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Women Who Stay, 36 (Epilogue)

The Typewriter

By Suze KayPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
13

Chapter 1 ... Chapter 35

______________

Money, I found, made my fear of failure easier to live with. I bought an apartment. I remodeled a bedroom into a writing studio. And slowly, like a spoonful of honey, the money eased my frustration with feeling, once again, like a larger, better story had crossed my path. If life kept feeling like this, I could live with it.

Because who cared? Not my editor, not my readers. Not even me, when the reviews started coming in. When the tour was expanded from the tristate area to the whole of the US, when the book was translated into Spanish, then French and German and Chinese. When the rights for the movie sold. When my ludicrously large advance paid out and the royalty checks followed.

"Yes," I said on talk shows. "Women are complicated. Janie was more so than most, but in the end, she only wanted what we all do: love, comfort, and peace."

"Yes," I said on panels. "The key to writing a bestseller is to believe in your story over everything. That's what I did."

"Yes," I said to my friend Eleanor. "I know she talked with you."

She cried on the other side of my new dining room table, tears dripping onto the gleaming spalted maple surface.

"And you didn't think to give me a heads up?"

"Come on, you knew," I said. "We talked about it. You gave me advice about how to talk with her."

"That's a shit move of you," she insisted. "You could have been talking about anyone. I guessed, and I gave you advice. But when I asked you, point blank, after she died, you lied to my face. I could have helped you more if you'd let me in."

I felt a cruel smile cross my face. "I didn't need your help, did I?"

She looked at me with disgust. "You look just like her when you smile like that. Do you know what she told me? When she fired me?"

"Yeah, I read the email. She said you weren't smart enough to handle her story."

She left after that. I don't see Eleanor anymore.

___

I returned the pictures and documents to Gordon. I kept the typewriter for myself. Like a trophy.

But its keys wouldn't depress fully, so I had a repairman give it a once over. When I went to collect it at his cluttered shop, he held up a finger and went in back as I pressed the gleaming machine's buttons and shivered at their clack.

"This was tucked inside," he said, returning with something in his hand. "You a journalist?"

"Author," I said, accepting the envelope with apprehension. Janie's looping cursive scrawled The Journalist across its front.

I knew better than to read it in the shop. Back in my kitchen, I slid a paring knife under its flap and read her final missive.

This is my confession: On the night of September 26th, 1996 I chased my husband to Pinnock Lake, I made him write a suicide note, and I shot him dead.

I don't regret it. He was an embarrassment and everything he gave me turned to shit.

Do you believe me?

-- Janie

I sat at my table for hours, holding the letter.

Did I believe her? Yes, yes, yes.

Gordon's memory was finally fitting itself like a neat puzzle piece into my timeline. Janie had taken him along, calling Antonio on her car phone, finding him at the Lake. Antonio had looked at the toddler through the car window. And after she killed Antonio, Janie took Gordon to get a milkshake.

It explained why she wouldn't go to the police when she got threats, preferring to let sleeping dogs lay. It even fleshed her out, the ever-growing, ever-morphing Janie, now cast in stark relief. She knew. But she didn't care, not until he threatened to take the children from her. Not until his existence threatened to destroy her world.

But did I know? Enough to revise my story? Enough to change the course of my life again?

Was there any proof, other than this letter? Wasn't the case closed? Why dig all that up again?

I filled the basin of my copper sink. I lit a match, and I burned the words until flames licked my fingers. The last piece floated, sizzling on water:

don't regret it.

______________

Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining me on this journey. I am so grateful for the investment of your time and attention to my tale, and I hope you feel satisfied.

While this is the end of this tale on Vocal, I am making bigger plans for the story in general -- stay tuned. And in the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy whatever my next obsession is <3

Plot TwistTrue CrimeFictionEpilogueDenouement
13

About the Creator

Suze Kay

Pastry chef by day, insomniac writer by night.

Find here: stories that creep up on you, poems to stumble over, and the weird words I hold them in.

Or, let me catch you at www.suzekay.com

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (10)

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  • Belleabout a month ago

    Crazy!! Spectacular!! Everything comes together on this piece with a fantastic twist. If Miranda had JUST opened the letter before publishing, she could have released the REAL TRUTH. But would that have helped her either? Will Miranda's conscience forever be stained after convincing herself of a truth that was actually a lie?? Brilliant!! Thank you, Suze, for such an amazing trip! I hope to see more writing from you!! Amazing!

  • John Cox2 months ago

    Reading this story was time well spent, Suze. The letter pulled all of the loose threads together and unmasked both Janie and Miranda. An absolutely epic twist. If anyone could turn such a brilliant story into a bestselling novel it would be you. It’s a pity that so few readers on Vocal have the attention span to follow a story as good as this one to its finish, but it is their loss.

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Oh Suze you did not disappoint! What a fantastic twist at the end! I loved it. Thought for sure we’d find out Janie killed one of the victims to keep her secrets, never once thought she killed Antonio. All of your characters were so good and really human, it made such a wonderful read! If you ever put this in a book let me know! P.S. I’d love to read your “bad” NYC midnight submission sometime

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Suze, this was an amazing book. I loved the ending. Janie and Antonio had twisted, unsatisfied lives that the children ended up paying for in the long run. I think Janie stayed because of sheer stubbornness and need for control. She wasn't blind but turned a blind eye. Everyone was a in her spider trap. Thank you for writing such a fabulous story. I truly enjoyed it.

  • Andrei Z.2 months ago

    Hey Suze, I think I forgot to leave a comment. Or rather I kept postponing it to the end. I haven't really read any fiction in a while, and true crime is not something I normally enjoy reading, but damn, your series is good! While reading, I was trying to imagine whether the story could happen in a real-life realm, I mean, mainly if the characters were believable enough, but then I gave up on trying and simply kept reading and following the plot. What impressed me was how Janie suddenly bang and died; one would expect, well, end of the story... but not here, you had some stuff up your sleeve :-D

  • Sandra Matos2 months ago

    I loved it! I am so happy that I took the time to read Why Women Stay. The ending is satisfying. She became like Janie in the end, choosing not to see what wouldn't serve her well. I would love to pick your brain about your process! Congratulations on your accomplishments. I can't wait to see what you do next!

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    Suze, I don't know what to say. This was marvellous. I am so glad that I read it and I so glad that it has taken me this long to get to it because it's meant that I've read it back to back over an evening and what a tale it has been. The twists, the treachery, the humanity and the lack of it - there was so much here and told SO well. Wonderful, wonderful work. I said in one of my other comments that you should write a book and you have. I know that you're going to expand this but this has been so good to read. I am literally blown away. Right. I'm off to do what I should have been doing this evening instead of being enthralled by your writing!!

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Congratulations and fantastic closing chapter!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    Congratulations, you completed a chapter story. Bravo 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  • Christy Munson2 months ago

    Congratulations on completing an enthralling story. I LOVE IT! I had hoped it would end this way because the story called for Janie to do one more self-serving thing. I love that she knew to put her letter in the typewriter. Clever, clever girl. Hope you are as proud of this story as you deserve to be. It is excellent. I'm excited to see what's next from your incredible brain. And now, I'll have time to get back to a little writing of my own. If you have time and are inclined, join me in my corner of Vocal from time to time. And thank you, again, for this indelible tale. 🫶🏻👏🏻 🫶🏻👏🏻 🫶🏻👏🏻 🫶🏻👏🏻

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