Shameless Lions Writing Circle: serial short story – part 7

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This post is an installment I’ve written as part of a collective short story, being written by the Shameless Lions Writing Circle, of which I am a member. The photo above was the inspiration for this collective writing endeavor. Mine is the seventh (7th) installment added to this building short story. If you want to read the story in its entirety, click on the photo above of Grace (the woman hailing the cab) and you will be taken to it.

Now, here is my contribution to this exciting story.

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“What do you mean Jack,” Grace inquired, the strain obvious in her weary voice. “Who exactly is going to take on Sebastian… and why?”

Her voice trailed off to an exasperated whisper. The why was not so much a question, as an exhalation of confused frustration. She seemed to know the answer was much too complicated to address at this hour, and she was too spent, physically and emotionally, to want to hear it.

Grace turned away from Jack, head lowered. Her arms fell limp at her side, fingers splayed. She was trying her best to process what Jack was saying, to understand him – to understand the recent events that had brought her to this place in time… to make sense of anything. Her head was spinning, and she could feel the fatigue deep in her bones.

She dropped back onto the sofa, half sitting, half lying down – an exhausted slouch. She felt paralyzed, thoughts racing through her mind – fragmented, disconnected thoughts.

She looked at her hands, palms down in her lap, her eyes glazing over. Her vision drifted to her wrists, her left wrist in particular — to her watch. Slowly it came into focus, and she realized she was staring at the broken crystal face of her Audemars Piguet Promesse.

Ever since Sebastian had given her this watch for their anniversary, her life had turned upside down – but it had also turned a corner. Fate had pushed her round that corner, and she would never turn back again. Her life as Mrs. Carrebreu was over.

She knew this, knew it as surely as she knew she missed her children. Something must be done to get them out of that house – his house. It could no longer be her home, but they would always be her children – and she feared for them. They had to be part of whatever direction fate was leading her.

It was fate that had broken the crystal – fate, and her quick reflexes, blocking Sebastian with her forearm as he struck out at her in anger, following their anniversary dinner.

He had apologized, explaining it away as the result of stress. “It will never happen again,” he’d said in his most gentle and sincere voice – but she was familiar with this empty promise. This was not the first time, and the incidents of abuse were escalating.

She’d only come into his office that evening to thank him again for the gorgeous timepiece. She thought this was where he’d retired after leaving the dining table. But she could see, in the subdued light, that he was not there. The mahogany paneled room was empty.

She loved the aroma of his Classic Port pipe tobacco that permeated the walls. Her father had also smoked that blend in his Barling Meerschaum, and the heady fragrance was comforting to her – so she lingered. That’s when she noticed it, on his desk, silhouetted by the light from the Tiffany lamp.

Her curiosity drew her to it. She’d just picked it up when Sebastian entered. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Put that god damned box down,” he’d shouted — then flew into a rage.

Why had her discovery of the leather box sent Sebastian over the edge? What were those letters that spilled out when she dropped the box upon being struck?

They’d looked terribly official, with their seals and embossing – and written in a language that she did not recognize. Sebastian certainly scrambled frantically to collect them from the antique Persian rug, and return them to the box. But she managed to conceal one, sliding it under her hips as she lay where she’d fallen after being struck.

Sebastian’s bizarre reaction to the correspondence scattered on the floor, and the strangeness of the language they contained, had piqued Grace’s interest. Instinct drove her to hide the envelope until she was able to fold and slip it into her pocket, as her husband hurried from the room, with the leather box in tow.

Grace felt it was important that she take this letter she’d spirited out of the room, and put it in safekeeping. She’d planned to somehow learn more about its origin and content.

It was again fate that lead her the next morning to the jewelers, seeking a new watch crystal. It was while standing at the counter, waiting to be served, that she’d spied Sebastian coming out of the restaurant across the street, in the company of a women — a stranger to Grace. They had climbed into a waiting limousine.

Grace had broken from the counter in a hurry, and bolted through the door to get a better look. Unfortunately, as she’d reached the sidewalk and acquired a reasonable view of the vehicle, it had sped away. She had noticed markings on the door, and a license plate, a type she had not immediately recognized – but she could read neither.

Fate had revealed this convoluted mystery to her, but what was she to do with it. Where could she begin to unravel it? All this was flooding through her mind when she was startled back to the present by Jack, returning to the room with pillows and a blanket.

“I will take the sofa tonight,” he said, “You’re completely burned out. I’m putting you in my room,” he continued in a kind and caring tone. “My bed is amazingly comfortable, and you need sleep – lots of good, deep sleep.”

He reached down and took Grace’s hand, helping her to her feet. Gently wrapping his arm around her waist, he escorted her down the hall and into his room. Stopping just inside the door, he said, “You will be safe in here. We’ll talk about everything in the morning,” and he gave her a warm hug, stepped back into the hall, and closed the door.

Grace realized there were too many questions to answer, too many mysteries — just too damned much to even think about right now.

“Yes, in the morning,” she mumbled to the door.

Then, hugging her red shoulder bag with the mysterious envelope tucked safely inside — Grace shuffled across the room, and collapsed on the bed.

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This is the end of Part #7

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~ by Image&VerseToo on October 12, 2007.

3 Responses to “Shameless Lions Writing Circle: serial short story – part 7”

  1. I was so fascinated by your contribution, I had to jump over and catch up on the whole story. What a great project! Peace, JP/deb

  2. JP/deb –

    Glad you enjoyed what you read… 😉

    It is great fun as it gives me a wonderful outlet, and focused motivation, to practice writing novel-form fiction.

    There is a novel coming in my future. There have been several false starts. I simply need to give myself permission to sequester myself to write it. I have so much going on I feel guilty setting aside the time necessary to effectively concentrate on its creation.

  3. I liked your installment. The Shameless Lions seems like a great group to be a part of.One of the members of my writing group joined.

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