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The Murderous Guest

The word pergola comes from the Latin word pergola, meaning a projecting eave. Now it refers to a booth-like structure often attached to the front of a building. For Miriam, in “The Guest”, a story in The Deadliest Deceptions, it is the structure she passes under before sensing trouble:


The slant of the afternoon sun on the garden pool gave no indication of anything amiss. After that, though, as in any crisis, the events unfolded with appalling swiftness. The rhythm of time changed the moment I passed under the ivy-covered pergola and saw the entry doors ajar. Crossing the threshold into Gershon’s atrium, I didn’t have the breath to shout, “Where is everybody?” Instead, I retched from the smell, everywhere the stink of blood, the stench of fear, and the reek of sour breath.


Turning toward a low guttural moan, I saw Gershon crumpled on the floor in a blue silk robe, doubled over on his side, his eyes glazed with pain, his brow creased in bewilderment. When he whined, “Why, Miriam, why?” the emptiness in his voice was so defenseless, worse than any tears.


Eventually, Gershon was able to mumble, “My guest.”


And so, Miriam begins a search for the man who intruded on Gershon’s hospitality and then tried to kill him. Was this guest who he claimed to be, and what was his motive in trying to kill Gershon, the wealthy friend of Miriam’s father? And just between us, did this frightful guest have anything to do with Miriam’s new friend, Titus from Caesarea?

Don’t avoid pergolas, and don’t be suspicious of every guest. Instead, click here.


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