Today on my blog I am letting YA Fantasy author C.J. Rose take over my blog. She is going to showcase a special sneak peek from her upcoming companion novella within her Generation Son Chronicles series. Hope you enjoy. Happy reading.
January 1, 1970
New Year’s Eve; you think it would be a night of celebration. Well, considering it is me, that didn’t happen. I decided to go to an event at the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. They were having their annual unveiling where they would reveal a new piece of historical artifact for the area. It started out as a normal evening with drinks and snacks while we all listened to music and danced. They were supposed to reveal the new artifact at 12:01 am, right after the change to the new year.
Well, as you probably guessed, that did not go as planned. Everyone was gathered around a draped item on a platform, and as the countdown hit one they readied themselves for the unveiling. The mayor and his wife were there and they stood nearby, holding a rope to pull off the artifact. By the size of it, I would have thought it would have been more of a statue but we were told that it was a smaller item placed within it. “It’s symbolism” they said and that is why they did it on a larger scale.
The second ticked away and you could see the excitement growing in the crowd. There were guesses happening about what it could be and where it came from. When the mayor was ready, he started a countdown from ten and when we hit one, the cloth came down and the screams started. Much to my surprise, there was indeed a new artifact but she hung from the actual one that was supposed to be displayed. I had no idea who the woman was, but I could hear some people clambering about Amanda and who would do this to her. They all stared in horror as the authorities were called.
Once they got there, they removed the body from the spike and laid her on the ground. As I looked around, I could see a woman in the back of the ground. She has on a long trench coat and her hands were in her pocket. Her eyes were familiar to me, but she had a different hairstyle than the person I was thinking of. I offered assistance in the investigation but they looked at me like I was crazy. I knew that I was going to do it anyway.
I started the next day with finding out who that women was that I say in the back of the crowd. Luckily, I was smart enough to sneak a picture of her before she disappeared. I had the picture printed off, and I had a friend at the police department do me a favor and see if they could find a match. Turns out that it was the person I thought of. Her name is Anna Von Haff and she is an assistant to the curator for the Park. Which now makes me realize who the person was on the spike. It is Amanda Winkler, the curator that we met last year when we went there for the same event. Although there was no dead body that time. I guess I didn’t recognize her with all the blonde hair hanging down over her face.
So now that we know who the body is and we know who the mystery person is, the next part is to figure out who did it and why.
January 3, 1970
I went by the historic park’s main building today and the police were everywhere. I knew that there was no way I was getting inside the normal way so I needed a new plan. As I walked around the building, I was able to find a small ladder in back the allowed me to get to the roof. I kept an eye out for any cops while I scaled the wall and landed on the gravel room. Only a few feet in front of me, I spotted a rusty metal door. When I tried the handle, it wouldn’t budge so I tried to find another way in. Like any normal structure, there was a skylight on the roof that looked down onto an office. The problem with that was, the windows didn’t open, so I was out of luck on that front too. Suddenly, I heard the metal door creak open and a figure came out lighting a cigarette. Trying to make no noise on the gravel, I snuck in though the open door and made my way down the stairs.
I found an open hall where no one was, walking and I looked around till I found Anna’s office. With the investigation going on, it looks like most of the people are off work. Thankfully there were no windows do getting in and staying hidden was easier than I thought. I started with the bookshelves, then moved to the filing cabinet. For an assistant, she had a pretty nice office. The walls has paintings that looked so real you would think that Van Gough painted them himself. The desk was a polished cherry wood with enough carved detail, it makes the oval office desk look boring. Speaking of desks, that was my next stop, and that is when the fun started. As I checked through each drawer, I found half written letters to Amanda. I began to read a few and each one began the same way. “Amanda, you are a horror to work for. No one deserves to be treated the way you treat people.” Then it goes on about how horrible of a person she is or about the things she has done. I almost felt bad for Amanda and Anna.
I took the letters and continued looking through the drawers. When I got to the bottom right hand drawer, it was locked. Like any smart person, I checked under the center drawer for a spare key and there it was. Once I opened it, I knew instantly that she was behind all of this. There were more letters, but this time they were addressed to her from different people. All of these names I have seen before; a reporter, a photographer, an architect, a doctor, a historian, and a teacher. I know them all from being at different events in the city. The reporter, Moran Beatty, did story on the horses during riding season. The photographer, Elizabeth Jameson, took the pictures of the horses. The architect, John McArney, was the person who designed the barn for the horses. The doctor, Shannon Moore, was the one who took care of me after I was shot on the last adventure. The historian, Melissa McDaniels, was the one who invited me to the event. Lastly, the teacher, Stana Owensby, was I spoke with at last years event.
I grabbed those letter as well and decided that it was time to leave. As I placed the letters in my pocket, I could hear someone coming. I quickly hid in the bathroom in the office till the coast was clear. I took the letters home, and set them on the table.
January 4, 1970
Since getting called to fix someone else’s problem does not pay the bills, I had to go back to work today. While I was tending to the horses, the only thing I could think about were those letters. I made a plan this morning to grab a few and bring them with me so when I took a break for lunch I decided to start with the reporter.
“Anna, I can’t believe that I was stupid enough to think that Amanda would like the story I wrote for the paper about the park. Does she not realize that ripping the story up in front of me was one of the worst things she could do to me? Who does she think she is anyway? It doesn’t matter I guess. I am going to England for a while to visit a friend. I am sure she will get what’s coming to her.”
As I read the letter aloud, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of person Amanda was. So now we have another suspect too. I moved on to the next letter and this time it was from Elizabeth.
“Anna, What was with Amanda? I sent over the photos I took of the park for the new brochure and she called me telling me that they were the worst pictures she has ever seen and I need to redo them. Seriously? What high horse has she rode in on? I am leaving for my grandfather’s house in the country to get my head right. I’ll see you when I get back sweetie.”
So that is suspect number three, and it looks like Anna and Elizabeth had a thing going too. While I was on a role, I decided to keep going and pulled out the doctor next.
“Anna, Thank you for your inquiry. I now that you are of legal age, I able to release your birth records to you as they are not sealed. I have enclosed your original birth certificate with your birth mother and father’s name on it. I dig some digging for you, and it turns out that you have a sister not much older than you. She works for the historic park in town.”
So things kept getting more and more interesting from there. I had one more letter with me and I was determined to read it before going back to work. This time it was from another historian in the office.
“Anna, Thank you for taking the time to listen to my proposal for a new artifact. It is heartbreaking that after going to Amanda with it, she turned me down faster than I could even finish a sentence. Does she not realize that she is not the only one in this office that has ideas?”
I took all the letters and put them back in my pocket and went back to work. When I got home tonight, I showed them to Catherine to read and she was just as astounded as me at what she saw. We both finished our dinner, then decided to read the rest of the letters. I decided that it would be best to copy them somewhere so that way if something happens to the letters, I have a way to go back to them. So here I am, copying them to this journal. The only two letters that were left were from the architect and the teacher.
The architect wrote…
“Anna, It takes a women with no moral ground to deny any of my drawings. Can you believe that she thought that a halfwit architect who just barely graduated college can do a better job. I have been doing this for thirty years and I could design circles around that little weasel. Is she sleeping with him or something? How am I supposed to keep up with my exotic fish if I have no money coming in? I guess I will have to sell them.”
The last letter was the teacher, but after rereading it, I don’t think she really had anything to do with it.
“Anna, Thank you for being a part of our class today. It was nice to see you and listen to you talk about the park and all of its features. We hope to have you back next year.”
So right now it looks like we have six suspects with 6 different motives.
January 5, 1970
I knew I needed to get the letters to the police without getting myself tied in the middle so I did what any normal person would do; I mailed then anonymously. I knew that once they got the letter, they would have a place to start. From what I could tell over the last few days of sneaking around, I have more information than they do. Now I am going to chill and make sure that I get my own ducks in a row so that I can take this investigation to the next level. The plan over the next few days is to find out where each of these people live. Then I plan to search their houses while they are work.
January 7, 1970
It feels weird doing an investigation in my own year. It is not as easy to be stealthy when you live in a city of thousands of people. On a good note, I was able to find all the addresses I needed so tomorrow I start checking to make sure they are gone. Then it is time for Sherlock to do his thing. For now, I promised my aunt that I would take her to the movies. She wants to see the Elvis ’68 Comeback Special. Who doesn’t like Elvis, right?
January 9, 1970
I have been able to get to three out of the six houses. I didn’t find much to incriminate anyone but I did find some peculiar items hidden in random places. In the doctor’s house, I found vials of botox and wondered why he would be keeping them if he had an office outside of his home. In the reporters home, I found a bottle of dried purple flowers. It had a sticker on it that said “do not touch with bare hands”. I put the bottle in my pocket for later. I needed to know what those flowers were. The last house I got to do was this afternoon after work and that was the teacher. For her, I found nothing out of the ordinary other than that fact that she lived like a pauper. From what I hear, teachers do not get paid enough for the work they do so I am not surprised at the condition of her home.
Tomorrow I plan on hitting the photographer, the architect and the historian. I have a gut feeling that I will be finding something there.
January 10, 1970
I started with the architect and made my way across town to the remaining two homes. In the architect’s house, I found vials labeled “Tetrodotoxin. Do Not Ingest.” I took one of the vials and placed it in my pocket. Things were starting to get a little suspicious. As I was leaving, I passed a tank of exotic fish. Being the person I am, I fed them before leaving. Once in the historian’s house, I was hit with a smell most foul. I covered my mouth and followed the scent till I got to the kitchen and saw a pot of rotten apples. On the table, she has a mortar and pestle sitting there and I could tell it was used recently. It was covered in a fine powder and it had a similar smell to the pot of apples. I took a baggie out of my jacket and scooped some of the powder into it. Placing it in my pocket with the other via, I made sure I left no traces, and moved to the last house.
I got to the photographer’s house in record time. As I searched around, like the historian, she made it obvious that something was up. In the middle of the kitchen table, was a plant. It did not look like any ordinary plant you would see in a house. It wasn’t a fern or a lily or a basic garden plan. I examined it closed and found it to have purple and green bell-shaped flowers and glossy black berries. I took a sprig of it and brought that with me as well.
Now that I’ve got some clues to go by, I plan on taking my findings to a friend of mine who will help me determine what it all means. For now, I plan on eating supper with my aunt and reading the paper.
January 11, 1970
Well, I did what I said I would do last night and I read the paper. The front page had an article about the murder and it mentioned that they had a few suspects in mind thanks so an anonymous tip. They did not mention any names, but I had a feeling I knew who it was. I took the vials and bags to my friend at the Sab Diego State College. My friend Bernard was there to study science so I thought this would be a good project for him. I left everything with him and I am supposed to pick it up tomorrow with the results.
January 12, 1970
The results are in and now it gets even more complicated. He explained to me that the botox bottle was just that, but the issue is still, why did he have it in his house? As for the smelly apples, he explained that if you boil them, remove the seeds, soak them in pesticide for a week, let them dry and grind them into a fine powder you end up with something close to Cyanide. The container of purple flowers I found could be poisonous and have similarities to Aconite. He was leery of even touching the plant with the black berries. He told me that just looking at it he knew what it was; nightshade. He said that injecting any of it can be poisonous and that the average person could die instantly. The final vial he examined was the one labeled “Tetrodotoxin. Do Not Ingest.” He said that this vial of fluid comes from rare fish such as pufferfish, porcupinefish, ocean sunfish, and triggerfish. It all made sense there. He had a tank full of exotic looking fish, but how did he get the liquid from them?
I knew that now it was time to back to the beginning and start with Anna. After all, she is the one that everyone wrote the letters to so she has to be behind this. Now, I just have to figure out how.
January 15, 1970
Today I decided that it would be best to tail Anna for a while and see what she does. It took three days, but I finally got somewhere. Yesterday and today, I saw her meet with each one of the people that wrote her letters; all except the teacher. With each meeting and each different place, the arguments escalated to the point where they were in each other’s faces. At one point, Anna even slapped the architect so hard that he stumbled backwards. He raised his hand to hit her back but she stood her ground. Thank the lord for camera’s, but cause now I have the photo proof I need too. I plan on sending all of the items I found in the houses and the photos to the police as soon as they are developed.
January 17, 1970
Everything has been sent to the police, with a detailed note of where it was all found. Now I just have to sit and wait to see what happens. I am anxious to see how it plays out. If you want my honest opinion, this looks like some Agatha Christie novel in real life. It’s a question of who dun it and why. Speaking of Agatha Christie, maybe I could learn a thing or two from her books. It is something to think about.
Auntie wants to do something this evening instead of stay home so I have to find somewhere to take her. There isn’t much to do for an older lady and her nephew. Maybe a movie again?
January 18, 1970
It looks like my sleuthing paid off. I read the paper today, and Anna was arrested for murder while the remaining five were arrested for attempted murder. When they were all called in for questioning, each one gave a statement incriminating themselves as is they had no shame.
I only read Anna’s side of the story. “The chain of events that transpired after. We have actually been trying for two years, but it just never worked until now. I had the biggest motive of all. The abandoned orphan with no loving home and no mother to care for me. Oh sure, there were foster homes, but all they ever cared about was the money. I was delivered by Dr. Moricle, so finding out my birth mother was easy, especially once he knew who I was. Finding your records once you are eighteen is easier than people think. I was able to find the doctor, and he knew who my mother was. Once I found out who she was and told Elizabeth, the letters started to roll in about what she did and the kind of person she was. Well, that sealed the deal there. After a few bottles of wine, a plan began to take place. I knew I had to get close to Amanda and the only way to do that was at the park. So I started coming in earlier than her and I would make sure the tea was ready when she got there. I tried a little rat poison, but it wasn’t enough. So, when that didn’t work, I put a bug in her ear to see Dr. Small about her migraines. I read an article once that getting Botox can help cure them. So he did continuous injections for about 3 months, at what he claims was a lethal dosage, but that didn’t work either.
That is when I got the idea for belladonna. Since Elizabeth used to work in her grandfather’s garden all the time she knew some grew behind the shed where he kept his tools. She went there to visit one day and dug up one of the plant. She gave the berries to me and I placed three in Carol’s tea each morning for a week. Well that didn’t work either. She would again complain about getting dizzy or lightheaded, and her eyes would be sensitive to light but she chalked it up to her migraines. So now we are about a six months in and nothing has worked so far. Enter the architect, bitter from losing the large commission from the park, he was already willing to do his part. He provided me with a puffer fish from his exotic fish supplier that I was able to prepare and present to Amanda as leftovers from my favorite restaurant. Well, as you could guess, that failed too. The only issues from that were some breathing problems and more nausea.
When everything else failed, Moran was in England and found these rare purple flowers. If it wasn’t for a friend talking him out of it, he could have died from smelling them. Well, being the person that he is, he put some gloves on and picked a few when no one was looking and placed them in a plastic bag to bring home. He kept them there to dry out. I knew that Aconite should do the trick so I took the petals, combined them with another loose tea, and gave them to Amanda to drink. Well, we are at almost a year of trying and still nothing. Melissa still hadn’t tried her plan, so she contacted me when she knew everything else had failed. She took some decaying apples from her family’s orchard and boiled them. Removing the seeds, she soaked them in pesticide for a week, let them dry, and then ground them into a fine powder. I gave the water from the boiled apples and the seed powder to Amanda gradually over a week’s time and finally on the last day, yesterday, she had enough. She complained about not feeling well all day and I knew that it was working. At the end of the day, everyone else was gone so I locked all the doors and called Dr. Small. I could hear her in her office choking and gagging. When I couldn’t hear it anymore, I went to the office to check and she was slumped over her desk.
Shannon came and made sure she was dead. Then we called everyone else, and when they all got there, we removed her body in the dead of night and placed it on the spike for the world to see.”
I knew there were twisted people in the world but I had no idea that people could be that sick. Now that my stomach is turned to the point of no return, I think I am done for the night.
Hi Everyone! I am RoseAnn Labriola, penning as C.J. Rose. C. J. Rose resides in Central Illinois; originally from just south of Chicago. The passion for writing took root in high school where she began writing song lyrics and poetry. C.J. found her inspiration from other fantasy and YA novels such as Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and more. On top of literature, Rose has a keen love for all things nerdy and sci-fi. On a quiet night, you can find her curled up with an episode of Doctor Who, Arrow, Firefly, and more. C. J. also belongs to a theatre organization KVTA. The devotion to musicals and theatre has led her to be a part of over 10 shows as an actor, and over 20 as a staff person.
I am a hairstylist, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I have always loved writing, whether it was poems, song lyrics or stories. I decided it was time to sit down and put my thoughts to paper of a story concept I have played with for long time. In the process, it developed into the full-length version that I am proud to call my first published book, Bridge of the Gods – A Generation Son Chronicle. Now I have 3 novels in the series as well as a companion cookbook.