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Saturday, 7 August 2010

An opening chapter....

Been a little while since I posted anything on here but aim to change that from now on!

This is an opening chapter (untitled as of yet) that I wrote for a recent Leeds Savages writers group meet. Not sure whether to continue with it or not, but see it as being packed with twists and turns as the protagonist uncovers dramatic family secrets....


It was a damp, unremarkable Friday night and Kate was toasting the end of yet another unremarkable working week with a white wine spritzer in local watering hole The Black Bull. The prim cardigan that had been buttoned up to the neck all day had been shrugged off to reveal a slinky salmon pink camisole which nicely showed off the remnants of the tan she had recently acquired on holiday with her husband. Although marriage meant she was a firmly one guy girl these days, it was nonetheless satisfying to know that the wedding ring hadn’t rendered her completely invisible to the opposite sex, even if the only admiring glances she received came from a cluster of elderly locals who looked like they had been propping up the bar since long before she was born. Mike had never really minded her flirty ways; if anything he was worse, a real charmer once he had a few beers inside of him.

“Excuse me miss, are you Kate Scott?”

Kate looked up from her drink to face a tall, broad shouldered man with an unkempt beard; a bit scruffy looking for her tastes but probably nothing that couldn’t be sorted with a good haircut and shave. Kate’s initial thought was that her plunging neckline had finally worked its magic and caught the attention of someone under forty, but then it suddenly dawned on her that he had addressed her by name, strange given that she was sure that she’d never met him in her life.

“Do I know you?”

“I’m afraid not, but I’ve been asked to give you this package.” He placed a brown envelope on the table next to Kate’s drink. “I was just stopped outside by a woman who said that she needed to get this to you. She wouldn’t give me her name but she was probably eighteen, twenty at the most, short blonde hair, nice fitted red coat, good figure.”

“Whatever;” Kate replied, more interested in finding out the contents of the envelope than the method of its delivery. “So what is it?”

“Its a disc, a DVD I guess? She said to tell you to make sure that you’re sitting down when you look at it as it will change your life completely. She looked really on edge, as if she was desperate to get away as quickly as she could. Seemed a bit mental to me.”

“What the???” Kate snatched the envelope off the table and pulled out the contents; a clear plastic case containing an unlabelled silver disc. “I need to go find her. I don’t get it, who is she, what’s this big life changing message?”

Kate leapt to her feet and grabbed her cardigan, not bothering to bid farewell to the colleagues who were engrossed in their own conversations about the latest office gossip and oblivious to the drama unfolding beside them.

“I wouldn’t bother if I were you;” replied the bearded stranger. “As soon as she’d given it to me she leapt in her car and drove off. A silver hatchback it was, not sure what make. Anyway Kate Scott, do you fancy a drink?”

Without replying Kate pushed past him and ran out onto the street. November rain was hammering down and there was no sign of anyone, let alone the girl in the red coat. She glanced back through the door of the pub and could see that the man who had handed me the envelope was now imposing his questionable charms on her line manager. Holding the envelope above her head she ran around the corner to the taxi rank where she was fortunately able to leap straight into the dry comfort of a cab.

As the taxi wound through the town centre the words of the man in the pub spun around Kate’s head – ‘Make sure you’re sitting down when you look at it, it will change your life completely’. Thinking about this statement made her feel very nervous indeed; who was this woman to turn up and rock her previously comfortable world? Her thoughts quickly turned to Mike, Mike who worked in a trendy advertising agency surrounded by young, attractive girls, the kind of pert figured girls who could effortlessly rock an edgy blonde haircut and red coat, girls a world away from a thirty something wife kidding herself that she’s still got it just because she can wear a low cut top in public. She’d met some of the women that Mike worked with and imagined that they would grab male attention even if they were trussed up in a hessian sack. What if the red coat girl had been spurned by Mike and was now determined to make his life a misery somehow? Or maybe, even worse, he hadn’t spurned her at all and the disc contained evidence of an affair? Kate imagined sliding the disc into her laptop and being greeted with images of Mike and the mysterious woman in compromising positions. He’d cheated on her before, almost a decade ago, but at the time they had only been going out for a few months and she’d managed to bring herself to forgive him when he confessed the truth in a sobbing declaration that the guilt had been tearing him apart, that he’d never loved a woman before but had come to realise that she was the one he wanted to spend his life with – oh, and by the way would she marry him? She’d believed him at the time but now, in the face of the unknown, wondered whether she’d been right to put my trust in him given his chequered history. Amazing how thoughts of gowns and veils and fairy tales could warp the most rational of minds...

“Here you go love, that’ll be nine pounds twenty.”

Out of the window of the taxi Kate could see the light on in the living room; Mike was home and probably curled on the sofa next to the dog with a bottle of wine chilling in anticipation of her arrival. She looked down at the envelope on the seat beside her, then up again at the house, before slipping the envelope onto the floor of the taxi. As she stepped out of the cab she made sure that she speared the envelope with the heel of her stiletto, breathing a deep sigh of relief as she felt the satisfying crack of the CD. She didn’t want her life to be changed at all; she was perfectly happy with things as they were, thank you very much.


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