It’s 1993 and in the final novel of the Deck of Cardz series, Captain Shevaughn Robinson is living the challenging life of a single mother of two while at the pinnacle of her career. It doesn’t help that her adolescent daughter still communicates with the dead and is in a relationship that’s way too serious for her age. Or that Nonna, the only one she can depend on, is showing the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s. When she hears allegations that the police are ignoring the growing number of missing Black women in Portsborough, Shevaughn pledges to personally investigate their disappearance. It leads her to one of the most unusual crimes in her entire career and gives a new meaning to the phrase… Honor thy mother.
Full House’s Prologue
Bethany Peters sat in the oversized rocking chair by the window and surveyed the completed nursery. She was a large woman with breasts that almost hung to her navel when she removed her bra. Standing a formidable five feet ten in her bare feet and now weighing close to two hundred pounds, in her younger days, men thought of her as voluptuous and compared her to one of the biggest sex symbols of the fifties, Jayne Mansfield. Sadly, age and gravity took its toll. Now a worn red, white and black plaid flannel nightgown hid the sight of her sagging body from the world.
She felt pretty satisfied with herself right about now, since all she had to do was wait for her sons to do as they were told. She’d given birth to five good-looking boys, although each reminded her of her husband in a different way. Ardon, Belial (the shy one known as Lyle to everyone except his mother), Caleb, Darius and Elam were all such obedient sons. They would do whatever they could to keep her happy.
Her relationship with her boys was so unlike the one she’d had with her mother, who had been a hard woman to please…or love. She sat Bethany down one day and explained her uninspiring views on life to her daughter. Bethany got the impression she would always place second when it came to her own mother’s affection.
“The man always comes first,” her mother affirmed. “We’re here to make things as easy for him as possible since he’s the reason we have such a nice house, clothes on our backs and food in our tummies.”
Bethany reached the conclusion that the only reason her mother had given birth to her was to substitute for the maid her parents could not afford. As the oldest of three, it became her responsibility to make sure her brother got ready for school. Every day, she would get up, wash, get dressed and put her robe over her school clothes. Then she would go and wake her brother. While he showered, she made his bed and breakfast. Her sister, the youngest of the three, was still in her mother’s care. Bethany knew all that would change as soon as the little one became school age.
She always remembered the one morning when everything went wrong. Her brother fought getting up and she burned the Wheatena. To make matters worse, later when she arrived at school and removed her coat, she looked down and saw that she still had on her pink, quilted robe. Her classmates thought it was hilarious and the news of her faux pas spread faster than chicken pox in preschool. When Bethany got home and tried to explain the humiliation to her mother, the woman quickly brushed it off.
“It’s no big deal, Bethany. A year from now, who will remember? You need to get over yourself.”
That very day, Bethany vowed she would never confide in her mother again. She promised that she would have more compassion for her children and she made good on that promise. She devoted herself to her boys. Bethany had to raise her sons alone after everyone thought her husband left her for some floozy he met in their congregation. However, in reality, the couple never left at all. She buried both of them deep in her flower garden, becoming fertilizer for her beautiful prize hollyhocks.
One cold winter evening, she threw a dozen of her garden-grown castor beans into his chili. They were only effective if allowed to flower and seed. Hours later, Bethany patiently watched him collapse from the stomach pains. Always the dutiful wife, she cared for him as he suffered through the gut-wrenching vomiting and blood-laced diarrhea for three days until he finally convulsed and died. Then a couple of nights later, his fool mistress had the nerve to come looking for him when he failed to meet up with her as promised. God’s house is full of brainless, morally corrupt women who pray for a man and don’t care if he already belongs to someone else. Bethany was all ready for bed, but she still invited the woman in and offered her a seat at her kitchen table.
“Looks like he left the both of us, I’m thinking it’s no great loss. You know men, he’s probably found an even younger replacement. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I always say. If you ask me that means it’s time for a celebration. Would you care for a drink? I know I could use one. How ‘bout I make us a Chivas and soda?” Before the woman could answer, Bethany left her sitting at the kitchen table and went to get the liquor.
She didn’t mind helping the Lord bestow a little vengeance. When she returned empty-handed from the buffet in the dining room where her husband stored his alcohol, Bethany crept up behind the woman and used the belt from her robe to strangle her. She made sure her husband and his little harlot got exactly what they deserved.
Copyright© Jean Holloway. All rights reserved.