SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Darque Into Light,” the seventh and final installment of the Myanna Moore serial, which will run over the next several weekends. This is Part Eight, which also ends the HAUNTED BY THE TRUTH series.

“No!” Myanna cried out, not for Darque, but for J.B., her mentor and friend.

J.B. kept hold of his gun but pointed it downwards, and turned towards Myanna, his face as compassionate as it had been the day they met.

“Champ, take your friends and go. Tell our son what a caring man I was. Never say I was solely a good man, do not hide the darkness and show only the light. Take all the resources I’ve left you and find this daughter they’ve hidden from you. Live each day unafraid of who you are.”

Next, he took out his cell phone.

“I’ll call the cops to confess. I have a motive. They won’t check the crime scene too deeply, and as someone investigative skills I know how to get them to focus on the evidence that incriminates me.”

“But you’ll spend the rest of your life in jail, J.B.!” begged Myanna.

“I’ve lived a good life, Champ. And I don’t think Dudley Quinn Sr. would approve of what his son became. I did this for my buddy.”

Myanna watched J.B. turn to her grandfather, Searlas.

“Searlas, you’ve got the training. Get the others out safe. I’m about to place a call.”

Searlas nodded his head, and started to prod the rest of the group along. Myanna fought back for one last glimpse of J.B. as he dialed his cell phone.

Some distance away, the remaining group rested and caught their breaths. Donnell stepped up shyly to Myanna.

“Did I hear him say that the two of you have a son?”

Myanna nodded up and down. She didn’t want to talk much about it.

“Never saw you going for someone that much older than yourself,” she heard Donnell say, knowing he’d found the nearly two decades between them awkward enough at times.

“I felt safe, Donnell. We told everyone I was having a surrogate child for someone and sent our son to live with his sister. I know he’s safe. It’s my daughter Quinnlee I need to find.”

She looked into Donnell’s eyes.

“I know I have to go back to Willowbrook to find her, but I’m afraid.”

“I’ll go with you,” he said without hesitation.

“But your son?” Myanna asked, referring to the child he had many years earlier when still deeply entangled with Edana’s group.

“He’s grown up enough, and we have a good network of friends that could protect him for a while. I put you on this path to begin with that resulted in Quinnlee’s birth. Just like J.B. felt he owed his buddy, I definitely know you.”

Myanna nearly stopped breathing in her nervousness.

“But you and I? What if we? I can’t even say it.”

“We’ve both grown a lot, Myanna. We weren’t ready then. But I’m ready now to be father, lover, anything you need. I love you, Myanna Moore.”

“Enough to give me your name?” Myanna asked him. “Every name attached to Myanna now doesn’t feel like me anymore. I want to start over.”

Donnell got down on one knee.

“I said I’ll be anything you need. Myanna, will you marry me and take my last name as your own?”

Myanna ran into Donnell’s arms and became swept up in a kiss, crying for joy. At last, she felt completely free to make decisions, and to be the person she wanted to be.

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