This is an excerpt from Chapter Forty-OneA Secret Place – 2002
As the evening grew darker Gina took Caroline’s hand and led her further down the valley towards a grove of olive trees. Gina told Caroline she had a secret place where she spent many peaceful hours. It was there she found a deep pit covered with wooden planks hidden in the undergrowth. Caroline was intrigued so came prepared with a rope.
“See here, Caroline, here is the pit as I told you. The wooden lid is held down with a large boulder. Why would someone do such a thing? It could only be a water well, don’t you think?”
“I’m not really sure but whatever the reason, I am curious to see.”
“It may not be safe shouldn’t we ask the archeological dig people to look?”
“If I find some precious artifact or relic I will certainly get James over here. Now don’t worry I will be careful.”
With one end of the rope tied to a sturdy olive tree Caroline’s excitement grows. She holds a lantern over the void, before lowering herself down slowly. Gina watches as Caroline gradually disappears into the inky blackness.
The lantern hanging off her belt Caroline’s descent was slow but gradual and her eyes could pick out roots and rocks jutting out of the pit walls. Eventually she felt her feet touch ground and called up to Gina.
“I’m at the bottom now.”
“Be careful, is there no water? You don’t know what’s down there.”
Peering through the gloom Caroline suddenly gave out a cry making Gina jump and call down to her.
“Are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine but I’ve found a skeleton!”
Both girls exclaimed at once “Who could it be?”
“I have no idea but I’m guessing this well has been dry for quite some time.”
Caroline knew she would have to get the Professor down the well with proper equipment; it could be a wonderful discovery. For now she needed to make sure she didn’t disturb anything and made her way back up.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce Absolutely loved this book! Great characters, story, tension, discovery and the power of finding your true self. The descriptions transported you to the locations. I thoroughly recommend it.
My next read is Saying Goodbye is Easy – A Life in Short Stories by Kathie Sutherland.
What are you currently reading? What was your last review?
Although the six week writing course has ended, I still have a couple of stories to share. Using one sense, primarily, we had to write a short story using three images. This story is taste! I hope you enjoy it.
Vomit and Chewing Tobacco – TASTE
It’s a normal Sunday afternoon for me, sitting in the far corner of the launderette, people watching. Harried women with pesky children, older men or couples, and the singles file in and out, filling and emptying the machines in a robotic manner. Eyes are avoided, conversations whispered, distance kept. They are in close proximity within this humid box but worlds apart. Everyone is watchful of a cycle ending and a chance to grab a dryer. Children given candy to keep quiet but the treats, explode their sugary high, amplifying the agitation and boredom. Bundles of multi-coloured fabric stained, torn and discoloured enter the cylinders accompanied by the granular soap powder or brightly coloured tabs. The dispersed powder hovers in the air, you inhale its bitterness. A child takes a tab and pops it in his mouth, mistaking it for a candy. A mother distracted, until he presents a foaming mouth and the pallor of sickness. A spew of vomit gushes forth, its soapy, sugary and bile contents assaulting the child’s taste buds and the nostrils of everyone in the enclosed space.
An urgent plea for water to wash his mouth out, a dirty t-shirt used to mop up the child’s spilled stomach contents. Taste receptors react to the inhaled odour forcing some to exit the launderette before retching themselves. I place a handkerchief across my mouth, scented with lavender. A trick my grandmother taught me as we walked the old canal path many years ago. The putrid rotting debris small permeated the air and stuck in the back of your throat. I turn slightly to one side to check the VCR is still recording. The little red lights flashes on and off. This event will make a great scene in my next book.
I look up to see a Stetson wearing middle aged man enter, he looks around the crowded room with dismay. He is carrying a large black bin liner in one hand and a cell phone in the other. His black and white shoes are stylish and slick. His mouth is in constant motion, chewing on something. Is it gum?He doesn’t seem the type. He walks to the garbage bin and spits a brown substance. Is that chewing tobacco? I didn’t think people did that anymore. This is too good a chance for research; I have to talk to him. Turning the VCR slightly, I amble towards him, fashioning a half smile.
“May I help you, Sir?”
He looks at my grey tinged coat, which used to be white and the name tag.
“I haven’t done this before, how does this work?”
“I’m happy to help, follow me.”
I take him to the farthest end of the launderette and open a machine, instructing him to put his clothes in the cylinder. Then continue to show him the process. I can smell the tobacco on his breath, his clothes, and his hair. It invades my senses, hanging at the back of my throat. It is a combination of nicotine and surprisingly mint. He smacks his lips and a brown glob rests on his lip. I stare, he smiles.
“Care for some?”
“No, thank you but can you tell me how chewing tobacco tastes?”
“Well, firstly, I’m using dipping tobacco, most people don’t know that. As for this one I’m chewing, it has mint in it but others have fruit flavours and the like. It has a taste of its own, sort of a mixture of what a cigarette smells like, and some have a chemical after taste and others a natural one but with a burning sensation where you place it. It makes a tobacco juice inside your mouth.”
“Well, that is interesting. Thank you for explaining it to me.”
“Thank you for helping me with this. Not something I ever do but my assistant went down with the flu so here I am.”
“You have an assistant?”
He leans down to lower his voice.
“Sure, I’m on tour and living on the road means usual stuff like laundry has to be done at places like this. Sally, bless her, normally takes care of everything for me.”
“May I ask what you do on tour?”
“Sure, I’m a country singer, not a real famous one but I make do. We’re just passing through to the city for a show. I can give you a ticket if you want in exchange for your help.”
“That’s very kind, I would like that.”
I hold out my hand to shake his and he places two tickets in my palm.
“Oh, I won’t need two, one is enough.”
“No sweetheart to bring with you, eh?”
“No, it will only be me.”
“Okay then. See you tomorrow night. Use this slip for a VIP pass.”
At home that evening, I review the tape. It captured the child vomiting and the country singer’s entrance and spitting. Both events will make for great additions in my current novel.
In other news I have gained a freelance client and will be ghost writing a business book for them. It is always exciting to start a new project.
Let me know what you think of the story and also what book(s) you are reading. Remember to always leave a review.
I am honoured and thrilled (excuse the pun!) to be included in this celebration of women’s lives. We all have such varied experiences, but share so much at the same time. I wrote about my thrill of sensation, something that remains with me even today. And yes, given the change I will sit on a swing to enjoy the pendulum sensation.
As usual King delivers captivating stories. I loved the author notes are the back as he described how the story ideas formed. This is such an enlightening tool for any writer to see how a well established author comes up with their ideas. Each story weaves a spell as only King can. Highly recommended to all readers, its not ‘horror’
My current book is Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay – it gripped from the first page.
On Sunday, I was delighted to be a guest of Mike Deregowski on The Writers Block at Sound Sugar Radio. I talked about my writing process, my previous published books and then shared an excerpt from my upcoming steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift.
It was a fun interview and I hope you enjoy listening to it.
As Sunday was also National Read a Book Day, I did indulge in reading too. What did you read?
HOW TO OBSERVE #ReadABookDay
Sit back, relax and read a book. Whether you prefer to escape into the world of fiction or learn something new, celebrate with your favorite books. Visit the library or the local book store. Pick up a new book or read an old favorite. Explore the past in history books and memoirs or dive into the mean of terrific poetry. Read aloud to a child or give them a new book. Share the stories you’re reading using #ReadABookDay to post on social media.
Happy reading and remember to leave a review – an author will love you for that.
Once we leave the education system, our reading choices change. Free from scheduled literature, some we had no interest in reading in the first place, our choices expand. Depending on our own particular favored genre, we pick books for a variety of reasons. However, have you read any of the classics?
The following list is for the 20th century, but of course there are many other books that have been hailed as excellent over the decades.