NP5–Chapter V (Actually Completion of Chapter IV)

Guys, I so have to work on organizing my chapters…I’m a bit behind on my plot. However, the editing process is proving quite enjoyable, so never fear! Here lies a continuation of Chapter IV, not really Chapter V…





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. In the last installment, Detective Farrell interrogates Boswell, Vera, and Ian. We learn that Boswell adopted an orphaned Elaine when she was little more than an infant. Vera reveals her bitterness toward the late butler’s protegee. And Ian reluctantly discloses his and Elaine’s close relationship under Farrell’s consistent prying: they were friends, but on Ian’s side there might have been more to his fondness for her. Farrell keeps a calm composure throughout the interrogation, if not expressing slight devious pleasure at uncovering stoic and immovable Ian’s affection. As the chapter is told mostly from Vera’s perspective, we get a glimpse behind her steely complexion and into her emotions and background: she ran away from a crowded, dysfunctional home at only fifteen and seems to be hiding something related to Elaine’s murder. 


In velvet slippers, twilight crept along the path and up the entwining brambles. The sun still rested beneath the horizon, yet the moon and stars had long faded into the gloaming sky. Morning mist whirled around the prickly blades of grass and jagged rose leaves. In stillness, the whole world quivered with expectancy.

A week had passed since the events of that inquiry which had transpired in the butler’s cottage, and though each had resumed his own duties, they all seemed to be holding their breath, awaiting some appointed hour: in that hour, they would all exhale, letting loose a terrific gale.

Vera slipped out the kitchen’s back door and meandered down onto the estate garden paths. The morning mist curled around her feet, and she shivered in its cold touch, wrapping her coat closer against the thin robe beneath. The grey bags under her steel eyes gave away the secret of yet another sleepless night that week, with nothing but her overpowering thoughts to keep her company.

They weighed on her like a sack of coal. Pressing, pressing. With each passing day, the load of her thoughts grew heavier to bear. Or was it her conscience? She had not believed she still possessed a conscience, yet here it had reemerged to spite her. Here it pointed its finger at her. And Vera could almost picture the accusing hands enveloped in mist right before her. But then the mist would melt away to reveal the gnarly fingers of a protruding branch.

In the early hours of morning, before the day had chosen to rise and influenced by the inclination of her mind, the garden took on the semblance of a haunted wood. Was yonder shadow that of a man hiding along the bushes? Was the rustle of the grass brought by the step of some other wanderer? Was the cool breeze as sharp as a knife truly the frigid breath of someone behind her? Vera whirled around to find the phantasm vanished from sight and merely the disturbed fog whirling in confusion. Yet the ominous feeling still permeated the air, and at every turn, she expected to run into either Farrell or Ian. Expected. Hoped? But for now, her spine still remained intact in steel rigidity: either meeting would prove disastrous, and Vera had no intention to seek out such an encounter, no matter how much her mind and faint moral flame plagued her.

Unconsciously, Vera had wandered onto the gravel path leading to the west end of the estate, winding up to the gardener’s shack. The crunch of gravel at her every step measured the ticking seconds until morning, when that accusing finger would give her respite in kitchen chores.

She froze in the middle of the path. Had she imagined it? Or had she truly heard the grating of someone else behind her? She whirled around, but the apparition did not dissolve into the mist. Caught like deer, she stood paralyzed in the clouded headlights of an approaching car. Reacting, she dashed to the side of the path against the hedges. As the car drove past, she could have sworn the eagle-like profile of Richard Farrell, detective, was sitting in the passenger’s seat, and on the side of the car she observed a star, the police station emblem.

Vera followed from a distance, as the car crawled along the narrow path and jerked to a halt in front of the gardener’s shack. Two policemen knocked on the door with their fists. A faint light flickered on inside and Ian opened the door in pajama pants, one or two buttons on his shirt haphazardly closed. They exchanged words. Ian closed the door and reentered his room. Not five minutes passed before he stepped out, dressed in trousers and a shirt. One of the policemen pinioned his hands behind his back with hand cuffs, and they both led him to the police car where Farrell nonchalantly leaned, lighting a cigarette. They shoved Ian into the back of the car.

As Vera watched the car snake down the path, she spotted Ian’s face through the window—determination etched on every grim feature.


3 thoughts on “NP5–Chapter V (Actually Completion of Chapter IV)

  1. I’m really glad that you added more to Vera. I have wondered about her for a while and it was great to hear more about her! I really cannot wait every week til you post your new chapter! Keep up the good work! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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