Well, I managed to not post anything in August! (I have got a few draft posts that just didn’t happen. So it goes.)
I will review the book I am currently (and slowly) reading soon. (It is Death’s Golden Whisper by R.J. Harlick and I am really liking it a lot. I won’t say much about it now, other than to say that I do not usually enjoy books set in places that I know well, but this is a happy exception.)
On to other things!
Story A Day is happening this month (as well as the more usual May!) and that is very exciting. Since I have been trying to generate some new short stories, it is very good timing for me.
Today’s prompt is to write a story about people disappearing. My contribution is below. Of course, it is rough first draft and all the usual caveats.
I am very busy with other things right now, so I don’t know how realistic it would be to commit to writing a story every day, but I will try.
Not Here Now
“Cyril! Cyril!” Martha scanned the yard as she called, but she could not see him anywhere. Granted, it was late spring and the garden was lush — flowers blooming, shrubs heavy with leaves, grass thick and tall. She would need to talk to the gardener about that last one.
She sat down heavily on the bench.
Where could he be? She had seen him only yesterday.
She hoped this wasn’t going to be like with Sophie. Here today, gone tomorrow she had been. Martha still worried about her. She wasn’t sure how capable Sophie was of taking care of herself and that was a concern. Sophie liked to play the role of the little spoiled princess and that was a fraught position to put oneself in.
Martha knew it really wasn’t any of her business, but she couldn’t help but feel concern.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a slight movement, but before she could focus properly on it, it was gone.
Sighing, Martha lifted her face to the sun, letting it’s warmth dance across her face.
At least the sun was always there, always it’s same warming self.
The sun, however, could not remove the gnawing feeling in the pit of her stomach that something had happened to Cyril. He was young and might not be able to properly take care of himself if something complicated or difficult occurred.
But what was bothering her most was the overwhelming sense that they just kept leaving her. Sophie. Melanie. Jonathan. Those were only the latest ones.
And now Cyril? That was too much.
Where did they go?
What were they doing?
She could not even begin to imagine.
Momentarily, she was distracted by the scent of roses on the slight breeze that ruffled through her hair. She loved that smell, as it reminded her of her grandmother, who always wore a rose perfume. So simple and elegant. Subtle, it was.
As she sat and smelled and gloried in the sunlight, it came to her mind that she had come out here for a reason. Not Cyril. It was only once she was here that she realized he was not.
What was it now?
Rising, Martha began to pace. She felt like the reason was just on the tip of her brain, just out of her reach.
Was it something to do with the garden? She didn’t think so. The gardener dealt with those sort of things usually.
Something she was supposed to be doing?
She began walking between the full flower beds. Roses on one side, rows of perfect plants with their elegant blooms. On the other side was a chaotic mixture of bright annual flowers in blue and red and orange and pink. Martha thought they clashed. She would have made a different decision if she had been in charge.
Was that Cyril? A movement at the far end of the garden caught her eye and she began to move quickly towards it.
“Cyril!” she called, even though he never answered, never acknowledged her calls.
But by the time she got there, there was no sign of him, just Jess and Caro perched on the fence, looking at her speculatively.
“Hello, girls,” she said and she thought they nodded in reply. At least they were here. She hadn’t lost them.
Sadness pulled her down.
Turning, she began to trudge — and it did feel like a long way — back towards the bench, her favourite bench. She knew — she just knew — that she wasn’t going to find Cyril and she wasn’t going to remember what it was that she was supposed to do.
“There you are Mrs Shepherd!” It was the young one, with the carrot orange hair and the perfect make up, whose uniform was always crisp and pressed and a blinding unstained white.
“I have been looking for you everywhere!” she exclaimed as she hurried towards Martha.
“Hello,” she said weakly, “I can’t find Cyril, dear. I am afraid he is gone, too.”
She wasn’t sure what the expression was that passed over the young woman’s face. It might be sadness or regret. Pity? Perhaps, but Martha thought that would be an odd thing for her to be feeling right now.
“Which one is Cyril?” she asked.
They could never remember and Martha didn’t know why. “The large black one, with the particularly bushy tail.”
“One of the squirrels, then? I’m sure he’ll turn up, Mrs Shepherd,” she smiled as she took Martha’s arm. “It’s time for your pills now. We need to go. He’s not here now.
Oh my! All my guesses throughout this story about who or what Cyril is and who the other named “beings” were ended up being wrong! There was a darkness to this but also an air of beauty. You paint some great images in this, and I love the choices you’ve made for the characters’ names, even if we don’t meet them all. And yet the woman who comes to check on Mrs. Shepherd at the end doesn’t have a name, which says a lot about Mrs. Shepherd. I’ve very much looking forward to reading your stories this month, Monique!
Thank you very much, Chris!