Chapter One- The Mr. Kitten Murder Mystery

I'm trying to write my first book and I'm majorly dealing with writer's block. I know I can write a good short story, but a whole's intimidating.

But, as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single cliche, so here's my beginning. I promised myself last night (at 3 am, suffering from insomnia and indigestion) that I'd simply write the book as a short story and then, later, fill in as needed to make it a novel. I promised myself I would begin today and that it didn't have to be good, it just had to be written. So, here 'tis. A beginning:

Madeleine came in to the morning room unwrapping an expensive box of chocolates. The Captain looked up as she smilingly set the box on the sideboard. He lifted his eyebrows and drew his unlit pipe out of his mouth. He looked at her interogatively. He'd never known her to do such domestic things as putting out treats for the other inhabitants of the mansion, but she was a mercurial creature.

"Just a little treat, would you like one, Captain?"

"It's a bit early for chocolates," he said, looking out the window to at the late morning sun sparkling through the manicured grounds.

Madeleine put out a manicured hand as if to take a chocolate, and then suddenly pulled her hand back. The Captain's eyebrows, which had fallen to normal position, rised again. Madeleine, thirty-years-old, trendy, thin and a would-be celebutante, never ate chocolate. He was surpised she'd even considered one.

"Well, maybe later," she said. Then she flounced out of the room, leaving the open box of chocolates on the sideboard.

The Captain got out of his Windsor chair, intending to put the chocolates away, but he was distracted by a voice telling him to never, never, never surrender.

The Captain walked over to the large bird cage. "Would you like to come out, Winston Churchill?" he asked the parrot there.

"We will fight for freedom on the beaches, in the mountains, etc," the bird replied.

The Captain laughed and opened the cage. "Polly want a cracker?" Winston half-hopped, half flew out of the cage, stretching his great grey wings and fluttering about the room. The Captain watched him fondly and went back to his chair. "Don't make a mess, now Winston. I'm not supposed to let you out of your cage in here. I don't want to get in trouble with Helen," he said, refering to his niece Helen, the lady of the house.

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others, " Winston replied. The Captain picked up his newspaper again, and sucked on his pipe.

After a few minutes, he took notice of the bird again. "Polly want a cracker?" The Captain offered him some suet cake. "Winston want a cracker?" he asked. Winston ignored him.

The Captain shrugged, got up and walked to the sideboard. "You know how Helen is about chocolates," he confided to the bird. Helen was slightly overweight and constantly obsessing over her weight. She was also addicted to sugar. "I wonder if Mad brought these in just to get Helen's reaction." He looked around, no one was in the room. He looked down at the box, one of the chocolates was gone. He frowned at the bird. "Winston want a chocolate?"

The bird flew to the window sill and stood with his head tilted to the left. "A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject."

The Captain tucked the chocolates into a sideboard drawar and forgot about them.

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