NP2–Chapter 2: Fresh Grave

OK, I was hoping to get a bit further in the story for this chapter, but, I didn’t have time. Nevertheless, I reached a pretty good ending point. Also, note: I am working on revising my previous chapter, so a couple things might not seem to fit in with the story line. Once I’ve edited Chapter 1, I’ll repost it so everyone can go back and read it. Sorry! I’m afraid this NP will be riddled with going back and forth between chapters.



Fresh Grave


Summary: For the Love of Elaine, set in the 1930s, recounts the investigation of young and sweet Elaine Whitney’s murder, focusing on the contrast of love with lust and the effects of guilt. The main characters include Gifford Boswell, the elderly Chadwick estate butler and guardian of Elaine; Ian Donald, the estate’s young gardener and close friend/lover to Elaine; Richard Farrell, the Chadwick’s newly hired personal detective; and Vera Sloan, the bitter, tough-as-nails, platinum blonde with an unconquerable ambition to escape her life as the estate’s cook. After going back and rethinking my first chapter a bit—especially the introduction of Detective Farrell—the story is left off having introduced all the main characters, Ian and Elaine’s friendship, and Elaine’s death in the middle of the night.


In the early dusky morning, Detective Farrell reclined in his devane chair. A table lamp to his right cast a circle of pale, yellow light. His legs stretched out on the rug. With his hand, he swirled the champagne-colored liquid in his shot glass. His eyes rested on the rising and bursting bubbles of his drink.

The clock on the coffee table beside him struck five in the morning.

His rumpled trench coat and bloodshot eyes betrayed another sleepless night. The crimson rose from the evening before lay withering next to the clock.

Six o’clock.

Not a sound. Dead silence. And the detective stared at his shot glass.

Seven o’clock.

He glanced at the time and repositioned himself in the chair.

Three past seven.

The telephone on the table beside him impatiently rang, dancing with urgency. Farrell stopped swirling his drink and intensely gazed at the drab grey walls just beyond the rim of his glass. He let it dance.

It rang again.

With his eyes still rooted to the wall, he reached his hand over and picked up the phone.

“Mr. Farrell, I had hoped this day would never come—that I would require your expertise only in tracking my business affairs. But there’s been a murder, here on the estate,” Mr. Chadwick’s pressing voice sounded across the line.

“I’m on my way, sir.” The detective set down the phone and heard it click.

* * * * *

           Farrell’s midnight blue sedan skidded to a stop beside the police car already stationed in front of the butler’s cottage. In stern equanimity, the detective stepped out onto the gravel path.

Vera Sloan leaned against the outer door frame, a cigarette tightly clenched between her fingers. Her cold grey eyes followed the detective as he strode passed her without even glancing her way.

Farrell stepped inside to the small living room. The roof hung low, slightly caving in towards the middle. To his right, the wall was lined with windows. A soft morning light bathed the floor up to the feet of an old couch to the detective’s left. Sitting on the couch, Boswell carried the dead weight of his head in both hands, weeping in silent moans, indiscernibly rocking backwards and forwards. The detective’s long shadow swept over the inconsolable bearer of grief as he walked passed him over the sun-bathed floor to the bedroom on the other side of the cottage.

Within the bedroom door stood Ian, his jaw clenched, his sharp eyes fixed on the ground a few feet away from him. The policemen idled inside the room, waiting for the detective to arrive. Farrell brushed passed Ian and stepped into the scene of crime.

Light trickled in between the branches and leaves of a small tree outside a window across from the door. The gentle shadows it cast flickered softly across a still, pale form crumpled on the carpet beside a bed. Her warm, tender eyes were closed. Her delicate face mottled purple and blue. Her light brown curls spilled onto the ground. Her hand she brought close to her face, clutching a cream rose. Its thorns digging into her lifeless palm, tiny rivulets of dry blood touched the floor. Around her, glass fractals shone like prisms as the sun played with them. And crimson roses were scattered across the ground like a fresh grave.

Detective Farrell knelt beside Elaine Whitney’s body, surveying the corpse, lifting his eyes and surveying the room. They crept across from her bed down to the floor, up the leg of a honey-colored desk. With deliberate calm, he reached for the body’s other hand which did not clutch the rose. Carefully, prying open its clenched fist, he took out a crumbled piece of paper, read it, stashed it into his pocket, and stood still.

“Detective?” the chief police stepped forward, breaking into Farrell’s thoughts.

Farrell stood up, straightening his long legs. “Murder. Suffocation. Most probably by her lover.”


2 thoughts on “NP2–Chapter 2: Fresh Grave

  1. Okay, Abby — sorry it took me so long to get here!
    Next class we’ll have to figure out a better way to do this…
    I love your description — very thorough. One thing to watch out for might be focusing too much on description and not on story, although that hasn’t really been a problem yet. So far, I think you’ve done a great job using descriptions to create your world, and it’s beautiful!
    I love the symbolism of Elaine’s death, and I think Farrell’s diagnosis of it was ominous and perfect. And I love how the opening is so still and full of anticipation.
    A few sentences in the opening paragraph were a bit confusing and/or clumsy, but otherwise really great work!
    I’ll keep anything else until class…. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Laura, for taking your time to go through my chapter! I so appreciate it!! I’ll look out for those descriptions getting to windy and the clumsy sentences! 😀


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