Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Delusional Doom Blogfest:

Devil in the Chili:

Gardening. Isabella Loveknott loved to garden. The evidence clearly displayed in the many raised beds in her yard. Not just the front yard. The back and side yards too. Her husband didn’t mind, since there was little grass to mow and Isabella did all the weeding. She rose at 4 a.m. daily, slipped into her garden jeans, put on the purple clogs, and traipsed into the kitchen where she brewed her own blend of herbal tea.

Anyone who knew Isabella knew that she collected vases. Every corner of her home had fresh flowers in water. Her pride and joy was the cut glass vase from Ireland. She’d saved a year for this vase which graced the center of the dining room table. Her husband was glad he didn’t have to spend money on a florist.

At a quarter past 4 a.m., Isabella stood in the kitchen doorway and stared at the empty dining room table. Her hot mug filled the air with the scent of her rose petal tea. The Irish vase was gone. Her husband came home late from the bar. He’d spent too much money and smelled of too many beers. Isabella glared at him, saying nothing, just seething in her own mind. He became angry, rebuked her with his fist and lifted the Irish vase, filled with red roses, and threw it at her. She’d been in the kitchen doorway then too. She stepped aside. The cut glass shattered on the kitchen floor. Red roses strewn everywhere. Her husband went to bed and Isabella cleaned up her heart from the tile.

Isabella set to work. She left the kitchen light on and descended the back steps into her garden. She knew which plant needed to be moved, separated and replanted. She knew which bush hung too far over the side and should be trimmed back. She knew which bed had too many encroaching weeds. But none of them called to her today. She didn’t fear the lights that shown from the neighbors’ windows. Or the curtains pulled aside to watch her. They were the same everyday. She would simply take them a lovely bouquet after work and gossip about their day. No, on this bright day as the birds sang and flew between trees Isabella headed for the Devil’s helmet. Its lovely blue shade decorated the base of her Oleander. Foxglove grew along the fence and overshadowed a newly planted Belladonna bush that had yet to produce any berries. She didn’t grow her tea leaves among these flowers. She knew better than that.

Isabella took the scissors from her apron pocket. She bent and snipped the Devil’s helmet to the ground. Then she dug into the rich soil and removed the root putting it along with the stems, leaves, and flowers in her bucket. The bucket she used daily and left in the flower beds. Lifting it, she walked along the garden path and entered the kitchen. She slipped off her muddy clogs by the door. She left the apron to hang from a breakfast chair and she set the bucket in the sink. Before she did another thing, she washed her hands with warm, soapy water. By the time her husband came down, his coffee was waiting along with French toast.

“I’m sorry, Darlin,’ about last night,” he said.

Isabella said nothing. She sat across from him and sipped her tea. The Devil’s helmet brewed over the stove top. He cleaned his plate, drained his coffee, smacked his lips and thanked her before leaving for his day. Isabella remained in her chair, in her immaculate kitchen, in her home that smelled of sweet flowers. The Devil’s helmet bubbled on the stove top.

Her husband was late again that night. Isabella wasn’t surprised. She’d made chili for dinner. It steamed in the slow cooker. A surprise ingredient bubbled in with all the spices. Warm cornbread cooled on the counter. Fresh butter rested on the table. Her best stoneware matched the placemat and waited at the head of the dining room table. Of course now there was no Irish vase in the center of the table and the Devil’s helmet couldn’t be detected.

As the clock approached 9 p.m., the doorbell rang. Isabella stood, numb with intent and went to the door. A police officer waited. His cap in his hand.

“Mrs. Loveknott?”

“Yes,” Isabella replied.

“I’m sorry to tell you this. But there was a shooting at Fred’s Bar tonight. I’m afraid your husband is dead.”

The End

A special thanks goes to, Clarissa Draper, on your wonderful poisons series where I obtained the information on Devil’s helmet known by many names. To read about this poisonous plant and others visit, Clarissa at, Listen to the Voices, and check out her link to Poisons.

Picture link: Wikipedia

To read all the other great Delusional Doom Blogfest entries head over to Hart Johnson’s at Confessions of a Watery Tart.

I hope you enjoyed my story.

P.S. This is post 200.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy .. loved that story .. and as you say Clarissa's information is so informative. That was a real narrative for a tv show .. thoroughly enjoyed my transportation to the garden .. cheers Hilary

alberta ross said...

I did like that - heart from the tile - brilliant - nice twist also - my kind of tale

Amie Kaufman said...

!!!! The ending!

(FYI, !!!! is a rough written translation of the noise I made when I got there. Love it!)

Joanne said...

Ha! Isabella is saved by the bell, and has the last laugh. I like how you brought her gardening into the tale, too, and made it such a part of her life.

Ellie said...

Ooo...what an ending! Wow.

Ellie Garratt

Holly Ruggiero said...

Great twist at the end. I got a kicked out of the purple clogs too.

Colene Murphy said...

HA! Great build up to the twist! Lol. Awesome post! Congrats on the 200!!

Ella said...

I loved the surprise ending; he was fated to fade. I love the garden and all the imagery..Well Done~

Michael Di Gesu said...

Nicely written, Nancy,

Wonderful build up and description!

I love the twist at the end. I also loved how amazingly calm Isabella was.


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you everyone, Hilary, Alberta, Amie, Joanne, Ellie, Holly, Colene, Ella, and Michael. I'll get to you all as the day continues.

Mara Nash said...

Ack! I wanted her to get her revenge! All that work and somebody stole the glory from her. LoL.

But I guess the result was the same in the end so no harm no foul.

Very nicely done, I was sucked in from the start and couldn't stop reading.

Draven Ames said...

Good story here - glad to join the blogfest. I expected it to end differently, but that is great. You put me through a twist, and I felt her pain. Do you know someone who is an alcoholic? Living in the shadow of it can be very difficult. I hope she didn't eat the chili. Congratulations on post number 200!

Draven Ames

N. R. Williams said...

Nice to meet both of you, Nara and Draven. I'm glad you enjoyed my post. Yes I do know several alcoholics. That will ruin your life for sure.

LTM said...

muwahahaha!!! how lucky for her! And yes, I've used Clarissa's poisoning expertise in my writing before, too! Awesome~ :o) <3

Jan Morrison said...

oh my, I wanted to see him die. I did. Not very nice and me a Buddhist. ah well.
I'm joining the party late but it is in full swing - come on by my place - I won't serve chili!
Jan Morrison

M Pax said...

Cleaned her heart from the tile was so emotional. Great pieace. I really enjoyed the ending and poison for a poisoned relationship.

hsoister said...

Foxglove? Belladonna? Devil's helmet? I love the sweet images of the flower lady as she goes about her garden, tending to her poisons. Great twist in the end.

And a great entry in the blogfest. I'll be stopping back.

RosieC said...

Ack. What a twist. Nicely done. I love your prose.

Congrats on your 200th post!

Hart Johnson said...

Ha! Oh this was fabulous! You know, for my gardening cozy that I'm working on, I am having a plant-based murder and plan on scouring Clarissa's blog there, too!

Francine Howarth said...


So loved the wicked intent thwarted by Karma getting first strike! ;)


The Golden Eagle said...

I love your Delusional Doom entry!

Clarissa's Poisons series was such a great one--very informative!

Congratulations on 200 posts!

N. R. Williams said...

Yes, LMT, Clarissa does have some great advice.

Hi Jan, I'll be by.

Thanks M., I liked yours as well.

Thanks, hsoister, love to see you here often.

Thank you, Rosie.

Your mystery sounds great, Hart. Here's to the mighty plant world.

Hi Francine, glad to see you and happy you enjoyed my entry.

Hi Golden, thank you on all above mentioned items.


nutschell said...

Hey nancy!
Great story! just wanted to drop by and say congratulatoions! Come pick up your prize at my blog http://www.thewritingnut.com/contest/characters-count-contest-winners/

Anstice (Tizzy) Potts said...

That was a brilliant story. It kept me wondering whether she was going to kill him or kill herself, and then the ending was a total suprise! Thanks for writing this.

Laura said...

ouch... seriously, ouch!!!
Loved this story so much

Margo Benson said...

I haven't taken part in this fest but have so enjoyed reading lots of entries. I love "cleaned up her heart from the tile" Nancy.

N. R. Williams said...

I'll be by Nut.

Thank you Tizzy, Laura and Margo. So glad you enjoyed my story.


Tessa Conte said...

First: Congrats on the 200th post!

And what a post it is!!!! Brilliant, and with a really cool ending, too.

Loved it!


Mary Vaughn said...

Nancy, What a great twist to the ending. I admit I was cheering Isabella on.

Theres just life said...

Wow...Just wow. I had to read this twice. I really enjoyed the way you wrote it. I was right there with Isabella the whole time. It just to bad she had to cut that lovely flower for nothing.
Now I have to go check out the poisonous plants at Clarissa's place.

Pamela Jo

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Tessa, Mary and Theres just life. I'm thrilled you all liked it so much.

Trisha said...

Ooh, this was great! I'm glad she didn't have to risk prison to get rid of the jerk! hehe

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you, Trisha.

Donna Hole said...

Now thats using your social networking to maximum effect :)

Congrats on 200 posts.

Oh, and my killer did get sucked into his own trap. Fitting end, yes?


Cleveland said...

Guy had it coming! Nice story. :)

N. R. Williams said...

Great Donna, so glad we don't have another serial killer on our hands.

Thank you, Cleveland. Nice to meet you.


Melissa Bradley said...

What a great story! I loved this, got sucked in on the first sentence and didn't look away til the last.

Amanda Milner said...

Awesome twist! I was totally leaning forward as I got near the end! Perfect build up. ☺

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Melissa and Amanda, I'm thrilled you enjoyed it.

Dawn Embers said...

Excellent story. The ending was quite a surprise. She went through all the plans and then didn't get to do it in the end. But either way, he got what was coming him.


N. R. Williams said...

To true, Dawn. Glad you stopped by to read and comment. Thanks.