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.
“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.”
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.