Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Three?
From Trigger Yappy
Chapter Three Continued…
Yolanda gave my wrist a firm shake. “I can see bringing you here
was a mistake. You’re much more of a liability than I’d imagined.” She
leaned in close to me and whispered, “Fran’s probably in the back. I
don’t want her to overhear you dissing the merchandise.”
“Why not? It may help your negotiating position. Let her know not
everybody is crazy about chickens.”
How could this stuff be popular?
I’m not totally alone on this one, right?
Was there an entire chicken fashion movement taking the country
by storm and I was the only one not hip to it? It wouldn’t be the first
time I was totally out of the loop. After all, there had to be enough of a
clientele to keep a high-end store like this one in the black.
“Is that a pot holder?” I pointed to a table that housed various
chicken-theme items from pot holders to salt and pepper shakers.
“Where are your handbags?”
A thought suddenly struck me. “She’s not carrying your bags?” I
whispered. Yolanda sniffed the air as if looking for a reason not to
answer me. “Why isn’t she carrying your bags? They’re perfect for this
Yolanda nodded. “Thank you, Maggie. I know you love my
designs. You’re a true friend.”
Love her designs?
That was a bit of stretch, but, still, I couldn’t imagine a store more
apropos then this to feature them.
Yolanda clacked over to the back of the store, where a creamy
canary-yellow curtain hung, presumably separating the front of the
store from the back. Yolanda stood gingerly in front of the curtain
and cleared her throat. “Umm . . . Fran? Hello?”
When no answer came, Yolanda glanced nervously at me and
made a face. “I can’t imagine where she could be. Do you think she
stepped out to grab a cup of coffee or something and forgot to lock
“Uh . . . Why don’t you try her cell phone?” I asked. I realized the
store lights were off. It didn’t mean anything, of course, the store was
still well lit from the sunshine pouring through the bay window. But
didn’t most store owners put the lights on anyway? Wasn’t that the
first thing they did when opening up the shop?
A feeling of unease began to snake through my belly.
And what kind of store owner bopped out to get a cup of coffee
and left the store unlocked?
Perhaps an assistant has the morning shift? An assistant who forgot to
lock the shop?
“Maybe she’s in the back and she just hasn’t heard us,” I ventured.
Yolanda nodded and called loudly, “Yoo-hoo, Fran!” When no
response came, Yolanda said, “Maybe we should just go.”
But now I was like a dog with a bone, unable to let go. “Call her on
her cell phone.” I insisted. After all, if someone had found the bar
unlocked and unattended Rachel would definitely want to know. “If
she’s not in the neighborhood, she can tell us how to lock up—”
“Are you kidding?” Yolanda’s hand fluttered to her chest and
fiddled nervously with her necklace chain. “If anything is missing or
disrupted or anything she’ll blame me. The woman is a nightmare.”
“Then why are we here?”
Yolanda looked at me like I was idiot. “Because I want to buy the
place.” She flung her arms out wide, as if to encompass the store.
“Look at it. It’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”
“Except that it’s missing your designer bags.”
“Right,” Yolanda said. “I said beautiful, not perfect.”
I laughed and headed toward the curtain.
“Where are you going?” Yolanda demanded, her voice suddenly
“I’m going to see if she’s in the back.”
Yolanda blocked my path “No, don’t go back there. Let’s just go. I
told you if anything is missing or—”
“Come on, Yo. What if she fell off a ladder and hit her head or
something. I can’t leave without—“
“Please don’t, Maggie. I got a bad feeling,” Yolanda whispered.
I looked straight into her eyes. “I got the same bad feeling.”
Yolanda swallowed hard and nodded.
“I can’t leave without checking the back,” I said.
She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. “I know. I know
how you are, Maggie, and that’s why I love you.”
Together Yolanda and I both pushed open the yellow curtain, part
of me feeling ridiculous, as if I was getting ready to expose the Wizard
of Oz, the other part of me trying fiercely to ignore the anxiety in my
The curtain opened up to a narrow passageway. There were three
doors. One on the right and two on the left.
“Fran?” Yolanda called out.
The first doorway on the right was open, revealing a small office,
the size of a large closet. There were several file cabinets and a tidy
little desk. Yolanda let out a noisy exhale of breath.
“Oh, thank God! I thought for sure we were going to find her shot
dead at her desk!” Yolanda said.
Yes, the same awful thought had also occurred to me.
“What else is back here?” I asked.
Yolanda shrugged. “I’ve never been back here. A bathroom, I
suppose, and . . .”
I turned down the hallway and tried the knob to the first door on
the left. It turned and opened to an empty bathroom. Yolanda let out
another exaggerated sigh of relief.
“Would you stop with the deep breathing, you’re driving me nuts!”
Yolanda flashed me her most offended expression, one I was
getting quite familiar with. “Well, you’re the one insisting on all this
poking around. I told you we should just leave.”
I ignored her and the warning system vibrating throughout my
entire body and tried the last door on the left. It opened to small
stockroom. It was overcrowded with boxes and a strange metallic
smell filled the room . . .
The air felt different in this room, charged with electricity or
malice or . . . “Uh . . . I don’t like this,” I said.
Yolanda gripped my arm, digging her nails into my flesh. “What?
What?” She shrieked. “You don’t like what?”
I shook free of her arm and crept farther into the room. Behind a
large cardboard box I spied some thick, red goo on the floor. “That,” I
Yolanda’s expression froze, but she began to slowly back out of the
room. “Is that paint?” she asked feebly.
Although I wanted to slink right out of the room alongside
Yolanda, I forced myself forward, leaning my whole upper body
farther into the room, so I could peek around the large cardboard box.
The metallic smell was stronger now and an involuntary gasp
escaped me as I saw Fran lying still on the floor in a pool of blood.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
Share the love!