Category Archives: Fiction

Today’s the Day

Granny on computer

Procrastination – well, it’s alive and well here in Wellington New Zealand.

Every day since I wrote the blog on Continuing the story on 23 March I have planned to live up to the promise.  Good intentions but so much gets in the way.  So two weeks later I am continuing the story.

You will recall that we left our ladies in confusion following the visit of Thomas Anthony William Fotheringham known as Billy AKA the Swarthy Gent in the Panama Hat.  The fellow had arrived at Maisie’s door unannounced a couple of days ago and then had returned at an agreed time, to present Maisie with the claim that he was related to her husband.

So to continue…

As the three friends were quietly contemplating what he had said., the door to the room burst open and there stood Maisie’s daughter Julia.  Knowing her and how she acted, Juliet and Imogen decided to leave and decided they would catch up by telephone later in the day.

“Whatever have you been up to now, Mother?” demanded Julia in that voice so like Reggie’s.  “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to hear that one’s mother had been away from home for two nights and nobody knew where?”  Oh, how truly tedious her daughter was, thought Maisie.

“What have you heard that has upset you so much?” enquired Maisie, making no attempt to answer her daughter’s questions.

“Oh Mother,” said Julia.  “I do wish you would act responsibly and see rather less of that Juliet Drummond who is such a bad influence on you.”

Julia had never really liked her mother’s close friend Lady Juliet Drummond, after whom she had been named.  Julia being quite a different person and having a totally different personality to her mother, found nothing attractive about her mother’s closest friend.

She discoursed at length about how unseemly it was for these two women to have been missing over two nights.  Gossip as to what they had been up to was rife and Julia felt strongly that any hint of scandal, should it fall upon her mother, should not be allowed to fall upon her.  To Julia, being in the right ethically and morally was paramount.  Any hint of impropriety was abhorrent to her.

Oh, she liked her mother well enough but she considered her weak and easily led.  It was to her father that she was most drawn.  She shared his puritanical outlook on life.  She looked up to him as a paragon of virtue and hoped that her betrothed, The Hon Toby Grimshaw, would turn out to be as upright as he.

She strongly disapproved of the new trend of women smoking and drinking cocktails in public.  She thought that once a lady was married she should be content to remain at home, running her household so that her husband and children would be totally comfortable in their environment.

Julia was aware that her mother smoked both in public and at home and also drank cocktails every day and was quite convinced that her mother would do neither without the unsavoury influence of Lady Juliet.  She also knew of course, that Juliet had been her mother’s friend and confidant for many years, ever since they had met at school and that nothing would break this friendship.

“You haven’t answered my question” she railed at her mother.  Whatever could you have been doing that you can’t even tell me?  And have you told Father yet?”

Her daughter was unaware that Reggie had moved out to the house in town, so of course, Maisie hadn’t had the opportunity to tell him of her adventures,  She knew that he would be strongly disapproving of her having been to the cinema without a proper escort.  And the only proper escort in his considered opinion would have been himself or one of his brothers.  And she knew how he would react to the rest of those adventures, with supreme disapproval.

So “No I haven’t had the chance to discuss it with your father yet.” She told her irate daughter.  “He has been in town for a few days, but I shall, of course, do so at the first opportunity.”

When Julia looked as if she would then burst into questions about opportunities, Maisie thought it time to change the subject.  She and Reggie hadn’t discussed the issue of telling their offspring about the separation.

In Maisie’s estimation, Julia had always been a difficult child and as she grew up her proselytizing became more marked and to Maisie, very infuriating.  Just how she would react to the news was something Maisie dreaded to even think about.

“Now let’s talk about your engagement and the plans for the wedding, shall we?” asked Maisie.  There followed a pleasant 30 minutes when mother and daughter discussed these plans.  And no thank you, Julia declined the offer of a cocktail when her mother asked Jackson to bring her a Gin and tonic.

And Maisie had more important things to worry about than wedding plans.  She knew her overbearing daughter would arrange everything with little or no input from or discussion with her mother.  But how and when would she tell Reggie about Billy Fotheringham and his claims of relationship?

Continuing The Story

Two women on beach

Oh yes, they still had on their hats but…

Way back in March 2012, I started the story of Maisie Benton-Smythe and her friend Juliet Drummond whom we met having woken on a beach.  They had no recollection of how they arrived there but both were particularly pleased that they still had on their hats.

We learned that the day before, the two women had met up with another friend from school days, Imogen Carruthers.  In fact, these three were the scourge of the teachers and staff at their school, Struthers Hall, and were named The Terrible Trio.

Maisie eventually recalled that the two of them went to Imogen’s house where they had tea and after that, Imogen suggested they raid her husband’s wine cellar.  After several hours and several glasses of Sir Percy’s special wines, Imogen suggested a ride in her new, racy little Jaguar roadster to the County seat of the Carruthers family in Horley.  They all agreed .and later, having incensed Sir Percy’s housekeeper with the way they were acting, and the fact that they had nothing with them to change into for supper.

Arriving at Sir Percy’s country retreat and having managed to outrage the housekeeper with the way they were acting, and the fact they had nothing to change into for supper, they decided to spend the night

After consuming a bottle of wine at dinner, Imogen declared that more wine should be brought from Sir Percy’s cellar and unfortunately, in getting the wine, she slipped on the cellar steps landing quite heavily on her shoulder.

An ambulance was called and Imogen was taken to hospital where she spent the night.

We are introduced to a very angry Sir Percy.  Mostly angry because he thinks the activities of his wife and her friends, react very badly on him, his position in society,  and his reputation.  There are some rather risque friends, or acquaintances, and a hilarious encounter in a house of ill repute.

But really to read the rest of this “gripping” saga, you will have to read the blog posts.  Much more fun than my just telling you here, without all the frills and furbelows that accompany the story.

And starting tomorrow, I shall continue the story from where we left off in January 2013, having been confronted by the swarthy gentleman in the Panama hat

Those related posts:

Hats on;   Hats On Again;  New Hats; The Beach;
The Bonnets; The Bonnets 2; T he Bonnets 3;  The Bonnets – Lost;
In Search of the Bonnets;
Found at LastYet More on the Bonnets; Keeping Promises;
The Swarthy Gent in the Panama Hat;  The Swarthy Gentleman

Changes

“A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!” ~ Leigh Mercer, 1948″

100-word-challengeTara at Thin Spiral Notebook says “For this week’s challenge, pick two (2) palindromes, or one (1) pair of semordnilaps for your story. Do not include your palindromes or semordnilap pair in your word count – so for this week, you get a 102 word limit.”

I chose diaper and repaid and so.

As I walked into the room, I saw Mother lying on the bed staring into space, showing no interest in anything.  How her life had changed in a few years.  This once vibrant, busy, strong woman was now reduced to this frail old lady lying quietly on the bed.  The illness had taken its toll and would continue to do so.

She was past recognising me and hadn’t for several months. And, as I changed her diaper I reflected on how many time she had changed mine when I was a baby and now she was being repaid as I changed hers.

I Don’t Cry At Funerals

I suppose it is because I was at a funeral yesterday and I was thinking of death and funerals, when this came to me in the shower this morning.  Real stream of consciousness writing.

*******

“I don’t cry at funerals,” she said to herself.  But she must have spoken it aloud as her son gently squeezed her shoulder in comfort.

It seemed that she had been to so many funerals.  She had seen friends some buried and others taken off to the crematorium.  Her young husband had died several years ago and though she had loved him, she didn’t cry even at his funeral.

But here she was watching the young men of the family lift her Grandmother’s casket and walk it out of the church.  And here she was crying.

She thought of that wonderful old lady.  She had been there for her since her mother had been taken away to hospital screaming about ghosts and terrors.  It was she who had taken the young girl into her home.  She was not really the Grandmother; just an older, caring neighbour who saw that the young girl had nobody to care for her.  She told the Social Services people that she was the grandmother.  And they, being overloaded with work and too many children to be cared for, accepted that she was whom she said she was.

The peace and quiet, the loving and caring of this new life totally enveloped the young girl so that memories of her mother, the noise and constant barrage of voices as her mother argued with unknown and unseen imaginary people began to fade and she wished/hoped she could live with Grandmother forever.

She had never known her mother’s family nor indeed her father’s.  There had just been the two of them for as long as she could remember.  And for a long time, all was well.  But then her mother started to abuse people in the street and shops where they bought their groceries. She had constant usually abusive, conversations with imaginary foes often in the early hours of the morning.

For several years, the girl hated going to bed knowing that in a few hours the noise would start and her mother would end up screaming.  And often she would awaken to find her mother standing over her yelling at her.

As her mother became worse, she couldn’t concentrate and found herself avoiding school as she stayed home to be with her mother.  Many times, her mother didn’t recognise her and would abuse her.  The final straw was when her mother picked up a kitchen knife and threatened to remove the girl’s tongue so that she wouldn’t argue with her anymore.

In total fright, the young girl fled to the house next door.  It was very early in the morning but the older woman was up having heard the noise, the screaming, and shouting. She took the young girl into her arms and sat her down in a comfortable chair while she called for an ambulance.  And from that time she had lived with Grandma.

But now, so many years later, she was at Grandma’s funeral.  And she wept openly as the coffin passed her in the church.  “Goodbye Grandma, ” she said “Thank you for loving me for so long.  I shall miss you.”

There is no end.  There is no beginning.
There is only the infinite passion of life.
Frederico Fellini.

Note – There’s a review of a new book  I received from my daughter.  It’s The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe.  Set in Stockholm it’s a must read.  Click here to read it.

 

A Wintry Wind – 2

Well, WordPress is having fun.  I wrote this post and published it yesterday but all you can see is an empty page.  So I’ll start again.  Thanks Chris at Bridges Burning for letting me know.

100-word-challenge

This week Tara has excelled herself. She has set us another 100-word challenge.
Well, in fact, it’s two words – WINTRY WIND.
If you want to play along here’s the link to Tara website, Thin Spiral Notebook.

So here goes again:

A wintry wind blew making the washing dance on the clothes line.  The sun had been shining when she hung it but now the wind had taken over. 

She watched as the large trees around the house began to shake and then the small bushes she had planted, took a lesson from the trees and started to move.

And the noise from the badly fitted back door reminded her of the blows she had suffered and she wondered if this new house was really safe from him.   Would he find her here or could she be really free this time?

Now a question – Was it worth waiting for?

And as it still raining here I thought I’d share my rainbow although we haven’t seen any rainbows here recently.

Rainbow

My rainbow

 

To see what Tara and others have written on the subject, go to Mr Linky

 

 

 

 

His Eyes

100-word-challenge

Once again, it’s time for 100-word fiction  I really love the challenge set by Tara each week, and of course, the challenge of sticking to 100 words.
If you want to play along here’s the link to Tara website, Thin Spiral Notebook.
This week’s challenge is EYES.

So here’s my effort:

Her mother had told her always to look into the eyes of the person being introduced.  This would tell that person she was really interested and you could tell about a person by looking into their eyes.

But now that she knew him she saw that his eyes rarely looked at her.  He was always looking around the room for the next interesting person to catch and when they were alone his eyes still wandered, looking at a book, the TV, never at her.

Perhaps she should have listened more intently to her mother. Had she missed an important step?

To see what Tara and others have written for this challenge, go to Mr Linky.   Then write your 100 words and link back so that others can read your effort.  Enjoy!

The Diary

100-word-challenge

This week’s 100-word Challenge is to use the word RECORD
in a story of 100 words.  And as Tara Says “No more, no less”.
If you want to tag along and get involved,
visit Tara at Thin Spiral Notebook 

Tara Says:

Using “record” for inspiration, write 100 Words – 100 exactly – no more, no less. You can either use the word – or any form of the word – as one of your 100, or it can be implied. Include a link in your post back here, and add your story to the Mister Linky list. If you don’t have a blog, you can leave your submission in the comment section, or as a Facebook status post. Remember to keep spreading the love with supportive comments for your fellow Wordsters.

Now here’s my effort.

She hasn’t kept a diary since leaving school many years ago, but now her life is so exciting, different and challenging that she thinks she will record everything so that when he leaves her, as no doubt he will, she will have these memories to look back on.

But as she writes in her diary day after day she begins to think that maybe this time will be different.  Maybe he won’t leave her as the others have.  But so taken is she with these thoughts she fails to notice when he becomes less attentive and yes, he leaves her.

Almost Perfect

100-word-challenge

This week’s 100-word Challenge from Tara at Thin Spiral notebook
calls upon us to use the word WINE in a story of 100 words.
And as she says “No more, no less”.

It was very important to impress this man who was coming to dinner.  Her husband’s future and therefore, hers, was dependent on him.

She’d spent all day cleaning and tidying the house and preparing the special recipe Cindy had given her.

The dining table was set with flowers, their wedding crockery and silverware and the perfectly ironed napkins the colour of the flowers; it looked lovely.

Now, all that remained was for her to shower, dress and present herself as the perfect corporate wife.

But then a frantic call was made to her best friend, Cindy.  She’d forgotten the wine.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Promises Made

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, ”
From Stopping by the Woods on a
Snowy Evening by Robert Frost.

 

Do you find that occasionally (I do hope it’s occasionally) that you make promises then some time later remember that you haven’t made good on the promise?

 Looking through Prompts and Practices in Judy Reeves’ A Creative Writer’s Kit I came across the prompt “Write about Promises made”

 Well, the promises I have made to my friends in the blogosphere that certain of the fiction stories I had written, would be continued.  Woe is me!  Life got in the way, more particularly my latest adventure, that these promises were never fulfilled. 

 There are several that I could continue and I need to decide on which one

 “The effrontery of the man quite took away Maisie’s breath.  How was she going to deal with him and the fall out if his claims became known in Society?  She would need some time to think and plan; perhaps consult Reggie; certainly consult Sir Charles (Juliet’s brother) and his friend Sir Hector Ryder, Head of the Metropolitan Police and maybe even  the ailing Earl.

But time was certainly needed.  She would put this scoundrel off for a couple of days to give Sir Charles and Sir Hector time to delve more deeply into this man’s past, although the thought of bringing the fellow’s claims to their attention horrified her.

“Well obviously I shall need some time to consider what you have told me this afternoon,” she said. “And equally obviously I shall need to see the so-called proof of the relationship between you and my husband.  So I suggest that you leave now and come back again in two days time, with some proof of your claim at which time I shall have an answer for you.”

With that, the swarthy gentleman picked up his Panama hat, gave each of the ladies a broad smile, thanked the Countess and took his leave.

A shocked silence remained in the drawing room after his departure.”

  • Then there was Sarah of Here and Now. You may recall that she met a man in a bar with whom she had drinks and then suddenly found herself a prisoner in a dark room. 

When we left her, she had been to the police station and made her report:

The policewoman then excused herself from the room returning shortly with an older man whom she introduced as Detective Brian McLeod. The Detective asked Sarah to repeat her story and at the end of it sat for a few minutes looking very thoughtful.

 He then said, “As the Sergeant has already told you, it is most unusual for a victim not to want to lay a complaint. But if you’re determined then so be it. But I must ask you to give the Sergeant the names of the three people involved.

 “We will have to interview them, probably at their house rather than at the police station, but if you are sure that you don’t want them charged we will issue them with a warning. Are you OK with that?”

 Sarah was relieved that the Websters would not be charged and so she gave their names to the Sergeant who promised to keep in touch to let Sarah know when they had been interviewed.

 So feeling much better Sarah and her friends left the police station and found their way to a local bar where they all had a well-deserved drink

  •  And what of Sandy and the woman claiming to be her daughter?.When we left her both women were pleased with the way the meeting had gone. 

“Barbara because she had now eased her conscience somewhat.  She knew she had to thank Sandy for her kindness and understanding and decided she would take a bunch of flowers with her the next time they met.  A small gesture but it all helped with her conscience.

And Sandy?  She was pleased because she had found that this was a decent young woman who had made a ghastly error of judgment and while Barbara would have to live with the outcome of that, Sandy decided that she could forgive her.  And besides, she had learned much about her daughter that afternoon.

As soon as she arrived home she called both Greg and Cathy and invited them to come round.  Of course, they were both eager to hear how the meeting had gone.  So, tea served Sandy told them about the meeting.  How they had discussed her daughter and how she was convinced that Barbara was a young, somewhat confused young woman who had acted first and thought about the consequences later.  She told them that she planned to see Barbara again and that even if though they would never be friends, she would like to get to know her more.

“Oh I’m so glad that it worked out well, and so happy you found out some things about your daughter,” said Cathy.  “Yes, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with her.”

               ******************* 

So which one shall I continue with?.  All three have been buzzing around in my mind over the past months.  Some notes have been made and I think it’s now time to move on with them.  There are also several one-off posts that I should like to pursue.

Decision time.

g-t-and-dog

No G & T but another cup of tea and decision is made.  Paris from Harney &Sons is this afternoon’s choice. If you’re a tea drinker and you haven’t already, I suggest you try it.

So I think it will be Maisie and her cohorts.  So please watch this space.

 

“Just living is not enough,
One must have sunshine,  freedom,
and a little flower”
Hans Christian Anderson 

 

All Talked Out? I Wonder

100-word-challenge

This week’s 100 word Challenge from Tara at Thin spiral notebook calls upon us to use the word Loquacious in a story in 100 words.  But this week she is adding an extra twist – the story must be in exactly 100 words but it must also be in only one sentence.

Quite a challenge.  Well, today Microsoft is playing games.  I finished my story with the exact number of words and sentences to find it all disappear into the ether.  So what is it about me and computers?

Anyway – here is my second attempt:

If I had known just how loquacious she was I would never have agreed
to sit beside her on the train journey to the weekend retreat;
all through the journey she regaled me with talk about her awful husband,
her children and grandchildren taking no notice of the changes in scenery
that flew past the window or of the climate changes that could be seen on the ride from Wellington to Auckland on this great winter’s day and she showed
no interest in anything other than herself and her family,
so I was very pleased when we reached our destination.

Tara used train lines in hero pst and that’s what prompted my response to her challenge