Without a Trace

The envelope’s shredded remains littered the counter. Finger tapping lips, she contemplated a plan. Tossing the paper she hobbled on tired, pain-riddled feet, scooped bathroom items into a bag, then crammed clothes, outerwear and shoes into her time and travel worn suitcase. After the travel agent emailed tickets and reservations she called a taxi. She fled – no note.
Escape accomplished, warmly bundled, she stepped outside the hotel into a snowflakes fluttering, snow covered fantasy under the slate gray skies of North Pole Alaska. Gathering the fur trimmed hood under her chin she shuffled away from Februpocolypse into February bliss.

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Writing today for Thin Spiral Notebook’s 100 Word Challenge where this week’s word is “Paper”, and another challenge from a friend to write about changing a dismal February into a dream come true.

 

New Beginnings

The hectic morning was full of firsts. Clara’s new job and Lucy’s new school; both began that day. Lucy gathered her backpack, and Clara grabbed her purse, keys and their jackets and whisked the two of them out the motel room door and headed toward Frank and Ida’s home in the back of the motel’s office.

The night had been draped in a deep fog, leaving the morning sparkling with ice crystals that hung in the air like shards of glass, and the trees were coated in a fur of frost. Walking with quick yet tiny baby steps to avoid slipping on the skim of ice left behind, they rushed through the kitchen door greeted by the smells Ida’s home cooked breakfast.

Pulling the dish towel draped off of her shoulder Ida wiped her hands, and instructed, “Come in! Come in! Lucy there’s a glass of cold milk waitin’ at the table for ya and Clara there’s fresh coffee in the pot.” and turned back to the stove, where a skillet of scrambled eggs cooked. She scraped and turned the eggs and monitored another pan where bacon sizzled and popped.

Lucy dropped her backpack at the door and skipped to the table, sat down and drank deep from the glass, then emerged with a grin and a white line of milk on her top lip. Clara set her bag down alongside Lucy’s and hung their coats on the hooks behind the door. She pulled a heavy McCoy brown stoneware mug off the shelf and poured her coffee, inhaling the deep rich smell of the fresh strong brew. “Thanks Ida. Boy, do I need this today. It’s so cold out there. Did you see all the frost in the trees? It’s just stunning!”

Ida’s face turned and with an approving, warm smile. “I did…oh my! You look so pretty this morning! You look all ready for your first day at the antique store with Mr. Atherton. Frank and I are so proud of you sweetie.” Clara returned the smile, thankful for the blessings Frank and Ida were to her and Lucy. In their short time in Spencer, they had made them feel like family, a belonging she’d never had in her life.

“Thanks Ida. I am ready. I’m really starting to feel like I’m getting things together. It’s the beginning of something better for Lucy and me.
”Can I help you with anything? Set the dishes? Get the food to the table?”

“Yes dear. The plates are on the table just need to be put in place. Here. Take the bacon and set it down since you’re headin’ that way.”

With her head tipped back she hollered, “Frank! Breakfast’s ready!”

Frank wobbled into the kitchen, and each took a place at the table. Ida bowed her head, raised her right hand to her forehead and began “In the name of the Father (paused briefly for the others to catch up) and the Son and the Holy Spirit”, and all followed, blessing themselves.

Then together, “Bless us oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, Amen” and while crossing themselves again, a hasty “FatherSonHolySpirit.”

Dishes of food were passed around with pleasant chatter between the adults and giggles from Lucy when Frank asked her if she’d like some brussels sprouts with her eggs or teased her about boys.

Clara tried to help with dishes and Ida gently scooted her away.

“Honey, put that down. I’ll take care of the dishes. Open that fridge and grab those lunches I made for both you girls.”

“Ida, thank you so much. That’s such a big help.

Lucy, come grab your lunch and put it in your backpack.

We’ve got to get outta here so I have time to drop you off at school and make it to work on time. I’m so excited! Are you excite Button?”

Lucy slid off her chair into a leap, clapped her hands and declared, “Yes! I am very excited Mommy! Let’s go let’s go!”

Beaming at her daughter she leaned in to Ida and muttered with a little laugh, “I guess she’s ready.”

Bags packed, and coats donned, Lucy bounced first to Ida and pecked her cheek, then to Frank, jumped into his arms, and snuggled into a hug, then ran back to the door with her mother and waved, “Bye Ida, bye Frank.”

Clara waved as she closed the door. They walked to the front of the building where the car was parked. With her head down listening intently to Lucy, she turned the corner and nearly collided with Shane.

”Shane!”
Lucy slid around to hide behind Clara ”Mommy?”

He didn’t expect this abrupt encounter and stammered,  “Clara….I….I….”

“Shane, I don’t have time for this. I’ve got things to do.” She skirted around him with an arm behind her guiding her daughter along. “Lucy, get in the car.” Without taking her eyes off of him, she moved around to the drivers side, got in. After starting the car she quickly backed out, then drove away.

With a broad smile, and a brightness in her voice that covered her anxiety and fear she said, “Let’s get you to school Luce.”

As soon as Lucy was out of the car, she grabbed her cell and called The Lakeshore to warn Frank and Ida that Shane was in town. Frank assured her he had not come inside and  checked outside and told Clara he was gone.

She arrived at Bygone Antiques still rattled by Shane’s appearance. She jangled through the noisy front door, and when Nigel looked up he observed her wide-eyed, unnerved demeanor and quickly glided to the door to assist her.

“My dear, are you quite all right? You look rather unnerved.”

“I’ll be fine Mr. Atherton. Just saw someone I didn’t expect to see.”

“Do you need to sit down with a cup of tea?”

With a wan smile, she assured, “I think I just need to get to work.”

He ushered her into the back where a bank of antique school gym lockers served as a place to store her belongings and hang her coat.

“If I can store my lunch in your fridge, I’m ready to get started.”

 

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Last time with ”Faith from Ruin” ~ Icy Persistence

Todays installment of “Faith from Ruin” is inspired by the photo prompt in The Darkroom at Our Write Side.

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A Peculiar Change

Her days wore on. There was sameness, listlessness, and sadness. Each night was exhaled with dark resignation to the sameness and desperation for change.

Mornings began with a soft tune, no jangling BEEPING alarm because sameness and desperation needed gentle beginnings. Rising was a rough shove into the monotony. Coffee, however, warmed and melted edges into soft curves; when eyes are wide open, something unimaginable could be around the corner.

She peeped through her slat covered window, a spectator as a flock of prairie chickens ran and slid down the neighbors snowy hill. A peculiar sight. Scenery unexpectedly changed.

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#IamWriting! Thin Spiral Notebook is the new host for 100 Word Challenge and this week and this prompt is her first prompt. The word this week is “Peculiar”. After an extended hibernation,  I convinced my muse to take a peek and she was wonderfully intrigued!

Click on the title of the thumbnail and give a few more authors a read and a comment. Better yet, write your own #100Words and link up. The more the merrier!

Little Lies

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The wind moaned through leaning pines, and sideways snow crusted over a landscape already draped in invisibly layered ice. The air sharp and breath-taking bowed swaying branches fighting to keep the leaves of Summer. A hunched gray squirrel perched in the cold clinging tightly to one high branch. What brought this daring venturer out on a day when he should be in a long deep rest, curled within the warmth nest made for a long Winter? Was it to shred one last pinecone or a dare from his ne’er do well neighbor bent on thieving a hidden Winter bounty?

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Written to the prompt, “perched” from Velvet Verbosity and a bonus, “Little Lies” by Fleetwood Mac.

VV is a blog hop, so click on the site name above or the blog badge below and read and comment on some of the other talented writers who participate.

100 Word Challenge #403

100 Word Challenge #403

Icy Persistence

Shane’s persistence paid off. That and having her cell phone moved to his account when they got married. He’d sincerely meant it when he suggested they would save money by consolidating and Clara readily agreed.

After she moved in, he set up the wifi password on her iPad, laptop and phone and while he had her phone, he installed a phone tracker app, and he found a slick way to hide the icon so she was completely unaware. He hated the way other guys looked at her in “their bar”, The Shooting Star. She always smiled back. He told himself he was keeping her safe.

He never thought she’d run away. His own phone lay on the seat beside him with an address in Spencer Iowa where her phone had been for the past month. When he found she’d left, he spent a few days with emotions swinging ferociously from sadness and grief to anger and violence. He’d tell himself to let her go, it’s what she wanted. Then after a few drinks there was the red anger boiled to the surface. He knew she had replaced him and wanted to find her. Awakened the next morning with a hangover the sadness would return, the last, setting a resolve to find her and fix this.

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The Camero idled as he sat in the convenience store parking lot across from The Lakeshore Motel. He keyed the ignition off, opened the door and stepped out. Hands buried in his Levis his breath puffed like frosted clouds. His foot steps echoed on the crusted snow, and he walked with his head bowed low as he walked toward the Motel.

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My friend Lauren posted a writing prompt on her Facebook page,
“Footsteps echo on the ice crusted snow
He walks with his head bowed low…”

This post is where those words took me. A new post for Faith from Ruin. Shane has found Clara. What do you suppose he means by resolving to fix this? Hmmmm…. and a little ditty from The Police which is a little creeptastically appropriate for this post.

Worrisome Heart

She shielded her eyes to the brilliant sunlight as she left owner Nigel Atherton and his delightful antique store. Clara’s step was light and her eyes shone with hope glimmering on her horizon.

Her heart had been fretful and worrisome since she and Lucy fled even though she knew she had to break free from Shane’s troubling ways. Unfortunately she discovered too late, he had lots of baggage to claim.

This job, in this town surrounded by new friends was so unexpected. She kept wondering when she would awaken because this gift was so much more than she ever deserved.

stylized-plant-separationLast time with ”Faith from Ruin” ~ Enchanted

I’m back at Lance’s 100 Word Song writing more for Faith from Ruin. The inspiration comes from the song Worrisome Heart by Melody Gardot. It certainly fits Clara!

Above and Below

Enchanted

The old glass door scraped as Clara pushed hard to enter Bygone Antiquities. Three old service hand bells jingled and clamored like small children, trying to outdo one another. She emerged into a fairytale wonderland,  stopped to turn this way, then that awestruck by the space the owner had created. In front of her stood a hexagon counter built from old barn doors and stain glassed windows lit from behind. The space was elevated and two steps above the showroom and was lit by a heavenly view of twinkling, sparkly chandeliers hung overhead.

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A thin man, smartly dressed in tailored trousers, dress shirt and orange cashmere vest and a bold orange and lime green, paisley bowtie walked down two steps, and extended his hand and in a crisp English accent greeted her.

“Welcome to Bygone Antiquities! To where can I guide you?”

Clara had preconditioned ideas about antique stores appearances, and this magical place and dapper gentleman left her pleasantly unnerved and a little off balance. She blinked twice and fluttered her head,

“Uh, nowhere, I mean, um, I called earlier, about a job? I’m Clara Pit…err, Clara Rosner.”

She’d decided to use Rosner rather than her married name Pittman. The divorce was inevitable and the name shift felt right.

His smile brightened, he reached out and grasped her hand in both of his,

“Clara Rosner, I’m pleased to meet you.”Hand released, he continued, “Come, let’s sit, have some tea and discuss employment,” and he gently guided her toward the counter.

She rose two steps to see a small organized kingdom separated into distinct realms; business – filing, register and phone; comfort – overstuffed chair, side table and small bookshelf, and necessity – bistro table, chairs, doorless cabinet that held a microwave and refrigerator, and electric kettle on top along with assorted mugs.

“Please, make yourself comfortable Clara Rosner. Sugar or cream in your tea?”

His mellifluous voice furthered the enchantment.

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I have been lamenting and beating myself up for ages because I’ve been uninspired, unwilling, unmotivated to write. When I posted a pitty party on Facebook a blogger friend SAM at My Write Side reminded me she had prompts. It took me a couple of weeks to get a twitch while reading a book to grab one. Part of Master Class, which she hosts on her blog is a weekly word challenge. The current challenge, Master Class Session 4 is the word “Precondition(s/ed) and the word limit is 320 words. Plenty to stretch out my writers brain and give some more life to my story “Faith from Ruin”. I also give you “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay because the lights I see in Bygone Antiquities look like twinkling stars.

Thanks for the nudge SAM.

To catch up on the story from the beginning you can go HERE

To pick up where I left off, last time with ”Faith from Ruin” ~ Divin’ In

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