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T.C. McMullen
Nov 22, 2021
In Murder Mystery Parts
Lamartha stared at the brown stain on the dining hall table. The detective had taken each of them into Emie’s windowless office for a few last questions, one by one. Now they all sat around the meal tables, silent as church mouses, eyes downcast, except for Dania who sat slouched with her arms crossed across her chest. Lamartha doubted her nerves would ever recover, each one as tight as a board. She felt as if she could hardly breathe. Today was closing day for the facility. Within the past week, Emie had finally found facilities that had the proper housing for Kevin, Alexa, Shyly and Bert. Poor Shyly had undergone intense questioning and scrutiny, being the one to find Abby and then having possession of her necklace, but Shyly was safely gone and it didn’t seem to concern the officers. There was about to be an arrest, one of the eight of them. Craig and Sandra, the custodians, Markie and Dania, chef and dietician, Emie, the social worker, Elrick and Miana the CNAs, and Lamartha herself. She felt as if she had failed all of them. She had hired each and had obviously missed that one was capable of stealing life from another in such a horrid way. “Thank you all for meeting me here today and for cooperating,” the detective began, his intense dark gaze slicing over the room. “You didn’t give us much of a choice,” Elrick said, glancing at his wrist watch. “How much longer is this going to take?” “Just a few minutes,” the detective said and slowly sauntered to the front of the tables. “This whole thing seemed cut and dry, really. Easy enough to suspect Miss Parly, but something didn’t sit quite right with me about that.” He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “We know who was supposed to be here that night.” “I gave you the schedule right away, Craig and Elrick were overnight that night,” Lamartha said, glancing at each of the men. “I told you, I was cleaning the offices and napped. Never heard anything out of the ordinary. Abby was chipper as always,” Craig said. “I was at the front desk except for when I helped Abby with the rounds,” Elrick said. “I have the time stamps on my notes.” “Yes, Yes,” the detective said, waving his hand as if a white flag. “But someone else was here too.” “Don’t point that finger at me,” Dania grumbled. Emie wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. Miana hugged herself. Markie and Sandra sat silently beside each other. “No finger pointing, just confirming. See, there were other unscrupulous things happening here before Ms. Starly’s murder. It’s why this facility was being closed down, isn’t it Ms. Schnidt?” Lamartha startled when his attentions settled on her. “I…Yes, I reported them all.” “Indeed you did. It’s well documented about the unbalanced numbers and also about the missing medications. Your husband was questioned,” he spun to face Dania, “Was he not?” “And replaced,” Dania said. “He has nothing to do with this place now, and I’ll be glad to be through with it.” “I’m sure you will,” the detective said, his gaze lingering on her a little too long. “See, we know who was supposed to be here that night. We know Abby went to go home when her 10 o’clock shift ended that night, she was helping you out, was she not?” He turned to Elrick. “She stayed till I got out of my intern shift.” Elrick said. “Studying to be a Registered Nurse, are you not.” “That’s right. I got here, helped Abby do the last check for the night and took up my position at the front desk. Craig knows, we kept each other company.” “You ever notice missing medications?” The detective asked. “We all did,” Elrick said. “Abby reported them.” The detective inhaled loudly, and raised his face to the ceiling. “Yes, she did, and I believe there is one who was not happy about that. One of you didn’t appreciate her paying such close attention when you skimmed bottles from the cabinet.” “Only Abby had access to the cabinet,” Dania said. “Not true,” the detective said. “The CNAs do also, don’t you?” “For emergencies only,” Elrick said. “Sometimes one of the patients would need something through the night,” Miana said. “For certain,” the detective said, his gaze landing solidly on Miana. “And it was so easy, wasn’t it? Just a little at first, but then you realized how easy the money came in.” “I, no, no.” “Until Abby caught you. You knew she was staying later that evening. You knew she was going to report you come the following morning.” Miana’s eyes grew wide. “You knew enough about what to use and how to administer it to subdue Ms. Starly.” “I’m not, no, I just assist.” “But in assisting, you learned enough. You didn’t leave that night when your shift was over, did you? You stuck around, staying out of sight when Mr. Venkly did his duties. Until Abby returned to the break room to gather her things after her shift. You knew all would be quiet in that hallway, and you also knew Shyly Parly liked to walk the commons room and was a curious type. You made it possible for her to wander out of her room. All you had to do was let the hallway door unlatched, didn’t you?” “No, no, I did no such thing. What about Shyly, she had her necklace.” “Yes, given to her by you.” “No, she had it, she did.” “You thought she was too drugged to notice you put it around her neck. But she wasn’t. She knew. An officer walked to Miana, cuffs in hand. “That’s why she wasn’t doing well,” Emie said. “The person who was caring for her…she knew.” “Indeed,” the detective said. “What do you know,” Miana spat, “what do any of you know?” Lamartha sank into her seat, watching the young woman she had trusted whole heartedly through the years they worked together. Her judgments where Miana was concerned were skewed. She bid everyone a goodbye, watching them slowly pull out of the parking lot for the last time. She stood for a moment at the door, looking back into the vacant and dark interior of the grand building, remembering all the laughter, and the struggles she’d shared with the staff through the years before latching the door, the keys left on the empty front desk. She worked the latch once to make sure it was locked tight, then turned away from Hart House and its ghosts.
Reveal - Hart House Murder Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Nov 08, 2021
In Murder Mystery Parts
Emie, wiped her sweaty palm on her slacks, staring wide eyed around the small break room. She ran through her last conversation with the detective in her mind. She called him days ago, feeling she had to mention the necklace she’d seen several times around Shyly’s neck. She’d tried to ask the woman about it but any mention of Abby sent Shyly into an uncontrollable wave of misery that Emie couldn’t bear to inflict on her. But now, now Lamartha had just told them all that the detective had contacted her. They asked to schedule meetings with all the in house employees. In a glance around the room, she saw everyone in a state of surprise, like she felt. Lamartha seemed to age more every minute, her shoulders more rounded, wrinkles more pronounced around her eyes and mouth. It meant someone they saw weekly had stripped sweet Abby of her life. Everywhere she glanced, her coworkers eyes either met or averted her own. A tear slipped from the corner of Miana’s eye, one she quickly brushed away. Dania slapped her hand on the table, “Oh, that’s just great, what are they going to do, pin it on one of us because they can’t do anything better.” “It’s just those of you who were here that night, right?” Elrick said. Lamartha shook her head with a weary sigh. “They asked for anyone who had a key and wasn’t out of town at the time.” “Oh, well that leaves the good doctors out,” Dania spat. “This is all I need,” Elrick said. “When do I have to carve out time for their interrogation?” “Time? Is that all you’re worried about,” Miana coughed on a sob. “There’s so much more to worry about here. And—and Abby lost all her time.” “Look,” Lamartha said. “They’re just doing their job. If we all just answer them fully and truthfully, it’ll be fine. We can get through this.” “Does it mean they know something?” Dania spat. Fully upright in her chair, she slapped the table again. “They best not try to pin it on me.” “Maybe it was you,” Miana said, sitting up in her own chair with a strange eagerness. “You would like that, wouldn’t you?” Dania said with a sneer. “Enough!” Lamartha shot to her feet. “What has happened to us?” “Life,” Emie heard herself say. “Death. All faces turned to her, mouths agape. Tired, mother hen, Lamartha. Ready to fight the world Dania. Sweet, pick up everyone else’s slack, Miana. Aspiring against the odds Elrick. And herself, always trying to hold everything together. Her stomach sickened with the realization that one of them had robbed the world of Abby. But which of them did the horrible deed?
Part 8 Hart House Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 22, 2021
In Murder Mystery Parts
Thunder banged, hammering its way through the walls and seeming to echo even louder in the empty second floor above. Mother Nature’s tantrum was nothing new for the day. The bang on the table, that was different. Elrick Bandor glanced up from his computer to the residents. Kevin’s voice raised an octave. He and Burt sat at the table outside their bedroom focused on one board game or another. Elrick watched them a moment, Kevin’s hand slapping the table, his legs bouncing in anticipation of Burt’s next move. Burt sat calm and quiet, like the older lumbering giant he was, studying the game board, he no sooner moved his piece and Kevin pounced for his, leaving Burt to painfully contemplate another move with no time to take a breath. From their body language, Elrick decided none of the actions or loudness was due to anything more than excitement. It was encouraging to see them engaged and enjoying a game. Not much of that had happened since the tragedy at the start of the month. Elrick ran his hands over his tight-curled coarse hair. He had feared the circumstances would set the four remaining residents back in their treatments, making Emie’s job that much harder. Only time would tell, really. He returned his attention to his studies on the computer, adjusting his wire framed glasses. He sipped his mineral water, making notes as he did, making sure to glance at the residents every so often to make sure they were all where they were supposed to be. He was little more than an overpaid babysitter these days, all because the alphabet soup after his name didn’t have the right letters. Not yet. It would take a while, but when it was all said and done, he’d be in a position to garner more respect and the first in any generation of his family to reach such a level. As long as this current job didn’t mess him up. It wasn’t easy doing the studies and juggling what Miana wouldn’t help him out with. He shook off the flare of frustration with the thought. She acted like he inconvenienced her, taking off most mornings to actually attend a class. The hours crept on, but not quickly enough. He glanced at the clock above the game shelves Sandra ran the feather duster over, pretending to clean, though all the feathers did was throw the crap into the air, as far as Elrick was concerned. But it wasn’t his job to do the cleaning, nor was he willing to lower himself to do it, even if he could do it better. Just a few more hours and his shift would end. He turned his attentions back to his laptop. ______________________________________________________ Miana slammed the door to Lamartha’s office, not caring who heard. She kept her eyes averted from everyone in the commons room and stormed back to the front, her slave station. Lamartha had dismissed her again. Of course everyone was short staffed. Miana knew that, but no one else had to be there 24/7 when Elrick refused to be there in the mornings or take weekend shifts. Miana yanked her hair back from her face. She really didn’t know how much more she could take. She was one person, often alone in a huge building with four crazies she struggled to keep stable, and it was more than anyone should put on a single being in her opinion. And it irked her to no end how Elrick acted like he was above her, that his studies gave him a get-out-of-jail free card any time he liked. She plunked down in the desk chair, its lopsided stuffing ingrained in her behind to where the ache stared almost immediately. She stared out the front doors, knowing no one would enter, feeling trapped more than ever. She couldn’t do anything without the absent Sourpuss RN telling her she could. Lamartha made it clear she had no intention to make golden boy Elrick take more shifts. She wondered if his skin color made Lamartha behave so gently with him in an effort to not be accused of nasty behavior. She’d been there so long now, she knew every inch of the place and item in it. She knew procedures and could do anything the others could. She knew more than Elrick and Ms. Sourpuss, as far as she was concerned. But obviously everyone just expected her to stay in her place, sweet meek little Miana. She was sick of being seen that way too. The ability to tolerate it weakened severely with each passing morning and weekend. And Lamartha made it clear there would be no changes made to bolster that ability. No one cared. Pretty soon, she’d make them care. She couldn’t afford to quit, but maybe if she regularly didn’t show up, they’d fire her. She had done everything to avoid that till now. But now she had a bit of a nest egg built up. A couple more weeks and it would be even larger. Just a couple more weeks…
Part 7 Hart House Murder Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 16, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
Dania Mert forced a smile when she entered the conference room. She sat at the far end, as far from the screen where Doc McDarvey would appear as she could get. She clunked her full coffee mug down hoping it would cool some very quickly. Her body was in desperate need of the caffeine but she didn't relish the idea of the scorching it would give her at its current temp. Lamartha took her seat next to the screen, Emie across from her. The two goody goodies missing their ray of sunshine kitty-lover pal. It was a shame, what happened to Abby. It was also a shame that the rest of them were stuck in a miserable dying job because four people were too messed up to put anywhere else. Dania had put applications in at so many other places but none had even called for an interview. It had to be because she was still stuck to Hart House. And Hart House was starting to look very ugly on a resume. Mason had lost so many clients over the past year, caring for his grandfather, Hart House being the biggest one. He wasn’t home much anymore either. She was starting to feel more and more like she didn’t even have a husband. So she needed to find something to get her income back and keep her occupied. Part time wasn’t cutting it. And she doubted anyone really cared what the remaining few residents were eating, just that they ate some semblance of food. She suffered through the meeting, answering questions and bringing up the questions she needed answered. She tried to ignore Miana, but the girl’s scratching pen nearly made her explode. Dania bit her tongue until she tasted blood. The scritch, scritch, scritch scraping against her nerves and drilling into her mind. She stared at the pen and the hand that dragged it over the paper. The girl didn’t even have a nice manicure, several of the nails chipped and one broken completely. When it was all over, Dania bolted up and pretended she pulled important papers together inside the cabinet marked Dietician Use in the conference room corner so she wouldn’t have to socialize. She’d never even had an official office to work from in this place. She forced herself to look intently at the nonsense in the cabinet while the others gathered their things, relaxing only after Lamartha padded out of the room. Lamartha loved thinking Dania worked hard, and as long as she thought Dania was busy, the less she added to her work load. She’d already asked her to do the mail runs and odd chores around the facility. Dania did everything with a smile. Smile and people thought all was peachy… ____________________________________________ Lamartha bustled into her office and quietly closed the door, nearly dropping all her files as she did so. She hobbled over to the desk, holding a corner of the pile with the top of her hip, and let the folders spill on the dark wood. She slouched with a loud sigh, looking at the mess. Outside, the sun shined, the grass glistening with the morning dew extra heavy from the rain showers the previous night. She sat at the desk, pulling the string to turn on the lamp so her old eyes could see the papers she needed to tuck back into their proper files. A loud hum grew, then a pop that sent Lamartha’s heart pounding at marathon level. She leaned back in her chair, rolling her eyes, decided to take a swig of her coffee only to find she’d finished it already. “Oh for crying out loud,” she muttered, then forced a deep breath into her lungs. Getting all riled wouldn’t help a thing. After a moment, she patted her hair again into the neat puff of curls on her head, stood, straightened the hem of her blouse, grabbed her coffee mug handle and headed out the back door of her office into the maintenance hallway. She first went right, pulling a new bulb from the maintenance room closet, then decided to set the box on her desk so she wouldn’t risk dropping it while she got her coffee. With the back office door still open, she moved quickly left, ignoring the section of hall that still smelled strangely. The laundry room emitted the wooshing and growling that came from the appliances on a daily basis as she strode by it and out the hall door to the staff room. Emie glanced up from her mug on the table in front of the gurgling coffee pot. Her gaze landed on Lamartha’s cup, then back to her own. “It’s a multiple cups of coffee kind of day,” she said. Lamartha groaned softly. “Seems that way. How long?” “Should be done here in a minute or two.” Deciding it wasn’t worth a trip back to the desk just to turn around again, Lamartha leaned a shoulder against the wall. “Everything okay?” Emie asked. Lamartha shrugged. “As good as it can be.” She struggled to beat down the thought of sharing the latest news she had with Emie. The detective investigating Abby’s death had revealed to her that the murderer had to be someone from inside the facility. And the cause of death had been Ativan from the one syringe that had found the poor girl’s jugular then a drug cocktail administered in one of the other syringes. The killer finished her off by smothering. And Abby had fought against her attacker so hard. Lamartha shuddered. It was all so terrible, more terrible because Lamartha knew only someone with solid knowledge of what they were doing, both with the drugs and then to get so lucky during a struggle to inject Abby. Of all in the facility, to Lamartha’s knowledge, only Abby herself was that skilled. It made no sense...
Part 6 Hart House Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 14, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
Miana Dalko fumbled with Hart House’s heavy main door, struggling to hold it and not drop her lunch or bag. Once safe from the door’s clutches, she shook off the autumn morning chill, staring out into the emptiness of the main lobby and reception area she’d called her work home for over five years. The stairs and elevators were now roped off, silent dark holes to an equally desolate second floor now vacant and mostly cleared out in preparations for the closing. Abby’s always cheery smile and morning greeting sounded to her now as only memory. A haunting memory. She shook free of it and moved behind the reception area, dropping her datebook and papers then continued on to the west door, using her card to unlock and move into the dining area and heart of the facility. The door barring the now menacing south end of the hall, used mostly by laundry and maintenance, swung open. Miana nearly choked on a breath of air that settled only when Craig’s eyes, over a pile of fresh white linens, met hers. Gone was his quick smile, but he still grinned and nodded as he said his, “Good morning.” Miana forced a grin. “Just another Wednesday,” she said. “One day closer to Friday,” Craig said. “And I’ll see this place Saturday and Sunday too,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s my weekend.” Craig’s smile shivered a little, almost unnoticeable. “Again?” “Yeah, Elrick says he needs it off for school study stuff again,” Miana said Craig nodded in understanding. “It’ll be a slow weekend for you. A safe one." Miana nodded, then used her card once more to open the staff lounge door, letting it quickly latch behind her to seal her off from the ugly desolation that now plagued Hart House. She hooked her jacket in the cubby by the door, next to Craig’s black wind breaker and Lamartha’s long-pleated beige coat. Lamartha’s coat was always there, whatever one she chose to wear for the day. The woman practically lived at Hart House. Miana shuddered at the thought, never wanting her life to be so dictated by any job. Miana moved through the motions of placing her lunch in the small refrigerator and pouring her coffee. She couldn’t pull her eyes from Abby’s pink mug with the white cat sitting on the “have a purrfect morning” cluster of words. She wondered if anyone would claim Abby’s work items as she stirred the creamer into the dark liquid steaming inside her plain green mug. She shook her head against that notion and moved out into the main area again, her back to the door that had hidden such horror only days ago. The body and blood were all removed and things cleaned, but the sight of it still burned in her mind’s eye. She forced a calm pace back toward the main lobby and greeted Dania and Markie as they rounded from the front door headed into the kitchen. Hart House was such a well oiled machine even tragedy didn’t shatter it, though things were a little darker, filled with gloom. Now the morning routine included the new RN rushing through, a sour lady, though Miana couldn’t blame her. Every morning the poor woman had to drive so far out of her way just to pass the meds since Abby was gone. Miana sucked a long drawl of the hot coffee, shook off the remnants of the morning’s chill and gloomy thoughts, then poked the computer on the reception desk into waking. It was time to focus on the residents, time to prep for the meeting in fifteen minutes, reviewing the residents’ documentation and preparing herself to be ready for their residents’ full morning routines.
Part 5 Hart House Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 13, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
Emie Carthar plopped her head down on her desk, alone in the stuffy room now since Lamartha had been forced to let all the other social workers go. Emie closed her eyes to the paper under her forehead and silently wished Lamartha hadn’t chosen to keep her. Because Lamartha thought she was so good at her job, she was saddled with all the nearly impossible tasks. The month had started out horrifically with the murder of sweet Abby. Emie missed the nurse’s companionship and laughter that seemed even more plentiful when things got miserable. The woman had always been able to lift the spirits of anyone near her even when everything possible went wrong. Emie sighed loudly and straightened in her seat. More phone calls had only led to more rejections. But now it was time for the start of the weekly assessments to check the residents’ mental coherency and well being. She gathered her notepad and sheet with the things Doc McDarvey wanted her to ask the resident. He and an RN from another facility planned to work remotely for the next few weeks. It was the only feasible option considering she hadn’t been able to find places to house the remaining four residents yet. She let herself out of her windowless office and into the main common room. Shyly Parly was the resident who concerned everyone the most. Not only had she somehow been the one who found Abby’s murdered body in the hallway used by staff, she was also the resident who struggled most with depression. Suicidal ideations were a very real and high risk for Shyly at normal times. Abby had worked with McDarvey and, over the last few weeks of September, things had been improving for Shyly again, though it hadn’t been real clear what Abby had changed. Everything with the medications listed in Shyly’s chart remained the same. Of the remaining four residents, Abby had felt the most concern and affection for Shyly. The woman hadn’t yet reached her thirtieth birthday, yet she’d had a lifetime of challenges and hurts in her life. Emie agreed with Abby and wished, of all of them, to find Shyly the perfect place to continue her healing. She walked between the remaining two game tables in the large and now very cold and empty-feeling main common room. Kevin, Alexa, and Burt sat at the small table closest to their rooms and on the couch in the center of the room facing the television high on the opposing wall. Some morning show sounded softly through the space. Burt had gone so far as to rearrange some of the furniture, pulling it all as far from the laundry hallway as he could. Emie looked over the three, the men at the table, Alexa slouched back on the couch with her arm up and rested on her head, and then about the room. Not finding Shyly, she walked to the room the two women used as a bedroom now. The rooms previously had only been used for the most high-risk residents so the staff could keep a continuous watch on them. Now the four were doubled in the rooms since the second floor was shut down. Only the two beds and two dressers filled the room. Emie spun back to the main room, wondering if Shyly hadn’t yet finished her meal. Craig, dusting the far shelves, glanced up and met her eyes. “Shyly?” he asked. Emie gave him a slight nod. “Conservatory with Miana,” Craig said. His tone seemed heavy, as it always sounded when things were amiss. “It’s been a hard morning,” Alexa called out. “Lots of tears from that one.” Emie nodded her thanks to Craig, but Alexa took the gesture as being directed to her. “You need to fix her again. I can’t sleep with all the sobbing, sobbing sobbing,” the woman rambled. Emie quickly continued on toward the clear conservatory door. Of all the rooms, it was the one residents could go to of their own accord. Sitting among the plants was a good thing for them and even the staff enjoyed being surrounded by all the green. It was also the one remaining room with some original features of the house when it was a home. As Emie neared the wall of windows, looking more closely, she saw the strawberry blond head near the center where the benches were set. She hurried to the door and pushed through, finding the CNA sitting beside Shyly. They both looked up at Emie as if startled, Shyly then quickly glanced away, her hands wringing the hem of her plain blue shirt. Miana stood, her hand on Shyly’s shoulder in a supportive tap. “I’ll see you later, Shyly. All will be okay, you’ll see.” Miana gave Emie a sad smile as she moved to the door and back into the main room. Emie slowly lowered to the bench facing Shyly, taking stock of the red and swollen eyes, the fidgeting fingers, now going to something at her neck, and her nose, redder than usual. Emie carefully greeted the woman, trying to make small talk and focus on the the beautiful day beyond the windows. Shyly nodded a few times, but said little. “Shyly, Dr. McDarvey needs me to ask you a few questions, okay?” Shyly blinked rapidly and rubbed her hands over her face. “Is he here?” “No, not today, but I talked to him this morning. He wants to make sure everything is okay for you.” Shyly’s shoulders sank again. Her hand shifted to something she pulled from her shirt collar. A flash of silver glimmered between her fingers as she absently rubbed it. Shyly answered the questions. Emie wrote down the responses, feeling her heart sink. Where Shyly had been improving weekly in September, she now seemed to be sinking back into her depression. Emie made notes as Shyly talked. “Why don’t you all just ask me? How’d I get into the hallway that morning, what was I doing there?” Emie looked up from her notepad. She hadn’t planned to push Shyly anywhere near the memory of that day. Shyly dropped the charm she’d fiddled with and clasped her hands in her lap. Emie stared at the charm. She’d seen it before, but not on Shyly. In fact, Shyly wasn’t really allowed anything around her neck, though maybe it was okay. The thin silver chain didn’t appear thick enough to cause any risk. “The laundry door was open,” Shyly said. “It’s never left open. I’ve never seen it. So I had to go see, you know, had to look. I shouldn’t have, I shouldn’t.” She buried her face in her hands again and sobbed. “Maybe if I wouldn’t have looked Abby would still be here.” Emie shook her head and moved to sit beside Shyly. “No, no, you did nothing wrong. You tried to help her.” Shyly’s shoulders shuddered. She nodded and dropped her hands to her lap again. A flash of light glinted from the silver charm that fell to the outside of her scoop-neck collar. It was a tiny, silver charm of a cat on its back, balancing a silver ball of yarn on its four paws. Emie had seen it before, every day at meeting. Abby always did have a thing for cats.
Part 4 Hart House Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 08, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
Lamartha Schnidt leaned her elbows on her dark oak desk, the only light from the window facing south and streaking across her left hand and all the papers she had spread there. Work, once something she took pride in, had turned into a box of stress-filled misery day after day. And this week everything got worse. Murder. Oh, sweet Abby. Such stupid things happened in life, Lamartha had been alive long enough to know that life was a stormy sea of ups and downs. Yet, this most recent down was farther than she’d ever experienced before. Lamartha's treasured residential treatment center was gasping its last breaths and had just received another sucker punch to the diaphragm. Lamartha thrived as its administrator for over two decades, she kept the books, the staff, all the workings of the center, a meticulously ordered machine. Until… Six months ago, the numbers didn’t match up on the financials, no matter what she did or how far back she tracked to find a mistake, never finding one, things didn’t match. The accountant said it was all fine, she was doing something wrong, over and over. Until the gap got too big, then he didn’t have any explanation for it. And neither did the investigators when the higher ups sent them in. They found something, but nothing anyone shared with her. Why the out-of-house accountant got big bucks for doing nothing, she’d never know. He was replaced now, anyway. And she’d never know why the dietitian would stay married to such a man. Dania Mert was a good worker, a strong woman able to handle anything thrown on her plate without ever a complaint to Lamartha, though Lamartha was smart enough to know complaints did happen, just not to her. Now Dania was little more than a part-time lunch lady. And Abby, always so meticulous at her job, suffered questioning because medications started to go missing and she had no answers as to why. Everything was a chaotic mess and, two days ago, it just got so much worse. Lamartha covered her face with her hands. Maybe she was just getting old and couldn’t run a tight ship any longer. Maybe she should have taken early retirement two years ago. Hart House was ordered to close when so many things went missing with no answers. Now, only four residents remained in a facility able to house twenty five. Emie, even with all her social worker magic, hadn’t been able to get any other facility to house the last four with their difficult conditions and temperaments. Hart House had been the facility where everyone else sent the hard cases. The staff Lamartha oversaw and partnered with had been top notch and truly cared for the patients. Slowly she’d had to tell so many goodbye. The remaining staff's hope now was that in the next month, with such specialized and individual treatment, maybe the four remaining would improve enough to either go home or into another facility. What made that goal a little more difficult was that Doc McDarvey, now full time at another facility, was only on call for Hart House. And Hart House Psychiatrist, Joey Penache, only worked Wednesdays. The daily loss of the two of them only punctuated the fact she’d had to let so many other staff members go. It’s what the higher-ups wanted. Having two of her direct team gone for the most part made the remaining five full time employees feel as if their large work family was fully broken. Only Emie Carthar remained for the social work department. Abby was the only remaining full time nurse with Miana Dalko and Elrick Bandor, both CNAs, helping her. And now Abby was… gone. Lamartha looked over the current office sheet with the list of all employees and their contact information all followed by the current residents with their stats. She should change it, but she couldn’t make herself pull Abby’s name out. “What happened, Abby?” she whispered to the brimming daylight. _____________________________________________________________________________ Current Office Sheet: Full Time: Ms. Lamartha Schnidt - Administrator Miss Emie Carthar - Social Worker Miss Abby Starly - On Staff Nurse (RN) Ms. Miana Dalko - Nurses Aid (CNA) Mr. Elrick Bandor - Nurses Aid (CNA) Dr. Murphy McDarvey - Medical Director - on-call Mr. Joey Penache - Psychiatrist - in house Wednesdays Part Time after cut backs: Craig Venkly - Custodial Sandra Tranton - Custodial Dania Mert - Dietary Aid Markie Adons - Chef Remaining Residents: Kevin Karver - 47, Schizophrenia, heroine addiction, no family Alexa Armond - 35, Bipolar Disorder, alcohol dependence, meth and Adderall addiction, estranged family Shyly Parly - 29, Depressive Disorder with extreme suicidal ideation, cocaine, and Benzodiazepine addiction, no family support Bert Sturda - 60, Complicated PTSD with self harm, narcotic abuse, no family
Part 3 Hart House Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 05, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
4:48 AM Nurse Abby Starly, supposed to clock in every morning at 8 AM, was found dead in the south-east back hallway, outside the maintenance room, reaching toward the common room, wearing the same scrubs from the day before, as if she never left. She lay frozen on her left side, her left arm twisted painfully back and broken at the forearm beneath her. Her right arm hung frozen out in front and above her, as if reaching for the wall. She had twisted herself at the torso, leading one to believe she had fought to get away until she could move no more. Blood stained the white tiles in long streaks from her fingers. Her eyes stared blankly, wide open in horror, her mouth open in a twisted silent scream of agony. Five syringes, the plungers down, protruded from the right side of her neck along the jugular as if quills inflicted by a porcupine. One, jammed in from the back, pierced fully through the skin like a safety pin waiting to be closed. Two others sat just beneath the skin, one pointed up and the other down, also from the back, twisting her skin grotesquely. Another sat firm at the vein, and one jabbed into her, as if plunged like a knife from the front just above the collar bone. Another syringe lay on the floor, its angry needle bloody as if Abby had ripped it from her before twisting to try and pull herself away, further toward the staff lounge. Other notable wounds are bruises at her wrists, most pronounced on her broken left arm. Finger-shaped bruises also faintly showed on her right bicep, deep scratches on her forearm. The angry red streak along the back of her neck hints to a thin chain having been wrenched from her. The grisly scene was stumbled upon by 29 year old resident, a recovering cocaine addict, Shyly Parly. She is one of four remaining patients that no other facility will agree to house...
Part 2 Hart House Murder Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Oct 01, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
Hart House began as the regal home for Dr. Harmon Hart and his family of nine in 1910. With beautifully structured roof lines, eight bedrooms plus a back servants’ quarters that once housed as many as twenty three, and a first level full of grandly designed parlors, a ball room, and even a conservatory, it was the large family’s dream. Full of children’s laughter and love, it shined as brightly as a golden temple in the community. A precious short eight years later, illness struck and ravaged the family, leaving only Dr. Hart and his wife. Grief and pain clung to the couple and infected the walls. After a torturous few months Dr. Hart suffered the passing of Mrs. Hart from melancholy. In response to the crushing grief, Dr. Hart became his work. He tore apart and turned his large, vacant home into a care home for the mentally ill. Many more perished on the grounds during the two decades of his operating the facility. Whether due to natural causes or other more nefarious reasons, no one knows. Through the following years, Hart House went through multiple renovations and operated as an orphanage, a homeless shelter, then was purchased and turned into a residential treatment center for those battling mental afflictions and addictions. Recent revelations of criminal behaviors, including embezzlement, selling pharmaceuticals, and giving patients placebos, led to the parent company’s decision to close the facility quickly and sell to a private family to avoid the dark stain from becoming widely known to blemish them. Just days away from the scheduled closing, Hart House witnessed yet another tragedy. Nurse Starly was discovered in the back hallway viciously murdered. Now all the ugly little skeletons crawl into the light, begging to be seen….
Part 1 Hart House Murder Mystery content media
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T.C. McMullen
Sep 08, 2020
In Discuss Art
Do you prefer art you can hang on your wall, place on a shelf, or spend hours reading?
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T.C. McMullen
Sep 08, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
The story is shaping up here - using my old techniques, though not near the layers I would have if I were writing a novel. This will be an airy "who dun it" mystery with all the creepy details that fit the Halloween time of year...
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T.C. McMullen
Sep 03, 2020
In Terms of Service
Terms of Service: This forum and all the threads are fully for entertainment and interactions about the entertainment only. No information you provide or discuss will be used outside of the entertainment inside these forums. To participate, you agree to not copy the content without permission and to be considerate and kind to the moderators and other participating members. Privacy: Nothing you share here will be used for anything other than for your participation in the forums, to answer questions, or to share with you new art and stories as they become available. You can opt out at any time and none of your information will be retained. Code of Conduct: Be kind and courteous. Leave current events out of these forums No Politics of Religion debates, Please. There are enough places on the web for those.
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T.C. McMullen
Sep 03, 2020
In Murder Mystery Parts
What's going on here? All the 2020 shows I expected to participate in this year closed due to the... you know, the thing we'd all like to forget about. Everyone talked about moving their things online, selling online, all the ordinary stuff. But I like to interact with people who come to my booth, to share a little story with and about my art, my books, to learn about you. Hard to do that online and very hard to lift anyone's spirit with a simple product web page. I also had this thing when my kids were growing up where we did a big Halloween party bash. So this idea struck me - to do a hybrid combination, share a story you all can have some fun with, figuring out clues, talking to me and others about theories and what not, but do it all online. Now, I'm not the most tech savvy, so I expect to have some glitches, but if you're up for some October fun away from all the news and crazy of the current things, this is the place. A fun month of you leisurely reading, asking about clues and figuring out a crazy little fiction mystery, that's what I'm going to attempt here. Stay tuned...
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T.C. McMullen
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