The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 030 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast | The Merry Writer | Creative Writing | Podcast | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 030: Would You Rather? [Writer’s Edition]

In this week’s episode, Ari and I play a fun round of Would You Rather! Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

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What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Short Story Sunday: “Thick” [Part Four – 318]

Short Story Sunday: "Thick" | Creative Writing | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Read Part Three Here

Witt followed Dowen through the hallways of the hospital. They entered the ICU area. They showed their badges to the receptionist at the front desk and she pointed them in the right direction. It wasn’t hard to spot which room Alisha was in. There were two police officers posted outside. The two detectives asked for a quick update, but there was nothing big to tell. The girl was okay, as far as they could tell. Some tests were being run but they wouldn’t have the results on those for another day or two.

Alisha seemed to have no memory of what had happened on the bridge. She didn’t even seem to remember who she was. They had called Alisha’s parents to come down and confirm their daughter’s identity – or at least her whereabouts. However, they still weren’t able to get in touch with her parents.

“Something weird is definitely going on,” Dowen whispered to Witt.

“You don’t think her parents have anything to do with this, do you?” Witt asked shocked.

Dowen shook his head. “No, but it’s strange to me how their daughter went out early this morning, it’s now the afternoon and, assuming this is Alisha, they haven’t seen or heard from their daughter. Wouldn’t they be looking? Wouldn’t they have gotten in touch with Ben if they’re such good friends and he would have explained it all to them?”

Witt hummed to herself. “You’ve got a point. I know I would be worried sick if I couldn’t find my kid.”

Dowen let out a disgruntled sigh. “Well, let’s head into the room and get this over with. I hope you’re in this for the long haul because I have a feeling this case is going to run us in circles.”

Witt entered the room before her partner. Alisha had a room all to herself with the police officers outside the door and there were no nurses or doctors in sight. She laid down in her bed with her eyes lightly closed. Witt looked at Dowen and pointed to the girl and he rolled his eyes. His partner couldn’t help but crack a smile. Yes, Alisha was awake and ready to talk about twenty minutes ago, but she had a rough day. It was entirely possible she had fallen back to sleep.

Dowen sat down on the left side of the bed and Witt joined him. She remained standing. The two stared at Alisha in silence for a brief moment. Then Dowen broke the silence with a whisper.

“I’m sure the hospital cleaned her up nice, but there’s not even a scratch on her.”

“I know,” Witt said in agreement. “She looks pretty good from falling 50-feet.”

“How can she look like this after what happened to her? There are no bandages or anything.”

“Maybe most of her scars are under the blankets.”

Dowen shook his head. Witt knew he didn’t believe that. She didn’t believe it either but she didn’t have any other answers. Unless this girl was not in fact Alisha like they had noticed when she was first found.

“Do you think we made a mistake?” Witt whispered.

“What that?” Dowen looked up at her in confusion.

“We halted the search the moment we found this girl. Now that I see her lying in this bed, alive and unscathed… I wonder if the real Alisha is still out there somewhere. If she is, she has to be dead by now.”

“Yes, then we have to go with the involuntary manslaughter angle again but we’ll also have another mystery on our hands,” Dowen said.

Witt looked at her partner.

“Who is this girl, where did she come from, and what was she doing there?” Dowen continued staring at the girl in the bed.

Before Witt could answer, the girl blinked her eyes open. She immediately turned her head to look at the two detectives. She gave them a small smile.

“Hi,” she said, her voice raspy.

“Alisha?” Dowen asked softly.

The girl frowned. “I don’t know, but maybe. Everyone else seems to think that’s who I am.”

“How are you feeling?” Witt asked.

“Tired, but okay,” she replied.

“Well, I’m Detective Witt and this is my partner, Detective Dowen. We’re going to ask you a couple of questions but we won’t take up too much of your time. We know you need to rest.”

The girl lifted her head slightly and scooted herself up higher on the pillows with her arms. Once she sat up, she smiled again at the detectives. “Of course, please ask what you need to. I don’t know if I’ll remember anything, but I heard there was an accident.”

“An accident that involved you,” Dowen explained. “You jumped off the bridge falling fifty feet into the icy river below. It’s a miracle you’re alive and not as hurt as you should be.”

“I must be lucky. Someone must have been watching over me.”

“Sure,” Dowen said exasperated.

Witt took a couple of photos out of her pocket. She had printed them out back at the station when they were searching for the car’s license plate number. The first picture was of Ben and Alisha standing on the bridge talking. It was a screen shot from the camera footage. “Do you recognize these people?”

The girl leaned forward a little. She squinted her eyes at the black and white image but finally shook her head before leaning her head back against the pillow. “No, I don’t. I’m sorry.”

“This is Benjamin Lame and you right before you jumped off the bridge,” Witt said pointing to the people in the photo.

The girl gasped. “Really? How strange… I know I have no memory of the incident, but I would like to think I’d recognize at least myself.”

“Do you recognize the place?”

She shook her head. “I assume it’s the bridge you mentioned but I have no memory of the place, let alone going there.”

Witt sighed. She turned to Dowen with a look expressing her concern that they might be wasting their time. They couldn’t make any conclusions from the victim if they couldn’t explain anything that had happened to them.

Dowen returned the look and Witt sighed knowing the exact face he was making. He wasn’t entirely sure this girl couldn’t remember anything. Judging from the state the victim was in and how quickly she seemed to recover from the incident, Witt wondered the same thing. Was this all an act? Was Eli in on this act as well?

“I think we may be done here.” Dowen stood making the executive decision. Witt had no objections.

“That was quick. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help to you,” The girl said.

“It’s okay, you focus on getting better. I’m sure we’ll be in touch again,” Dowen said.

Witt didn’t have anything else to say. Normally she was more sympathetic than Dowen but she was far too confused to say anything else to this… victim? Witness? Suspect? She wasn’t so sure.

The two detectives made it back out into the hall. They said their goodbyes to the officers and made their way back to the front desk to check out and give back their visitor’s passes. They were just about to leave when Witt turned back to the receptionist.

“Excuse me,” she said, “may we request to look at the medical records for the patient in room 203?”

The receptionist hesitated to comply.

“She’s the Jane Doe, but may be Alisha Davis. She’s a victim or possible suspect in another crime.” Dowen stepped in.

The young girl behind the counter nodded. “Would you like to see it now or shall I make copies? I can’t let you leave with it since she’s still a patient.”

“Copies would be great, thank you.” Witt smiled. As soon as the girl walked away, she turned to Dowen. “I’m curious about what the doctors think about her condition. I don’t think she’s Alisha at all. I think she’s playing us along with… well, either Eli or Ben. My money is on Eli though.”

“He had the getaway car.” Dowen nodded. “We’ll take these files back to the station and check on the stolen car report. If he never called and reported it, then I think we have means to pay him another visit.”

*

Witt tossed the copy of the medical records on Dowen’s desk. She had combed through them thoroughly while Dowen checked on the stolen car report. Before she could explain her side of the findings, Dowen leaned back in his chair shaking his head.
“It was never reported which means either Eli was the one driving the car or he let someone borrow it.”

Witt grinned. “Excellent, we’re getting closer. And all this girl has is amnesia. No concussion, no broken bones, nothing. The doctors are calling it a miracle.”

Dowen sat up and took the file folder in his hands. He opened and thumbed through the pages. “You’re kidding me, right? So this girl is not Alisha Davis. She can’t be.”

“I think we need to do a DNA test on this girl. She’s either lying to cover up for Alisha or Eli or whatever is going on here. Or she could very well be a missing person with amnesia who we just happened to stumble upon during our search for Alisha.”

Dowen shook his head. “That can’t be possible though, right? This Jane Doe looks exactly Alisha Davis. Although it would explain the change of outfit.” He put the folder down and began to type on his computer. “I’m going to look up all the missing persons that have been reported within the past year.”

Witt walked around to the other side of his desk and peered over his shoulder. “If we see this Jane Doe in this list, then we have a serious problem. That means Alisha is still out there somewhere.”

“It means her body is out there somewhere, though I’m sure it was washed away with the river at this point.”

“This case is laying it on thick for us, huh?” Witt sighed.

Dowen scrolled through all the missing persons – males and females. Finally, he stopped at a certain young girl. “Oh, man… that’s her. That’s the Jane Doe we just left at the hospital! Elizabeth Hammond.” He wrote down the name.

Witt shook her head in disbelief. “The resemblance to Alisha is uncanny. This can’t be a coincidence, can it?”

“I don’t know, but we definitely need to do a DNA test. We may need to call the parents of this Elizabeth girl. She’s even the same age as Alisha,” Dowen said. He reached for the phone.

“Wait,” Witt put a hand on his shoulder. “Shouldn’t we wait to contact Elizabeth’s parents? We should make sure it’s actually her before we get their hopes up.”

Dowen shook his head. “This can’t wait. I’ll explain everything to them over the phone and make sure they understand that they may not in fact be her. I’m pretty sure it is her though…”

“How long has she been missing?”

“Two months.”

“We’ve had such a harsh winter these past two months. It’s no wonder she’s lost her memory. I wonder what happened to her.”

Dowen seemed as though he were about to reply, but then he spoke into the phone. Witt walked away from his desk to give him some space. She made it back to her work station and looked at all they had figured out throughout the day. The case kept getting weirder and weirder. They might have solved the case of the missing girl but that meant they hadn’t solved the case of the girl who jumped off the bridge. Not to mention that seemed to be more than just her simply jumping off the bridge. Another man, possibly Eli, was involved. There was some plan that Witt and her partner were missing. She didn’t know if Ben had anything to do it or if he was just a pawn to be used as a witness. Some stories weren’t adding up and someone was lying about something. Witt put her head in her hands. It had been a long day and she couldn’t quite figure out what exactly was going on.

Detective Dowen stood beside her desk. He tapped her on the shoulder and she looked up at him. He put on his winter coat. “Elizabeth’s parents are on their way to the hospital. We’re going to meet them there. In the meantime, I ordered a team of officers to go back to the bridge to start the search over for Alisha – just in case. I told them to expand the perimeter down the river as well. If she’s there, she’s bound to be washed up ashore somewhere.”

Witt stood grabbing her coat. She nodded to her partner and followed him out of the station. They were in for a long night.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 029 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 029: Does “blocking” help with productivity?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I talk about blocking time to help be more productive with our writing time. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

Podbean | Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube | PodLink

What are your thoughts on this episode? Let me know in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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Podcast | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Short Story Sunday: “Ignorance” [Part Three – 317]

Short Story Sunday: "Ignorance" | Creative Writing | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Read Part Two Here

Dowen knocked on the front door to the man who owned the silver car. The car, matching the color, make, and license plate number, sat in the driveway. The two detectives assumed him to be home or at least someone was home and could inform them a little more about the man.

As they waited for someone to answer the door, Witt checked her cell phone. “The victim is still being evaluated. It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to question her for another hour or so. But she’s awake and conscious at least.”

“Good, that will give us plenty of time to talk to this guy,” Dowen said. “Do they know anything about the victim at least? I assume they’ve gotten her name at least, right?”

Witt sighed. “Well, that’s the bad news. Apparently she doesn’t remember anything.”

Dowen muttered something under his breath. “I guess that would make sense… she’s lucky to be alive.”

Witt was just about to reply when the door opened. A young man with short brown hair, wearing a red pull-over sweater, stood before them.

“Hello, can I help you?”

Witt and Dowen flashed their badges at the same time.

“I’m Detective Dowen and this is my partner,” Dowen jerked his head to his partner, “Detective Witt. We’re investigating an incident that occurred on the bridge this morning. May we come in and speak with you?”

The young man hesitated. “Um, sure. Although I’m not sure I know what any of this has to do with me.” He stepped to the side and allowed the detectives to enter his home.

Dowen allowed Witt to go ahead of him and she did. He whispered in her ear as they entered. “He better not be ignorant or else I might lose my-”

Witt elbowed him and she turned around to face their suspect. “First thing’s first,” she began, “are you Elijah Thomas?”

The man closed the front door and nodded. “Call me Eli, shall we sit?” he pointed to the living room to their left. The two detectives obliged and down down at the leather sofa.

“Can I get you guys anything? Water or coffee?” Eli asked.

“No thanks.” Dowen shook his head. “We just need to ask you a few questions and then we’ll be on our way.”

Eli nodded and he sat down on the leather armchair across from the sofa. “Okay, so you said this is about an incident that happened on the bridge this morning?”

Dowen and Witt nodded.

“So… you’re not here about my car?”

Witt furrowed her brows. “Well, in a way, we are. Are you the owner of that silver car that’s parked in your driveway?”

“Yes,” Eli replied.

“Did you drive it to the bridge this morning?” Dowen asked.

Eli shook his head. “I haven’t driven it anywhere today. My car was stolen from me and then before I knew it, it was back inside my driveway unharmed.”

Dowen and Witt exchanged perplexed expressions.

Eli cracked a nervous smile. “That’s kind of why I thought you guys were here. I called my car in stolen the moment I noticed it was gone. My wife is out of town on a business trip so it’s not like she took it without telling me. I’m home alone for the week. I called it in, the police said they’d send someone out right away but no one arrived. Then, a few hours later, I noticed the car was back inside my driveway. I don’t think I imagined it being stolen, but… if you’re saying you saw it on the bridge this morning, that makes me wonder.”

“First,” Witt began, “I apologize no one arrived when you called your car in. We’ll report back about that and see where the wires got crossed.”

Eli nodded.

“Next, whoever took your car is looking more and more suspicious. Even if he didn’t have anything to do with the incident, he’s still a thief,” Dowen explained. “We need to figure out who this guy is and catch him.”

“Why would he steal a car and then just happen to go across the bridge when the incident occurred though? I have all the more reason to believe he had something to do with the incident after all. It’s almost as though he knew we’d track the car and it would end up leading us to a red herring,” Witt added her two cents.

“I’m sorry.” Eli raised his hand. “What incident was my car supposedly involved with?”

Dowen turned his attention to their host, admittedly forgetting he was there. “A young girl jumped off the bridge this morning.”

Eli gasped. “Is she okay?”

Witt nodded. “She was found alive and is currently at the hospital being checked over. Her friend was with her and we learned from him there was another witness. That witness had your car. He stopped on the bridge and attempted to talk the girl down. After she jumped, he got back into the car and fled the scene. We have no idea who he is or where he went.”

“We tracked the car here and assumed it was you who was the man,” Dowen added.

Eli leaned back in his chair with a hand over his heart, shocked. “Wow… that’s a lot to take in. No offense to the kids, but I can’t believe someone would steal my car that would basically put me at the scene when I wasn’t actually there. That’s pretty crafty.”

“So, tell us. When did you notice your car was stolen?” Dowen asked.

Eli sat forward again. “Well, I don’t know when exactly it was stolen. I got home from work around 6:00 last night. With it being dark so early, I turned off my outside lights and closed all my blinds. I never looked outside again. I woke up at about 6:00 this morning and still never looked outside. I went about my normal morning routine – I showered, had coffee and breakfast. I didn’t have work today so I took the morning slow and spent a little time reading.

“It was about 8:30 this morning when I decided to go out and run some errands. I went outside and there was no car in the driveway. I don’t know when it was stolen or how long they had it. I immediately took out my cell phone and called the police. They said they’d send someone right over but as I said before, they never showed up. I was going to call them again but when I looked back outside my kitchen window – it overlooks the driveway and front yard – my car was back in my driveway. That was at about 10:30,” Eli explained.

Dowen wrote all this information down in his notepad. He shook his head as Eli explained the times.

“So, we’re thinking the car could have been stolen from anytime between six-pm last night and 8:30 am this morning. That’s a 14 and a half hour window,” Witt explained.

“I know,” Dowen scratched the top of his head. “I think this whole thing was somehow planned before it happened, but if the car was taken late last night, then that means this has been in the works for quite some time.”

Eli nodded in agreement as though he were another detective in the case. “And why me?” he added. “Why my car? I haven’t heard of the incident, maybe that’s why? They didn’t think I’d have any inkling?”

Witt narrowed her eyes. “Do you know Benjamin Lame and Alisha Davis?”

Eli stared back at her blankly. “I have them in my English class at the local community college.”

Dowen wrote that down and Witt sighed turning to her partner. There were still more pieces of the puzzle to put together, but some of the image was becoming a bit clear.

Eli held up a finger. “Wait, Ben and Alisha weren’t the kids on the bridge… were they?”

“I’m afraid so,” Witt said.

Eli put a hand over his mouth. He leaned back in his chair gazing at the ground. “But they weren’t the ones who stole my car, right? You said another man did it? At least, that’s who was caught on camera?”

Dowen and Witt glanced at each other other before Dowen shook his head at the college professor. “It wasn’t the kids who took the car.”

“That’s a relief. I’m sorry something shady is going on with them, but I’m glad they didn’t steal a car. They’re good kids, you know. I wouldn’t expect this from either of them,” Eli explained.

Dowen nodded. Witt’s cell phone vibrated. She looked at the screen and there was a message from an officer who was stationed at the hospital. Witt put her phone back inside her pocket and looked at her partner.

“She’s ready.”

“Finally,” Dowen said. He stood up from the sofa, buttoning the bottom of his jacket. “Thank you for your time, Eli. I ask that you do not go anywhere or leave town. I’m sure we’re going to have to ask you more questions about your car.”

Eli nodded as he stood. “Of course.”

Witt bowed her head to the witness and she lead the way out of the house with Dowen close behind. The two walked to the car in silence, Witt wanting to look over her shoulder but she didn’t. When she made it to the passenger side of the car, she turned around to look past Dowen but hoped it seemed as though she was looking at her partner.

Dowen, with his back still to the house, looked at Witt. “He’s watching us through the window, isn’t he?”

Witt hummed in confirmation. She turned away and got into the car with Dowen as he got into the driver’s side. Neither of them spoke until they pulled away from the house.

“Something was off with him. I didn’t think so at first but then he slipped up,” Witt said, breaking the ice.

“I’m glad you caught onto that too. We never told him how we saw his car or the man who was driving it. He shouldn’t have known about us catching it on camera,” Dowen agreed.

“On the other hand, everyone knows there are cameras set up on that bridge for various reasons. So, if we wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt…”

“I’m not giving him the benefit of anything. Even his story about calling his car missing is fishy to me. We never heard anything on the radio that there was a stolen car reported. There is no reason no one at the station would show up and question him about his car.”

Witt rested her head against the back of her seat. “I know… I was trying to be optimistic.”

“You can hope for the best all you want, but you still have to expect the worst,” Dowen said.

His partner nodded in agreement. “Where do we go from here? We have quite a laundry list to take care of.”

“We need to check and see if his car was ever truly reported stolen. If it was, then someone definitely wasn’t doing their job and we need to deal with that. We should also take a look at the footage again and see if we can somewhat match Eli and the guy driving the car together,” Dowen counted.

“That will hard since we only saw the back of his head.” Witt shook her head.

“It’s still worth looking at. We also need to talk to Ben. He said never specified whether he knew the man who stopped or not. I would assume he’d mention if his college professor stopped to talk to them. Finally, we need to have a chat with Alisha… or whoever that girl is.”

“My vote is on going to the hospital. We’ve been waiting around for this moment and I want to catch her while she’s awake and feeling fresh. I know they said she doesn’t seem to remember what happened, but I think right away is our best option.”

“Agreed,” Dowen said. He turned the steering wheel taking a hard right and headed in the direction of the nearest hospital.

I hope you enjoyed the story. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Please feel free to share this post.

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The Merry Writer Podcast: Episode 028 Now Live!

The Merry Writer Podcast | Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? | Episode 028 | Podcast | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

The Merry Writer Podcast

The Merry Writer started as a hashtag game on Twitter and Instagram. Hosted by Ari Meghlen and myself, The Merry Writer Podcast is a fun, friendly show about all things writing and bookish. Join us as we ask all the “write” questions.

Episode 028: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo?

In this week’s episode, Ari and I are joined by my sister, Kristen Poli, where we discuss all things NaNoWriMo. Be sure to give it a listen through the YouTube video below or any of the links below.

New episodes are published every Wednesday at 10:00 am EST (2:00 pm BST). Please subscribe to the podcast so you can be notified when a new episode goes live. Also, give each episode a “like” wherever you enjoy tuning in. It’ll help the podcast grow and we’d really appreciate it!

Thanks for listening!

Podbean | Spotify | iTunes | Stitcher | TuneIn | YouTube | PodLink

About Kristen Poli

Kristen Poli

Kristen Poli is a writer specializing mainly in the fantasy genre and is passionate about creativity, gaming, dogs, and chocolate. You can find her on Medium and her newsletter, A Positive Spin.

Medium | Newsletter

Let me know your thoughts about the episode in the comments below so we can chat! Please feel free to share this post.

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