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    The Stress Fracture, Chapter 2: The Autopsy Report

    Home of Stef and Lena Adams-Foster

    Newton, MA

    7:45am, Wednesday, January 24th


    Stef Foster, already dressed in her police uniform, stood in the kitchen, at the stovetop, stirring a large pot of oatmeal. The kitchen was intermittently crowded as her five children bustled in and out, grabbing lunches and packing backpacks. They teased each other, too, shouting and mocking one another, laughing and squealing. Stef shook her head and chuckled at the mayhem.

    “Hey you guys, time to eat,” she said, setting the large pot of hot oatmeal in the middle of the kitchen table. “Your mom needs to get on the road. Traffic’s gonna be a mess, so let’s hurry it up.”

    Twelve-year-old Jude was the first at the table. He was always hungry and ready to eat. He dove into the oatmeal, piling spoonful after spoonful into his bowl.

    “We got brown sugar?” he asked. But before Stef could answer, he spotted the sugar bowl and began to pile heaps of brown sugar into his oatmeal.

    “Whoa, whoa,” Lena Foster, Stef’s wife, said as she entered the kitchen. “Jude, we’ve talked about this.” She pulled the sugar bowl away from the boy and went to the counter where Stef was filling a thermos of coffee. “What do you think? Should I take highway 30 or just poke along on Beacon Street?” She hugged her wife and kissed her neck.

    “Take the 30,” Stef said. “Snowplows will’ve cleared it first.”

    About then, four other teenagers entered the kitchen and began to grab at the toast piled high on a plate as well as to bicker as to who’d used most of the raisins. A glass of milk was toppled and one of the girls, Mariana, shrieked and slugged her brother, Jesús.

    “You need to watch it, you clumsy idiot!” she taunted him.

    “Hey!” Stef shouted. “No name calling.” She glared at the teens, and they smirked while they began to chow down.

    Lena chuckled. “They’re chomping at the bit. Cabin fever, I think. It’ll do them good to get back to school today and maybe run some of that energy off in gym.” She chuckled again and wearily brushed her curly hair from her face.

    “They wore you out yesterday, didn’t they?” Stef asked.

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    1. Please read the trigger warning in the author’s note.

      Thanks for all the positive feedback on chapter 1. I appreciate knowing your thoughts on the story, especially since this is a new style for me.

      There are a lot of characters to keep track of, I know. But the plot is complicated with a ton of twists and turns, so I hope you don’t get too confused as it develops.

      I forgot to thank iHeartHeart in the last chapter for finding the name of the character, Leigh Ostin, from season two of TLW. She’s the glass artist Bette buys the glass mobile from for the baby’s crib, and who Bette had wanted to date but found she was already involved.

      Enjoy this chapter. Let me know if you have questions. Again, you can reach me through this site, through my Twitter or blog.

      See you next week!

    2. Finally read both chapters. You do have quite the imagination. You have all my favorite strong women in this story, not including jenny, she is just a looney tunes and can’t help herself. This is reading as though it will be another one of your epic tales with things happening that I know I won’t believe. And it appears that you will scare the living water out of me with this one. Great writing as always. So proud of you. Thanks for taking the time, we know how busy you are and thank your family for giving you the time to write and share with us. Only for you will I read something that will have me looking under beds, behind doors etc. You know what I mean.

    3. Hi BenMac – for once I’m glad Bette has Alice to talk to and sounds like she might be a good friend and sounding board. Leigh is a huge weight and doesn’t seem to be doing anything to pull herself out of her depression. Don’t know her story yet, but seems she would have been better off staying in Los Angeles. Looking forward to the next installment. Thank you.

    4. Thankyou I love this, now a bit of help from my side. Please just get Leigh to pack her stuff and go. Bette needs a woman to look after her and love her. Just thought I would help you a bit. Love your storie can’t wait untill next week. See you then.

    5. I love detective stories with a lot of plot twists. It is fun to see names of characters from different works of fiction. Thanks for taking the time to give us readers such a captivating story.

    6. BenMac,

      Your character build of Detective Porter and her empathy toward the tortured and murdered victim, in opposition with those of the male members of the Special Victims Unit, who feel that he is a monster in his class of criminal “who eat their own”, sets her apart in an interesting contrast to the other cops. Significantly so, given that her own father was a murder victim. Your reveal on how she handles this perp when she comes face to face with him will be compelling. Again, it’s an interesting contrast. Nice job.

      A second good one is the comparison between Bette’s home life and that of Stef’s – one chilly, dark, quiet, lonely, with their possessions missing, while the other full of warmth and chaos. There’s another contrast perhaps you’ll be drawing out in the future that of the mostly male Irish Catholic Police force to a contrast – I’m making in my mind – of Bette’s own racial lineage, if you’re intending on making her mixed race. Unsure about that at the moment. Nevertheless, I feel the steely dark glare of her notoriously disapproving eyes!

      What I’m not sure about is why the professional women around her keep saying something about her illness in the second chapter? I see its narrative point to contrast that Leigh hasn’t seemed to even notice, while the women around her at work do, however; after a few coughs and blue lips and lightheadedness they keep after her. Perhaps, to point out repeatedly that Bette is driven and out of touch with her weakened state? Just wondering if it’s a critical narrative and character flaw that needs so much refreshing? She’s a wounded hero, who’s out of touch with most things about herself except her steely nature, getting on with the job and avoided her once close friends and not making any new ones – any time soon.

      Are the other cops as good on the job as she is? They seem very motherly at the moment, but I’m glad to know they have their eyes on Bette’s welfare, both on the job and off. Waiting on more “cop-like” demeanor in her female colleagues.

      Also, I wonder what Bette and Leigh’s relationship was like before Leigh’s brother was a victim of a horrific crime? Certain you will get to this in time.

      I do also want to commend you on the interesting connection you made with the cats being part of a victim’s therapeutic recovery program. But mostly that, unlike a lot of mystery and crime writers who find an interesting scientific fact to add to a crime puzzle, you didn’t overload us with lots of science. You made the point, make it interesting and unexpected, and moved on.

      I sense you don’t want to make Ken Kennard mewing or anything too on the nose like that within his descriptions, but meeting him surrounded by weird little feline objects I waited for a physical tic or similarity with his obsession.

      Thank you for your excellent storytelling. You’re spinning a gripping tale.


    7. I love crime drama shows, especially the two you have included in this story. I can usually guess who the assailants are. I was correct about Melvin’s death. I have loved your other stories and this is no exception. So this story is all about the moral dilemma that Bette will have to face, got it.

    8. Updating this story.
      And I apologize for not having accompanied
      Worshipping all this junction of different characters
      you put this story.
      I loved the family atmosphere fosters, and when
      if you have more than one child, the mess and total.
      The entire universe.

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