It’s been a while since I posted one of my little stories on here, so here’s one I wrote at Meltham Writers on Thursday (from a writing prompt in a book). Hope you like it.
It appeared to be a day like any other. The kids were at school, Brandon was at work. It was a Friday afternoon in July and the weather looked set for the weekend. There were cakes to be baked and all was well with the world.
Candice had just put the tray of cakes in the oven when the doorbell rang. She was puzzled to see a courier holding a large rectangular parcel. She wasn’t expecting anything, and it wasn’t anyone’s birthday. What on earth could it be?
“Sign here, please,” said the bored-looking, bearded man. How many deliveries had he made today? Candice did so and took the package into the kitchen. It was not only large, it was heavy, and very thoroughly trussed up with tape. It took three minutes’ effort and a big pair of scissors finally to get it open. The package contained a large brown bag and a letter, which Candice picked up and examined.
“What the …?” The letter was in a strange alphabet – probably Russian or something. It must have been sent here by mistake. But as she continued to stare at it, Candice began to realise she could read every word. A valve opened somewhere inside her and information long buried and forgotten began to flood out.
She was not Candice McLuskey. She was Irina Simonova and she had been sent here for a purpose, fourteen years ago. That purpose was now spelled out in the letter that lay before her eyes. It was terse, impersonal. There was a day, a time, a location and a name. That was all, apart from the words “Memorise, then burn this letter.” She turned on a gas ring and watched the paper sheet glow and disintegrate in the flame.
She opened the bag. It contained clothes, a small toiletry bag and an envelope containing ID, a photo of the man named in the letter, a map, an air ticket and 1500 dollars. And two smooth, streamlined black objects of metal and plastic. Without any thought, she fitted them together. How long was it since she had fired one of these? So different from the wooden-stocked deer hunting rifles Candice was used to. But to Irina, it was like the return of an old friend. She caressed it, scrutinised it, held it up to her eye line and squinted down the scope. Then she took it apart and returned it to the bag.
Irina removed her clothes, putting them in the waste bin, and replaced them with the ones from the duffel bag. A little tight round the waist – the downside of Candice’s cake habit – but an acceptable fit. She slung the duffel bag around her shoulder and walked to the door.
“Are you crazy?” screamed Candice. “You’re going to walk out on your husband, leave Madison and Luke without a mother, just like that?” Your life is here now. Don’t do this!”
But Candice had only ever been an illusion – to herself as much as to those who thought they knew her. She had seemed to fall to the floor with those old clothes. The voice faded away. She was Irina, and she knew what she had to do. There was a tinge of regret, but she said to her old self, “Brandon is a good man. He will bring them up well.”
She opened the door and walked through it, leaving it unlocked. Behind her, in the oven, twelve cakes slowly turned to charcoal.