Murder in Misery (Spook Squad) - By Ashley K. Broome

Murder in Misery

Ashley K Broome

This one is for my Mom

Who taught me that no matter how different I was from other people that I was still perfect the way I am and I should never change.

With special thanks to Erika Guidry

Keegan tucked a long dark lock of hair behind her ear as she crunched on a piece of ice and watched as her mother puttered around the kitchen. It always felt like the closer it got to the holidays, the more time they would spend in the kitchen talking about family. Most of the time Keegan would just sit and listen to appease her mother because being estranged from everyone in your family other than your mother wasn’t as easy.

She still knew what her sisters and brother were up to. Every visit to her mother’s home, she was informed of the new goings-on. It made Keegan wonder if her mother did the same to her siblings about her. Or was it different because she was different? After all they’d cast her out. She did not just drift away into her own world like some siblings do when they start their own families. They all still lived around Misery and kept in contact with their mother but Keegan hadn’t actually seen or spoken to her siblings in about ten years.

Today her mother kept going on and on about how none of her sisters or her brother bothered to visit her anymore, at least not as much as Keegan tried to visit. And Maria Morne was not a woman you ignored. Not if you didn’t want her showing up on your front doorstep while you had company over.

“Why can’t you do something about that, Keegs? I know that I had to have raised one of you right. Apparently I did an okay job on you because you’re the only one out of all my children who takes the time to visit me regularly. So why can’t you call your brother and sisters to tell them that their mother misses them and she would like to see them, hm?” Maria tapped a spoon on the edge of the gumbo pot and set it on the counter before spinning around a pinning her daughter with dark brown eyes. “And while you’re at it, how about you ask them when I’ll ever get grandchildren. I won’t be around forever you know.”

Keegan muffled a snort of amusement in her glass of ice tea. “I know Ma, but I’m not going to be the one to tell my sisters to get busy with making the babies when they don’t even talk to me in the first place. It’s not like they’re going to take the time to actually listen to anything I say.”

“So I guess now isn’t the right time to tell you that your brother is stopping by this evening?” Maria pointed out with a wave of her spoon.

Keegan planted her hands on the tabletop, ready to stand up and march right out the front door. “You better be joking with me, Ma. We both know that if Gordon is here Jamie will be in tow and I am not dealing with her. Not on my one night off. All I wanted was to come see you before the craziness of the holidays started. I wanted to spend some time with my mother before they all monopolized your time and I lose the opportunity to do so.”

“Honey.” Maria moved to sit across the table and grabbed Keegan’s hand and tugged her back down. “It’s a good thing that I am just messing with you, otherwise you would have just run right out on me and left me to my lonesome tonight. We both know it’s not always your brother and sisters who have the problem with who you are. David? I don’t even want to get started with that man. You and I both know that Jamie already thinks you hate her, so she’s guarding herself from you. You put up walls just as much as they do.”

Keegan sputtered at the look her mother sent her, “Maybe if the first time I met Jaime she hadn’t asked me why I was alone and proceeded to go on about how I could fix that, then maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t think I hated her. I’m sorry and I know that everyone has their faults, even me, but I don’t like the way she acts around Gordon or the way she treated any of us. She’s so” Keegan motioned