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Triadic Tales - It's Lovely Out There - Short Story, Part One


Ellie finished her story. I had never met a murderer before. The closest I had come was when my ex hooked me up with a  paranoid schizophrenic on a day when he forgot to take his medications. Luckily, I was not the guy he nearly killed after I dropped him off.  Ellie leaned closer across the couch and kissed me. Her casual mention of murder went the way of our outer garments. The only concern I had was whether our exertions would disturb grandmother. Ordinarily, I conduct this sort of thing away from home.

What I did not expect was a phone call. This was in the days before cells. I don’t think a cell phone would have made a difference, but you never know. As it was, I extracted myself gingerly from Ellie’s languid post-coital embrace and walked across the room to the antique table and picked up the receiver.  Persephone, my chocolate lab, padded over and gave me a nuzzle.

It was Terwilliger,  the recently-retired house detective at the Inn. 

“Are you alone?” he asked. 

“Not really.”

“Is my niece there?”  


 Terwilliger said her name: Ellie Todaro. 

“I believe so,”  I said.

“Do you know anything about her?”  


Ellie was lying on the couch with her head propped up, looking straight at me. I told Terwilliger I would call him later or the next day.

“OK,” he said. “Don’t try anything heroic.”

Out the window, I saw Ellie’s car, moonlit, standing next to mine. When I looked back, Ellie was pulling on her sweater.

“I’ll just let Persephone out,” I said. 

I opened the door and inhaled the  cool evening air. Something snapped. I walked quickly to my old Mercedes 240-D. But then I realized that my keys were in my pants back on the couch.

“Lose something?” Ellie said, as I returned. 

“Just my pants,” I said. “It’s lovely out there.”

“It was self-defense,” Ellie said.  She held out what appeared to be a folded newspaper clipping. I opened it and  noted the date. October 14, 1988.


”Who was that?” Ellie said.

I had, in the space of a few seconds, come to my senses. 

“Terwilliger. He says you are his niece.”

“Did he warn you?” 

“I think so, but what’s done is done.”  I handed back the clipping.

“You are a strange one,” she said.  

“It occurred to me his call was a bit unusual,” I said 


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Stephen C. Rose Bio

Stephen C. Rose (1936-) was born in New York City and raised there. He currently lives there. He was educated at Trinity, Exeter, Williams and Union Theological Seminary. He served in the Student Interracial Ministry in Nashville. He founded and edited the prize-winning Renewal Magazine in Chicago and studied with C. A. Doxiadis in Athens. His first books "The Grass Roots Church" and "Who's Killing The Church" established him as a prominent critic of American Protestantism and American religion. He was and remains a civil rights activist. He has interviewed and done in depth pieces on Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. He won awards for editorial courage and for two documentary films. He has written and published many songs and musical works including "We Are All Americans". During the late 90s and early 2000s he worked for UN agencies, most recently editing CHOICES Magazine at UNDP. Since 2000 he has written several books for distribution via K…