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    The Stress Fracture, Chapter 10: The Grand Master

    Home of Tina Kennard

    New Bedford, MA

    3:45am, Thursday, March 9th

    She’d sat in the study area and shook down to her very core. By the time she’d returned to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed next to Tina, who was still soundly asleep, she’d broken out in a cold sweat. But she didn’t wake her at first. Instead she watched the beautiful and serene expression on Tina’s face, lighted only by the dim glow of the computer monitors filtering into the dark room. Then she touched her cheek, spoke softly.

    “Tina? Wake up, please.”

    Tina was slow to open her eyes, and when she did, she smiled and reached out for her.

    “You okay?”

    “I need you to wake up. I need to talk to you.”

    The tone in Bette’s voice brought Tina to a sitting position, and she reached for the bedside lamp.

    “No.” Bette stopped her hand. “Don’t turn on the light.”

    Tina’s hand found its way to Bette’s face now, and she immediately pulled back.

    “Darling, you’re clammy. Are you in pain? Let me get your medication.”

    She started to get out of bed, but Bette stopped her once more.

    “I don’t want any medication. I need to be clear headed.” She held Tina in her spot and added in a pained voice, “I need to talk to you.”

    Tina grew still. “Okay. What about?”

    They could see each other’s eyes, the outline of each other’s face, but expressions were difficult to read in the dim light. Nevertheless, Bette searched Tina’s face, as she took one of her hands.

    Slowly, almost in a whisper, she said, “Tell me about Kathleen and Claire Campbell, your mother and sister.”

    The names hung heavily in the silence, and Tina continued to hold stone still. Bette squeezed her hand and said, “Tell me, Tina. Tell me the truth.”

    Tina seemed to deflate and sink within herself. “All right. I’ll tell you.” She swung her legs out of the bed and held her head. “May I at least stoke the fire? Firelight soothes me.”

    “No. I want the explanation now.”

    “Please, Bette. It isn’t easy for me to talk about. Please let me have the comfort of a little firelight.”

    Bette nodded in the darkness, stood, and stepped away.

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    1. A little leprechaun helped me get this done and posted finally!

      I apologize for the lateness of this final chapter to the crime story. You have all been patient. I appreciate the private messages, emails, tweets and DMs asking me where the heck I’d gotten off to! Sorry to worry you.

      So here it is. The last chapter. I imagine not many of you by now will be surprised at what is revealed, but you might be surprised what Bette chooses.

      The research I did into this topic was disturbing. The actual data and statistics concerning sexual violence against children and women in just the USA is devastating, and it’s much worse globally.

      I was initially interested in the idea of women banding together to address the issue from watching a film made about the Gulabi Gang in India.

      I also took inspiration from the many stories coming out about the Kurdish women fighting militant groups that often enslave them and abuse them sexually.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and for all your comments and support.

      In terms of The Groves: A Ghost Story, I plan on leaving it up until November. My novel By the Dark of Her Eyes, which is a revision of The Groves, is tentatively scheduled for publication by Bold Strokes Books somewhere around then. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated and to provide my author’s link at BSB’s web-portal once it gets established.

      Meanwhile, I’m going to start outlining my high fantasy. Who doesn’t like dragons and castles and Tina Kennard in tight leather pants with yet another sword!?

      I’ll see you in a few months! Now go have a green beer and celebrate!

    2. Wow , 84 pages!

      It is a shame that i didn’t get a notification again, i don’t know how that is possible.

      I really need my beauty sleep, but i will sleep great because i have something to look forward to.

      BenMac, i really appreciate all the research you have done to be able to write this absolutely amazing story! Thank you for that.

    3. Hi BenMac:

      Excellent, magnificent, this has been a hell of story, wonderful, I like you mentioned some deeds from your former story “…the eternal rocks beneath…” in page 56 of this one. I enjoy lot of good research; every thing you point out in your narrative reflex our society, and the way you ended it, with all the debate about legislation, rights and equity. To me sounds something like “philosophical justice”.
      Thanks for this one.
      I will wait for any other story you will write, I know it would be refreshing, entertaining and instructive.

    4. wow! unbelievably amazingly beautifully written story. still wow… the ending.

      really?!? for some reason i’m not surprise about the women v. men case of sexual predatory, whether those were fact or you made it up. i think there are some real truth there.

      i’m certainly going to miss this story and thank you so so much for sharing.

    5. Wow. I think I need some time to digest the ending. I loved the throwback to Eternal Rocks though. Very provocative story as if I’d expect anything less from your writing. You continue to amaze me and are unequivocally the best writer on this site. Looking forward to the book!

    6. Totally shocked at the ending . But who am I to judge, or who is Bette? Very thought provoking , and I loved the “rocks” throwback , and can see a parallel in parts of the story lines…I guess love does conquer all.Thanks for sharing your gift!

    7. Merciful heavens, where do I begin? There are no comparisons as far as your writing goes. You are at the top of my all time best wrters list, not just this site but, writers in general. The research you do is all encompassing and on point. Sure hope this story becomes published and advertised to the general public because the statistical information is not widely known but certainly needs to be. Young women in this country, actually every female in this country needs to know of this information. There are untold numbers of pedophiles in every community in this nation, yet parents still let their children play outside without supervision, and even go to public restrooms without supervision and that should never be done. I have never and would never let my children go alone always went with them if they could not wait to get home. Even took my youngest boy to the womens restroom when he was in a tight, because all sorts of evil lurks in public restrooms. I live in a small town and several years ago a young mother was in the local Walmart and let her 5 year old son go alone to the restroom and he was in there a long time and she started to go in to check on him and an older man in overalls came out before she reached the door, he tipped his hat to her and spoke. She went in and found her child standing in the middle of the floor bleeding. There was no one else in there, nor had there been, the man was never found and she did not have a good description to give to police. Needless to say the child’s life was ruined and the guilt the mother felt was all consuming. People we need to be more careful and watchful with our children. There is so much out there that can and will harm them. We are all they have to keep them safe. I agree with Tina, they were monsters that needed extermination, wish I had the guts to do something about the scum that roams the streets. Didn’t mean to go on so long. The story has been fantastic from beginning to end. Bette sure stirred up a hornets nest without being aware. I understand all the suspicions and dont know if I could have turned in a person I loved. Tina was a saviour for untold numbers of children and women. All one has to do is listen to the news about rapes on college campuses with administrations trying to deny they ever happened. And the numbers of female students that go to libraries at night and walk back to dorms or ones that go to parties alone, never to be heard from again. Congrats BENMAC on a story well told.

    8. It took me almost an entire day to read this story but it was worth every second, minutes and hours. I not sure about the other readers but I am quite satisfied with the ending. In the middle of the story when Bette broke into Tina locked room, I heard the saying in my head, some things are better left unopened. And for most of the middle part I was so not liking Bette and her willingness to put Tina in prison but not Maura, I love what Jane said to her about how much did she actually really loved Tina as opposed to Maura. As always you never disappoint. I also am not as eloquent as Dainty with words, but will very much echo those comments. Look forward to your book and future stories.

    9. I have been quietly following this story. Too much of it hits home for me. I have cared for the shattered, tortured children. I’ve seen the destruction of lives by child predators. I have many stained memories of these former patients…some who never lived to tell their stories – as hard as we tried to save them, some were better off dying and leaving their agony behind. Too many wicked people crawl and slither on this planet. I wish nature’s justice would be present for them. Sadly, they procreated and brought forth their own victims in many cases. They are evil. Let them all burn in hell.
      Thank you BenMac for this story and for shedding light on the vileness that is in our society. Your writing is beautiful despite the horrid theme.

    10. I just read this clean through in one sitting. Amazing. Intriguing. Wonderful. Just the layers and the tension. And the never really knowing until the very end! Brava! Thank you for sharing!

    11. Loved the story! every line of it. The ending is just what I hoped for )) Though at some point I started to doubt this story will have a good for me ending. It was so interesting and educating to listen to Tina’s going scientific. I really think this story can become a bestseller and also a brilliant base for a film or even a TV serial. Will wait for your next story. Let this new 2017 year be generous to you :)

    12. Thanks BenMac 🙏🏻

      Have been reading this story for the nth time, and am still hook!! Beautiful story with very informative perspective, and it’s really such an eye (mind) opener. Although it’s been 2 years since you shared this with us.

      Would like to share this article which I think is interesting and somehow related to your story:

      Looking forward to more of your master piece!

      Btw will this story published into book too?? 😉

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