“This must be some kind of a joke,” Priscilla screamed.

“I assure you that it’s no joke,” Gregson said. “One of you is a murderer.”

“But why?” Melinda asked.

“I think, that if we read the rest of Dan’s novel, we’ll know the motive and who’s going to get killed next,” Gregson said.

“Heck with that!” Suzanne shouted. “I’m calling the police!”

A bolt of lightning cut through the black curtain of night, like a pair of jagged sewing scissors, wielded by an unruly preschooler, and the cherry tree outside the latticed window split in-two and caught fire.

“My father planted that tree,” Suzanne said, “right after he was caught having an affair with his secretary. She was a virgin.”

Dan was trying to say something, but couldn’t—the women were in choreographed conversation, like a hive mind.

“Quiet!” He shouted, and they got silent.

“The murderer…”


Thunder filled the room.

“Like I was saying…” Suzanne said.

“Quiet!” Dan demanded. “In Chapter 3, the would-be killer drinks orange juice laced with cyanide. One of you, read ahead.”

“That’s it! I’m calling the police!” Suzanne marched to the rotary phone and dialed. “Wait a second… there’s no dial tone. The phone lines are out.”

“It’s the 21st Century,” Sharon said. She pulled her pink phone from her dress pocket with the rape button on speed-dial.

She pressed it.

Nothing happened.

“There’s no signal and no cell phone tower that works between these hills,” Suzanne said. “You have to call-out of here on a land-line.”

“You planned this, didn’t you?” Billie accused.

“Now, wait a second,” Gregson said. “We can all leave.”

“That’s a brilliant idea,” Marilyn laughed, and she opened the door.

Rain was coming down like cats and dogs howling in pain, and rivers were snaking their way down the gravel driveway.

Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins were sliding into each other, as they flowed down the mountain. Trees were uprooted and blocking the road.

“Well, at least my car is okay,” Dan said.

The dirty looks he got were worse than the kindergarten expression, “Butt Face”.

“So much for that plan,” Gregson said. “We’ll have to wait-out the storm and read the rest of Dan’s Novel. It’s the only way to stay alive.”


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