She stared out across the water. Her mind lapping like the waves on the edge of the lake. Repeating her story to herself, but adding another line each time. Her life had changed, her plans gone awry, was there signals she missed? Probably. She had wanted the cliché. The house, the husband, the dog and the kids. She fought with everything she could, sometimes risking that which she hadn’t meant to. She had almost got it all. Almost.
The dog was an easy win, who doesn’t love dogs? Convincing him of the house move trickier but manageable. Some thought her husband meek but he could be stubborn when he wanted to. The wedding was a much harder challenge but eventually, she got there. Finally, she was ready for the children to come along.
Yet… as more and more time went in, the dreamed of pregnancy just didn’t happen. Cracks in her perfectly laid plans began to appear elsewhere. Strains that had been glossed over now bowed under pressure. Eventually, the talk was had. The perfectly planned life unravelled. One got the dog, the other the house. The title of husband and wife was vandalised with the “EX-“ prefix. So here she was, alone, in front of the wild lake.
Yet, life gave lessons, not curses. The wild lake representing what she needed, giving her time to cleanse, revive and refresh her life. Time to make some new plans…
“As exciting, difficult and memorable as our past can be, there comes a time when we have to get on with living.”
Patrick Carman, The Tenth City
I realise this is quite a melancholic post this week. I have someone on my mind. Someone I used to know well but life presented some challenges, as life often does, and now they are no longer part of my life. Even though that is the case, I still wish them luck and happiness on their quest. Water after all is the best symbol for refreshment there is.
He stared down at the newspaper. He really should call the newsagent and cancel the delivery but so far the thought of one more person apologising for his loss was too much. Better to just let it be, it was only a paper. Making his way to the kitchen he popped the kettle on then opened the fridge door. Row upon row of milk bottles lay unopened. He really should call and half the delivery. He paused. On second thought, a cuppa out would be a nice treat.
He grabbed his jacket and swapped his well-worn slippers for a pair of dress shoes. He wasn’t sure if they went with what he was wearing, Judy would have told him that, he shooed the thought from his mind. It didn’t matter, he had no one to impress anyway.
He walked down the street, hands in his pockets, keeping his head down, terrified a neighbour would stop him and offer more condolences. He knew they were trying to be kind but right now more condolences felt like the last thing he needed. He kept his head down and kept walking.
He stopped outside the café and looked in the window. Should he go in? His mind flashed back to sitting inside, waiting whilst Judy had her hair cut, after what felt like hours she’d appear. What do you think? She’d say with a huge smile. “Beautiful Darling”, he’d say, never really noticing the difference but her smile was all that mattered and that was truly beautiful. He turned to leave, he couldn’t go in there, not yet.
Across the road was a new café. It looked too trendy, one of these barista type affairs. Not a proper café. Still, he’d made it out the house, made it this far, maybe he should go in. No, I’m not young enough he thought, imagining the hipster type with their skinny jeans frowning at his questionable attire. But as he stood and watched a woman walked to the door and stepped inside, as she did, her scarf blew in the wind, causing her to drop her handbag, contents spilling across the pavement. Without even thinking, he crossed the road and knelt to help her. He picked up the pages of her newspaper and tried to sort them into some kind of order.
“Don’t worry about that, I’m not really a newspaper girl anyway, more of a book fanatic”, she said then gave him a beaming smile.
“Me too”, he said then chuckled. He handed her the scrunched newspaper and turned to leave.
“What kind of books are you into?” she asked.
“Oh, a bit of everything.”
“Ever read Fahrenheit 451?”
“Of course, a few years ago now, but it’s a book that sticks with you?”
“Great.” She beamed her smile at him again. “I am meeting my book group over by the window, why don’t you join us? This month’s book was Fahrenheit 451.”
“We’re a friendly bunch, besides I think I owe you a cuppa for helping me but I’d feel bad holding the group up any longer.” That inviting smile came out again. He looked up and down the street. He had nowhere else to be.
“Sure. Why not?” He said. Together they stepped through the door. Despite the nerves, he felt excitement, a new chapter was about to begin, it only took one small step.
Originally written in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge (#WQWWC) hosted by Marsha Ingrao at Always Right.
“As exciting, difficult and memorable as our past can be, there comes a time when we have to get on with living.”
Patrick Carman, The Tenth City
Change is often both terrifying and exciting whether that be a new house, a new job or even just a new chapter in life. I’m always curious about how people come to the decision to make that change, I find it’s often one small moment that causes them to take that leap of faith. Hope you enjoyed my tale capturing that moment.
I’m hoping to create a local book group to share my love of all things book related. I attended one years ago, it was at a local arts centre which sadly lost funding and closed. The group tried to keep going but the right venue was never available, pubs were too noisy, or had awkward seating or couldn’t reserve tables, the local bookshop and library both close at 6pm so were unusable and we couldn’t guarantee the numbers to hire a dedicated space, so it fizzled out. I am hoping to start a new one, hopefully with fresh eyes and excitement after (reportedly) more and more renewed their love of reading in lockdown. Wish me luck.
Jim crawled away from the tunnel slowly, tunnel was maybe too strong a word, it was more a small opening in the network of the mines. Jim knew what was really there, it was the trail the knockers had left as they worked their own lodes in the darkness.
The team Jim worked with scoffed at his superstitious beliefs but Jim’s father and grandfather had mined these caves for many years. Each surviving when many others had fallen foul. It was down to the knockers and the tricks they would play on those that were undeserving, his grandfather and father used to whisper over a drink into the night as they recalled the stories. Other men had never learned.
The knockers needed to be treated with respect, whistling could offend them and making the sign of the cross. Jim knew. And he knew if he treated them well they would lead him to the richest of lodes. Today Jim had left a food offering in the small opening. He knew when he returned tomorrow it would be gone. He would repeat the task for a week, then he would start to open the small trail. He smiled as he imagined the small wealth hidden in the stone, protected by the knockers.
As he left the mines entrance he heard the distant knocking start. They had found his feast and were happy with the offering. ‘Enjoy, I’ll be back soon’, Jim whispered into the darkness.
Originally written in response to Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto Challenge. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to add in a bit of folklore to my entry. Hope you enjoyed. KL ❤
“Dammit,” Sarah got out the car outside the college gates. The thought that she may have been quicker walking niggled away at her, she tried to push it to one side, as her eyes shot back and forth across the car park. Danny was nowhere to be seen. Where is he?
Slamming the door shut, Sarah began walking around the benches and picnic areas. Student’s eyes seemed to follow her every step which wasn’t helping the feeling she was being followed. Giving up her search amongst the students, Sarah hurdled the steps into the college’s grand entrance and made her way towards the reception desks.
Waiting patiently Sarah couldn’t help glancing around. This place was impressive, much better than the evening college she had attended. It made her feel sentimental, without their parents around she wanted to give Danny all the chances of a good life that she could. Eventually, the older receptionist waved her over.
“Can I help you, Dearie?”
“Yeah, I’m here for my little brother Danny. Sorry, Daniel Bradley. I need to see him.” Sarah paused and under the watchful gaze of the receptionist realised it didn’t sound right. “We’ve got a family emergency.”
“Okay, Dear. Let me have a look where he’s at.” The old woman began typing away at the pc, but the more she clicked, the more her greying eyebrows began to furrow. Sarah began to feel nervous as the receptionist glanced towards her. The receptionist stepped away and mumbled something to the woman next to her. The woman leant over, checked the screen and nodded sharply once.
“I’m sorry. It appears Daniel is no longer with the college. He withdrew from the course over a month ago.”
“A month ago…” Sarah’s mouth hung open, the little gasp of air escaping seemed to be the only function her body could do while her brain processed this. A month ago? Why would he lie? Where was he now?
“Okay, thanks.” Sarah managed to get the words out. Although the effort seemed to take all her body had to offer. She sucked in a deep breath and headed back to the car. Once inside she hit her steering well with her fists several times “Dammit Danny.” She shrieked to herself, then laying her head on her hands she let out the hollow sob that shook her whole body. She had no idea where deep inside her the noise came from but knew she had to release it.
When the noise turned into tiny snuffling sounds, Sarah sat up and searching in her handbag produced some tissues. Pulling the visor down she cleared the residual makeup from her eyes and blew her red nose. God did she look a mess. Rummaging back in the bag, she pulled the few make-up pieces she had with her out, concealer and mascara, it wasn’t much but it would do. Leaning closer to the visor she sorted her mascara first then just as she was dabbing the concealer under her eyes, a reflection in the mirror caught her attention. It was Danny’s bag, she was sure of it. Turning around she was just in time to see the bag and Danny’s dark hair disappear into a grey car. Sarah threw open the door and jumped up shouting Danny at the top of her voice, but the head didn’t turn and the car pulled away from the kerb.
Getting back into the car Sarah slammed the door and putting in the key she stomped her foot on the pedal, her mind focussed on one thing, she had to get to Danny now.
A lie is told – This was written in response to Friday Fiction prompt brought to you by ronovanwrites
Ronovan has a great post on GL & PSS to help improve your writing and aim it towards the right groups (all of which can be achieved in word – who knew!). Hopefully I have set that up correctly, if so, my stats for this week are:
Word Count: 601 Words
Passive Sentences: 2%
Sarah walked through the back door into the kitchen. Her heart immediately sank when she saw the wet shine on the laminated floor. Where had it spilled from? Please, not Danny. The lump in her throat continued to grow. She flickered on the light and could see that a milk cartoon laid on its side.
“DANNY?” Louder this time but still no answer. She glanced at the clock. He shouldn’t have set off for college yet.
Sarah glanced around the kitchen searching for any clues. She carefully stepped through the doorway into the living room. Nothing looked out of place. She ran up the stairs and into hers and Danny’s room. Sarah’s heart picked up the pace to match the unnerving voice in her head. Normally she relied upon her inner voice but today she just wanted it to shut up, she didn’t want to hear what it was saying. In Danny’s room despite the mess, nothing seemed out of place. Sarah walked to the computer; she could see the power was on. Moving the mouse the bright background shone to life and Sarah could see a chat box open. Sarah’s heart leaped into her throat as the words “Meet you outside the college,” flickered at her over the bright lights of the screen.
Hurdling the stairs two at a time she made her way to the front door as she reached it she could see a piece of paper sticking through the letterbox. As I pulled it out, I could see it was just like the first, my name appearing with no surname. My heart now pounding so loudly it echoed around in my head. I unfolded the paper, mockingly a single sentence in bold black type stared back at me.
“GO AHEAD WITH THE INTERVIEW & THERE WILL BE MORE THAN MILK SPILLED”
This is a continued short story from: The Note #1 – A Case for Sarah Bradley – Fiction. I have never written in the detective/mystery genre before so just having a bit of a dabble. I hope people enjoy. Any feedback greatly appreciated. KL ❤
“Morning Beth,” I say happily making my way past the receptionist. I had been mentally preparing for the interview all morning. I was ready for this role and I would make the chief see it. There was no way it was going to one of the “boys” again. I’d more than proven myself, I was smarter than most of the idiots in this station and it was about time they knew it.
“Sarah, two seconds I got handed an urgent note to pass to you.” I stopped and turned back to Beth watching as she began ruffling through the stack of letters and notes on her desk. I glanced at the clock as subtly as I could. Beth didn’t need a hard time from me, being one of the few other females in a very male police station. But I needed to get to my interview, I had to keep my head in the zone.
“Oh, here it is. Oh and good luck with the interview today” beaming happily she passed me the envelope. Strange, it was just my name, not my surname and it was typed. I opened the envelope with a sense of unease, something wasn’t right. Within seconds, I was on the floor of the reception sobbing and trembling uncontrollably. Beth was beside me.
“Sarah are you alright? What is it?” She glanced nervously back and forth between the reception door, the office door and my tear-stained face. She knew if the guys saw me like this I wouldn’t be around much longer. Pulling me gently so that I was hidden on the floor behind the reception desk, she gently took the piece of paper from my hand. She scanned it her mouth dropping open. It was an arrest report with my little brother Danny’s name featuring throughout. No reporting officer’s name featured. At the bottom in bold black writing was three words “FAIL THE INTERVIEW”.
“What are you going to do?” Beth gasped.
“I don’t know…” I lowered my head and began sobbing again. Beth was about to speak but was interrupted by the phone ringing.
“Yes sir, PC Bradley?” I saw her look down at me and I shook my head. There was no way I could go through with the interview now.
“Sir, she had a family emergency. Did I not give you that note? Very sorry sir, she needed the meeting urgently postponing”, I heard Beth lower her voice, the huskiness echoing around the tiled room. “I told her that shouldn’t be a problem for you sir, I know how friendly and accommodating you can be, I’ve already moved it in your diary for you”. She winked at me and I couldn’t help but smile back. Then she rolled her eyes and said, “Yes sir, I’d love to get lunch with you” this was followed by a clearly fake giggle. “Okay see you later Tom”.
Putting the phone done she muttered something I couldn’t quite hear under her breath but it sounded like the word pig. She spun in the reception chair to face me. “Right Sarah, I’ve brought you some time. You have until tomorrow to find this asshole. You are the best cop in the station Sarah. If anyone can do it you can. Now get up and get out of my reception!”
I stumbled to my feet quickly wiping the lingering tears from my eyes and pulled the arrest report off the desk. Heading towards the door, I turned quickly and said, “Thanks Beth, I owe you one.”
“You sure do, lunch with old Tom Murphy, you owe me two! Now get out and get this sorted. We need some more woman running this place.”Dusting myself as I walked out the door I realized Beth might just be the smartest person in the station.
You’ve just been handed a message that makes you drop to the floor, trembling uncontrollably. Friday Fiction prompt brought to you by Ronovan Writes. I did go over my word count a little with 636 words but was enjoying this story starter and have a few ideas for where it might lead.
I have never written in the detective fiction genre before so any feedback much appreciated. KL ❤