Writer Struggles

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I can no longer feel it in my heart and soul. Where once I had energy and passion there is only a dry husk. I feel there is nothing left inside of me to write about. Every place I look for motivation I find none.

Sitting at the bus stop or lingering in a closing cafe, I listen and watch the people just like I have done for years. My mind draws no pictures around them. They are normal people with normal lives. Not fantasy heroes or Victorian heroines ready for adventures.

Searching in the library, I find books on writing, but I’ve read them all before. I look for more, anything that draws my attention, anything that might get the gears working in my head again. I leave with my arms full of books and spend all day and night reading, but it doesn’t solve my problem.

I go to the doctor and tell him the voices have stopped talking in my head. He smiles and says but isn’t that what everyone wants? What’s the problem? I shout back, but I’m a writer and my life depends on those voices! He shrugs, tells me to eat healthier, have a holiday, and take up a new hobby.

At home I lay in bed, watching spider shadows across the ceiling. I think about what if I’d not been born me. What if I’d been born someone else? Like my doctor or the old lady who always gets the same bus as me. What if I was leading a totally different life right now?

Would I miss writing? Would I even know I had a gift?

I once had a gift.

Now there’s only empty space inside of my head with cotton candy clouds floating by. I wonder if Heaven is like this?

In the morning, I get up and pack a suitcase and rucksack. Of my writing suppliers, I take only an old comforting notebook and a favorite pen. I go to the train station, choose the next train to the furthest away place and buy a one way ticket.

Hopefully inspiration will be waiting at the end of the line.

The Train Station (Part 6)

Train Station

Bridget returned to the train station the next day. Nothing had changed, expect for the people. As she walked along to the coffee shop, someone was playing the piano. Slipping her headphones off, she heard the end notes of a song that sounded like it came from a Disney movie. Trying to figure what it had been, she went into the shop and joined the queue.

It was busy today. The smell of coffee drawing everyone in and the sight of snacks tempting even the strong willed. Bridget fiddled with her headphones, wanting to put them back on but knowing if she did that it would be her turn to order. So, she fell into people watching without really meaning too.

The old man in front of her was holding his glasses to his eyes and looking at the menu. He was leaning slightly on the handle of a suitcase, though trying to act like he was not needing any support. His skin was tanned and wrinkly and there was golden wedding band on his finger. he was wearing cool, loosing fitting cotton clothes and comfy shoes that sort of looked like slippers, but could not have been. He was also muttering the menu under his breath.

Leaving him and looking further down, Bridget saw four other people, one of whom person  seemed to be holding up the line as they could not make up their mind. Bridget started with him, noticing the blue suit he was wearing and the neat hair cut. She thought for a second, she reconsidered him, but then he turned and he was a stranger.

After him were three people waiting for their drinks. They were all woman and two of them seemed to know each other. Bridget could not get a clear view, but she thought they sounded like they were from London. The third woman was wearing a bright summer dress and looking unhappy. Or maybe she just really needed some coffee.

‘Hi, can I take your order, please?’

Bridget snapped around to the man behind the counter and said the first think to come into her head, ‘a caramel latte please.’

‘Size?’

‘Medium with cream,’ she added.

The man nodded and told her the cost. Bridget handed the money over and went to join the small group of people waiting. Once she had her drink, she hurried outside and grabbed any empty chair she could. Sitting down opposite the teenage girl who had let her have the chair, Bridget relaxed.

She looked around the station, hoping to spot Drew or Sas or someone else she had recorded in her notebook. The people before her seemed alien. They were hurrying about in that way she had  become use to, heading to the trains or out of the station. The hum of voices mixed with the sound of trains and also the background sounds of the city that the strong wind was blowing in. The smell of coffee, mingled with engine oil, people and fast food.

Bridget wrapped her hands around her coffee cup and wondered why she had thought she’d ever see them all again. The train station was just a gateway for these people. They came from their homes or places of work, went to wherever they were going in the city then headed back again. Or the other way around. She sighed and without thinking of it dipped a finger into the whipped cream on top of her coffee and licked it off.

The teenage girl soon left, not saying anything else to her, even if she had seen Bridget licking the cream and sipping burning latte nosily. Bridget drew out her notebook and pen. She glanced around, sadly and tried to pick out someone from the crowd.

She just could not do it though. Her head was filled with a vision of those two men meeting and hurrying off. Their story had to be told and somehow she was the one who had to do it.

The Train Station (Part 5)

Train Station

Bridget did not want to leave the train station, but the hour of people watching was over and she had to go to work. Packing up her things, she put on her headphones and selected a random play list. Enjoying the fact there had been no bad piano players today- in fact no one had touched the instrument- she left the station.

Stepping out into a light rain fall, she hurried to the bus station, ignoring the people all around her. The loud music did a good job of covering up all the voices and other background noises of the city. Avoiding walking under the scaffolding of a building being done up, she stepped on the tram lines and went up the hill.

Reaching the tram station, which looked empty, she headed across to the bus station and waited for her bus home. Her thoughts flipped back to seeing those two men- Drew and Sas. Who were they? What was their story? Bridget let her imagination run and she began to picture them as lovers, not long been together. There was some trouble with their families. Maybe, one of them had not been able to tell his family? Drew, the man who had been waiting and clearly stressed had serious Catholic parents and he knew if they found out he was in love with a man they’d disown him.

Bridget shook her head, deciding that would not do. The bus pulled up and the doors opened. She dug out her day pass and joined the queue to get on. Showing her ticket and sitting down, her mind was still wondering what the problem was with those two men. There was just something about them she couldn’t get rid of. Resting her head lightly against the cold window, she shut her eyes and tried to let everything go. It would not do having that kind of story in her head when she arrived for work.

All too soon, she was getting off the bus and crossing the road over to the youth center. The rain had gotten worse and was now rapidly coming down. Bridget was early, but a few junior club members were already hanging around outside waiting to come in. Slipping her headphones off, Bridget said her hellos as she dig around for her id badge. The doors opened before her anyway and she stepped inside.

‘I can’t believe this weather!’ the receptionist cried.

Bridget nodded and signed in. Not feeling in the mood to chat with the older woman. The receptionist had short dark blonde hair, hard blue eyes and a pinched together looking face. She was wearing the center’s light green t-shirt and black trousers.

‘It was so nice before and now it’s raining again. I’m meant to be going out tonight too…’ she added

‘It’ll have stopped by then,’ Bridget said.

‘I hope so.’

Placing down the pen, Bridget hurried to get changed in the staff room. Thankfully, the small room was empty and she switched her t-shirts with ease. Coming out again, she crossed the center’s large open main space and to what looked at first glance to be a bar area, but was actually the art’s corner. Humming to herself and thinking about what she was going to do, Bridget began opening cupboards and pulling things out.

Luckily, Bridget’s shift went fast and she was home before she knew it. Though she was very grateful. Feet hurting, she got changed and went into the kitchen barefoot. Her mum, who she had spoken too already was curled on the sofa watching a movie. Bridget made herself some tomato soup and a ham sandwich. Taking them upstairs, she eat then got writing up her notes from the day.

Her mind began to wonder once more and she looked carefully at what she was writing, Bridget decided she had to know more about those two men. What was going on between Drew and Sas?

Sadly, she knew she would never find out.

 

To Be Continued…

The Train Station (Part 4)

Train Station

The train station was just as busy as it had been yesterday. Bridget sat at the same table outside the coffee shop, notebook and pen awaiting her. This time though, she was sipping an ice fruit smoothie. Lost in thought, it took her a few seconds to see the man indicating to the empty chair opposite her.

‘Is anyone sitting here? Sorry to trouble you,’ he added.

Bridget glanced to the tables either side of her and saw that they were both occupied. The one on her right had a very large lady reading a thick book sitting at it and the one on the left had a teenage couple, both playing on their phones. Bridget nodded at the man and gratefully he sat down.

‘I was thinking,’ Bridget spoke.

The man looked questioningly at her.

‘That’s why I didn’t notice you,’ she added.

‘Oh. Its fine,’ the man answered.

Bridget smiled and took him in. The man was in his mid-thirties, with black wavy hair and a sculptured face. His nose, cheeks and chin, reminded her of Roman busts. He was wearing a plain t-shirt and jeans and carrying a single bag. He was holding a takeaway coffee cup and taking the lid off the top.

‘Are you waiting for a train?’ he asked.

‘No…I’m…waiting for a friend. Her train is late,’ Bridget answered.

The man nodded, ‘I’ve got a few minutes till mine.’

Bridget stopped herself from asking where he was going and instead put his face into her memory so she could write him up later.

The man turned from her, looking at the train time table board then at the ticket barrier. A train had clearly just come in and a crowd of people were coming through.

Bridget also drew her attention to them. Many seemed to be coming for a Friday night out or to spend the weekend. There were large groups of only men and only women, followed by a small mixed group of barely old enough teenagers. Bridget spotted a Hen party. All the women were wearing sashes that were pink and had silver writing on. They towed small suitcases and were chatting loudly.

Someone started playing chopsticks on the piano. The musical notes rising above the voices and the engines of trains.

Bridget sipped her drink and shot shy glances at the man. There’s no harm in asking him where he’s going, she thought.

A barking dog drew her attention away and she looked up. A woman was running to the ticket gates, holding two dog leads in one hand and suitcase in the other. Her dogs were racing beside her; a boarder collier and a smaller cross mix. She approached the wide gate, waved her train ticket in the guard’s face and was let in. Bridget watched her running to platform six, the dog still barking.

‘I have to go. Hope your friend gets here soon,’ the man said.

Bridget snapped her head back to him, ‘yes. Me too, thanks,’ she muttered.

The man stood, gave her a small wave and left. Bridget’s eyes followed him, noticing how nice his bum looked in those tight jeans.

Placing her drink down, she flipped open her book, wrote the date and title on the top line and started jotting down his description. She recalled as much as possible, adding in the question of where he was going underneath. Finishing up, Bridget looked up and saw a young man pacing before her.

He was checking his phone and when he reached the entrance to the pub he turned and came back. As he reached the entrance to the coffee shop, he turned and walked back again. Bridget watched him, fascinated. He was wearing a t-shirt that was too big that had some cryptic logo on and baggy jeans with scruffy trainers. There was something about the way he was pacing, it was frantic and clearly he was desperately waiting for someone.

Bridget dropped her eyes away and drew a line under what she had just written. With another look up, she began writing about the pacing man. Letting her pen flow across the lined page, she did not think too much about what she was writing. Stealing more glances, she noted down his clothes and how he looked. He had flat, wide cheek bones and a slight tan to his skin. His eyes were dark and constantly on his phone. He was so fixated that he did not notice his longish hair moving downwards over his face.

He stopped suddenly, looking up at the barrier as if he had heard something.

Bridget paused her pen and stared too. A new train load of people had arrived and they were all barraging through. There were too many faces and brightly coloured summer clothes mixed together for her to just focus on one person. So many had come for a night out, yet it had barely hit the afternoon. Families drifted passed with young children and large suitcases. Two middle-aged women stepped off to the side near the pub and began waving the rest of their group over to them.

Bridget regarded the pacing man. His back was completely turned and he was watching the crowd. Or at least she guessed he was. Whilst she studied him, a tall man peeled himself away from everyone else and came over. The pacing man jumped a little on the balls of his feet and slipped his phone away. As the man approached, they hugged and the pacing man went to kiss the other.

‘Not here,’ the other man whispered and quickly withdrew.

‘No one cares, Sas,’ the pacing man muttered.

The man nodded at Bridget, who quickly turned away and grabbed her drink.

‘Well, I don’t care!’

‘Calm down, Drew,’ Sas said quietly.

Bridget slurped the rest of drink and put it down. Her fingers were wet, so she rubbed them on her jeans before picking up her pen again. Moving her hair back with her other hand, Bridget looked secretly at the men. The second one was a lot taller than the first and more muscular. He also had softer cheek bones and plum lips. His hair was a rich brown and floppy. He was wearing tight, low slung jeans and a half open midnight blue shirt.

‘I don’t see why I should! Why are you so later anyway?’ Drew snapped.

‘The trains,’ Sas said with a quick shrug of his shoulders, ‘Do you want to stay here for coffee?’

‘No…let’s find a wine bar,’ Drew demanded.

‘Okay, fine, whatever…’ Sas trailed.

They began walking away, their footsteps mingling with the countless others and becoming lost in the background noise.

Bridget got back to her notebook and began writing furiously.

 

To Be Continued…

The Train Station (Part 3)

Train Station

It started to rain whilst she waited for the bus. Bridget watched it falling against the windows of the large bus station. She could see some of the reflections of the people around her too, but she was not paying attention anymore. A podcast was playing from her large headphones and she was caught up in that.

When the bus pulled up and she was first on, flashing her ticket and going to the back. Sitting down, she put her feet up the chair opposite and looked out if the window. She ignored anyone else getting on and though a few people shot her dirty looks, no one disturbed her. The ride home was quiet for late afternoon and by Bridget’s phone clock rush hour was still off for a little while.

She almost missed her stop, she was that caught up in the story telling podcast. She stood up, hitting a bell as she went and caught herself from behind thrown forward as the bus slammed to a halt. She thanked the diver and got off. The rain hit her unprotected hair and began soaking into the cotton jacket that she had luckily remembered to thrown before she went out.

She crossed the busy main road and hurried down the side street opposite. Terraced houses that had been built of the late nineteen hundreds cotton mill workers sat on both sides of the street. Most of the brick work and window frames looked new, but the houses were still weighed down in history and owl like in their wisdom.

Bridget’s feet came to a stop and she looked to the side. Her house with its white gate and white door loomed over her. It had always been home, but lately it had felt more like a prison. Bridget opened the gate and walked up the pathway. She opened her bag to dig for her keys, regretting not doing that on the bus.

Finding them, she let herself into the house. Standing in the tiny hallway, which had just enough room for a small coat rack on the wall, Bridget took her coat, shoes and headphones off. Then stepping into a medium size living room, which looked cosy and welcoming, she listened. The boiler was ticking in the background and the sink in the bathroom upstairs was still dripping, but there were no other sounds.

Letting go of a breath, Bridget carrying all her things walked down the living room. She stopped at the bottom of the staircase which divided the living room and kitchen up. She listened again, but hearing nothing else, went up. At the top, she turned to the left and went into her bedroom. She closed the door, locking the latch down before dumping her stuff the bed.

Quickly, she put her shoes on the floor and hung her jacket on the back of the door. Taking her notebook from her bag, she placed it on her desk and went to the window. Looking out of the raindrop covered glass, she could see the small empty back garden with its grey flagstone floor. Over the tall wood board fence, she could just make out the alleyway where she and her older sister had often played at jungle explorers and other games in the thick scrub like land.

Bridget pressed her warm forehead to the cold, damp glass and closed her eyes. She thought about her sister, imagining Briony as she now forever would be; a twelve year old girl on the cusp of being a teenager, laughing as she sat in a tree. She had been wearing a bright blue dress with a white frill edging, a matching sunhat with a long ribbon, white shoes and socks. It had been one of her Sunday best outfits. They had been playing in the church graveyard, sent there whilst mother had been taking to the vicar after the service. It had been a game of hide and seek which was Briony’s favourite and best game. Bridget had been looking for an age before she had heard giggling and looked up the yew tree.

She still could remember her sister’s smiling face then how it had turned to one of shock horror. A piercing scream echoed around the graveyard then a sudden silence.

Bridget stepped back from the window and looked at the marks she had left on the glass. Sighing, she went and sat at her desk, not sure why she had suddenly began thinking about her long dead older sister again. Opening her laptop, she slide over her notebook and whilst waiting for the home screen to load up, flipped through the notebooks pages. Stopping at the one she had been writing at the train station, Bridget looked at her notes.

They seemed good. With the descriptions of the couple at the table then the couple she had seen meeting up afterwards, being well detailed and useful for writing a story about. Calling up a blank page on the screen, Bridget began writing everything. The sound of the rain falling and her typing on the keyboard filled the house.

It was the sound of the front door opening and closing that made Bridget stop. She listened and heard footsteps in the living room then the kitchen, which was underneath her. There come rustling, cupboards opening, the sink tap then the TV coming on. Bridget pressed her lips together and looked at her screen. She had moved on from writing up her notes and was in the middle of making a story around the first couple.

She saved her work and closed her laptop down, even though a part of her did not want to. She got up, only now noticing how dark it was getting. She drew her curtains against the still raining sky and went to the door. She felt for the latch and opened the door. The hallway was cast into darkness, but at the bottom of the stairs was a pool of light.

Bridget headed down and into the living room. She stopped on the edge and saw her mother sprawled across the sofa watching TV. The news was on, but her mother did not really seem to be watching it. She was wearing her works uniform; a dark blue pinafore, a matching t-shirt underneath and black trousers. Her flat shoes were lying on the floor beside her black socked feet.

‘Hi, mum. Everything okay?’ Bridget asked.

‘Not really, but never mind….You had a good day, sweetie?’

Bridget nodded, ‘I’ll get the kettle,’ she said and went into the kitchen.

As she crossed the plastic covered floor, Bridget could only think about how tried her mother looked. Perhaps, she had always looked so, but she could not remember. She made two cups of tea and on handing her mum’s a cup, went and sat in the armchair opposite the TV. Silently they watched the news and drink.

‘What’s for dinner?’ Bridget finally broken in.

‘I don’t know…fish fingers?’ Her mother answered, sleepy.

Bridget rolled her eyes, but decided not to remind her mother that was twenty six now and not eight. Instead, she collected the cups and went in the kitchen to look. However, there wasn’t much in. Sighing, she decided they were going to have fish fingers, chips and peas. Getting everything together, she started cooking.

Afterwards, Bridget made an excuse about being tried and went to bed. Her mother mumbled a good night and settled on the sofa to watch a murder mystery series. Lingering for a few seconds, Bridget wanted to say something about her older sister, but decided not to. Making her mother think back to that time was just asking for trouble and it was not like they could bring her back anyway.

Bridget went to her bedroom and sat at her desk. She opened her curtains and looked out into the night. The rain was still tapping against the window in a soft comforting way. Letting the curtain fall back, she decided not to go on her laptop, but to get into bed. Laying down, she tried to read an anthology of short stories she had started some months back, but she could not concentrate.

Turning off the lights, she lay in the darkness, watching the shadows settling on the wall. Pulling up the duvet, she rolled over and looked up at the ceiling.

‘Briony? Are you there?’ Bridget whispered.

To Be Continued…

The Train Station (Part 2)

Train Station

Bridget watched the hurrying people with interest and was reminded of the sea. People come in and out of the barriers alongside the trains coming in and out of the station. The noise of footsteps, voices, suitcase and pram wheels become one solid background sound that competed with the rattle of train wheels and rumbling of engines. Above it all, came the PA lady’s voice, shouting the arriving, departing and delays on the trains.

Sipping her latte, Bridget dug her other hand into her bag and pulled out a small notebook. Setting that on the now dry table, she reached back in for a pen and spent a few moments locating one. Pulling out a heavy sliver fountain pen, Bridget slid her eyes over to the table beside her.

The middle-age couple had fallen back into silence with the man looking at his phone and the woman now stealing glances at Bridget. Their eyes met once more and this time the woman turned away and drew out her own phone.

Bridget turned her back to them and flipped open the notebook. She turned to the next blank page, her fancy handwriting on the previous pages not catching her eyes enough to make her stop. Picking up her pen and taking the lid off, Bridget wrote the date at the right top corner of the page just like high school had drilled into her for five years. Then in the middle of that line she wrote; Observations At Victoria Train Station, Manchester, 2: 21pm.

From her mind’s eye, she then wrote a detailed description of the couple sitting next to her. After, she recorded that snatch of conversation she had heard. Looking down at what she had written, she tried not to read it back, but to let it go from her mind. Rising her head and tucking a strand of her long med-brown coloured fringe back, Bridget stared at the barriers and watched the flow of people come to a slow stop.

Two men wearing yellow high visibility vests patrolled the area. They were checking tickets that gates would not let through and opening the wide gate for those with prams, suitcases and wheelchairs. Further to the left side and now more visible, another group of people wearing the same yellow vests stood behind a desk. They seemed to be in charge of getting passengers just off trains to pay for their tickets if they had not been able to before. Bridget had missed them in the crowd of the lunch-time rush. The station crew did not held her gaze for long though.

The tinkling of piano brought her head around and to the train time board. Just underneath the forever changing place names and times was a large black upright piano. It had been painted with that special blackboard paint, allowing chalk writing and images to cover the surface.

Bridget had clocked it before when she had been heading to the coffee shop. Even though she could not see it now, she remembered that purple letters had shouted out play on me! Then they had been something about the piano being given free by the Manchester School of Music for public use.

Taking a few big drinks of her now cooling latte, Bridget listened to the sad musical notes ringing out. She did not recognize the song. Though if it was classic, she would have no idea anyway, beside from the few famous ones that get played all the time. On the other hand if it was a pop song or a love ballad, she would not have known that either.

Placing her half empty cup down, she picked up her pen and decided to note down the idea of a pianist who could only play sad music. Maybe his lover has died and he can no longer face the world.  The door of his Paris flat has been locked for many years and he’s now slowly dying as he creates the most saddest music man had ever known.

Bridget trailed off the idea. That was not her normally story writing subject. The song on the piano ended and though it had been good, nobody clapped. Normal sounds filled the train station once more. The female announcer broken in with, ‘the two-twenty-three Liverpool Lime Street train which was previously delayed, is now arriving at platform three. This service will be stopping at; Liverpool Lime Street only. Please keep your luggage with you at all times.’

The couple hurriedly finished their drinks and got up. Bridget watched them from underneath her hair as they gathered their belongings.

‘Finally!’ the man spoke out, ‘stupid trains, never on time.’

The woman shook her head and looked like she was going to say something back. Thinking better of it, she followed the man out of the coffee shop seating area and towards the barriers. Bridget saw her give a quick glance over her shoulder.

Was she checking if I was following her or if she’d left something behind? Bridget wondered.

Frowning, Bridget watched them feeding their tickets into the gate and going though. Dropping her shoulders and wishing she could have learnt more from that snatch of conversation the couple had had, she let her eyes drift across the station. There was still a large number of people standing about or walking. A few had gathered under the train time table board and were looking up at it. Other people standing still were clearly waiting for people. Bridget spotted someone coming towards her.

He was a tall guy, six foot two at lest and he had long black hair tied back off his face. He had a bushy beard too and a very round fat face. He was a huge young man with a belly hardly held in by the belt of his jeans. He was wearing a black heavy metal band t-shirt and was looking down at his phone as if the thing was alive.

Bridget picked up her pen and began writing again. Another part of her mind drifted off into thinking about who he was waiting for. A family member? An old friend? Maybe he might be going on a first date with someone he met online?

Bridget raised her head and looked at him. She could see the handsomeness in him, the almost American biker style look or perhaps Viking warrior. His arm muscles looked strong under his t-shirt despite his overweight body. Suddenly the man looked up, but not at her at the gates were a woman was coming through. She had ginger hair, fair skin with a splattering of brown freckles and small features. She was wearing a blue vest top, leather jacket and long blue skirt. She was also just carrying a handbag on one shoulder.

She came over, looking happy if a little tried and hugged the huge man. She had to stand on tiptoes and her arms barely went around his bulging neck. She seemed to become lost against him as they embraced tightly. Then, they kissed and hand in hand walked away.

Bridget watched them go, her mind reeling then took to her notebook once more. Just as she started writing someone began playing the piano. It was a different person this time. Bridget rose her head as the first notes become caught up in a man singing- badly. She tried to see who was seated at the piano, but it was not possible from the angle she was at. Getting back to writing, she tried block out the off key and slightly squeaky rendition of a current love song.

She hurriedly wrote down what she could remember about the young man and his girlfriend. Setting her pen down, she finished her coffee and thought about leaving. The man on the piano was making a terrible sound with his voice and yet his playing was not so bad. It also seemed like he had attracted a small group of people, but Bridget knew they were actually looking at the train time table.

She packed her stuff away, zipped up her bag and stood up. Tugging it on as she walked away, Bridget avoided a small running toddler whose mother was yelling in Polish for him to come back. She side stepped and carried on walking as the pianist finished his song and launched into another one.

She saw him for the first time, a short Asian man with close cut black hair, wearing jeans and a green polo shirt. There was a large gold watch on his wrist, which didn’t seem to be slowing him from playing. Bridget almost stopped, the notes sounding very familiar. Then the man opened his mouth and began singing the theme song from Titanic.

Bridget cringed, unable to hide it from her face and picked up her pace. She headed out of the train station the piano and terrible singing chasing after her. Stepping through the doorway, she took a few breaths of polluted city air and though she did not really want to, Bridget went home.

 

To Be Continued…

Family Secrets (Part 3)

Pedestrian, Walking, Shadow, Night, Evening, Street

He was gone when she woke. Em rolled over and looked at the dip he had left in the bed. Reaching her hand out, she felt the cold sheets. Sighing, she lay there and thought about why her husband would have an affair. He’d never seemed to look at any other woman but her.

Maybe I’m unattractive in my old age? She thought, I’m only thirty odd though! 

She then took a few moments to work out how old she actually was then how many years they had been married for; eight.

Perhaps, that was the problem? We married too young.

Pulling a face, she decided that tonight she’d find out the truth no matter what. Getting up, she noted the time and turned her thoughts to time tabling her day. She didn’t need to be in work till this afternoon, so she had time to tidy up and maybe do some more snooping.

She got herself sorted then went downstairs. Rick had left his breakfast things on the kitchen table. She paused in the doorway, realising he must have been late for giving a lecture or a workshop at the uni. She tidied up as she debated what to eat. Em had done most of the kitchen cleaning, when she decided on toast and a coffee.

After breakfast and feeling a bit better, she decided to go and clean the study. Rick would complain like hell, but she could face it, if I find a clue, she added. Grabbing everything she needed, she clambered up the stairs juggling the vacuum and the plastic tray of cleaning stuff. At the study door she stopped to get her breath.

Opening the door, it was clear he had been looking for something. The desk and floor were covered in papers, open books and files. It reminded her of freshly fallen snow. Leaving her cleaning stuff at the door, she tried to step around it all to get to the desk, but failed when she stepped on a book. The spine cracked loudly, the noise like a snapping twig in the quietness of the house.

Rolling her eyes, she picked up the book then begin plucking other books off the floor and stacking them in a pile. Next she did all the papers though she tried to divided them into subject matters. With that done, she started on his desk. Picking up a notebook, the side of her hand hit the computer mouse and the screen woke up.

Her husband’s diary was displayed. She looked and saw that he’d been due to give a lecture on ‘creating fictional characters’ at nine this morning. Then he had a follow up workshop after an early lunch. Biting her lip, she scrolled back and forth through the days, looking for any hints that he had put a meeting with the other woman in.

Soon though, she realised this was his only uni schedule. Growling, she looked through the other tabs he had open, but it was only his lecture notes, presentation and handouts. Abandoning that idea, she turned the computer off and looked through the notebook that was still in her hand. It was a mess of story ideas in her husband’s handwriting. None of them made much sense to her.

She placed the book back and started looking through everything on the desk, but nothing else stood out. She sank onto his well worn leather desk chair and wondered where else she could look. Though it would be hard in all this mess….

Em started tidying again. Luckily, she had cleaned her husband’s study enough times to know where most things went. The things she didn’t know, she placed piled up on the low, long coffee table which was against the right wall next to his great-granddad’s leather armchair. By the time she was done, Em had to leave for work.

Instead of driving directly to the office where she was a part-time admin, she took the route her husband had headed last night. Slowing down at the place she had lost him in, she looked at the houses and tried to see if there was one… that what?  she thought, had a sign post outside saying mistress’ house? Or maybe cheating husbands’ grotto? 

She smiled at her silliness and drove to work. The afternoon passed in a blur of phone calls,  paperwork and filing. Driving home afterwards, she felt too tried to do anything and when she got in, Em lay on the sofa trying to get rid if a small headache.

The ringing of a mobile brought her back. She fished the phone out of her bag and answered it without looking who was calling, ‘Hello?’

‘Em, I’m sorry but I forgot to tell you about this dinner I’m going tonight,’ Rick rushed.

‘Dinner?’ Em questioned as she noticed the breathlessness of his voice.

‘With some colleagues. I totally forgot about it! I’ll be home real late too. You’ll be okay though, right?’

She nodded then said, ‘of course.’

‘There’s no need to wait up. I’ll try not to disturb you. bye’.

‘Okay. Love-‘

The phone beeped in her ear and Em tutted. Placing it down, she decided she wasn’t feeling hungry and that if her husband wasn’t going to home anytime soon she’d go into the attic for a bit. Collecting her things, she went into the bedroom and let her stuff beside the bed. She got changed into jog pants and an old jumper. Realising how quiet it was, she turned on the TV which sat on her dressing table. The news channel came on and she left the steady voice of the news reporter talking to the empty room.

Out in the hallway, she pulled the attic hatch cord and watched the ladder descending. Climbing up slowly, she then felt for the light switch at the top and waited till the blinking light bulbs had settled to step inside. The attic felt hot and stuffy. She breathed in old air and dust as she made her way to the back left corner. The wooden boards creaked slightly under her feet and the voice of the news reporter followed her like a warning spirit.

She reached the back of the attic where behind a dining table and six stacked dinning chairs from her grandmother’s old house was a seemly abandoned steam trunk. Going around the table and chairs, Em reached up to wooden beam and felt along it. Her fingers brushed something small and metal. She brought the key down from it’s hiding place and knelt before the trunk.

She looked over her shoulder and listened, holding her breath like a child waiting to be caught. However, all she could hear was the now the faint sounds from the TV. Turning back, she put the key into the steam trunk’s lock and slowly opened the lid. She breathed in a very faded scent of lavender then looked down at the contents.

To Be Continued…

The Receptionist (Part 2)

Free stock photo of marketing, woman, apple, desk

Emily stayed behind her desk, though her body and mind were eager to get up and go. Pretending to type and look at paperwork, she kept her eyes on the door leading out. She heard the elevator, a few footsteps and passing voices before everything fell silent.

Stealing a last look around, she pulled out her tiny phone again and checked the messages. Nothing flashed on the phone. She closed it and grabbed her voice recorder instead.

‘I don’t think he’s coming back. Time to snoop around his office again. Maybe I can find out why he left,’ she whispered into the mic.

Switching it off and making sure it and the secret phone where in the small pockets of her jacket, she got up. Picking up two files that needed go on to his desk, she walked over and opened the door.

His office looked just like her work space did; spotless. The large glass desk dominated the room and the small white laptop on top was almost unnoticeable. There was a large fake green plant in the right corner next to a row of floor to ceiling windows. Thankfully, the blinds were closed. Two landscape paintings faced each other on the right and left walls, they looked old and expensive.

Emily placed the files on the desk and lifted the laptop. She turned it on with a tap of the screen, remembering seeing him do that once. She sat on his chair, feeling it cushion her back and behind straight away. She smoothed her skirt out and watched the laptop demand a password.

He fingers reached out then she paused. Of course, it would be passworded. She glanced around, pouting her lips, hoping she would spot something that would give her a clue to what the lock was. Her eyes landed on something on the floor she hadn’t noticed before.

Getting up, she walked over and picked it up. It was a napkin from a bar with a number penned on it. Wondering how it got there, she slipped it into her pocket. She walked back to the desk and the wired bin that was next to it.  Emily bent and looked through the scraps of paper and other rubbish.

If anyone comes in, just say you lost an earring, she reminded herself.

She found nothing of interested.Straightening, Emily heard the phone ringing on her desk. Sighing, she walked out and answered it.

‘It’s me. I forgot something,’ her new boss’s voice growled into her ear.

In the background, she could hear traffic and beeping car horns.

‘Oh?’ Emily answered.

‘There’s a paper file, a red one. Do you know where it is?’

‘Yes. I just put it on your desk,’ Emily gushed.

‘Get it and bring to this address,’ her boss uttered then sighed deeply.

Emily snatched up a pen and wrote it down. She nodded into the phone and said, ‘I’ll find someone to bring it to you, right now, sir.’

‘It’ll take you less time to walk there then it will to find someone! And bring my laptop too.’

The phone clicked off. Emily looked at it in her hand then placed it back down. Her mind spun, but she didn’t give it time to develop any of those thoughts. Going back into his office, she grab the red file and his laptop. She went back to her desk and slipped both into her large black fake leather handbag.

She pulled out her recorder, made a quick note then prepared to leave.

   To Be Continued…

The Receptionist

Free stock photo of marketing, woman, apple, desk

There was a reason Emily Jonesson played dumb as she stood behind the front desk, fluttering her fake eyelashes at her new boss. She smiled sexily, feeling the stickiness of the too thick pink lipstick in her mouth once again. To distracted her self, she twirled a bit of strawberry blond hair that had fallen at her throat.

She watched him closely, taking in the red of his fat cheeks, his thinning black hair and the fact that his bright blue tie wasn’t done up right. Emily  waited as the boss signed in, flung the cheap pen down and stormed off. The door slammed behind him and shouting drifted back to her.

Emily sank into the leather chair and watched through the frosted glass as her boss carried on arguing with someone who she couldn’t see, but was possibly on the phone to someone. Slowly, she picked up the phone next to her and connect it into his office. His shouting voice hit her ear and she listened as he demand a cancelling to some kind of order.

She held her breath and listened hard, but after a few more minutes realised that there was nothing interesting about that call. Hanging up again, she pulled a small voice record out of her black jacket pocket and began mumbling into it.

‘He takes a call at nine twenty, but it seems to be nothing more then a wrong order for printing paper and filing boxes. Seems to be normal. Everything is quiet so far.’

She turned the device off and slipped it back into her pocket. Looking at the computer screen was more, she fixed her boss’s appointments in her head and noticed that none of them seemed out of the ordinary. Scanning through the other programs she had open, her mind wander as to why her actual bosses thought this guy was up to something. Everything looked to be in order and above board.

Tabbing all the programs, she looked down at her diary, open next to the keyboard. The pages were filled with her neat handwriting telling her where and when she need to be. Slotting the pen in, she closed the sparkly pink book that looked more like a child’s play diary and sighed deeply.

‘Soon it’ll be over and I can give up this want to be beauty queen look.’

The door to the boss’s office crashed open and Emily jumped. Quickly, fixing a look of shock horror on her all ready looking shocked face, She stood up and lend over her computer. She watched him storm out, walk past her as if she wasn’t there and go out the other door to the corridor. It banged behind him and Emily felt the vibrations running through her legs.

Yanking out her voice recorder, she made a note about what had happened then pulled out her secret mobile phone and dialled the first of only two numbers that were stored in the tiny thing.

‘He just left,’ she whispered into her hand, ‘I don’t know where he’s going….He’s cleared his appointments for the whole day. I just got the notice now.’

Emily hung up and looked at disbelieve at the message box that had popped up on her screen. Maybe her bosses had been right about this guy after all?

To Be Continued…

 

Jam

Jam, Homemade, Croatia, Food, Sweet, Marmalade, Jar

Adelyn looked at the rain dripping off the white and blue stripped plastic roof cover. The sound of it was quite nice, but it dulled her mood. Having a quick glance at the sky, she could see the weather wasn’t going to change any time soon. Sighing, she settled back on her chair.

Behind her jam stall, she watched the corner of the market she could see. All the other stall holders were huddled down and wrapped up, so only their heads or hair could be seen behind their items. Further down, a few people were either hurrying past the stalls or sometimes pausing to look. No one was buying though.

Adelyn took out her notebook and looked at the scrawl of products and little lines against them. Yesterday had been okay, but today she had sold less then ten jars.

‘Damn this weather,’ she muttered.

Putting the notebook away, she got out her flask of tea and lunch box. Eating and drinking made her feel better, but the lunchtime rush she had been praying for didn’t arrive. A few more people joined the handful that had been milling around and whilst the neighboring stalls, which were selling bedding, toys and books got some interested, Adelyn’s homemade jams did not.

Putting her things away, she dug out a very worn paperback book and began reading. The rain beat down more heavily, the wind picked up and somewhere in the distant came the rumble of thunder. Adelyn raised her head and saw that the closest stall holders were starting to pack up.

Nodding to herself, she slipped the book away and began pulling the plastic boxes out from under the stall. A flash caused her to search the sky, but she saw nothing but the darkening clouds. Quickly, she tried to pick away, but the jars took time to stack and there seemed to be so many of them.

Finally and after a few trips back and forth to her small car, Adelyn was able to sit behind the wheel and catch her breath. Running her fingers through her short dyed brown hair, she tried not to think about the possible money shortage this month. Starting the car, she hoped there was some online orders waiting for her.