It’s such a pleasure to be here today.
For this guest spot, I thought I’d let my main character introduce herself to your readers. Okay, Rita, you’re on.
My name is Rita Muldova. Allow me to tell you a bit about my life.
I come from a long line of Roma people, some call us gypsies. My parents came to the States before I was born. At first we traveled with relatives and other families of migrant workers, setting up our pop-up trailer wherever our group could find work. My mom, Anna, would tell fortunes around the campfire in the evening while dad whittled away carving small toys for the kids. Though it was hard work, it was also a happy, carefree life.
Many in our family tree have psychic gifts, but of course custom forbids we use them for relatives, only for friends and strangers. And my mom has the most powerful gifts of our clan. I swear she has built-in radar.
When I was thirteen, Dad was offered a job as a carpenter and decided we had enough of roaming the States, so he settled us down in one place. They enrolled me in school, but with home schooling, I was ahead of the public classes.
Keyport, PA. is a nice little town, upriver from Pittsburgh, and nestled along the Monongahela River. We bought a three-bedroom trailer and lived in the rental park.
Then life got a bit tough for me. The kids in school nicknamed me “Gypsy Girl” and I was considered an oddity because of my Roma customs and traditions. A lot of jeers and taunts came my way. But, I coped. I’m proud of my Roma blood.
Two years later, Dad was killed in an auto accident while driving mom to market. Mom had this strong premonition, but Dad refused to heed her warning.
Well, life just got tougher after that. Money was scarce. Mom wrote to her older brother, Uncle Dragus, who still lived in Romania and had a small bakery. He traveled across the big pond and moved in with us. He opened another bakery and did fairly well. To supplement our money problems, Mom put out her shingle and did her crystal ball thing. Let me tell you, my mom is right on the nose with her psychic powers and she helped a lot of people. At times, she’s downright spooky.
When I left for college, Mom and Uncle Dragus borrowed money to open a quaint little restaurant in a theme mall near Keyport, sold the trailer, and moved into to the apartment above the restaurant. Mom still reads palms, tea leaves, and Uncle plays the sweetest violin music.
After college, I went to the police academy. Upon graduation, mom gave me this mystical amulet that has been handed down through our maternal bloodline. She said it would protect and help me with my chosen career path. The crystal amulet allows me to see in the eyes of a corpse the last image they saw before death. Well, let me tell you, this amulet propelled my career on the fast track. Of course I kept it a secret, but with more studying, making detective, I had to tell my chief about it. He freaked out, but promised to handle it discreetly.
That brings us to today. A serial killer is on the loose in my town and targeting prostitutes. What has me so confused is, the crystal seems to have lost its power. For some reason, it’s only showing me the person the deceased had seen before the killer struck.
That brings us up to date. I’ll let Lorrie tell you what happens next in my story.
(Excerpt first page)
Detective Rita Moldova peeked around the corner to make sure the hallway was empty. Making a quick right turn, she slipped into the autopsy lab to have a few minutes alone with the body. She tucked her white shirt tighter into her jeans and zipped her windbreaker to stay warm in the chilly room. The harsh odor of formaldehyde hit her nostrils and stung her throat.
Her heart twisted at the sight of the young, auburn-haired woman lying on the stainless steel table. A white sheet covered her to the navel; bruises blemished the once pretty face. Contusions marred the pallid skin from elbow to shoulder. The gash on the front of her neck gaped, exposing open veins and torn tissue.
Rita flipped her thick, dark braid back over her shoulder, snapped on one latex glove, leaned over the corpse, and peeled back an eyelid. In her bare hand, she clasped a star-shaped crystal hanging from the gold chain around her neck, an endowment from her maternal Roma bloodline. The crystal heated in her palm, warm energy pulsing up her arm to her shoulder. The face captured in the victim’s eye coalesced and stared back. Rita drew in a sharp breath. Bobby Driscoll! She had known him since high school, and now he worked as a uniform in her precinct. What the hell was going on?
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Gypsy Crystal is now available in print and MultiFormat e-book at Amazon
Lorrie Unites-Struiff is a native of West Mifflin, twenty minutes from downtown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She writes short stories in different genres that have appeared in various publications and anthologies. When she is not sitting in front of her computer, she’s often found checking out bookstores, leading her writing workshops, or having lunch with local authors.