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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Yellow

Yellow.

Death can be nothing other than yellow for Cora. The time before and the time after. Hell, death itself was bold, school bus yellow. She vividly remembered death every Spring as young shoots pushed their way to the surface, seeking the warm yellow sun.

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They lived their lives simply. Had the picket fence, the white clapboard two story colonial and the well cut lawn along with an extensive garden that stretched around the house from front to back. Cora always took meticulous, obsessive care of the flower beds. She sculpted in yellow, white and red waves of heirloom blooms.

Chasing tuffets of snow, a vast, flowing blanket of white Peter Pan crocus’  announced the arrival of Spring with deep heady fragrance and tiny yellow fingers reaching for the warmth of the sun. Not wanting to be outdone, the Campernelle  daffodils arrived with their yellow spiky stars and zigzag scalloped cups dipping and swaying through the carpet of white. Taking the curtain call was the tulips. Bobbing their heads in the near summer breezes were the bold, brilliant red Kingsblood, and demure Mabel tulips whose crimson bowls streaked with  delicate veins of white.

Stuart on the other hand, was singularly obsessed with corn. He had a plot in the back corner of their lot where he planted four rows of ratty, anemic bland corn. He raved at the deliciousness of his crop,  unaware he had procured common field corn which lacked the sweetness and tender kernels of the varieties normal gardeners planted. Cora tolerated the nonsense because it was tucked away where she didn’t have to see it. He limed, manured and hoed around. Too much of everything. His garden was stunted and feeble, but it made him happy and he left her gardens alone.

That Spring the tool shed was thrown wide and the commotion coming from within heralded Stuart’s usual routine of digging and shuffling through hoes, shovels, rakes and various bags of garden enhancements. Cora listened to the endless racket  grinding her teeth, clenching her eyes tighter and tighter with each bang, and tried to go about her daily household duties.

CRASH! “I’m not going to say anything. It won’t do any good.”

RATTLE CLANG BANG! “I’m keeping my nose out of his business. It will be over soon enough.”

With each noise she winced and jumped. She glanced out the window as she began washing the dishes from her afternoon tea. The water was warm and carried a puffy white cloud of soap bubbles.  She  gently pulled her grandmothers delicate tea cup out of the water. It was beautifully embellished with tulips and gilded with a rim of gold. Gently wiping inside and out, she cleaned and rinsed, then as she reached for the dish drainer, RUMBLE RUMBLE CRACK! and the cup slipped from her grasp and shattered on the granite counter top.

“Uhh! Uhh! That’s it!”

She stormed through the kitchen, into the dining room and out the patio doors. As soon as her toe hit the sod she began yelling at her husband.

“Stuart for the love of God! What in the hell are you doing? How damn much effort does it take to get a few tools out of the shed?”

As she arrived at the shed, Stuart wore a grin Cora saw as ridiculous and condescending.

As he swept his arm behind him he said, “Sorry honey. I can’t seem to find my weeding bucket. Those dandelions have already got a grip on my plot.” The bright yellow pincushions were happily thriving where Stuart planted his annual crop.

She raised her clenched fist and ejected her forefinger and stabbed at his chest. “Just shut up. You don’t even have a clue what you’re doing. All you do is rattle around and dig and put crap in the soil and all for a few rows of stupid field corn.”

Stuarts face fell, his feelings stung.

“Now wait a minute Cora. That’s just mean and uncalled for.”

“Uncalled for? I’ll tell  you what’s uncalled for, it’s you pretending to be a gardener. No one wants to eat corn the farmers feed their cows.”

She stumbled over a hose and bumped into the shed knocking over a hoe. Cora grabbed it as she steadied herself and continued to bark. “I’ve had it Stuart, no more!”

Stuart, now amused by his wife’s over the top reaction, put a hand over his mouth to conceal a smirk. When he started to shudder with corked up laughter, red hot anger rose in her face. She grabbed the hoe with both hands and swung it around and down onto his smug, patronizing head. Over and over. Again and again. She finally stopped and found herself slick with sweat and blood, and breathed in great gulps of air. She dropped the tool and smiled. A small giggle escaped as she looked over the ruined mess that was her husband. She giggled again and it rolled into uncontrollable laughter. She saw the yellow daffodils laughing with her from the front of the yard.

With his own tools, she picked a place in the yellow splash of dandelions and began digging. Each time she glanced back at Stuart, laughter overtook her and she leaned on the shovel until the hysteria subsided. Finally she had a Stuart sized hole and she roll and roll and roll him in. Then shovel by shovel, she covered him with the soil she had removed, and carefully spread the extra soil around the bed. She returned all the tools to the shed except for the hoe. That she took in the house with her. She scrubbed it with soap, then bleach. She took a long hot shower and rinsed the last remnants of Stuart down the drain.

Dried off and hair up in a towel, she swiped with her open hand to clear a patch of mirror. Rivulets of water continued to streak the surface marring and distorting her face. She took a deep breath and exhaled.

“Well. I wonder how peonies and roses will do in that back corner?”

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For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, SAM gave me this prompt: daffodils, dandelions, and death.

I gave Michael this prompt: Use these sensory words in a piece: cool, yellow, fresh, sweet, and crackle.

When I got the e-mail with my prompt this week, this story popped right in my head. Dark huh? Of course, since yellow is the a big part of the entire post, it had to be “Yellow” by Coldplay and it fits shockingly well.

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Her Serene Heart

****You can find the previous chapter of Vivid Black here.

Ray stepped into the garden of St. Therese Monastery and quietly wandered toward Leta who stood amid a carpet of flowers. Gently he slid his hand into hers and she calmly returned the grasp of his familiar hand. She turned to look into a his anguished face, crushed with grief.

“Leta. Sarah Jane.” was all he managed.

Gently she enfolded his shaking form into her own, and softly stroked his hair. They both wept.

He slid his hands up, held her face and tenderly kissed her forehead.

“Baby, she didn’t listen. She went out anyway and, and she’s gone.”

She tipped her head back to look in his eyes, pursed her lips, inhaled deeply and as the breath left her, her shoulders relaxed and her face smoothed into serenity.

“Ray, I knew—”

“But how? Brother John Mary said—“

“No. Not like that. I knew. Something just poured out of me and I knew Sarah Jane was gone. She has been so out of control, so defiant and it’s not your fault. Ray? Do you hear me? It’s not your fault.”

The stress and worry of the past day had no where else to go and his shoulders went slack as he collapsed onto the bench next to them. Leaning his head over the back, he let out the breath he’d been holding since he got the call from Waters. Smiling, Leta looked down at him and touched his cheek. Her serene heart and devoted soul, reminded him that her heartbeat was the other half his.

She took his hands and tugged until he stood. His arm around her waist, their hands joined in front, their love and grief carried them to the Abbot’s office where Leta would leave word of her departure.

Tomorrow would be another day, another test. Tomorrow they would learned how to live with the empty ache. Today Ray needed Leta’s heartbeat and Leta needed Ray’s courage to solve the injustice, to find the monster who killed their daughter.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Music and how it fills the space in my world has been on my mind a great deal thanks in large part to Lance at “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog” and his 100 Word Song prompts. I AM a musician, and have a ridiculous collection of CD’s and my iTunes library loaded with more music than will fit on my iPod. Consequently, and a good consequence I think, when I write, if a song isn’t running through my head already, I finish and then starting spinning through the jukebox in my brain for a song to go with the post.

Fix You by Coldplay came quickly when I finished this piece. It fits the emotion and the need between Ray and Leta.

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Trifecta is responsible for inspiring this post with their prompt this week. They give us one word and these instructions:

Your prompt this week is the third definition of:
HEART (noun) — 3: personality, disposition ;

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.