Chapter 2

Written by: annetteconnor

Vivienne smiled at Hugo from across the vinyl gingham-clad table, the flickering glow of candlelight danced in her dark eyes. Her right hand reached around the stout Chianti bottle-turned-candleholder to tug at the ring on his left hand. “I really shouldn't’t like you, after that stunt you pulled.”

     “But you do?” Hugo winced inwardly at the youthful eagerness in his voice.

     She laughed. “Enough to suggest that we leave this joint and go back to my place.” The beauty raised a warning finger. “But we go now and in my car. Agreed?”

     Hugo nodded, fumbling for his wallet. He threw three twenties on the table and scrambled to follow Vivienne as she sauntered toward the exit.

     An hour later, he sat on her couch, sipping warm cognac and staring at the tiny blue flames licking along a Presto log. Anything to keep his mind off the way her legs seemed to go on forever beneath her little black dress. As if reading his mind, she poked his leg with her bare toes and then tucked both feet under him.

     “So tell me the truth. Weren’t you just a little freaked out to wear the ring after what that woman said about it?”

     Hugo shrugged. “Not really. I think that stuff is stupid.”

     She emptied her glass. “Drink up! There’s something I want to show you.”

    Hugo chugged the liquor down. Standing turned out to be a mistake. The room spun around him. He grabbed at the marble mantelpiece, ring clunking against the hard stone. His hands and feet felt numb. His knees buckled and he fell back onto the couch. He tried to apologize, but his tongue was too big and his lips wouldn’t move.

     Vivienne’s face swam into view, a frown furrowed deeply across her brow. The room swirled again and she disappeared. His ears flooded with the sound of rushing water. Vivienne reappeared. No, not Vivienne. This woman was older. She reminded him of someone. The room convulsed again. His head grew heavy – too heavy to hold up much longer. He felt a sharp tug on his left hand. The woman waved the ring into his line of sight. The ring! That’s where he knew her – the widow with the ring.

     Vivienne’s voice came from somewhere behind him, garbled by the rushing sound in his ears. “Sorry, Momma. I think I gave him too much.” Hugo struggled to comprehend each word, but they slipped along the ebbing tide of his consciousness.

     “No matter, sweetie. The important thing is that you bagged your first dead ringer! I’m so proud of you.”

     Ring. Hugo’s vision tunneled toward darkness. Ring. Damn ring. Ring. Wait. She said dead. Hugo wanted to be afraid, but couldn’t muster the will. Dead. Ring. Ring. Wait. Not the ring, but a ringing. The doorbell; it was ringing. Blackness overtook him.


Annette Connor, USA


Wow it certainly is a dead mans ring..or is it? Well written Annette, I really enjoyed reading it.
Annette has provided a dark/menacing storyline to follow. This will develop into a sophisticated serial full of intrigue and menace.
Haha, this story made me smile. I love it when a new plot takes me by surprise!
Annette--an excellent chapter, well written and mechanically sound. Maybe not what I would have written but very good none the less. Glad you are back writing @ Story Mint.