Hello and welcome to the Paragraphs Of Power contest for November 2012. I am so delighted by the quality of the submissions. I don't envy anyone the decision on which of these entries to vote in as your favorite.
The entries are numbered and titled only, to allow for a blind vote.
Voting is open to the right of this post. The winner will be announced on November 30th.
Good luck everyone, and a big thank you for the response to my call out for submissions. Here we go!
#1 ... Pravus
Glancing away to break the magnetism of such tempting succulence, I feel like a shopper stuck in black Friday with the amount of patrons in here. Starched collars, ridiculous ties, pressed trousers and shone shoes battle for attention with sequins and satins, bustiers, and ruched silk.
Rouge blushes cheeks, balms sheen lips, and there's so much perfume in here I'm getting a headache. Snagging a new flute of champagne, I take a sip, perusing the gathering when my gaze tailgates the stare of destiny.
Energy swirls magnetically around her like stars stuck in binary orbit, ethereal power pulsing a halo across her delectable skin... so smooth... it holds an opaque glow of delicate champagne with moonbeam silver fizzing softly beneath the surface of her complexion.
Liquid eyes with infinite possibilities stare back into mine, pouring magnetism directly into my soul. Atoms start splitting in my heart, rendering me paralyzed while the explosion holds my movement captive, incinerating my ability to breathe, think, exist.
Coughing into my fist, choking on fizz going down the wrong way, I'm stuck in her eyes. The world stops, the chaos fades, and all I care about are those two velvet eyes ringed with dark intent. Sufi mysticism softer than a midnight river swells and ebbs pulsating power across the room, licking my soul, tantalizing my nerve endings, sucking me into the vortex of her gorgeous eyes.
The instant bulge in my trousers gongs the alarm and I twist to hide it, looking at Marla when she thumps my back, “You okay darling?”
I nod, wrangling away from the lingering hand planted between my shoulder blades feeling sullied and tainted by another's touch, glancing back her way. Enigmatic prowess stares back, glossy and seductive. Glorious!
My blood has turned to useless sludge, the space between us physically hurting, urging me closer, to touch, inhale, taste the vision of perfection branded into my corneas, separating plasma from my blood, rendering me vulnerable.
Who the hell are you?
Shouldering my way through the throng, I don't blink while our gazes stop the press and kick everyone off the planet. Tightness lassoes my body, constricting every blood vessel with proximity and exhilaration.
Anticipation ratchets forty degrees when I reach her corner to gaze down at the pale beauty. Breath becomes nugatory, the only thought I can hold onto with any coherence is to touch her, to kiss her skin, to listen to the pulse of life swelling her aorta with pressure, to slip my tongue across those seraphic lips wet with gloss, and to grind my fingers into her hair so she can never ever escape.
Lifting her hand I kiss the back of it, savoring the warm perfumed pulse injecting hypnotic poison into my lips. Holding it three seconds too long, watching her eyes, I get harder when her pupils dilate, inking darkness across the espresso luxury of her gaze.
Her heart rate increases and I smile, lowering the hand, releasing it, just catching champagne off the tray held high by a passing waitress, “Champagne?”
“Thank you." It's a murmur, so low and lusty it would be easy to lose it in such cacophony.
Why am I even here? I belong in Pravus.
“Why are you here?” I ask her instead.
“Sister was supposed to meet me, but I don't see her.”
Stepping closer, pouring charisma over her, spellbinding her with vampyric intent, I say, “Come away with me. Let's lose this place.”
“I don't think so.”
Gripping her hand, lifting it to my navel, softly caressing the palm and wrist in my grasp with delicate circles, wishing it was her clit, I purr, “Please?'
Her pupils dilate further and she nods, blasting licentious pheromones at me. Even her suggestive smile is lickerish.
YES! I still have the touch.
Not waiting I close my arm around her shoulders, tucking her in safely and corralling her to the opulent double doors of the opera house.
#2 ... Jailbait
On Monday before Maths, Chloe asked me how far I’d gone in the five Fs. I gave the knowing smile I’ve been practising in the mirror and said, ‘What’s it to you?’ then I turned my back on her but I don’t think she was fooled. I could feel her eyes drilling through my sweatshirt the whole time Mr Phillips bla-blaed about probability and GCSEs. Fifteen must be the worst year of your life. I hope so, anyway. Fifteen, the sixth F.
As soon as I got home, I googled to find out what Chloe was on about. The five Fs of life ‘Faith, Fitness, Family, Friends and Finance’ didn’t sound like Chloe. Nor did the five Fs of fatherhood. As always, you could rely on Facebook; ‘Found, Felt, Fingered, Fucked, Forgotten’. Good question, Chloe. How far have I got?
My friend Sue went all the way at Christmas and got pregnant. We mitched Games to talk about it and she told me what colour eyes and hair the baby was going to have. She told me sex made you feel closer to another human being than anything else in the world. So I guess she reached the fourth F. Then she wasn’t in class one day and I saw her with her parents, coming out the Head’s Office. She was crying and never looked at anything, as if she couldn’t see.
She was back in school a week later, pale and quiet. She avoided me. I wasn’t the only one who knew or guessed. All us girls know that the Head is keen on abortion. Dead keen. I don’t see what it has to do with her anyway – it’s not as if it happened in a classroom, or even at break - but the parents seem to think her opinion matters. Perhaps Sue is on the fifth F now. She talks to other people but not to me. I suppose I know too much. Perhaps she sees the colour of a baby’s hair or eyes when she looks at me. I’m never going to have an abortion and no-one can make me.
Last night, I couldn’t sleep. I put my pillow between my thighs and squeezed. I imagined it was a man. Not a boy, a man. I don’t like boys in that way. They snigger at sex words and they don’t live in their own bodies, as if their legs, arms and other bits act without them having any control. Are there five different Fs for boys? Does it have to be five so you can count them on your fingers? Do they only apply to girls so thick they have to count on their fingers? Not to girls in top Maths set with Mr Phillips. He’s a real man.
So how far have I got? The usual collection of kiss dares and beery fumbles at parties. When I say I don’t like boys, I know what I’m talking about. And Chloe says boys brag. Some of my friends are waiting till they’re sixteen but that seems a bit chicken. A boy writes in your birthday card,
‘When cherries are red, they’re ready for plucking
When girls are sixteen, they ready for f******.’
And then he gives you an f and six stars in an alley. That’s not what I want. I don’t want to wait, I don’t want a boy and I don’t want any Fs. I want to make it different.
It’s Monday again, the same lesson that Chloe annoyed me in last week. Symmetry, I tell myself. I’m going to do Maths A level. I take my book out to the teacher’s desk while everyone is working on a problem. He should be proud of me. I look him over, calculating the probability, down to the last decimal place. He smiles at me.
Mr Phillips, says, ‘What can I do for you, Janine?’
It takes all my courage. And I don’t have much of that. Mostly I shy away from anything emotional. I blanked that out long ago, after my mother died. It was just easier not to deal. But now I have to deal, or else all of this wouldn’t have been worth it.
I have to try.
I know I look like shit. I know I won’t be as he remembered. I’ve been eating creamy pasta for the past few days. It’s all I want. Like a craving that can’t be sated. But even with all those carbs, my weight is still bordering on unhealthy. At least I’ve been sleeping again, and my eyes don’t look quite so sunken and swollen.
I have to see him. My father told me where he goes for lunch every day. I figure I’ll just watch him today. I’m not brave enough to tackle anything else right now.
I make my way across the street. There are more shops unfamiliar to me. This place is now a tourist trap, since two years ago, when some Hollywood producer used the surrounding area for a big block buster film. Brought a whole new trade and clientele to the town.
I go to one of the new coffee houses. All decked out in silver. Silver chairs, silver tables, silver benches. I sit at the table outside so I have a good view of the diner where Chris goes for lunch. I adjust my sunglasses. Not much of a disguise, but it gives me a small measure of security. It will help me blend in, to disappear. He’ll never notice me.
Or so I hope.
Then my heart stops.
On the other side of the street. In my direct line of vision. I want to close my eyes to block him out, but I can’t. I can’t stop looking at him. Drinking him in. Every part of him. From his brown locks, that he’s pushed back from his forehead as he talks to Mrs Winters standing at his side. He’s smiling at her. That perfect smile. His hazel eyes focussed on her, listening intently to what she’s saying. He offers out his arm to help her cross the street. He has more of a tan than I remember, and looks more muscular. His black t-shirt is pulled tight across his chest. His jeans the perfect fit. Right down to those old boots he loves. Every inch of him I take in. I swallow. Now he’s coming toward me, still talking and laughing with the old lady who owns the only bakery in town.
Then he looks up, and looks at me. And he stops. Mrs Winters turns to look in my direction as well. I try to focus on her, not him. But my eyes betray me and drift to his face. To his beautiful face, that is so focussed on mine.
My hands tremble. My legs shake. My stomach twists. I can’t breathe.
He gives his head a small shake, turns and pats Mrs Winters arm. She is still looking at me. But he isn’t. Not anymore.
I don’t know what’s worse. To have him look at me, or to look away.
To look away. That’s much worse. It’s as if he’s already given me the answer to my unspoken question.
I can’t move. My whole body is frozen in this moment. I didn’t plan for him to see me.
Mrs Winters has gone into her shop. But he hasn’t moved. He’s staring down at the ground. Like he doesn’t know where he is, or why he’s there. I know that feeling. That’s the feeling I had just before I came back.
Back to him.
But it might be too late. I might have waited too long. His next move in the next few seconds will decide for us both.
I close my eyes and blow out a breath. I don’t want to open them again, but know I have to.
Bravery is a quality I need right about now. I have to face my future. Whatever it’s going to be.
There are no more What if’s.
I clench my teeth and will my eyes to open. At first it’s impossible. Then I force it to happen.
I blink to focus. I blink again. As if that will make a difference. He’s not there anymore. He’s not standing on the street where he was seconds before. He’s gone.
The whole in my chest widens. The tears well in my eyes. Tears I should have shed years ago when I left. But didn’t. I can’t stop the tidal wave of sadness that crashes down on me.
My breath is erratic. I try and hold it together. I can’t lose it now. Not here.
But I can’t stop the tears. I can’t stop the pain in my chest. I want to run. I want to scream.
I want to go after him. But I don’t. I sit. And I suffer like the coward that I am.
#4 ... Timmy.
Feeling cooler and less dizzy, I looked out over the estuary. On my left, gleaming silver in the sunlight and dwarfing the town’s little harbour in its foreground, was the immense structure of the road bridge. On my right, glowing orange and looking as imposing and majestic as ever, was the old rail bridge; they had just finished celebrating the centenary of its opening when Vi and I and the kids left the Ferry for good back in 1990. Between the two bridges, the sea lay flat and shimmering, its waves lapping gently on the pebbled shore immediately below me.
Choosing the middle of that particular step to sit on had been a reflex action. It was the very spot where Timmy and I used to sit when we waited, often for hours, for our Mum to emerge from one of the pubs dotted round the High Street. Two wee kids still in short trousers, we’d pass the time playing on the shore – poking through the seaweed in search of crabs and skiffing stones across the water – or just sitting and watching the boats go back and forth. Sometimes we’d sneak into whatever pub Mum was ensconced in and mooch the price of our tea from her. Then we’d be back at our spot, sharing a bag of chips and a bottle of juice. When Mum eventually appeared clinging to her latest fancy man (usually some drunken matelot from the naval base along the road), we’d traipse home behind them, giggling as we mimicked them swaying from one side of the pavement to the other.
Whenever I thought of Timmy and me like that, I was always reminded of that photograph you often see in the newspapers and magazines: the black-and-white one of the two wee pals walking arm-in-arm along some street in the Gorbals in Glasgow back before I was born. Short trousers, torn jerseys, dirty faces... and happy. It was uncanny, but we looked so like those boys that it could easily have been us in that photo.
Sitting on our spot that day, the photo was there in my head, sure enough, but not for long. It faded and then vanished, to be replaced by another familiar image, one that had haunted my dreams for the best part of forty years. It was Timmy on his own this time. It wasn’t the laughing Timmy, though, but a stiff and white-faced Timmy. There was a look of sheer horror in his eyes as the electric current surged through his body, paralysing him and preventing him from removing his hand from the metal top of the old washing machine, the death-trap which had been lying in our back garden for months and which Timmy had decided to plug into the mains. Then Timmy’s face began to fade and another one came into focus. The face was different, but the eyes were the same. There was that same look of utter helplessness in them as wee Billy tried in vain to stop the blood spurting from that terrible gash across his neck...
Before I realised it, I was crying, the tears stinging my eyes and blurring my vision. I was crying for Timmy, the brother I had loved, the best friend I had lost. I was crying because I couldn’t save him that day. And I was crying for Billy – simple-minded, innocent Billy, who didn’t have a bad bone in his body and who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time all because of me. I couldn’t save poor Billy either; just like with Timmy, it had happened so suddenly and it had been over so quickly, so finally.
I kept asking myself why. Why had it ended up that way? Why had it gone so fucking wrong? Was it the euphoria we had felt for putting one over on the bastards? Was it the drink we had poured down our necks afterwards, giving us that feeling of invincibility? Or was it Muldy’s arrogance, insisting on rubbing their noses in it, insisting on a confrontation? I needed answers, but I knew I would only find them by going back again and working my way through the events. I needed to examine what happened after the Council of War.
#5 ... SOS
The North Sea shimmered with an oily calmness. HMS Blackbird’s reinforced bow sliced through the dull waters, leaving a white trail in her wake. Lieutenant Commander Adrian Viper sat relaxed in his bridge chair.
Lanky and muscular, his blue eyes set in a weathered, yet well-tanned face missed nothing. At the age of thirty-five he remained content with life.
The bridge radio put out a message. “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, this is Motor Vessel Bristol Adventure. My position I 55.10,05 North, 00.15,20 East. I am on fire. MAYDAY, MAYDAY.
John Gittings, the Officer of the Watch, plotted the ship’s position on the chart. The deep voice on the radio remained steady as he repeated the cry for help. Adrian lowered the volume.
“Twenty miles, Sir.”
“OK, let me have the closest point of approach.”
Without waiting for an answer, Adrian lifted the radio’s hand-set and spoke clearly on Channel 16.
“This is the Charlie Oscar, HMS Blackbird. My position is twenty miles due west of the Bristol Adventure. I am able to assist.”
For a few seconds nothing before it burst into life. This is Tynemouth Coastguard. There are no other vessels within fifty miles of you or MV Bristol. Take charge of the rescue until relieved.”
Adrian paused. “I am the captain of one of Her Majesty’s Warships. First on scene takes charge. Out.”
The bridge team smiled. They knew their boss well.
“Understood, Sir. Good luck.”
Adrian listened again to the desperate message of a captain in trouble.
“This is Captain Kelly, Master of MV Bristol. I have a fire in my engine room. I have a cargo of nitrates. I intend to abandon ship.”
Adrian recognized that in less than an hour, his ship and crew could be in danger. The fire, if it reached the hold, the resulting explosion could kill the crew and endanger his.
He turned. “Distance, John?”
“She bears green one five. We’re making twenty-two knots and I estimate forty minutes.”
“Sparks, send the following to our illustrious Flag Officer. Intend rescue crew of MV Bristol and if practical, salvage vessel.”
“Excuse me, Sir,” said Jim Potts, Blackbird’s First Lieutenant, “I’ve mustered the crew and readied the necessary equipment for fire fighting and salvage. The ship’s boat is hung out and ready to pick up survivors.”
“Thank you, Number One. We’ve thirty minutes or so before we make a decision. What do you think?”
“My choice, Sir. Pick up the crew and full speed in the opposite direction.”
Adrian rubbed his chin. “I’ve a strong tendency to agree with you. Let’s wait and see.”
He strolled to the port bridge wing and looked ahead. The deck beneath his feet vibrated from the power of the ship’s two huge diesel engines. In less than fifteen minutes they should be in position. His crew dressed in fire protection suits waited. Hoses had been secured and trained over the side, high pressure jets created an arc before they dropped into grey water.
A dull explosion rattled the reinforced glass screens. Everyone, their faces full of apprehension stared at MV Bristol. She lifted from the sea; blazing sections flew in every direction as paper in the wind. A huge plume of smoke drifted across the sun. Fire consumed the violated hull of MV Bristol
Adrian’ hands tightened the pain of dying and injured seamen consumed him.
“Ready to drop the boat, Sir,” came a voice from aft.
“Wait,” shouted the First Lieutenant.
Adrian’s eyes explored the vicinity.
Those with binoculars scanned the wreckage covered sea for survivors.
Adrian peered forward. The men on the fo’c’sle remained in position as their ship progressed at best speed towards the floating inferno.
“Slow ahead both.” He tasted the stench of burning and breathed deeply to calm his anxiety. Gently he eased his ship into the debris-strewn waters where the acrid fumes seared their senses.
Adrian shifted his binoculars, trying not to stare at the dying vessel. The speed of the flames racing over the water startled him. “Number One, make sure those hoses keep our decks well washed. It might get warm.”
“The Buffer has it under control, Sir. I threatened him if the paintwork gets singed; he’ll spend his off duty time painting.”
Adrian smiled at a sailor’s weird sense of humour. Jim lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, before exhaling with the same passion.
On the foc’sle, the Buffer bellowed orders as if his life depended on a successful rescue.
A gust of wind cleared the smoke. A lifeboat blackened by fire and on the tiller what remained of a man. Jim directed the fire parties to play their hoses on the men. The small craft drowned in a deluge of spray. The flames surrounding it for the moment extinguished. With caution, Adrian manoeuvred close enough for grapnels to be thrown. Steam drifted from the survivors’ clothing.
The Petty Officer Cook and his mate, encumbered by their first aid kits, lowered themselves from the ship’s deck into the mass of bodies. They checked each man for injuries. Those with the severest burns they positioned in Neil Robinson stretchers. Fastened, the delicate task of lifting each casualty commenced. A few screamed as the coarse wooden slats cut deep into their skin. Relief came with unconsciousness. The others remained thankful for their salvation.
Adrian heard someone vomiting below the bridge. The harsh tones of the Buffer followed. “Clean that up, you messy bastard.”
With the last man safely onboard, Adrian ordered, “Both engines slow ahead.” His nerves tingled and his hands shook as he shoved them into his pockets.
“Hard to port. Steer North.”
The First Lieutenant came to the bridge, gasping as the nauseous vapour-saturated air hit his lungs. He waited.
“Yes number one.”
“They’re alive, Sir, but a few may not live unless they receive proper treatment. I’ve given five morphine to dull the pain.”
#6 … The Call Of The Sunset
Kerala, from the sky, was a plush, green, ancient carpet.
A little faded, perhaps, thanks to the dust layer over it and the simmering sun that was scorching the land. A little old, for the top of the swaying coconut trees bore a tired, primitive green that spoke of better days and happier times. A few patches here and there appeared as though plucked out by children unconcerned about the faded, old carpet's worthiness. Little boxes placed few and far between were buildings battling nature for dominance. The sea glinted in the distance, lapping up the edges of the land unhurriedly as it had done for centuries, like an idle child in the park who had all the time in the world.
James fastened his seat belt and looked down as the plane circled the runway: his first view of his parents' motherland. As the plane braced itself for landing, he thought he saw a column of thick smoke rising to the sky towards the south. It was there, real and grey and eerie, for a long instant before the aircraft tilted and it was lost from his view. He felt the hair on his neck rise and a tremor spread through his nerves. He sat up, alert. He did not know why the thought crossed his mind that this trip was no ordinary vacation or even an escape.
The landing took a while, giving him enough time to study the place he had heard of so much – in the longing of his parents, the words of his Malayali friends, the pictures shared by foreign tourists.
There was no surge of excitement that his parents had told him he would feel.
There was no rush of emotion. There was no wanting-to-embrace-the-earth. There was no sense of belonging. Perhaps his expectations were too much; the truth refused to humour him.
He looked down and he saw the land, and watched its gradual approach. The column of smoke did not reappear in his field of vision, but he felt it was there, beyond his view, and he knew it would cross his path again.
He waited for the touch down.
#7... A Brown Leather Boot
A crappy looking dark blue and rust coloured Ford Transit van, the type with a sliding door on the passenger side was parked up at the junction of Spyvee Street and Cleveland Street, the fact that no street light were working was to their advantage. The Council didn’t bother repairing the damaged street light the “toms” just lobbed bricks at them as soon as they were fixed. The dark night was perfect for what the three men in the van had in-mind.
‘Won’t be long now,’ Ian (Andy) Anderson said to his two mates, John (Finchy) Finch and Chas Logan, ‘the clubs emptied now, he usually comes out with one of the bouncers.’
Finchy was clearly sweating, he was one these people when you shook hands you wanted to wipe down your trousers. ‘What if the bouncer decides to walk to the car with him?’
‘Oh stop being such a tart,’ Chas said, as he leaned forward between the front seats from the back of the van, trying to see through the steaming up windscreen.
‘He always follows the same routine, they come out of the club together, the fat bugger of a bouncer will carry on down Cleveland Street, while that shit head Murphy will turn down Spyvee Street and go right passed us to get his car from round back of the club.’ Anderson sighed, wishing he’d never brought the winger along. ‘Chas, how many times have gone over it, it’s a piece of piss, simples.’
‘It’s alright for you to say no problem, he doesn’t know you, if he gets an eye full of my face I’m well and truly up shit creek.’ Chas was starting to panick and sweating more than usual, he was as nervous as a vicar in a brothel.
‘Well just make sure he doesn’t fucking see you.’ Anderson brought his hands up and covered his face, and muttered more obscenities into the palm. ‘Ok, ok, one more fucking time. He comes around the corner, they say good night, the bouncer carries on walking down Cleevy, that’s when we put on the ski masks. Alright so far?’ They nodded. ‘Next, I’ve got my head down, right? As soon as he’s along side of the van I jump out of the passenger side, grab him around the neck from behind, you two come out and give him a going over, I grab the brief case and away we go, a piece of piss.’
Tension was mounting, fear, stale sweat and booze cloyed the air in the van. As Anderson had predicted they heard the bouncer shout a good night and the two men went their separate ways, the bouncer walked straight ahead and Murphy hung a left turn into Spyvee Street.
‘Get ready, put your masks on.’ They did as they were told. When Anderson saw Murphy approaching he sunk down in his seat out of sight.
Patrick Murphy, fifty eight years and more than a bit on the obese side was the owner of Acrophobia Night Club, he huffed and puffed as he approached the van, he waddled his fat frame along the pavement, clutching his briefcase which contained the night takings, Anderson reckoned on lifting at least 4k.
Murphy was 100 metres from the van heading their way, Anderson was impressed, he was moving quite quickly for a fat bloke, 50 metres, things were looking good, 5 metres. The club owner hadn’t seen Anderson tucked low down in the front seat of the Transit. Then the fat man was alongside, Anderson leapt through the front door of the van, grabbed Murphy from behind, kidney punched him and locked is forearm around the club owner’s neck.
‘What the fuck...’ Murphy grunted as an arm tightened around his windpipe cutting his voice to a croak, Finch and Logan bounded out through the van’s sliding side door.
Whack, Logan swung the baseball bat into his fat gut, Murphy gave out an almighty gasping grunt, to say he was winded would be putting it mildly. Logan made a grab for the briefcase, Murphy wasn’t having any of it and kept tight hold, bringing it up and clasping it to his chest with both hands. Then the bones of the right hand gave an audible crack as the baseball bat found its target and the briefcase fell to the floor, along with his fat body, his face contorted in agony, Anderson loosened his grip around Murphy’s neck to save himself from being pulled over the top as the fat man fell to his knees.
Finch was sweating like the proverbial pig inside his balaclava, sweat dripped down his face inside the woollen mask clouding his vision as it ran down into his eyes, he bent down on one knee to grab the briefcase. In a reflex action Murphy’s good hand reached up for his attackers face, a finger caught hold in the ski-mask eye hole, Finch pulled away as he felt a fat porky finger stick in his eye, the mask half pulled away from his face. ‘Ah, shit, shit, shit,’ he shouted as he gave out another punch to the fat man’s nose and pulled the mask back in place, then grabbed the spoils. For good measure he swung a well aimed boot at Murphy’s face making contact with the pudgy chin. Murphy lay quiet on the pavement.
Job done, with Anderson at the wheel of the van they headed towards Cleveland Street. Anderson glanced in the rear view mirror at the bleeding lump of lard that was Murphy, his blood painting a liquid abstract picture on the pavement. The van headed north up Cleveland Street, turned left at the junction of Fountain Road and they headed for the safety of Anderson’s flat on Hull’s Orchard Park Estate.
#8 ... Mirror Time
The occupant of the dressing table mirror, watched silently as Crystal packed her suitcase. Invisible at the moment, the woman refrained from any contact. Now was not the time, but before long …..
Crystal had already suspected that her mirror was a bit… shall we call it unusual. When she’d been polishing it recently, the middle section seemed soft and pliable. She thought it had been a defect in the glass but now she wasn’t too sure. However Italy was calling to her big time so she had put it out of her mind…..
It was Crystal Grant’s last day of her three week holiday in Amalfi. Her bright yellow bikini, border line respectable showed off her deep golden tan. Crystal took in the spectacular coast line. She let out a mega sigh knowing she would miss it the minute she stepped back on the outbound plane. Settling on her purposefully angled sun bed she was determined to make the most of the last day.
Resting back on her elbows she looked around the magnificent coastline. On the left of the veranda, ornate yellow and pink villas balanced on the hillside; suspended from the azure blue cloudless sky.
Crystal stood up and rested her arms on the veranda, inhaling the air, a delicious combination of Mediterranean sea spray and the heady perfume of roses and carnations. She looked down to the narrow paved street and crumbling walls of Amalfi beneath her. In places pink oleanders pushed their way through the wall cracks, hanging in suspension. Out in the bay, yachts floated in splendour showing off the bevy of beauties on board. Pampered by over indulgent, fat sugar daddies, their major concern, posing to show off their lithesome golden bronzed bodies? Crystal smiled to herself imagining the jealous rivalry. A sigh escaped her lips yet again and she settled back on her sun bed.
Her cases were already packed for the midnight flight and she was determined to gain everything out of this last day. Of course there was the secret of her attic still to be properly investigated on her return.
“Crystal come and join me in one last cold drink before you fly away from my wonderful home” called out one of the local hunks she’d met.
She’d been impressed not only by his good looks but his command of English.
“No thanks I still have things to do.”
“Maybe we should take a rain check, I will definitely return at some point”, she lied with ease.
With both hands on his heart in mock sorrow he waved her a cheery farewell. She watched him for a while chatting up other girls as he passed them by, finally settling for a creamy skinned new arrival.
Crystal looked around her attic flat at the top of her aunt’s four storey house. She was shattered due to the long flight delay but desperately in need of a drink. She gently closed the door so as not to awaken her aunt and went downstairs to the kitchen.
A gentle face appeared in the dressing table mirror and watched her go. Time was on the side of this face, whether it was this century or the last, it didn’t make any difference time was just time. Ten minutes in this time span, a day in another. She was just the keeper of the book and the time continuum. Sighing she sat back down again and waited. At times she got a bit impatient but it was only because of all she had to offer the time traveller. They just needed the courage to come through the mirror….