RoYds Part 22 - Gloved Hand

December 1945

The view of the moors from the window was amazing! How nature had managed to squeeze so much breathtaking beauty into one place was unfathomable. Anne breathed in the scene as she snuggled into the window seat and tucked her legs beneath her.


Normally, she would have been taken by the various green depths of the trees and rushed away on the twinkling of the brook as it skipped over the pebbles and reed bed below. On this occasion, it was the ochre burn of the setting sun on the sky-scraping heather hills above that captured her attention.

She cast her gaze for a moment towards the figure lying face downwards on the white cotton sheets of the rumpled bed. A fit of nervous giggles almost possessed her as the broad masculine form shifted and then slumbered on like a furless bear rug.

“What are you thinking?” It was more of an accusation than a question.

Anne focused her mind on composing her answer and smiled with a confidence she did not own. “I was just thinking how lucky I am to be here with you and have you safely back home.”

He reached over and lit himself a cigarette, pinching it to his mouth with his cupped hand as if the world was about to take it from him.

An explosive silence prowled the outskirts of the room and Anne watched as his mind struggled to digest her answer. She prayed inwardly that the old Billy would win. The prayers went unanswered.

“How many men have you been with while I was banged up in that hell hole?”

The menacing calmness with which he asked the question ignited a welcome beacon to the sinister shadows lurking in the dark corners of the bedroom. She considered rising and walking towards him and then decided to remain where she was. The world outside the window was within her reach as long as she held on tightly enough.

“I haven’t been with anyone else, Billy. You know that, don’t you? There’s only ever been you for me and that’s how it always will be.”

She leaned over and patted the paisley patterned cushion beside her. “Please come over here and join me.” All her energies were concentrated in making her request a warm invitation rather than the demand she knew he might perceive it to be.

Eventually, he broke and snuffed both the cigarette and silence out. “Can’t tell you how much I’ve missed that view. I remember me Ma telling me once that you could get lost in time on the moors. When she were a lass, a young ‘un went missing and turned up twenty years later without ageing a day!”

The shadows receding again, Billy arrived on the seat beside her. Anne wrapped her arms around him and kissed him joyfully on the lips.

“I love you, Billy!” she cheerfully announced to the room.

“Aye... I love you an’ all that.”

Anne held him close as she stared over the expanse of his shoulders and into what little future they had left.

***

So much had changed over the past few months that Anne had no idea where or how to start. Christmas had never looked bleaker. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to turn and she knew that they could not stay here forever. It had been kind of her aunt and uncle to take them in but they needed to find a place of their own.

Tears pricked her eyes and to avoid them she turned her attention back to the young priest sipping his tea opposite. She stifled a giggle. The situation was so bloody desperate it was almost laughable. She wanted to scream out, "Oh yes Father – you can help all right! You can start by telling all those sanctimonious swine who call themselves good Catholics to stop blanking us and judging our children! You can tell them to help in finding us somewhere to live rather than refusing to rent us a house! You can tell them to go to hell!”

Instead, aware of the fact that Father Bailey was a good, kind man and a true Christian who did not deserve her bile, she swallowed the words and her bitterness with a mouthful of tea. He was no more responsible for the actions of a few of his parishioners than she was for those of her husband and father.

“So, Anne, the Church and myself are here for you whenever you need us. I will keep my eyes and ears open and let you know if I hear of anyone who has a few rooms spare. I am sure we will be able to sort something out. Now, work for Billy could be a problem but I am sure something will turn up.”

“If not, I should be able to find work,” she managed to say with a smile.

A short while later, a continuous blanket of snow was falling as Anne showed Father Bailey out of the small terraced house and watched him walk away down Market Street. The oldest three of her children were huddled together on a patch of spare ground some distance away from a much larger group of rough looking and sparsely clad children who were building a snowman. Anne assumed that as usual they had not been invited to join in.

Gathering together a handful of snow that had fallen on the window ledge she moulded it into a snowball and threw it in the direction of her children and shouted, “Give me five minutes to get ready and I’ll join you for a snowball fight!” Her heart soared as she listened to their delighted screams; it felt good to learn she still had a heart, no matter how broken and bruised she felt.

“Mrs Lawrence?”

Anne turned to face a lady she assumed to be in her thirties and who was dressed head to toe in grey. She wondered how on earth she had failed to notice her when Father Bailey left.

“Yes?”

The lady extended a gloved hand. “Mabel. I am an associate of Mr Birch, the gentleman who represented your husband at his trial.”

“Oh! Yes...” Anne wiped her damp hand on the fabric of her tweed skirt and reached for the one that had been offered to her.

“Do you mind if I come in for a minute? I won’t keep you long. Only, Mr Birch asked me to call and advise that there is a situation vacant within our organisation which may suit Mr Lawrence. It offers the benefit of living accommodation and he...”

Anne interrupted, “A position with rooms?”

“Yes,” Mabel smiled encouragingly. “Mr Birch wondered if Mr Lawrence might be interested?”

“What kind of a situation?” Anne asked suspiciously.

“General office duties. A few telephone calls, greeting and meeting people – that sort of thing.”

Anne’s heart grew heavier. "I’m afraid Billy has no training in that area. Why would Mr Birch think that he did?”

“Well,” replied Mabel. “There is no training, really, that would ready him for a position with RoYds – none other than life experience that is...”

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Soundtrack: James Morrison - You Make It Real

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5 Comments:
  • At 6 November 2009 at 06:38, Blogger Princess said…

    how you managed to think of four different timelines i would never know, i could imagine the visuals clearly that clear is your narration. waiting for the next episode..

     
  • At 6 November 2009 at 17:49, Blogger Vesper said…

    Are you describing the landscape where you live? I'm under that impression... Anyway, it's breathtakingly beautiful...

    Anne held him close as she stared over the expanse of his shoulders and into what little future they had left. Hmmm, how foreboding this is...

     
  • At 6 November 2009 at 18:16, Anonymous Miladysa said…

    Princess - I LOVE that you are reading this! Thank you for all your wonderful comments :)


    Vesper - YES! All the locatiions exist. I'm like a 'locations vampire' - I suck the atmosphere in & write :)

    Btw, there are location photographs and video on the facebook page - the link is in the sidebar if you ever have the time to visit.

     
  • At 7 November 2009 at 21:56, Blogger Melissa said…

    Love it!! Such fantastic descriptions! That first scene is so tense -- you capture it with this line: "She prayed inwardly that the old Billy would win." My heart breaks for both of them. And I love Father Bailey in the second scene -- reminds me of some of the kind priests from my childhood. I can see my Nana in Anne so much -- with her love of her children and her perseverance. And hooray for Mabel and the job offer at RoYds -- I felt Anne's relief. (and I want to work and live at RoYds, lol)

     
  • At 8 November 2009 at 00:26, Blogger Miladysa said…

    "I want to work and live at RoYds"

    LOL Your comments always make me feel really chuffed and when I read something like the quote above I feel like I've really achieved something - thank you x

     

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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever

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