The investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Jenny Harrison was closed four months after her abandoned car was found. I, and I suspect a few others, thought it premature, but the decision was made and life resumed.

Jenny was married to Henry Harrison, his family prominent since gold rush settlement. Her car was found on a quiet road, the driver’s seat splattered with blood.

I’d purchased the local hairdressing salon five years earlier, a new challenge for a young gay man seeking to forget an unhappy upbringing. The townswomen flocked, excited by the idea of a gay hairdresser; very Hollywood-esque. Men were slower to come around, eventually discovering I provided the styles they wanted but basically ignoring me as I cut and trimmed, bantering with waiting buddies instead. They never attended alone.

Most of the women simpered and flirted, and I dropped enough names like Kim and Khloe, to keep them happy. Jenny was different, sincerely grateful for my efforts, and my silence.  She squeezed my hand tightly each time she left. I saw the purple bruises below her necklines when I placed the protective cape around her shoulders, felt her wince when I inadvertently bumped her shoulder.

After the investigation closed, Henry began dating a colleague but I doubted it was his first dalliance with her. Townspeople accepted it; the poor man must have been lonely.

Two years later I sold the salon to my former apprentice, her limited experience unimportant as she was another Harrison.

I headed east, opened a new salon and relocated Jenny Harrison to the back of my mind.

I met Dean and accepted his proposal six months later. We honeymooned at a popular seaside resort. One afternoon, browsing the market, I spotted a familiar face. A smiling, happy, carefree face.

Our eyes met as they often had via the salon mirror, apprehension replacing the sparkle.

Jenny drew a sharp breath. I reached out and took her hand, squeezing it tight. The sparkle returned. Her breath exhaled.

Dean called me to a souvenir stand. And Jenny was quickly swallowed up by the crowd.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

This is an interesting little tale Sandra. It’s nice to see a good outcome, though I do wish the husband had got his just desserts.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
5 months ago

A wonderful wink at ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’! Jenny got away, the abusive husband seeemed to come out unpunished but who knows what happens behind closed doors? I love the happy ending for the kind hairdresser. Just great, Sandra!

Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
5 months ago

Hooray for Jenny! I don’t feel the necessity to punish Henry – they say the best revenge is a spectacular life. Now Jenny is happy, carefree, sparkling – she won! I love the caring hairdresser as well, and your line about how he seems so very Hollywood-esque to the ladies in town. A great story, entertaining and satisfying.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
5 months ago

I loved the relationship between Jenny and the hairdresser and how their lives were interwoven. The line about the purple bruises below her neck actually made me wince too when he bumped her shoulder! A really well-written story Sandra that ended well.

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
5 months ago

I really enjoyed this story, Sandra. As the reader I found myself digging through it and wishing for more. That tells me you’ve written quite the little gem here. I hope you write a part two someday!

Alan Kemister
Alan Kemister (@alan-kemister)
5 months ago

This is great. A full murder mystery, described including the necessary background and resolved with a twist (no murder). All in 350 words. Now your unnamed hero is left with a problem. It seems clear that Henry physically abused Jenny, but it’s unclear if the blood in the car was from his abuse and she somehow managed to get away, or if she staged her death in order to escape from the abusive situation. Can your hero do anything to bring Henry to justice without outing Jenny? Or should he just accept the hopelessness of bringing Henry to justice, and just get on with his new life with Dean?
Interesting conundrum, and all in 350 words. Well done.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
5 months ago

This is a great story, Sandra, told in a very convincing, matter-of-fact style, making it very real so that it gets under the skin of the reader. It makes it even more plausible that you have a gay hairdresser as the central person. You made his meeting with Jenny very touching and beautiful. And no, I agree with Fuji, there is no need for revenge. Jenny’s ex-husband is already suffering, abandoned and left alone in the dark with his memories. He is definitely already suffering. And Jenny is free, safe and happy.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago

It is so fascinating, Sandra. Good on Henry. He deserves to be left and abandoned because of his bad behavior and hurting his wife. The flow of the story is so amazing that I never thought it would end like that. What a nice twist, Sandra. Good job.

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