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A Night of Suspense

By Belinda

In from the bone chilling cold and dark of an Ontario January evening we all stumbled, in to the hospitable warmth of Bonnie's house. We came shivering and with bodies tensed against the icy grip of winter, ready for tension of a different kind--an evening sharing writing on the topic of "suspense."

I had racked my brain intermittently for days but failed to come up with any inspiration on the topic, so I went empty handed, but looking forward to listening.

There were nine of us; women whose ages range from 40s to 80s on this particular night. Who knew that such gentle female souls hid talents in the macabre vein?!

We sat on the edge of our seats, gasping as we listened to each cleverly woven tale of suspense. We whispered under our breath, "No, don't do it; don't go down those stairs; stay in your room!" And we sighed in frustration as the main characters seemed determined to ignore our urgings.

I am prone to getting carried away by stories to an annoying degree--at least to judge from Paul's reaction when we watch a movie together. I am used to hearing, "Belinda, it's just a movie!" But I can't help it; from the first scene, or the first word, if it is any good at all, I am right there, cringing; crying or laughing out loud.

So tonight my palms were literally sweating as these writers wove their magic words into a dark cauldron of impending doom. There were creaking doors; squeaking stairs; power outages; feet dragging along a floor downstairs--even a vivid description of the London blitz from someone who'd lived through the terror of the dreaded "doodlebugs;" bombs that flew on motors then fell from the sky. By the end we were thoroughly and deliciously spooked.

One of our number, and I am serious; arrived after having just been interviewed by the police for an hour. A dead body had just been found in one of the apartments in her basement and they were doing an investigation. Our eyes widened at this news. How in keeping with the tone of the evening.

Next month I'm quite relieved that our assignment is to write a children's story!

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