#WEP/IWSG October Challenge – Horrible Harvest

Today’s offering for the WEP+IWSG Challenge is the climax of the piece I wrote for August’s Red Wheelbarrow prompt – HERE. However, I’ve changed the POV, and as some people requested, we are back with Detective Sparkle Anwyl, who is a guest at the wedding. Enjoy – if I do not scare you with the gory finale of my vampire tale.

Another Horrible Harvest

Saturday 8th August 2015

The glass goblet of crimson wine looks tasty. Maybe not summery but tempting.

Yet Mina is hesitant. Scared. Unlike the Mina Westenra of the Goth Patrol, ready to tackle a bully or a ghoul.

A for Atypical.

Kama bites my ear, then notices my stud-tapping. “What did the elderly guy say to her. Or is it hard to lip read from here?”

“A welcome. Something about his addiction to blood. He freaked Mina out. Not the Goth reaction I remember. Acting has changed my friend.”

Has policing changed me? Enriched if meeting Kama is included.

“If that’s human blood, this could be a crime scene.”

“Or a vampire case. That ghost was a cold case, not outside our remit as detectives. Anyway, we’re off duty. Let’s watch and listen, cariad.”

My school friend’s behaviour jangles every nerve and tattoo. Why?

The old man? A for Ancestry. V for Victim. P for Plasma.

He can’t be Owain Glyndwr, even if I’m proud to be Welsh and await the return of our national hero.

Another actor?

The best man finishes reading email greetings to the married couple, then nods to the elderly man.

“I’m cutting my speech short in favour of the wisdom of our host and hero.”

Owain springs to his feet, belying his reputed years.

“Over the centuries, I’ve watched and waited. History says I’ll return to set Wales free from the conquerors’ yoke. But blood is the charm today, and we’re all here to celebrate this blessed union instead. I could regale you with tales of battles and feuds, with horrors wrought and deeds undertaken. But my life was nothing compared to the future ahead for Mina and Dafydd.”

With a wink towards Mina, he raises his glass of crimson wine. “Welcome to the Glyndwr Dynasty. This is your century. May you and my Great Nephew have many decades of fun ahead.” Facing the gathering, he continues, “Ladies, lords, friends, join me for a bridal toast. May you thrive and spawn many generations, Mina and Dafydd.”

He drains his glass.

No excuse needed to drink – in moderation. Even if us guests are served champagne – and there might be a crime lurking.

Mina smiles but doesn’t touch her glass.

“Your actress friend is scared to drink hers. A poisoned chalice, perhaps.”

My tattoos tingle at the scene. P for Poison. M for Murder. R for Revenge.

“I never knew her to refuse alcohol as a teenager.”

Mina reaches for a glass – of fruit juice.

Her stand-in father, Victor Frankel leans over to Dafydd, who mouths back, ‘Your moment.’

Victor rises.

“In the sad absence of Mina’s late father, I’ve been proud to give her away to another special person and talented actor. As their director, I see a fruitful partnership ahead – even under another’s direction.”

We all laugh or clap. He pauses, then removes a sheaf of paper from his jacket.

“I’d like to thank our host, the irrepressible Owain Glyndwr, for making today possible. As a descendent of the last true Prince of Wales, it’s fitting this ancestral home is where I’m announcing the next film from Oriole Productions – Horrible Harvest.”

Suitable cheers and foot stamps. My tattoos tingle – a pleasing sensation for once. E for Excitement and Error.

“Our new tale of bloody murders, duplicitous intrigue and evil disguised as good will star our talented couple – and chill our audience. Perhaps, our usual smoke and mirrors will garner its own harvest of honours. This will be our version of that classic, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. But transposed to the mist shrouded but beautiful mountains of North Wales.”

The evidence is in the speeches. Case resolved. Everyone plunges back into festivities.

Congratulations are due the glowing couple.

Mina and I embrace. I tease her.

“Not the Goth you threatened to run away with. But he’s a catch.”

“Even as a teen, I wanted attention. Just as you wanted to fight injustice. And I guess your partner is—”

“Another injustice warrior. Kama – the best woman and detective in my life.”

The untouched glass is behind her. Tempting me to smell and taste its contents.

Kama distracts Mina. “So, when we get married, you must both attend the celebrations. No date yet, but we’re making plans. Not straightforward…”

Letting my distraction distract, I step behind and take the cup.

Musty but not sulphurous. I dip my finger in, then lick it.

R for Robust and E for Energising.

Time to REVAMP our fears.

I hand Mina the goblet. “An unusual concoction that suggests blood. But it’s not a case for our forensic guys. Maybe special effects are responsible. Enjoy it without fear.”

She sips, then smiles, and laughs.

“Better than blood. Also, revitalising. I will get addicted.”

“The power of suggestion. Blend fruit juice, red wine, herbs and spices. Call it blood. And throw in vampires.”


There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

Arthur Conan Doyle

Word Count 830: FCA

Comments are welcome as usual and the following applies:

42 thoughts on “#WEP/IWSG October Challenge – Horrible Harvest

  1. Equally gripping as the earlier excerpt. ‘Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so’…Glad it isn’t blood, after all…though blood would have taken it in an interesting direction also. Clever use of the prompt as the title of a production. Enjoyed reading.

    Thank you for posting this entry for the WEP Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    I really and truly like how you ended this story. You had me mesmerised from the beginning to the end. I liked especially the ending. I really thought the old man was a vampire and that Mina had just married a vampire qnd would become one unknowingly.
    You are so right, there is really nothing more deceptive as an obvious fact.
    Great work.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this! Sparkle & Kama are always a great read.
    I’m with Mina – I’d want that wine checked out first!!
    Loved this line especially … My school friend’s behaviour jangles every nerve and tattoo – so vivid

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Roland you’ve done yourself proud with this entry. So we have a production named Horrible Harvest. Awesome. I like how Mina was careful about drinking the wine. Taking no chances. I really loved your ‘my tattoos tingle’ line. Perfect for the atmosphere. I’m glad you decided to play with your readers. Great entry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It may be Halloween, Denise, but it was tempting to go with the ‘trick’ as in the sense of a practical joke. Anyway, last year, I wrote a ghostly ‘cold case’ for October – the White Lady mystery.


    • Happy endings are never the end, other Roland. And Mina and Daffyd are in a world rife with temptations – and I say that from an expensive foray in the TV-film world. However, the worst vampires are the psychological ones – I’ve met one too.


  5. Thanks Roland for yet another installment of our dear Sparkly and the Conan Doyle undertones. Very effective and gripping. Your sense of humour always Provokes smiles and laughter, sooo British, feel at home 🏡.
    Have a snugly Halloween 🎃

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Roland – what a great series this would make … Sparkle has some great ideas as well as stories to tell. Love the quote … facts and red herrings can distract us as we read … clever – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • The series is roughed out, Hilary – see Snowdon Shadows menu at the side. Some is first draft, some half-written, but the problem is lacks of funds to get anything edited when I’m ready in a few months. A legacy for uninterested step-kids?

      Liked by 1 person

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