  There were no mistakes.  No one saw you at Carol’s house.  Her neighbors don’t have a clear view of her house.  That’s why you did this at night.  Relax.”  She realized she was squeezing the steering wheel and relaxed her grip.  She exhaled loudly.  Her thoughts went to Carol struggling inside the house.  She could not remember if she had left the house in disarray.

“Stop it!” She yelled.  “You’re going to drive yourself crazy.  You didn’t turn over anything in the house when you put that needle in her neck.  She was unconscious in seconds.  You overpowered her.  You knew you would.”  She sighed.  “Stop worrying.”  You did great, she thought.  It was not even your job.  Her thoughts turned to Tim.  She became angry.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of DARK SECRET.  If you did, send it to a friend and read a few chapters of The Ripple Series by clicking here on The Ripple Series.



Stephen Wallace


What Is This


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PART 3 of 3

It is best to say I love you, boldly.  Enjoy the final part of What Is This.  Thank you for stopping by.  

“I WANT TO MAKE love to you,” Laurence said.

Ann recoiled and squinted in disbelief.  What did he say?  He was respectful all day.  She was appalled at his shocking statement.  He had been setting her up all day for this disgusting despicable moment.  It was some sort of pent-up anger to get even with her for something.  Almost forty years and he has waited for this.  What a pathetic excuse for a human being.

“I see how you’re looking at me,” he said.  “I know this comes as a shock to you.  But I…”  She stood up and turned to leave.  “Please, just hear me out.  You’ll see I’m not a bad person.  My intentions are admirable.  I promise.”  She walked away.  “Please.  Just give me a chance to explain.  Please.”

She stopped and turned around and walked boldly back to him.  “If you think for one minute that I’ll be intimidated or made to feel embarrassed or ridiculed by you for something that happened when you were eleven, I can assure you you’re wrong.  I won’t be.  Whatever sick adolescent game you’re playing, you’ll have to finish it on your own.  Have a—”

“Just hear me out,” he said, calmly.  “If you just hear me out you’ll see I’m not that way.”  She stood there.  “Will you sit back down with me?  Please.”  She hesitated and, against her better judgment, sat at the far end of the bench.  Not near him like before.  “Just hear me out.”

“Go ahead,” she said.  “I’m waiting for the joke to end.”

“It’s not a joke,” he said.  “It’s real.  I’ve wanted to make love to you since the day I met you.  But the day I met you, since I was only eleven, making love then would have only consisted of us holding hands.  Today, with me being older, it would…consist of…a little more.”

She stared at him while he was talking.  His words were not capturing her attention.  His body language was.  His eyes shifted left to right.  He was nervous.  Sweat was forming on his forehead.  His hands fidgeted.  He cheeks were slightly red.  He was serious.  This was not some well-thought-out revenge plan.  He was…Was he serious?

“Anyway, when I saw you I—”

Her mouth dropped open and she shook her head.  Then she laughed, loudly.  “Oh, Laurence,” she said.  He did not expect her to laugh at him.  “Do you know what you’re doing?”  He said he was apparently humiliating himself.  “No.”  She laughed again.  “I’m sorry for laughing.  I’m not laughing at you.”  He told her it felt like it.  “I’m not.  I apologize for getting angry and saying those awful things to you.  It’s just…”  She exhaled.  “What you’re doing is classic.”

“You mean pouring my heart out and having you cut it to bits?” he asked.

“No, absolutely not,” she said.  “It’s sweet what you’re doing.  But, it’s misguided.”  He looked her.  “Can’t you see it?  Look closely and you will.  You’re a smart man.”

“I guess I’m not that smart, because I’m missing it,” he said.

”You’re looking back at yesteryears,” she said.  “Or, in this case, it’s safe to say yester-decades.”  He leaned back.  Although he pretended not to know what she was saying, he did know.  “You trust me.”  He said he did.  “Close your eyes and don’t open them until I tell you.”  He looked at her.  “Seriously, you trust me don’t you?”  He told her he did.  “I’m not going to sneak off and leave you here.  Close your eyes.”  He closed them.  “Take a deep breath and exhale.”  He did it.  “Do it again.”  He did it.  “One more time.”  He did it.  “Keep your eyes closed.  Now think back to what I looked like when you were eleven.  You see me?”  He told her yes.  “That’s who you want to make love to.  That’s your crush.  Now open your eyes.”  He did.  “Look at my face.”  He stared at her face.  “I’m not that woman.  I’m a different woman.  Keep looking at me and tell me what you see.”

“I see the woman that I desperately want to make love to,” he said.  “I see the woman that stole my heart and has had it for so long that if she wanted to keep I’d let her.  That’s what I see.”

“Laurence,” she said, shaking her head.  “You’re infatuated with the past.  That’s all.  You’re not in love with me.  You don’t want to make love to me.  And when you think rationally about this you’ll see I’m right.”

“I have thought about it,” he said.  “I’ve thought about it every day of my life since I was eleven.  I’ve hoped and wished for this day.  And if you say no, I’ll leave a broken man.  I’ll leave.  But I’ll be forever broken.”

“A bit dramatic wouldn’t you say?” she asked.

“It’s the truth,” he said.  She looked away from him.  “Can you say you didn’t enjoy our day together?  You didn’t enjoy our time?  If you say no, then I’ll listen.”

“Enjoying one another doesn’t mean—”

“Let me kiss you,” he said.  She jerked backwards and stared at him.  “No one’s here but us.  Let me kiss you.”  Her mouth opened to speak but words would not come out.  “Let me kiss you.  What could it hurt?  Why not explore and see if there isn’t something there?  Something scratching and clawing to get out.”

“There’s nothing clawing to get out,” she said.

“Let’s see,” he whispered.  “Let’s see.  Let me kiss you.  One time.  One goodbye kiss.  What could it hurt?”

She looked away from him and back and away and back.  He quietly enjoyed watching her.  No one said anything for a couple of minutes.

Looking straight ahead, she said, “Laurence.”  She paused.  His heart raced.  “What if we…do this…and regret it.  Kiss, I mean.”  She turned and looked at him with an expression that he had not seen.  Her eyes were different.  “This is truly crazy.”

“Then be crazy with me for thirty seconds,” he said.  She was flabbergasted that she was even considering it.  Her heart and mind were beyond this confusing twisted up state that younger people experienced.  “Thirty seconds.  That’s all I ask.”

He stood up and reached for her hand.  She kept her hands in her lap.  “Thirty seconds,” he said.  His hand was still out.  She sighed and reached out and took it and stood up.  He pulled her toward him.  She looked around.  It was a small park.  Anyone could walk up on them.  “Thirty seconds,” he whispered.

She looked around and was turning back to him.  “This is nonsen—”

He leaned in and kissed her and held his lips on hers.  He then moved back a few inches and looked at her.  She looked at his chest.  She was five six.  He was five eleven.  He leaned down and kissed her passionately.  He held her firmer this time.  She was not hugging him back.  He deepened the kiss.  He felt her hugging him.  They continued to kiss and held each other tightly.

Slowly she let go of him and stepped away.  He quietly looked at her.

“Now what?” he asked.

“You know I introduced you to ten people today,” she said.  “I told them your full name.  Laurence Williams.  That’s what I told them.  Just in case anything happened to me, they would know you were probably the last person to be with me.”  She turned and walked away.

“What does that mean?” he asked.

She stopped and turned around.  “I’m going home, Laurence,” she said and stared at him.  Then she turned away and continued walking.  His face felt heavy.  His heart hurt.  What just happened?  What did he do?  Was he too aggressive?

She stopped walking but did not turn around.  “If you follow me, I won’t object,” she said.  Laurence was not sure what he had heard.  “But, I’m going home now.”

He realized what she had said.  He had to force himself to be quiet.  He began walking to his car.  He was parked behind her.

He walked about ten feet behind her.  She was in control now as far as he cared.

She got into her car and tried to turn off her thoughts.  So what if did not make sense.  No one had pursued her like this young man had.  Not in her entire life.  She had never been pursued like that.  She laughed and started her engine and pulled away from the curb.  She glanced into her rearview mirror.  He was following her.  She giggled, felt foolish, and giggled again.


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What Is This


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This was a Two Part story.  I had to add a Part 3.  

Sometimes what we want to say won’t come out until it’s coaxed from us. Then we worry if we said the wrong thing.  Please enjoy the story.

PART 2 of 3

LAURENCE TOOK HIS HAND and wiped off the park bench.  Then he motioned with his hand for Mrs. Cannon to have a seat.

“Thank you, Laurence,” she said and sat down and smiled up at him.

“You welcome, Mrs. Cannon,” he said.

“You have to stop calling me that,” she said.  “We’re not in school anymore.  It feels strange to hear it coming from you.”

He cleared his throat.  “I’m sorry, Ann,” he said.  She told him that was better.  “It’s just…I’ll try to remember that.  It’s one of those good habits that shouldn’t be continued in this context, or situation, whichever is the appropriate one that fits what this is.”

“It’s funny that you say that,” she said.  He looked on.  “You said context or situation.  That brings up a question.”  He sat up straight.  “What is this?”  He squinted.  “This?  This, which we’re doing?  What would you call it?”

“I’d call it two people who haven’t seen each other in decades getting together to reacquaint themselves,” he said.

“Reacquaint?” she asked.  “That’s what you call it?  Reacquaint?”

He moved his shoulders up and down.  First it was the left and then the right.  That is what he did when he was nervous.  There was a better word to use than reacquaint.  It was not coming to him.  “I guess to describe this particular situation that we’re in, at this moment, would be to say that we’re catching up.”

She reminded him that the last time she saw him he was probably eleven.  She was sure that she was around forty-seven.  So they did not have much to catch up on.

“I guess then I’d describe this as a gracious woman who agreed to go to lunch with me,” he said.  She reminded him that she went to lunch with him because he was about to embarrass her by staying on his knee until she said yes.  “I’ll admit there was some coercion in my asking you to lunch.  But, the ice cream after lunch was consenting.”  He held back a smile.  “And, you going home and coming back out to meet me for an early dinner was an act of goodwill.”  She repeated goodwill.  “Then the walk, of course, was you enjoying my company enough to not want our time together to end.”

She shook her head and looked at him.  “Or, maybe it’s what I do after I eat dinner, like I told you I did,” she said.

“That’s true,” he said.  “You…you did say that.  But, do you normally walk for two hours?  You didn’t say two hours.”

“You’re right, Laurence,” she said.  “I didn’t say two hours.  My normal walk is one hour.”  He told her he felt honored that she extended her walk to be with him.  “Laurence,” she paused, “one of us needs to cut through this,” she moved her hands through the air, “mist or fog that we find ourselves in.”  She pursed her lips.  “Since I’m the oldest, seventy-four to be exact, it should be me.”  He looked at her, nodding.

“You’ve spent most of the day with me,” she said.  “You’re aware of that, right?”  He told her he was.  “Just because I’m older I’m not uninformed.”  He looked concerned and worried.  “What are you looking for?  Or should I ask what are you expecting from me?”  He asked what she meant.  “I don’t want to be presumptuous.  But I can’t help feeling that a thirty-eight year old, healthy man, single, I assume,” he nodded, “would want to spend his day with a seventy-four year old woman.  So what are you up to?”

Laurence panicked.  She caught him off guard.  Normally people were not that blunt.  But she was.  “Look, Mrs…Ann, I’m not up to anything.  I’ve always had a crush on you.  I’ve always thought about you.  Not in an obsession, over-the-top kind of way.  I just thought about you from time to time.”  She quietly watched him.  Even though the temperature was a cool sixty-two degrees and it was eight o’clock at night he could feel perspiration on his forehead.  “And when I saw you in the store I thought I’d ask you to lunch.  So that’s what I did.”

“Mmm,” she said.  “You know it’s not uncommon for boys to have crushes on their teachers.”  He said he knew that.  “And, am I safe to assume that this crush that you had on me is over?”

“Not…all the way,” he said, hesitantly.

“It’s not?” she asked.  He inhaled and held his breath.  “Do you know some people would view you as a sick perverted human being?”  His eyes grew wide.  “That would only be if your intentions were less than admirable.  Are your intentions admirable?”  He held his hands up and asked in what way.  “What are you asking me for Laurence?  What is it that I can do for you?  I feel it’s best if we get to the root of things.  Before our assumptions run afoul.  So tell me.  What do you want?  Don’t pause and think about it.  Just come right out with it.”


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What Is This


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Do feelings change over time or do they lay dormant and wait to be awakened?  

Part 1 of 2

Laurence walked into the hardware store and stood near the doorway.  Where was that list?  He put his hands in his pockets.  He remembered.  He had left it on the table.  What was on it?  He squinted trying to remember.  Duct tape, flashlights for two cars, one of those chargers that jump-starts your car if the battery dies, he tapped his foot.  If there was more he would have to come back again.

He took a cart from the cart area and headed down the first aisle.  Halfway down the aisle a woman standing on her tiptoes was reaching for a tube of something from the top shelf.  Her fingers were inches from it.  She needed to be a couple of inches taller to reach it.

“Need some help?” he asked.  The woman came down from her tiptoes and looked his way.  He almost took a step back.  Instantly he was ecstatic.  It was her.  No one else could look like that.  Green eyes, blonde hair that was no longer blonde, a warm face that had aged but still just as warm, beautiful, different than decades ago but still beautiful, it was Mrs. Cannon.  She was looking at him with that look.  The one she had given him and others 31 years ago.  This was Mrs. Cannon.

“Are you okay?” she asked with a look of concern.

He swallowed and tried to think of the right words to say.  “You won’t remember me,” he said, nervous.  “But, you’re Mrs. Cannon.”  She smiled.  That smile.  It had not changed.  Thirty-one years later and it was still there.  “You must be asking yourself, ‘Who is this person?’”  He took a breath.  “I’m Laurence Williams.  You were my sixth grade teacher.”

She squinted.  “I…believe I remember you, Laurence,” she said.  “Of course, you look different today.  You’re all grown up.  So, you live in this area?”

“I do now,” he said.  “I just moved here.  I’ve been in Kansas for the last five years.  I moved back to Michigan last year.  I’m surprised I’ve never run into you.  You look the same.  I knew who you were immediately.  You look great.”  He felt foolish for saying that.  Who would say that?  This was a seventy-something-year-old-woman.  Say she is attractive or something.  You look great sounds like you are talking to a silly schoolgirl.

“Thank you,” she said and smiled.  “I try to take care of myself.  You get to my age and you better.”  They both laughed a little.  “I just moved back myself.  After teaching I moved to the Washington D.C. area.  But I missed this area and came back.”

He listened.  There was a pause in the conversation.  He could not think of what to say.  For years he had dreamed of this moment.  He thought if he ever saw her he knew what he would say.  Now it was gone.  A blank mind had taken over his carefully chosen words.  He smiled at her as if waiting for her to finish a joke.  She quietly looked at him.  Too much dead air, he thought.

“It was good seeing you,” she said.  “I hope things are well.  I’m sure I’ll see you around town.  It’s not that big.”  He said that it wasn’t.  “Well, I better get going.  I’ll see you around town.”

He smiled and nodded.  “I’m sure we will,” he said.  “Oh, sorry, let me help you with that.”  He reached up to the top shelf and grabbed a tube of home glue and handed it to her.

“Thank you, Laurence,” she said.  “I was too short to reach it.”  She put the glue in her basket.  “I’ve got a few repairs to make.”  She looked at him.  “It was nice seeing you again, Laurence.”

“You too, Mrs. Cannon,” he said and watched her walk down the aisle.  His feet wanted to go after her.  Common sense told him to let it go.  He was being foolish.  Leave her with a positive impression of you.  He stood there.  The hell with common sense, he thought.

“Mrs. Cannon,” he said, pushing his cart toward her.  She turned around.  “Mrs. Cannon, I know this is awkward.”  She looked confused.  “Can I take you to lunch?”  He stood there.  Heart pounding.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Hoping.

She silently watched him.  Her mouth opened slightly and closed.  A smile came and went.  He was not sure what she was thinking.

“I’m not an ax murderer,” he said.  Her head recoiled slightly.  “I’m an engineer.  I just wanted to…to take you to lunch.  Please say yes.  It would be my pleasure.  You did so much for me.  Don’t make me beg.”  She squinted.  “It’s not beneath me.”  He dropped to a knee and clasped his fingers and looked up at her.  “Please?”


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The Dream – What It Feels Like To Love and Die


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Six months ago, January 2017, Kevin Day met the woman of his dreams.  He met her on a busy street.  Her presence was as dark and mysterious as in his dreams.  She was too beautiful for him to look away.  They walked past one another.  They did not speak.  They did not exchange a nod or a wink or anything.  She just smiled at him and kept walking.  Her dark hair, red lips, and perfect skin still invade his every thought.  He has tried to forget her but can’t.  He has slept three hours a night since then.  His dream goes like this.  Enjoy The Dream.  Enjoy your dreams.  See you soon.

The year is 1868.  We stepped out of the saloon into a dusty street.   We knew one of us was not going home.  She was beautiful.  And, she was going home with one of us.  The other one was going to the morgue.  We flipped our coats back.

The moonlight bounced off of the colts in our holsters.  We began to circle each other.  Snarls were on our faces.  Hatred was in our hearts.  The snarls and hatred were for no other reasons than we wanted what we wanted and did not care how we got it.  And, we were prepared to die for it.

Our hands were at the ready.  Fingers twitched impatiently to get ahold of our guns.  In the corner of our eyes she stood and watched.  Her stoic expression willed us to go on and fueled our anger.

Under that strange, bright moonlight, something was happening.  Not with the two of us, but with her.  A smile was slowly spreading across her lips.  She was breathing louder.  A dark presence was coming over us.  We felt its weight pressing down on us.  It was squeezing all around us.  That is when we understood it.

We knew what we were fighting for.  It was not for some beauty.  It was for it, for him, the devil himself.  We wanted to stop.  We wanted to walk away.  But it was too late.  He had sent an angel—a strong, seductive angel.  And she was not going back empty handed.

We stared hard at each other—slowly going around and around.  Not out of anger, but in desperation.  We could hear each other.  Break her spell.  We don’t have to do this.  Then our hands reached for our guns.  The colts cleared the holsters.  The moonlight danced and bounced off the metal.  We heard a loud guttural laugh.  Both barrels pointed at their targets at the same time.

We made our peace with one another and closed our eyes.

Neither one of us was going home.  Not to the place that we called home.  Only she was going home—wherever that was.  We both had a date with the undertaker and the morgue.  Our souls would belong to her.

We heard laughter when we pulled the triggers.


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