Multiple Word Prompt Story – The Good Life

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/debilitate/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/rdp-64-novel/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/three-things-challenge-03-august-2018/

Today’s things are: brownie, spatula, drama

The Good Life

As he entered the front door his sense of smell was attacked by the aroma of baking chocolate. Even before opening the kitchen door, his mouth was salivating.

This was quite a novel experience. Both his wife and he had worked in a big accountancy firm until quite recently when his wife announced she couldn’t stand it any longer and resigned. They had paid off the mortgage last year and as she argued, they didn’t need two incomes coming in to support their lifestyle anymore. Both their kids had grown up and had independent lives of their own now.

Why shouldn’t his wife give up work if she wanted to? The fact that she was in a senior position and so would lose out on the larger of the two incomes did not really worry him at all. He was only five years away from retirement anyway.

His wife had normally got in later than he did and it had routinely been his job, being the first one home, to sort out something for dinner, usually something simple like pasta.

To arrive home to find his wife had been baking was a new experience and he rather liked it.

He entered the kitchen to find his wife waving a spatula around in an agitated manner, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture was playing on the radio and she was conducting to the music.

“Hi Love, what’s that you’re baking?”

“Oh, I didn’t hear you come in” she replied, spinning around and looking a bit embarrassed.

I went over and gave her a big hug and a sloppy kiss.

“What are you baking?” I asked again.

“I decided to make some brownies. I am also making Chicken avec Champignon a la grecque.”

“Sounds lovely. You’re obviously thriving if you have the energy to do some baking. I can’t remember the last time you did some baking.”

“Don’t you remember, it was twelve years ago when you threw my cakes at the neighbours cat who was digging up your begonias. I swore I’d never bake anything again.”

“I remember you made such a drama about it. Well they were rock cakes and you seemed to take the name literally. It stopped the cat too. Not that I aimed at it, I only aimed near it to scare it away.”

“If the neighbours had known what you did to their Fluffikins, they wouldn’t have got us that bottle of champagne for Christmas.”

“Well what the eyes don’t see the heart can’t cry over” I responded sagely.

“That’s good. You could put that in a book” She said tartly “Now get changed, your dinner will be ready in twenty minutes. Perhaps you’ll choose a bottle of wine?”

This was turning out to be a great day. Nothing was more likely to debilitate me than coming home after an hour spent in rush hour traffic.

Life felt so good. Only winning the lottery could make this moment feel better.

The End

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 03/August/2018

Happy Families – Finale

On Sunday I wrote a short story about the discovery of a secret from the past. This was the story:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/a-multi-prompt-short-story-happy-families/

and this is part two:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/happy-families-part-two/

This is the final part:

 

I flicked through that infernal diary.

No, no mention of her wedding, but I stopped at another entry.

January 7th, 1918

Edgar and Theodore have enlisted. Emma and I both cried and begged them not to go. They looked so solemn. They had to go, they said. Foolish Pride! We had had such a lovely Christmas together, just the four of us and then they had to spoil it but joining the army. The war has been going on in Europe for some time, but America only joined in last year. I never knew why they did. What do we care about Europe?

Flick, flick.

November 15th, 1918

The war has ended. Finally, we have heard that Theodore and Edgar are coming home. They were both injured in battle and have been recovering at a Hospital in London but they should be home soon. Neither of them wrote about their injuries at all.

Emma and I have been getting on fine, keeping house together. We haven’t had an argument or a fight once.

This should be the best Thanksgiving ever.

 

November 22nd, 1918

Both Edgar and Theodore are different now. The war has made them withdrawn. I can understand why Edgar might have been affected by it, he’s lost and eye. Theodore doesn’t seem much damaged, he’s walking awkwardly but I couldn’t detect any other sign of injury at all.

 

Flick

February 14th, 1919

After months of pain down below I finally went to see Doctor Chinnery. He told me what I had begun to fear. My womb is deformed and I will never be able to have children. He told me it was probably something that happened to me as a child. I suddenly remembered when Emma had pushed me out of that tree house all those years ago. It was all her fault. She told me about Theodore’s war injury the other night too. Apparently, he had been shot, in the groin. So at least Emma won’t be having any children either, I don’t think I could bear that!

 

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had gotten over how nasty and resentful Great Aunt Sally was coming across. She had always seemed such a sweet old lady, always handing out sweets to me and my brothers. Clearly, she had been quite different inside. The thing that had caused me to pause and reread that particular entry was the bit about not being able to have children. If neither of them could have children then how could my Mother have been born?

I thumbed my way past pages, ever forward, hoping to find some answers. I wish I had stopped there and not read further but I did.

It seemed that they lived together, in this house and been quite happy together. Even Great Aunt Sally’s rantings seemed to die down a bit. I skimmed over snippets of parties and gatherings, Christmases and thanksgivings. Great Grandmother had moved in and eventually died. The passing of years played out in monologue until I stopped at an entry that made me pause.

April 17th 1935

I had noticed something odd about Emma that was causing me to wonder. Since Christmas she seemed to be gaining a little weight around the middle. It was odd because we ate the same things. Neither of us had much of a sweet tooth. I noticed she had a kind of glow about her too. I challenged her about it and she admitted the truth. All those years stripped away and we were children screaming and shouting at each other, just like in that tree house. She told me she always knew I hated her and she hated me too. She admitted choosing Theodore because I had told her I loved him. Then she admitted that she and Edgar had been enjoying each other’s company. She was pregnant with Edgar’s child. I nearly killed her then. Only one thing stopped me. The thought of that little baby, that sweet innocent child. I decided that I would keep her secret for now. For the baby’s sake.

 

Then the final entry.

 

August 19th, 1935

The baby was born. A beautiful baby girl, we’ll call her Alice. Emma had managed to convince Theodore that he was the father. As if he could be capable of it with his manhood all withered, but I suppose love will make you believe anything. Edgar knew, of course, but he was keeping himself well out of it. I moved out of our double bedroom to that room at the end of the landing. I couldn’t sleep with him any longer knowing what he’d done. What Emma had made him do. Now the baby had been born safe, I didn’t wait another minute before I went and told Theodore the truth. He hadn’t wanted to believe me at first. Then he looked at me with dead eyes. How much he had changed from that handsome, blue eyed young man he’d been. The War had started it, but I had just finished it. He was dead on the inside now. Edgar was out in the barn chopping logs, making himself scarce. Theodore stood up and walked out of the house. I saw him through the window, go into the barn. I heard the gunshot too.

I went back upstairs to Emma. She was still sleeping softly. She’d had a hard time of it, but I’d helped her through. She begged me that if anything should happen to her, if she died in childbirth, that I would bring up her little girl. Of course, I would. That was all part of the plan. It was easy in the end, so easy. She always kept that gold locket around her neck. A quick pull was all it took really.

It’s the end now. All that Love and Hate, all those years. We had hated each other but now I was free. I will bury her outside under that tree that Theodore planted not long after we all moved in. Theodore will help me. We’ll bury Edgar too. I’ll lock this book up in the box that my sister loved so much and I’ll put the key in the locket around her neck and bury it with her. No one will know, but just for myself, I had to explain, why I killed my Sister today. I hated her, that’s why.

 

I looked down at the book. I had never felt so chilled in all my life. The Summer’s heat, it was 100 Fahrenheit in the shade, failed to dispel the sudden cold. I shivered uncontrollably.

I remember Grandfather had been a quiet man who barely spoke. He’d died when I was six or seven. My Mother had met and married my Daddy at college and he’d moved in to the family homestead and had me and my brothers. I remember it had been a happy home then, happy families. Mother and Father, Father’s brother, Uncle Peter and his wife Auntie Annie and their sons, my cousins, Bobby and Elwood. My brothers Denny and Will, and of course Great Aunt Sally. She seemed to love all the children running around. How could a woman who had shown them so much love have had such potential for hate?  They’d all gone; moved away or passed over. Looking back, that game of happy families seemed so shallow and empty now.

Coming back suddenly to the present, I decided that it was best that this secret died. I didn’t want my brothers reading it, or their children.

I worked with a single-minded purpose that I’d always had. I didn’t have trouble finding wood to burn, or kindling. The dry summer had provided plenty. I built a huge pile of logs over that body and I didn’t let myself think about who it was anymore. I took out a match and lit the pile. It caught straight away, the fire raging through that tinder dry kindling. I then threw the leather-bound diary into the heart of the flames. It seemed to act like a solvent, making the fire explode. Sparks flew up and landed on the timber roof tiles of our family house. Within seconds the house was on fire.

For just a moment I stood there open-mouthed as the flames licked along the roof and down the clapperboard facias. I thought I caught a glimpse of an old lady at the upstairs window, peering out through the lace curtains. Could it be Great-Aunt Sally?

Then I came back to reality. My Mother was in the house. The house was on fire. Quickly I ran into the house and up the stairs. My Mother was still on her bed at the other end of the house. She coughed then and started to stir slightly as I picked her up. She was so frail that I didn’t have much difficulty in holding her up and moving her towards the stairs. The smoke was building up now. I grabbed my handkerchief and put it over my mouth and managed to half-drag my mother down the stairs and out of the front door.

We both lay on the dry grass and watched as the family house burned. I hoped to God that the past would burn with it.

The End.

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/July/2018

Word of the Day: Potential

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/potential/

FOWC with Fandango — Present

Happy Families – Part two

Yesterday I wrote a short story about the discovery of a secret from the past. This was the story:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/a-multi-prompt-short-story-happy-families/

 

This is part two.

 

My poor mother was clearly in no fit state to deal with the issues that had suddenly been dumped upon her. The storm knocking over Grandfather’s tree and exposing a body. The locket containing a key to a box kept locked for who knows how many years. Then finally the revelation of Great Aunt Sally’s diary. It had all been too much for Mother and she descended into tears.

I did the best thing I could do. I helped her into her bedroom, made her drink a glass of water containing her sleeping powders and put her to bed. I sat with her until her chest rose and fell in that steady rhythm of deep sleep. Her body looked so gaunt and frail. She had never been a big eater and living on her own, she clearly hadn’t been eating enough to keep her strength up. Any strength she’d had noticeably ebbed away with the shock of recent events. Her pale hair hung in wispy tendrils around her softly lined face. Her eyes were sunken. She looked more like an eighty-year-old rather than a woman in her sixties. In fact, she reminded me of Great Aunt Sally herself, who’d been eight-eight when she passed. The memory of her, reminded me of that leather-bound book I’d left in her old bedroom.

I walked slowly back down the landing to Great Aunt Sally’s bedroom and sat down upon the bed. A musty smell surrounded me as I sank into that old feather mattress. I picked up the diary. Dare I read this, knowing that it will bring me face to face with some dreadful reality? I knew I had to read on, no matter how dark the journey will be. This was a part of my family history. I prepared myself to amble through the past.

The book fell open at the front page, scrawled with those terrible words my Great Aunt had written ‘Why I killed my Sister today.’

It was clear that these words had been written in some time after the first entry below. Although it was the same hand, the fateful words had been written in a shakier less steady hand but was in clearer ink. The entries below appeared to have been written many years early. The ink was faded and it looked like it had been written in one of those scratchy old-fashioned pens.

The first date was December 25th, 1910.

I received this diary for Christmas and this is my first entry. Emma and I were so excited when we discovered Santa Claus had been. Both our stockings that we’d hung at the bottom of our bed were bulging, but Emma’s seemed to be more so than mine. I was pleased with my Christmas Orange and the walnuts. I had four but I think Emma had six walnuts but she hid two and said she’d only had four like me. We both had gifts wrapped in brightly colour paper and string. Emma’s was bigger than mine, as usual.

Well no surprise that my present was this diary, and I am quite pleased with it, but Emma’s present was much nicer. It was a wooden box carved with animals and the wood smelled so nice. I wish I had that box instead. Emma always gets the best. Just because she’s the elder by ten minutes and she has dimples and I don’t. I hate being a twin. Mother said it’s special being a twin because you always have a friend to play with, but I hate it, hate it, HATE IT.

January 30th, 1910

I am recovering in the infirmary because I fell out of our tree house. They were worried I may have been killed. I remember we were playing, Emma and I, but then as so often happened, she said something spiteful so I slapped her and we ended up fighting again. People may have thought it was an accident, but I know better. Emma pushed me. I heard the doctor talking to Mother, I have broken my legs but they will heal but the doctor said I had internal bleeding of the uterus and as such I may have issues in the future. I can’t say I understand much of the words he used but It sounds impressive. Mother came and sat with me and made a lot of fuss over me. It makes a change from Emma getting all the attention.

I flicked over some of the pages. The childish outbursts and pettiness irritated me. I hadn’t known Great Aunt Sally and my Grandmother had been twins, but I had never known my Grandmother at all. It was clear that not every day had an entry, or every week. Sometimes weeks would pass before something was recorded. As I skimmed over a couple of pages, this resulted in travelling through time by a few years, then another entry caught my eye.

August 21st, 1915.

Our first ball. When Mother had said it was time for us to attend our first summer party I was thrilled and so was Emma. We seem to have been getting on better lately and I must admit it is nice to have someone to talk to and share secrets with. Emma always seems to know just what I’m thinking. We have had new dresses made, in a light frothy lacy material. Mine has green trim around the neck, waist and hem whereas Emma’s dress has red ribbons. As we entered the room people stopped and stared at us. I must admit we looked lovely with our long hair neatly curled into ringlets. I couldn’t help but overhear Mrs Paxton say “Don’t they look adorable” as we walked past. Then spiteful Cathy Anderson said “Emma does, I don’t think green suits Sally at all.”

I would have said something back to her, Cathy with her terrible complexion! The Gall of it, but then I saw them. Theodore and Edgar Taylor. They are twins too! They are visiting from Carolina and we spent most of the evening talking together. What gentlemen and what lovely dancers.

August, 25th 1915

I have lost my heart completely. Theodore Taylor is the most handsome man I have ever met. Of course, his brother Edgar is nice too, but Theodore’s eyes are bluer and he is just a bit taller, I think.

September, 3rd 1915

The most horrible thing has happened. Theodore has asked Emma to marry him. Doesn’t he know I adore him? It was all Emma’s doing. She knew I loved him. Why did I tell her? Why? She set out to deliberately steal him from me. I will never forgive her, never, never, never.

June 2nd 1916

So today was Emma’s wedding to Theodore. I didn’t want to go, but Emma begged me to be her bridesmaid. She even shed tears. She could always turn on those tears when she wanted something. I relented in the end. I felt cold inside watching Emma walking down the aisle and Theodore standing there waiting for her. It should have been ME.

Something, at least, has come out of today. Edgar proposed to me. I was sitting outside the church and I couldn’t help shedding a little tear as Emma and my Theodore rode off in that carriage. Edgar thought I was sad to see Emma go, bless him. He actually got down on bended knee and proposed. I said I would have to think about it.

I don’t love him, but I think I will accept. He and Theodore are very close. Much closer that Emma and I will ever be.

I thought it odd that there was no mention of her own wedding day, I skimmed over the pages but I could see no mention of it whatsoever.

 

To be Continued……..

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 16/July/2018

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/rdp-46-open/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/amble/

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/your-daily-word-prompt-noticeably-july-16th-2018/

FOWC with Fandango — Memory