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Writing Contest Entry: "Murder at Rosewood Gardens"

Updated on June 19, 2013



© 2013

It was known by the locals, as the “Rose”. It had had many identities in its colorful history, but it now stands as a museum, to the many visitors who enter “her” ornate entrance and decorated walls of early 1900s furnishings and architecture.

Upon entering her halls, you feel a certain connection that makes your heart pound, and on occasion, send a chill up your spine. Some visitors shared their experience by writing in the guest book that they felt like someone was watching them while they roamed the massive rooms. Some even said that they noticed the “faces” on some of the family portraits, change from one moment to the next. Especially the main portrait of “Rose”, whose father had built and named the home for. She had been raised by her father, a wealthy physician in the community, who had strong political ties, and authored several medical books in his time.

Rose’s mother had died in childbirth, and her father had never remarried. Their story was a sad one, and her father had lost twice, the women he adored. Rose had been found dead weeks after her sixteenth birthday, murdered, in the library, and her father had never found out who had done it. Twice loved, twice lost. His fate was sealed, and so was the mystery-until now.


One humid Saturday, in July, Kathleen stopped off at the local flea market. While she lost herself in a world of garden ceramics, her husband Derrick, wandered off to find his treasure of the day. Off to the side of a nearby tent he spotted a classic, Saratoga style trunk. It was made of wood, and decorated with rusting metal, and there was an old mangled lock on it, that still looked to be in tact. Approaching the vendor, he asked if the trunk was for sale. After a moment of thought he nodded at Derrick, and said he’d let it go for eight-five dollars. Sold.

Kathleen was as anxious as Derrick, to get the trunk open and explore its contents. Inside, stacked in mounds, sat neatly piled vintage linens. Some were soiled from time spent in the trunk, but others still held their color and embroidered edging. As Kathleen reached to take out the first bunch of fabric, a letter fell out onto the floor. The envelope was yellowed and frayed, and she was careful in retrieving it from the covering, in its fragile state.

It was a letter about Rose's murder. The ink on the page was faded, but legible. Apparently Rose had been seeing a boy whose father was a politician. The boy had worked in his father’s office as an apprentice, and had become aware of something his father had done that could cost him his political career. Rose had been on her way over to meet him at the office when she overheard voices and stopped to listen. She couldn’t hear everything, but she knew that someone was planning on doing something that could hurt her father’s political interest, and she had to tell him. They must have heard her run from the building, even though she was unaware that they had.

Rose’s father would be returning from a business trip that evening, and she would tell him what she had learned. There was a knock at the door, and Rose never had that chance. She was forced into the library, and her throat was cut, before she even had a chance to beg for her life. Rose was found by her father when he returned from his trip, lying in a pool of her own blood. It appeared that her throat had been slashed, but the knife was gone.

And so, was his precious Rose with no answer of who had done it.


Rose’s father would sit for hours in the potting shed, where Rose had spent so much of her time, while he grieved her loss. Rose had loved to plant and care for her roses there. So much so, that she had named her nature’s sanctuary -"Rosewood Gardens”- and had openly invited the community to come and enjoy the rich colors and the sweet, delicious scents during the full bloom. Time passed. Local authorities didn’t have any leads on who had murdered Rose. The tragedy was fast becoming one for the history books, until the cold case took on a new life, now in the hands of Kathleen and Derrick.


After Rose had been seen running from the office, someone had followed her. The boy that she had been seeing was the letter's author. Not Rose’s killer. He had loved her. He wrote how he was on his way to tell her that she was in danger, but when he got there, it was too late. He knew where the weapon was that had killed the girl he loved because he had followed her murderer. He had watched while the knife that took Rose’s life was placed in a wooden box and locked. He had followed her killer to the river, and hid behind the trees, so as not to be seen, while her killer rowed his boat out to the middle of the river, and dropped the box in. He watched, but he never told. He wrote it in a letter, that had just now been found.

Notifying the authorities, they drove to the river as described in the letter. Within an hour, the divers emerged, with one clenching the wooden box. Wasting no time, the box was opened. In it –a rusty knife. Jagged, yet whole. There it lay. The truth. But no one to hear it, that mattered. They were all gone now.

If you ever visit “The Rose” at Rosewood Gardens, be sure to stop and look at the portraits in the library. The ones of Rose are smiling. And in the potting shed, encased in glass, is a wooden box. It lies open so that we can all see the truth. The truth in a rusty, jagged knife.


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    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Hi annart: thanks for the supportive comment. When I was a child I always had quite a creative mind (most kids do), and I was sure that the "house on the hill" resembling the one in this short story, housed mystery involving romance and murder. I guess I bounced back to those memories, and drew on that, creating suspense but leaving a trail for Nancy Drew...:)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Great story. Interesting that the house inspires death and spooky adventures. Is that because it's old, I wonder? Or maybe because the garage looks to be hiding something, mysterious. I loved this challenge. You leave some suspense and questions but give us enough clues to debate the possibilities. Well done! Up and interesting.

    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Hi Kathryn...thank you for your comment. I'm happy that you enjoyed it...I had fun composing it and it challenged my well

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      5 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      That was a very enjoyable story.

    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Hi Chris: there's nothing like a good murder, star-crossed lover story-ha. I had to cut so much out though...the art of writing I guess. Getting as much out to the reader with 1000 words or less? A challenge to say the least. Thanks for the read and the comment-I appreciate. Good luck on your travels in health care...sounds exciting! Be

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

      Kim, I enjoyed this very much. The stories are going in so many directions. Now we have murder. There have been some memorable stories written for this. Great job.

    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Sunnie Day (love ur name!) thanks for your kinds words of support. I just chipped away and am down to 999 words! Yay! Much luck to you in your entry as well... :)

      jessielovesny- I really enjyed billybuc's contest. We had to use the photos provided, but it was a challenge I welcomed! Glad you enjoyed.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      wow!!! what a great story, you made a masterpiece with a story/picture correlation, nice descriptive vocab. i was really into it... i want more!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      5 years ago

      Kim this is a fantastic story and so well written, keeping me on my toes. I had the same trouble cutting down my entry, I am not sure what I ended up with but was such fun trying. Wishing you the best in the contest.

      Take care,


    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Dear Sha, Becky, and Randy...thanks...can't wait to read everyone's. Loved Sha's...nice to read from all our creative minds! Good luck to all!

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      5 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Nice entry, Kim! Like you, I had to chip away until I finally got my tale down to 998 words. Welcome to the contest! :)


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Another good story for Billybuc's contest.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Kim, what a nice entry into Bill's challenge! It seems we HP writers hold fiction to be synomyous with thriller/supernatural. Interesting.... Good luck in the contest. This is one of the best storylines I've read so far.

    • Kim Grbac Diaz profile imageAUTHOR

      Kim Diaz 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      hey there...well I will work on chipping down to the 1000 or less than. It stands at 1205 and it was 1800 words when I started...thought I'd get it in and then I'll have to chip away! I blame my literature/comp teacher from high school. She told us not to count all the "articles" as words, so I got into that habit..Tsk...tsk It was fun though!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm looking forward to reading it, Kim! Thanks again for entering.


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