Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mystery at the Castle: Chapter Four: Reckoning

Today I'm sharing the conclusion of our current Progressive Story Project. Just as a reminder, this project is an exercise in creative writing. A group of writers craft a piece of fiction together, not by discussing the story, but by adding a section of the story to whatever those before us have written. The point is for each writer to contribute to but not control the story.

Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Graphic property of and story presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration

Our current story is called Mystery at the Castle. Before continuing on, here are the links to the first 3 chapters:
Chapter One: Friends for Life
Chapter Two: Suspicion
Chapter Three: The Past is Present

It's bittersweet for me to publish the culmination of these stories. Although I am excited to share how this piece ends, it's also the conclusion of a fun collaboration. 

I want thank, once again, all the talented writers who have gifted me with their time and effort and artistry in creating this piece of fiction. At the end I've listed them all and, where appropriate, provided a link to their blogs. Be sure to stop by and see what else they have to offer.

Mystery at the Castle, a Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Graphic property of and story resented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration

Chapter Four: Reckoning

Kimberly of When I Grow Up

"I had a hunch I was following up on," said Jill, breathlessly. "He doesn't belong here! Kath was trying to get away from him."

"Now why would my fiance try to get away from me?" said Phil with a sneer.

The officers looked at each other, confused. No one had mentioned the deceased was engaged.

"Everyone out of here, now!" said Jones. "This room has not been processed yet. You two will need to come with us to straighten this out."

Baylor gave Phil a shove toward the door while Jones took Jill by the elbow. The other women took the hint and left the room, heading for the stairs.

When they got to the hallway, Jameson was standing there. He cocked his head to the side. "Who's he?" he asked. He thought the man looked vaguely familiar and not in a good way.

"This is Phil," spat Jill. "My long lost step brother."

Jameson looked confused, then his face hardened and his fists clenched. He knew he had to keep it together. "So you were in it together!"

Quickly realizing how this looked, Jill panicked. "No, no. I didn't know it was him. We've never met. I only know because he looks and sounds like his brothers, who I detested."

Phil turned then, "Enough to murder?" he asked with a snarl.

This got everyone's attention. Ash shifted nervously. This was moving into very uncomfortable territory.

Baylor took charge, "We need to ask more questions of these two. I think we need to move this to the station. Jameson, you wait here with the other ladies." He pulled him aside, adding, "And pull yourself together or I'm pulling you off this case."

Jenniy of Climaxed
Jill's mind raced while she rode in back of Detective Schmidt's sedan. One of the other officers volunteered to transport Phil - the only good part about the last few minutes. He was guilty, she knew it, and she knew it was a long con to get back at her. Crazy as it sounds, that entire family wanted to see her suffer for being absolutely honest about her stepfather's behavior, and this was yet another way to hurt her, and oh man had it worked this time.

Phil's subtle accusation worried her. There was no way he could have known what happened that night. She was the only one with Mikey. He'd made sure of that. Kath and Ash had shown up later, but they had all sworn secrecy. They'd all participated in covering up the murder and had promised to be one another's alibi. So how exactly did Phil know anything? Did Kath spill the beans? She couldn't have! What kind of proof could he even have?

She was so lost in thought that she didn't realize they'd pulled into the Newport Police Station. There she was parked right beside the car bringing in Phil. He was staring at her with the creepiest grin she had ever seen in her life, and she realized he intended to end her, one way or another.

She'd felt a lot of things since finding Kath earlier, but the icy cold tendrils of terror that gripped her now were new, and she knew without a doubt that the truth was going to have to come out. Finally.

Detective Schmidt opened her door and directed her into the small department doors. He was trying to explain to her what would happen next, but she couldn't focus on the words. Behind her, Phil was laughing maniacally sending chills up her spine.

and Me! 
There was no way to keep track of all the thoughts flying through Jill's mind. Her friend was dead. Phil had to pay. But Mikey is dead too, justifiable in her mind, but does a price not still needed to be paid? After all, isn't this what she does for a living, expose the deceased's true story and let the justice system sort it all out? But she had not, she had broken the rules by which she professed to live. And now karma had taken a much heftier toll and not on her, on her innocent friend.

Yes, most prevalent was the guilt. Kath had died because of her. Jill could condone Mikey's death in her own mind, vindicate herself, but this one fact is inescapable: she had thought things through from what she was sure was every angle, had rationalized, compartmentalized, even exonerated herself. For years. The truth is that you can never know, never, what path the ripples of your actions, your secrets, can take. You cannot ever know what's in other peoples' minds. Jill had misjudged, she now knew, thought (arrogantly so, she now realized) that she had it all figured out. She had not. You never can. And now Kat is dead.

She had been brought to the station as a witness, for the most part anyway. She knew that she was about to become so much more. She owed it to herself, she owed it to Ash, who shouldered the burden of keeping this secret for way too long, to Kathryn's long time detective friend who truly seems to have loved her, but most importantly she owed it to Kath, who had paid an incomprehensible price for being Jill's confident. All the scenarios that had played out in her mind all of these years and never had she even begun to fathom where this would end. But end it will. Now. Jill closed her eyes, took a deep breath, looked at Detective Schmidt and spoke "I'd like to speak with Detective Jameson . . ."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ The End ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'd like, once again, to thank the talented writers who collaborated to come up with yet another amazing piece of fiction. Be sure to visit their blogs and see what else they have to share:

Sarah Nolan
Diane of On the Border 
Dawn of Cognitive Script and Spatulas on Parade 
Rena of Wandering Web Designer
Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom
Kimberly of When I Grow Up
Lydia of Cluttered Genius
Jenniy of Climaxed
Jules of The Bergham Chronicles

and me!

And for today's recipe, let's celebrate another successful collaboration with cake! 

Limoncello Sheet Cake, this quick and easy sheet cake is bursting with lemon flavor. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInTornado.com | #cake #lemon

Limoncello Sheet Cake
Limoncello Sheet Cake, this quick and easy sheet cake is bursting with lemon flavor. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInTornado.com | #cake #lemon

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Limoncello Sheet Cake        

Printable Recipe

1 box lemon cake mix and ingredients specified on the box (minus 1/4 cup water)
1/2 cup Limoncello, divided
1 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 heavy cream
1/4 cup Limoncello 
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 box instant lemon pudding mix 
OPT: a couple of drops of yellow food coloring

*Grease and flour a 9 X 13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Set aside 1/4 cup of Limoncello. Beat the cake mix, lemon zest and the ingredients specified on the box, using 1/4 cup less water than suggested and replacing it with the other 1/4 cup Limoncello. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake about 25 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch.
*Cool cake completely. Once cool, pierce the cake (not fully to the bottom) all over with a fork. Drizzle the 1/4 cup of Limoncello that was set aside over the cake and allow to sink in.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Mix in the final 1/4 cup of Limoncello, the powdered sugar, the lemon pudding mix and the food coloring if using, until stiff peaks hold. Frost the top of the cake.
*Store in the refrigerator.


  1. I NEED TO KNOW MORE!!!! What does she do? How does it affect her? Was it Phil? Will he be convicted?


    1. So many questions, so little time. Of course a few assumptions can be made . . .

  2. OOOOO, that can't be the end! My 89 year old friend loves herself some Limoncello. She may really like this cake!

    1. I don't know, we're talking about whether to leave it alone, write a prequel, write a sequel, or write both. We'll see.
      Looks like you need to make this cake for your friend.

  3. Oh chapter four didn't let me down it was awesome

  4. What a totally satisfying experience! First, to write. Then, to read! Loved, loved, loved it!

    1. I'm fortunate to have some very talented friends. Thanks for adding your voice.

  5. I have to admit; between network difficulties where I am staying and Pinterest blocking your link because "it could be spam" (I think that's part of the network problem) I was a bit distracted. I will have to return one day. In the meantime, Kudos to all your authors. It's hard enough doing this kind of writing and I can't imagine trying to write a murder mystery with a "add your own chapter". Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. Yes, writing in this way is challenging, but it's also a lot of fun. None of us know where the story is going to go.

  6. Somehow I missed this one when it was first published. I agree with Sarah that there needs to be a wrap-up!


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