Elements of Mystery takes chemistry to a new level in the ongoing series of mystery novels by author Terri Talley Venters.

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“Hi, Honey, I’m home,” Dave said, walking through his front door after work.  He kissed his wife and toddler son, tossing little Dave’s blonde, curly locks.

“Need anything from the fridge while I get my beer?” Dave asked.

“Yes, I’ll have a Guinness with you, it’s been a long, exhausting day,” Carly said.

Dave opened the refrigerator door, retrieved two pint-sized cans, and closed the door in record time to keep the cold air inside. He performed this ritual automatically. The days of opening the refrigerator door for several seconds while debating what to eat or drink felt like a lifetime ago.

“What happened today? And why are so many lights on?” Dave asked, trying to hold back his anger at the blatant waste of their precious electricity ration.

“It’s Little, Dave. He can reach the light switch standing on his tippy toes. He thinks it’s fun to turn them on, but he’s not tall enough to turn them back off,” Carly said.

“Do you have any idea how much electricity is used when you leave a light on?  That’s why we have the battery powered lanterns and flashlights,” Dave said.

“I’m sorry, I’ll tape them down or something so he won’t do it again. It’s impossible to explain to a two-year old why we can’t waste electricity by leaving the lights on,” Carly said.

“We need most of our monthly kilowatt allotment to charge my electric car every night so I can drive to work. We’re all making sacrifices during this energy crisis,” Dave said.

“I had to use the last of our gas in my car to take little Dave to the doctor today,” Carly said, fighting back the tears as she waited for her husband’s inevitable wrath.

“What? You drove your car today and used up our gas. We can’t fill up the tank until next week. What were you thinking? Now you can’t be with your mother during her chemotherapy tomorrow, ” Dave said.

Little Dave began to cry at the sound of his daddy’s loud voice. He ran to his mommy and clung to her legs for protection.

“It’s okay, Little Dave,” Carly cooed into her son’s ear as she scooped him up into her loving, protective arms. She used every ounce of willpower to restrain herself from screaming at her husband for yelling in front of their son.

“For your information, Dave’s asthma flared up today from his cold. I took him to the emergency room because he could barely breathe. They gave him Prednisone and several breathing treatments to save his life.  Don’t you ever scream at me in front of our son ever again.  And stop treating me like a child every time I use the car.  It’s not like I go shopping or get my nails done with it. I only drive when absolutely necessary,” Carly said.  Her maternal instincts took over, evident in the seriousness of her tone and evil look in her eye.

“Woah, chill woman, I’ve never seen you look so angry before. I’m sorry I yelled at you and I’m sorry for second guessing your judgment.  It’s been such a hard year for all of us,” Dave said.  He walked to his wife and took her into his arms, embracing her with a strong hug.

“Daddy, you’re squishing me,” Little Dave said, looking up at his parents in tears.

“Oh, time for the news,” Carly said.

She turned on the battery-powered radio, praying for good news today.  She couldn’t remember the last time she watched television or cooked on the stove. She felt like they permanently camped in their house using only battery powered lights and cooking their meals outside on the charcoal grill.

“This breaking news just in. Scientists at the Thorium-based nuclear reactor in New York always believed the energy stored in the earth’s thorium reserves is greater than what is available from all other fossil and nuclear fuels combined.  The major strides in their exhaustive research efforts finally succeeded today. The bottom line is, we now have an abundant, inexpensive, clean source of energy.  We will never need to rely on another country for our energy needs ever again.  Effective immediately, the gas rations are now lifted, along with the electricity kilowatt allotment,” the newscaster said.

“Oh, my God, the energy crisis is over,” Carly screamed with excitement.

She jumped up and down and hugged her husband and son tightly. Tears of happiness poured down her cheeks because their prayers, along with millions of other Americans, were finally answered. Thorium, named after the Norse God of Thunder, saved them all.

Just then, the sound of thunder crackled the sky, a sign from the heavens above.

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