Silent End by Nancy Springer

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When Judith discovers a dead body in the kiln of her pottery store, she's convinced it's the work of her ex-husband in an attempt to cause her trouble. After discussing the incident with members of her Scrabble Club, Judith soon learns that her ex may be off the hook, and that sticks and stones may break bones, but words can definitely get you killed. A short story.


“Phew, what’s that?” Unlocking the front door of her very own beloved shop, Judith smelled something that made her think her ex-husband had played one of his nasty tricks. Had broken in and left her a rotting dead rat, perhaps. Stepping inside, she glanced at crisp white bisque arranged on shiny black shelving; except for the stink, all seemed well. Out of habit, she flipped the ceramic door sign that declared “Personal Pottery is OPEN!” before she headed past the plastic-covered studio tables into the back room to hang up her jacket—

“Oh my God!”

She froze by the coat rack, gawking at shards of glazed bisque piled around the kiln like cyanotic casualties of war: shattered butterfly plaques, smashed fish platters, beheaded bunnies and puppies and kittens, pony figurines in pieces, decorator plates and miniature teapots and fallen knickknacks of all kinds strewn amid the insect-like multi-legged stilts that had supported them—an entire kiln load of crafts lay in dismembered ruins on the linoleum. The expensive ceramic shelves that went in the kiln had been thrown aside, lying in monolithic, fissured slabs, crushing the bluish bodies. It was, in miniature, like the aftermath of a terrorist strike. Judith screamed, backed away, and stumbled to the phone.

By the time the cop cruiser pulled up, she had recovered from her shock and segued into anger. “I want you to get the detectives in here,” she told the township police officer walking toward her as she propped the shop’s front door open to air out the place. “I’ve had enough of this.” Though actually, It had never sabotaged her shop before, just stalked her, slashed her tires, left venomous messages, that sort of thing.

“‘Had enough of this?’” the cop echoed.

“It’s my ex. Because I got a restraining order. I know it’s him.”

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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