The Audacity Gambit: Chapter 3

In the bright blue twilight, the common yard looked less shabby. The planters of wildflowers hadn’t yet succumbed to the heat and lent patches of colour to the circle of lawn at the centre of the court. As they did every evening, children tumbled and lay in the grass, some engaging in a sneaky war of blowing dandelion fluff at each other. They confined their play to a third of the space while the rest of the lawn was occupied by a motley assortment of chairs and stools from each…

The Audacity Gambit: Chapter 2 continued

The two women passed the town’s official boundaries, Janice at the wheel. Emily loved and hated the smallness of her hometown and its proximity to farms and forest. The cooler weather, mushroom hunting, and scenic view didn’t really make up for the single-screen theatre and half-hour drive to the closest mall. Since she’d always owned a bicycle, Emily never felt like she needed to find a car, even though it severely limited the scope of her activities. A total lack of a social life probably helped with that. Drives with…

The Audacity Gambit: Chapter 2

The house had a heavy, after-midnight quiet, even though it was barely past eleven. Emily checked the kids again, but they were sprawled in the deep sleep only small children can achieve. Returning to her seat on the couch, Emily sat, an unread book in hand. She’d already been sitting there an hour or more, still processing everything Becky had told her. It was patently ridiculous information, wish fulfilment, but Emily couldn’t figure out a motive for such an elaborate lie. She’d never been so anxious for the kids’ parents…

The Audacity Gambit: Chapter 1 continued

“You’re going to think this is a bunch of bullshit at first.” Mrs. James —Becky—munched chips while she spoke. “But you’ll be able to verify it with your aunt and the rest of Royal Oak. I was picked to talk to you because I’m a ‘trusted adult,’ somebody not part of your immediate family, but a person who has known you your whole life. It’s also related to my job, keeping records and whatnot.” Emily felt like she was already getting lost. “I feel dumb asking, but what do you…

The Audacity Gambit: Chapter 1

Emily took a quick headcount before clapping her hands for attention. “Hey folks, now I know you hate ice cream” —a chorus of high pitched, giggling denials rose from the summer-tawny grass— “but it looks like some bowls magically appeared in the kitchen, so we better go take care of it.” She slid back the screen door with her foo¬¬t before adding, “toys get put away first, please.” A half dozen sets of hands rushed to scoop up sun-faded action figures and battered metal vehicles. The smallest child, Mathilde, held…