Castle reprise

Page 79… in a fiction series

Miranda returned to the living room, goblets in hand, to find Dominic Manos stalking the perimeter, inspecting her artwork as if he were in a gallery.  He paused at a framed lithograph.  It was all she had left of her lovely orchids.  Later, she would find out that this, too, was part of the screening process, her personal private world that  Neil Lipman could not penetrate.

She sat on her soft leather sofa while he took a seat across from her in a vintage wing chair, one of the pieces she and Drew refinished on the weekends.  D.W. Manos was smooth and refined– smiling on cue, cocking his head this way and that.  While he charmed her with small talk, Miranda thought about the times she had seen him before.

She recalled Manos sitting with the usual crowd at Tommy’s Gotcha– Vince the imaginary cowboy, his slobbering sidekick Lester, and DUI lawyer Joe Ramano.  Miranda recalled Vince telling her to stay away from the  man in the navy blue blazer, that he wasn’t her type.  She wondered now what he meant by that.  There was nothing suspect about Manos, and Miranda was an excellent judge of character.  She remembered leaving early.  Maybe something happened after that…

But there was another memory, too, something that made her afraid.  She smiled his way, pretending she was intrigued by his story.  Manos took a sip of wine while Miranda drifted back into the cold mist of Castle Rouge.  She had a vision that night, (drunk of course), that carried her beyond the walls of the old stone warehouse, far out of her reach.  Her old drinking buddies were all dressed up– as pirates?  Not a complete surprise, considering everyone at the party was wearing a costume, but still…

Someone said her name, she recognized the voice.  He was inviting her to join them.  She squinted her eyes, swallowed another sip of fragrant Bordeaux.  Manos wore a patch on one eye and flashed a silver hook, stacks of gold doubloons on the bar before him.  Did he really reach out from the mirage and hand her something?  How was that possible?

Miranda struggled to revisit what was likely an illusion, brought on the mixture of alcohol and a bipolar episode.  Was it really pirate treasure?  Or was it the business card that ended up on her dining room table, the mysterious card that said, “D.W. Manos.”  Goosebumps swept over her skin– and not in the way they had the night before.  Even so, this was the final day of her 30 dates in 30 days plan, and it would be foolish to quit in the final round.

Manos raised one eyebrow and looked across the room at her favorite Tarkay, the numbered print that once hung in the home she shared with Harry, a souvenir she took with her after their tragic divorce.  He finished his wine and studied her as if she were one of Harry’s gently used Porsches– low miles, glossy finish, black leather interior.

Miranda wanted him to leave, but instead filled his glass.  Her judgement, once again, failed miserably, leading her down a dangerous path, seducing her right back into the dark.  Manos raised his glass, grinned at his prey, and said, “Cheers.”

To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Castle reprise

  1. Theresa says:

    This one made me sad. I always get uncomfortable when I meet people like that…they seem so hollow…like black holes. I am easily attached to characters like Miranda. You wrote this so well…the way the art was used in the story to express so many things.

    • Linda says:

      Yes, those “black holes” can be hollow, and dangerous, too. Thanks for noticing the artwork and its implications. I actually spent a long time looking for those pics!

  2. Larry Who says:

    “…Even so, this was the final day of her 30 dates in 30 days plan, and it would be foolish to quit in the final round…”

    What I always liked about a James Lee Burke mystery is that you wanted to scream at his hero, Dave Robecheaux, “Don’t do that! Please, don’t do that!” But of course, he did it anyway and I was forced to read along.

    Okay, I’m ready. Let’s turn the page.

    • Linda says:

      We talked when we first became friends about cloaking the author’s true identity and behavior behind the scenes of the story. It’s been hard to sort that out… enough said.

  3. Jim Travis says:

    Did not see that coming, the club rouge connection. It is funny how hindsight is 20/20, reading this, anyone would know that as soon as you made the connection you should kick him out or run screaming from the room, but again the hindsight thing. Hope you are well, happy and blessed, I have been out of the picture lately because of a heavy class load combined with a heavy work load, leaving no “Jim” left over for anything else. :-)
    as always, God Bless

    • Linda says:

      I guessed as much! I hope your schedule for “Jim time” opens up soon. ; )

      Bad judgement just seems to breed more bad judgement in Miranda’s tragic world. The man in the navy blue blazer has creeped her out for many pages, and instict should have taken over when they officially met. The story is almost over, stop back soon to read the end.

  4. Debbie says:

    Oh no! I want to get rid of this guy for Miranda! I don’t like him there one bit.
    God bless you as He keeps you forever in His loving care! hugs and prayers!

    • Linda says:

      Thanks, Debbie. The end of the story has taken a different twist from what I promised when I started writing last October. I actually found some old writing that I did years ago when I was bitter and furious. It told me the answer to what has to happen next. The story will be over soon…

  5. Jan says:

    No. No. No. This guy is bad news. Why can’t Miranda see that?

    • Linda says:

      She can’t see that because she just isn’t wired that way… partly because of her never ending devotion to alcohol, and also because she likes the drama and attention. Miranda will eventually find God and peace, and that will change everything, but unfortunately the story has to end soon.

      When you read it I think you’ll agree.

      • Jan says:

        I’m still hoping for the happy ending, safe in God’s arms.

        • Linda says:

          And thank goodness that’s were Miranda finally wakes up. The story will go on from here, and lead to a quieter, peaceful place.

          Honestly Jan, I never thought I would divulge any on the Manos story line, and it isn’t exactly writing itself. But it played a HUGE MAJOR PART in Miranda’s journey, and without it there would be no rock bottom and the story’s author would very likely be dead, or at best, institutionalized, (one of the AA things we always say).

          The story’s ending is actually written on a box of Kleenex next to my bed in Harbor Springs, Michigan. It was a sleepy revelation thing. Hopefully we’ll be back up there in time to post the story’s end.

          • Jan says:

            Sometimes the parts that are the hardest to write turn out to be the best and most important. You are such a good writer!

          • Linda says:

            Wow… I hope you’re right. I have enough rough drafts to wallpaper a bathroom. I’m reliving my own stupidity and feeling this season all over again. And… I’m being really mean to my characters! Thanks for your encouragement.

  6. ann says:

    Oh man…

    I get the same feeling I get when I’m a passenger in a car that’s going way too fast and taking way too many chances… Sadly, most cars only come equipped with one set of brakes. :-(

    Beautiful. Sad. All at the same time.

    Like Deb, I will console myself that there’s a happy ending. I only wish someone would interrupt this moment and bring on the happy ending sooner. (Where’s momma when she’s needed? Ring, phone… ring!)

    So there. I have ranted :-)

    Blessings and thanks for sharing, Dear Linda

    On the edge of my seat,

    • ann says:

      P.S. … So sorry. The happy ending was Jan’s idea. (I should go to bed now… it’s kinda late on this side of the world) :-)

      • Linda says:

        “This side of the world…” Now that’s more interesting than anything I’ve written lately!

        I’ve been going on four or five hours of sleep a night, and I’m getting really grouchy. Get some sleep, ann! : )

    • Linda says:

      So true about the brakes on the car. A similar thing happens when you take your hands off the wheel just to see what might happen. What kind of person does something like that?

      As you sometimes say, I’m playing catch-up. I seem to think that surfing Facebook will inspire me to get back to work and face Miranda’s demons. I think I’m ready now. Thanks for sharing…

  7. Linda, I recently got caught up on the story from my phone, but it’s too hard to comment from my phone. I was so happy for Miranda when she realized Drew was the one she loved, but then sad that she walked away from that to find this Dominic character (who I dislike intensely!). I know you’ll say that I shouldn’t feel sorry for Miranda, but I do. I can see she has been so deceived by the evil one into thinking money and status are what will make her happy. I have to admit I am really hoping that this story has the happy ending I think it does – if not with Drew then with someone who will love Miranda just as much. Peace, Linda

    • Linda says:

      I’ve thought about you as I struggle to write these final pages. You’re finally getting to see the end of the story. It’s either going to be the truth or some ridiculous fairy tale. I bet you already have it figured out…

      And I agree with you about the deception of the “love of money.” What a mess that can bring. Believe or not, it helps to write/talk about it.

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