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A Peculiar Party ~ Part Three March 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Magick & Mystery, Word Play.

IMGP3524b“What happened when you went into Naples for dinner, Freddie?”

“We left early enough to stop by the beach.  Betty had received a necklace on her birthday ~ a vial of pink sand on a gold chain.”

“Sounds charming.”

“Betty wanted to re-fill the vial with Naples sand.”

“Why Naples sand?”

“She wanted a piece of home next to her heart whenever we traveled.”

“I see.  That sounds like Betty.”

Freddie nodded.  “After a short stroll on the beach, she filled the vial, inserted the cork, and hung it around her neck.”

IMGP3535b“What happened then?”

“We left the beach and walked down Fifth Ave to have dinner at The Wind in the Willows.  We never made it.”

“Why not?”

“Something or someone put a spell on us.”

“Step by step . . . walk me through that night.”

“Betty had sand in her shoes.  From the beach.  She saw a bench against the wall in a well-manicured alley and sat down to empty her shoes.”

“Did you wait for her there?”


“No.  I decided to explore a bit.”


“Yes.  Despite having walked from one end of Fifth Avenue to the other on countless occasions, I had never noticed this alley until that night.”

“How odd.”

“And getting odder.  I wandered down the path a short way and stumbled across a totem pole.”

“In the alley?”

“In a small garden, just off the alley.”

“Was Betty with you?”

IMGP3541b“Not then . . . just as I started to read a brass plaque in front of the totem, I heard her calling and turned back.”

“So, you don’t know what it said?”

“I wish I could say that.”

“Sorry.  You’ve lost me.”

“I met Betty and urged her to return with me so I could read the plaque.”


“At the time, I assumed I was merely curious.  Now, I realize that something or someone compelled me to return.”

“Compelled you?  Who?”

“No idea.  That’s what we need you to help us sort out.”

“Okay.  Go on.”

IMGP3542c“Betty and I returned to the totem and I fished around my pockets for my reading glasses.”

Knowing Freddie, I smiled.  “Let me guess.  No luck.”

“Right.  I had left them at home.  Betty wears a pair on a chain around her neck.  Same prescription.  She pulled the chain over her head and handed them to me.”

“Why didn’t she read the plaque?”

“Probably afraid she’d topple over.  She’s a bit top heavy in that bonnet.”

I grinned again.  “So you read the plaque.”

“Yes.  I put on her glasses and stooped over to read the plaque.”

“What did it say?”

Freddie’s voice dropped from his steady rich baritone to a husky whisper as he intoned, “Beware.  Beware.  The sands of time be not stilled.”

IMGP3541c“That’s all?”

“That’s all I remember.  As soon as I read those words, the light shifted and the totem pole started to glow.”

“To glow?”

“Yes.  Instead of standing in a garden of turquoise and greens, everything around us turned metallic.”


“Yes.  The building.  The totem.  The palm trees.  And . . . ”

“. . . and you and Betty.”


To be continued . . . 

If you missed any installments, the entire story can be found at the Short Stories tab . . . or just click HERE!


1. Pix Under the Oaks - March 24, 2013


nrhatch - March 24, 2013

Serial posts are a practice in patience, Pix. 😉

2. johnell74 - March 24, 2013

How very Lewis Carroll, Nancy!
A great story. I am agog for the rest.

nrhatch - March 24, 2013

Thank you, John. I’ve felt a bit like Alice wandering through Wonderland while writing this. I haven’t bumped into the Mad Hatter or March Hare. And the White Rabbit and his over sized timepiece is nowhere in sight.

What characters Carroll created!

johnell74 - March 31, 2013

I have been doing a little op, but am catching up. I agree about LC. What a fertile imagination – him and you!!!!
Thank you

nrhatch - March 31, 2013

Thanks. This story has been outside my norm . . . but lots of fun. Even without Tweedledee and Tweedledum. 😉

3. Tammy - March 24, 2013


nrhatch - March 24, 2013

I’m writing as fast as I can. 😉

4. Grannymar - March 24, 2013

I am on the edge of my chair.

nrhatch - March 24, 2013

Great! But don’t fall. 😀

5. kateshrewsday - March 24, 2013

Curiouser and curiouser…

nrhatch - March 24, 2013

All we need now is for Nancy McGee to stumble into the fountain and end up down the Rabbit Hole like poor Alice. 😉

6. diannegray - March 24, 2013

I’m getting curiouser and curiouser! 😀

nrhatch - March 24, 2013

This has been my first serial story. It’s been a blast posting each chapter without knowing where the story is going to end. Let’s hope I don’t run into a Brick Wall while following the Yellow Brick Road. :mrgreen:

7. sufilight - March 24, 2013

Betty’s bonnet is so heavy she is afraid of toppling over, such is the price of vanity. LOL Now, we must wait for the next chapter… I am like Dianne getting curiouser and curiouser … 😀

nrhatch - March 24, 2013

Glad you enjoyed that image. It does seem a rather LARGE bonnet for a small frog. 🙄

I’ve begun to see where this tale might end. My lips are sealed.

8. Three Well Beings - March 25, 2013

The “Alice” comments are perfect! There is that Lewis Carroll feel. I like the totem! So where are we going next?

nrhatch - March 25, 2013

I love Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I’ve always wanted to play croquet with flamingo mallets and cards for wickets.

And I always keep my eyes wide for Tweedledum or ‘dee. :mrgreen:

9. spilledinkguy - March 25, 2013

I think I would have started to turn green, too!

nrhatch - March 25, 2013

We bumped into this totem pole down a narrow alleyway in Naples . . . little did I know that it would claim a starring role in this Peculiar Party tale. 😉

10. Barbara Backer-Gray - March 25, 2013

Ooo, intriguing!

nrhatch - March 25, 2013

Thank you for joining us “in progress.” 😀

11. viviankirkfield - March 27, 2013

Better and better, Nancy! Now I am hooked…frozen in time like Freddy and Betty…will the pink sands of Naples release them from the spell of the totem? Perhaps not…that’s why they’ve enlisted your help.:)

nrhatch - March 27, 2013

Thanks, Vivian. I can see you reading this to a group of “wee ones” and asking questions like that at the end of each chapter to keep them curious.

12. dearrosie - March 29, 2013

I’m also hooked…

“Beware. Beware. The sands of time be not stilled.”
is that a Nancy quote?

nrhatch - March 29, 2013

I think the plaque whispered it into my ear. 😉

13. nrhatch - March 30, 2013

Several readers requested that I post A Peculiar Party Under The Palms as a single page.

Just click HERE and you’ll be whisked through cyber space to join the party. Wheeee . . .

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