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Crime Mystery Suspense

There was nothing unusual about the Carlton family, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me begin this story with two initial facts. Number one, on the morning of July 19th, a murder was committed in the Carlton house. Number two, one of the Carltons did it.


As I said, there was nothing unusual about the Carltons. Come to think of it, they were quite boring. Common run-of-the-mill folk. Quite simply… well, simple. They lived in the smack middle of Tennessee, in a small town called Honeytree. A population barely reaching 4,000. Mr. and Mrs. grew up as neighbors. They attended the same elementary school, then middle, then highschool. Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. started a small family of one girl and one boy. The house they bought was located one block down from their childhood homes, like I said, simple folk. 


They lived how simple folk live. Attended the local Church, mainly for Easter Sunday. Sent their kids to the local school. Maintained a modest farm with crops and a few chickens. They kept on good terms with the fellow townsfolk. This was especially important in Honeytree. For everyone knew everyone's business, and folks that ruffled feathers didn’t last too long. It was best to keep the peace, one might say it was expected. This was the knot that tied Honeytree together, the knot of most small towns, and nobody seemed to question it.  


I have to exclude Mr. Carlton, of course. Mr. Carlton was a questioner. Not intentionally, however, everything was intentional to folk in Honeytree. Mr. was not like them, no, he was one of em’ businessmen. You know the type. Spiffy shoes, spiffy suits, always in a hurry. Back in his college days, he went to a city school. Folks in Honeytree don’t take too kindly to people comin and goin. Tumbleweed was the expression. Yet, Mr. claimed there wasn’t a decent college in the state of Tennessee, so to the city he tumbled. Boy, was he determined. Nearly split Mr. and Mrs. up. Anyways, for such poor schoolin' Mr. Carlton did mighty fine for himself. Like I said, he was determined. Determined not to let his roots define him. He graduated top of the class. Mrs. was mighty proud seein’ him on that stage, grabbin’ that diploma. Along with that diploma came a twinge of pride, Mrs. wasn't as proud of that. However, young love tends to stick like gum to shoes, so they got hitched a day after graduation. 


Mrs. never went to college, but she didn’t mind. Hardly anyone she knew had gone, why would she? Throughout highschool she worked on her pops farm. He taught her all she knew. Taught her maintain’ crops. Taught her carin’ for animals. By the ripe age of 17 Mrs. was a certified farmer. She never felt the urge Mr. felt to “get out.” She liked town. Liked her family and her family farm. Liked seein' the same roads, the same stores, the same faces. Brought Mrs. a sense of security. She liked this simple life, loved it even. Though more than that, Mrs. feared change. That was the biggest difference between Mr. and Mrs. 


Jenny Loo was the oldest of the Carlton kids. She was brought up well-mannered, hard workin’, and God fearin’. Just how Mr. and Mrs. were raised, just like their parents, and the parents before. Now in 8th grade, she brought home nothin’ but good report cards. Jenny Loo loved school. Loved her friends, her teachers, her homework, but most of all, she loved that it was not the farm. Living on a farm, it was expected that children aid in farming duties. Jenny Loo never complained about these duties, for this is how she was taught to be. However, she never fully understood her mama's love for the farm. When mama talked of the farm, and of her fond memories helping her pop, mama would get that light in her eye. Jenny Loo never got that light. She felt guilty for that. In her room, after the farm work was done, she'd get out her dolls and dress them up. She imagined herself as these dolls, wearin' these dresses, these pretty dresses, only to be worn to balls. You couldn’t do farm work in these dresses, Jenny liked that. She was a girly-girl. Although, she didn't know that term, for everyone was the same in Honeytree. Everyone farmed, and nobody complained, and that's how it was. So, Jenny Loo didn’t complain. She did her work, listened to mama's stories, and kept her thoughts to herself and her dolls. 


Jimmy was the younger of the two. He was a nice boy, a little dirty, but most boys in Honeytree were. He wasn’t dirty because he lived on a farm, although that did make him dirty. He was dirty because he liked bugs. His hands always carried bits of soil, how else does one find bugs? He’d dig holes, lift rock, climb trees. He’d bring them home, these bugs, despite his sister's constant complaints. He couldn’t help it. All he wanted to do was find more and more bugs. He liked how he’d sometimes find a bug that was different from the rest. This brought him a sense of novelty, of change. Living in Honeytree, you never felt change. So, when Jimmy found a beetle with a red shell, instead of black, it brought him, and his nine-year-old brain couldn't quite articulate this, but it brought him hope. Just like Jenny Loo’s dolls. These little bugs brought escapism. Children shouldn’t need that. But that’s just my personal opinion...

There you have it. The Carlton family. Why was I telling this story?…Ah yes, the morning of July 19th, yes. Now, don't be too upset, but I seem to have left out a few details. My apologies. Allow me now to tell the full story. 


It was a fairly normal morning. Mr. was reading his newspaper. Jimmy and Jenny Loo sat impatiently waiting for breakfast. Mrs. had been up late with farm work, so this morning she was particularly tired. So tired, she hardly noticed the jar she opened wasn’t the jelly jar. Not the jelly jar but Jimmy's jumping-spider jar, something Mrs. had repeatedly told him not to bring into the house. Well he must've forgotten. Off went the lid and out popped the spider, out onto Jenny Loo’s plate, to be exact. Jenny Loo, being a minor drama queen, began frantically squealing. Mr. looked up, rolled his paper and smack, down with the creepy crawly.

What? I never said what kind of murder it was. Anyways, don’t blame me, I told you from the beginning, there was nothing unusual about the Carlton family.


December 27, 2023 19:59

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6 comments

Stella Aurelius
23:36 Feb 13, 2024

Hahaha ! What a twist ! I was wondering who got murdered. In my mind, I figured the Dad suggested they move to a big city, the children were 100% on board (shocking their mother), and the mum killed them so everything stays the same. Glad it wasn't that. PS: As a city girl, I am 100% in agreement with everyone but Mum. Great story!

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Korinne H.
20:44 Feb 15, 2024

What an interesting guess! Love that idea :)) Thanks for the read! (I'm a city girl too, it comes out in my writing...)

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Michał Przywara
21:43 Jan 05, 2024

Ha! The perfect crime :) I was going to say the exposition for this was all a bit long-winded, and maybe taking us too far away from the mention of murder right at the beginning - but having reached the end, I'm of a different opinion. As a setup for that punchline, it works :) Naturally I wondered who it would be. The outsiderish, feather-ruffling Mr? The stalwart Mrs set in her ways? The daughter, who dreamed of more and was haunted by guilt? The son, who also dreamed of more and sought it out? Any could die, and all could have motive ...

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Korinne H.
15:23 Jan 06, 2024

Glad to hear you understood the reasoning behind the character descriptions! :) Thank you for the read and comment!

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Marty B
01:05 Jan 05, 2024

Interesting twist! Although, is it morbid that I was looking for one of the family to die off ?! I liked the passive voice of the narrator, all the characters had eccentricities which made them fun to read about.

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Korinne H.
03:59 Jan 05, 2024

Haha, not morbid at all, thank you for the read! ;)

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