This weeks Sunday Sit Down is a bit of a teaser. It is the beginning of a short story which is as yet unwritten. I found this piece after a frantic week of thinking my hard drive was busted and that my writing archives would be gone for good! Luckily for me, we have an awesome I.T. department in work and the wonderful Derek worked his magic and brought my hard drive back to life. Thank you Derek! You’ve kept Sunday Sit Down going for a little bit longer! I love the imaginary of the storm in this short introduction piece and I promise to finish this story and see where it takes young Alison.
~~~ By The Door ~~~
It was a brutal evening.
The rain hit the pavement at a velocity that had the smallest insects cowering for cover. The lightning lit up the vast expanse of the black sky, lighting up the houses and empty streets perched under the riotous storm. The wind howled through the cracks in the window frames and swept under every door frame of the silent dark houses. Only such a ferocious tempest could stop the town in the midst of the usual commotion. The storm happened upon the town for three days and most of the folk had not ventured outside their protective houses since.
Evergreen trees shook with the maddening breath of blustery weather, electricity poles lifted from the depths of the earth and not a soul was to be seen outside the protective confines of brick and mortar.
Except for him. She saw him before, that she was quite sure of, but were she could not remember. Alison stood at the back door of the house. She left the soft wooden door open a crack as she sneaked a cigarette behind her mother’s back. A cigarette she had ‘borrowed’ from her father.
“Mind, ya owe me one, ya hear?” He told her as he held the velvet shaft out to her. Slipping it graciously into her fingers she said he was a lifesaver.
At seventeen, she was already a veteran smoker. A habit she picked up by chance and a habit she convinced herself she enjoyed. The rattling storm had cut off all electricity and the family huddled around each other in the sitting room, with blankets, candles and cards for poker. They played for carrot chips as their mother was not a gambling woman. She was also not a smoker. Nor a drinker. Alison wondered how her father managed to get the chastity belt off of a woman who engaged in nothing sordid and out of practice. And then she remembered she was a devout Catholic and once married her duty was to reproduce. And reproduce she did.
Alison was the youngest of eight. Three girls and five boys. Three girls and five hell raisers. The five of which smoked, drank and gambled whatever was in their pockets or their shoes. Barely a year was between them all expect for Alison who held a righteous gap of two and half years from her brother George. The oldest was Michael who still lived at home as he helped their father on the farm. When really Alison knew it was because Mary Taylor had turned him down for marriage two years earlier. Something which he had yet to find time to get over.
The wind pushed hard against the door as she took drag after drag and feeling the warm fuzz of satisfaction in her belly. She wedged her feet between the door frame and the warping wood and noticed a light filter through the glass window of the door. And there he was. He stood at the edge of the woodland about twenty metres from her. She was transfixed as she watched his dark silhouette move in between the aspen trees. The small gas lamp he carried was enough for him to tediously make his way through the wood. He hung on to the edge of the woodland and stopped. She could have sworn he turned and looked straight at her but he could hardly see her in the darkness of the house. Even so she closed the door over far enough so that she could still watch him and remain inconspicuous.
Geraldine Walsh © Over Heaven’s Hill
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