The Lost Hour

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The pavement rushed towards Angie’s face like an overnight intercity train. Last sound she heard was when her skull cracked; last thing she remembered was seeing three colours, red, blue and green. It was also what her facial bruising looked like over the next couple of weeks. First blood red, then the bluish tint and finally greenish. Not at all flattering.

Angie could live with the unflattering look, but hated her lost hour before stacking it and waking up in the hospital bed, dressed in white cotton; a stark contrast to her blood-stained face.

‘Good to see you are back with us, Angie’ the nurse approached her, exhausted eyes belying a face showing teeth from ear to ear.

‘Where am I?’  Angie whispered, her throat full of sandpaper.

‘You are in Merryvale Hospital. You fell and hit your head on the pavement. I believe a waiter from the Windsor cafe tended to you and organised the ambulance,’

‘I remember nothing,’ voice cracking with panic. What had she been doing in Windsor? Knew no one there other than an ex boyfriend; a real pain in the arse, in fact borderline stalker material.

‘It’s normal Angie. Your memory will come back in time. Relax and rest up now,’ the nurse assured her.

Her head spun sending nauseous waves up her whole body. The nurse passed a bowl just seconds before Angie’s stomach broke. It was lighter after. The bowl was not.

After a few days of bland hospital food and noisy cleaning machines waking everyone up at 5am, she eagerly returned home. Non the wiser as to her lost hour, she rummaged her handbag for clues. Receipts, train tickets. All pointed to her trip to Windsor. But why? She emptied her bag, but it still felt heavy. Something in the inside zippered pocket. ‘WTF!’ Angie slumped on the bed staring at the small black gun in her hand.

Angie’s memory never returned. Neither did her ex boyfriend.

Maybe a lost hour is best staying lost.

The Locked Door

Their gaze met across the busy pub. He was dressed in blue jeans, t-shirt and a trendy jacket. He had a broody air about him, but it was his intense dark amber eyes that got her attention.

Janice was ready to flirt with a man again for the first time since the incident. With a new sense of braveness she lifted her wineglass with a smile waiting for his response. It was slow at first, just the corners of his lips moving up ever so slowly. He brought up his glass in return and nodded his head.

Janice returned her attention to her girlfriends, but couldn’t stop thinking about the stranger across the room. She deliberately didn’t turn her face, but his stare burnt into her back.

‘Where are you Janice?’ her friend Sue asked.

“Oh, I was just daydreaming” Janice tried to deflect.

“No you’re not. You have that air about you. Good to see you showing an interest again. So who is he?” Sue kept pressing her eyes full of mischief and too much wine.

“You are such a stickybeak Sue. But ok, tell me if the guy in the opposite corner, blue jeans white t-shirt, is looking in my direction?” Janice asked her group of friends.

The whole group of girls turned to gawk at the same time much to Janice’s embarrassment. She laughed nervously.

“You are so obvious. You might as well just go and ask him’

“He is definitely looking your way Janice.” Sue exclaimed and with her usual determination and spontaneity got up and walked to the man’s table, returning a minute later with the guy in tow.

“This is Dan. He is by himself, so I invited him across to join us,” Sue said giving Janice a cheeky smile.

Sue did the introductions leaving Janice to last and motioned Dan to sit next to her.

Janice wondered if they had met before, but couldn’t pin point where. His eyes drew her in and made her anxious at the same time. But Janice enjoyed the sense of being alive again, ignored the warning signs and decided tonight she would take the next step.

When the pub closed up Janice accepted to head back to Dan’s place only a few blocks away. The rest of the girls said their goodbyes with lots of winks and smiles.

Dan’s apartment was roomy and neat. It felt familiar. Her heart started pounding as she watched Dan come across the room with a glass of wine. His eyes looked intense. Like burning amber. He brought his arms around her. She was pinned by his embrace. It was forceful and hard. In that moment Janice remembered. The attacker, the body against her, the pain. The same intense fire in Dan’s eyes. Just like the night 2 years ago.

Janice panicked and ran through the apartment to escape. The door was locked.

Thanks Giving Dinner

Short story written for competition. Only prompt was this picture had to be the opening scene. Didn’t win , but I loved writing the story

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‘Is that a chip?’ Moira thinks out loud leaning across to pick up the sparkling wine glass. The table is set with luxurious silver ware, sparkling glasses and perfume rich flowers from the garden. Ready for her distinguished guests.

‘Oh damn, I am down to the last of my mother’s best set. Must be more careful when I clean them. I cannot replace them,’ Moira thinks to herself.

Dinner is ready and the smell of roast turkey with all the trimmings is wafting from the kitchen.

‘Hope there is enough this year for all of us. They come hungry and dig in like it’s their last meal. For some it may be,’ Moira fights back a lonely tear making its way down her cheek.

‘Must be happy and grateful tonight. It is Thanksgiving Day’ She reminds herself and puts on some cheery music, trying to fight back the memory of 3 years back.

The doorbell rings twice and Moira opens to greet all her guests. They come together all dressed in their best Sunday suits and dresses.

‘Thank you for inviting us again Moira. How have you been?’ Frank asks as he leads the group into Moira’s dining room. His face weather-beaten and red from too much alcohol over the years and his suit worn and frayed at the ends.

Moira smiles without answering. They all know.

‘So good to see you all’ Moira announces noticing Lily admiring the silverware running her finger across the smooth lines. Lily is wearing a long 70s dress in silver herself. Her unwashed hair has been brushed. She looks almost attractive if not for the dark sunken eyes and bruises on her arms.

‘What’s for dinner Moira?’ Tom asks as he sits himself next to Moira. The hungry one, Tom is. Also the youngest at barely 24. He joined in the annual dinner last year invited by Tammy after Dave left the city.

‘Just vanished one day,’ Tammy told them all ‘no farewell, just took his few belongings and left,’

‘We are going to have Roast Turkey Tom, hope you all like it. I have tried a new stuffing this year,’ Moira tells them all.

‘I liked the old stuffing’ Gary quips up looking frightened. He doesn’t like change. Has never moved from his tiny place in the city.

‘You will love this one too Gary’ Moira reassures him patting his shoulder as she gets up.

‘Tammy and Tom, please help me,’

The young couple jump up eager to help, hoping to grab a morsel before the others.

Trays of food is brought in and placed on the table to the hum of appreciative noises. Moira looks at her guests; their eyes shining and their mouths eagerly smiling in anticipation.

Her rich and colourful family from the city streets gracing her home once again. They are her family now, her only family. They all help each other on this often lonely Thanksgiving evening.

‘Thank you all for joining me; enjoy your dinner,’

HOPE

This short story was written and submitted for a competition last month.I didn’t win but I think it was good for me to write.
Guide lines were:
The story had to begin with the words “A long time ago”
The story had to include the words “star”, “war” and “force” (or a plural of those words).
The story had to feature something that flies.

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A long time ago when I was only 23 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. She had treatments and after 5 years we all thought she would recover. But it returned and this time in her lung lining.

Mum lost her war against this dreaded disease and died in 1987. That is over 30 years ago. But her spirit often surrounds me and pops into my mind. Sometimes so vividly I can see her clearly; other times it gets harder to remember. But I know she is with me. Such is the force of parental love. It is too strong to ever totally leave.

Tonight my mum’s spirit again popped into my life. I was attending the annual Relay For Life; a charity event held at Cronulla along the sand dunes and the azure blue ocean. A perfect backdrop for the huge crowd of people in their purple and yellow T-shirts doing their 24 hour walk raising money for Cancer Council. A day where both young and old, families and friends gather to support each other and enjoy some fun entertainment and great musical talents, both local and interstate stars. It’s an enjoyable social event with a serious undertone. You see it in the frightened eyes of the sick and in the grateful faces of the recovered. An event of both celebration, positivity, empathy, grief and support.

Each year people organise the candle bags in memory of people who have passed, and just after sunset everyone quietly join the lone bagpipe player who leads the walk along the track flanked by the candle bags lighting the edge. It is a sombre quiet walk where emotions are raw and tears flow easily. Many walk holding hands or in a supportive embrace. It’s a heartwarming experience where the human spirit is truly witnessed by all.

I was walking along quietly with friends on the track tonight nearing Hope hill; where the only light comes from the huge lit up word HOPE. That’s when I sensed mum’s presence. Her spirit soared alongside us like a beautiful bird; her love warming my heart and filling me with contentment, love and gratitude.

I am by no means a child any longer; my emerging wrinkles and grey hair proves that, but deep down there is still a young girl that takes comfort in knowing that her mum’s love is ever lasting inside her.