The sparkling motorcoach leaves the lot and turns towards the passenger terminal. It arrived late, they were short-staffed and had to clean up the inbound passengers’ mess in record time.
She feels a spark of satisfaction over achieving the almost impossible.
It doesn’t last long – as the vehicle vanishes from view, she wonders how many minutes until another piece of gum is discarded in between its seats, until a spill of soda makes the floor sticky again and until someone misses the mark on the toilet.
Cleaning busses ain’t pushing a rock up a hill, but it ain’t far off.
Her shoes make a sound like a pony cantering over the cobbles. She ducks behind one of the arches, takes off the shoes – she mustn’t attract attention.
They’ll notice she’s gone soon. The one who came to fetch the American girl said they’d keep her for last because she’s a nice white girl – their ace. She likes the American girl, she’ll fetch help.
Someone gets in her way. She can’t avoid bumping into the person, but it seems she wants to be bumped into. She’s wearing uniform. Police. Help.
‘Qu’est-ce qu’il y a, ma petite?’
‘I don’t understand,’ she howls.
I’m sort of Friday Fictioneering, but not really because of the reliable internet connection thing (yes, still going on, that…). I won’t add my story to the link-up because it wouldn’t be fair for others to come and read my story when I can’t go and read theirs. I love Sandra’s photo, though – I had to use it.
Note to self: No more peas for dinner when Ollie’s friends join us. Who knew peas make irresistible ammunition? Between them, they’ve eaten fewer peas than they’ve shot across the table – and I’ve served them with ketchup.
Jack has been picked up, but Leo’s mum texted – she’s stuck in traffic after picking up Belle from ballet. The good news is, Ollie’s tired himself out. Bedtime might not turn into a struggle for a change.
Keep going, Em. You’re almost through the tunnel, and at the end, there’s a light: a glass of Shiraz and extra dark chocolate.
‘Look at their colour, must mean they’re ready for harvest. And we’d better get them into the barn before the rain.’
‘You reckon rain’ll do damage? They should be able to withstand it – they grew, after all.’
‘Haven’t you heard what happened at Kev’s scrap yard? He left his out. They rusted away in no time flat. They grow, but once they’re above ground, they become surprisingly delicate. Wouldn’t want to risk damaging them.’
’S’pose you have a point.’
‘Yep. Also, with Kev losing his, we’re the only yard with fully grown wild cars.’
Tina comes to the park because she doesn’t want to hear the sea. She thought if you respected it, it’d respect you back. The sea used to be home. But when they climbed out of the sub, barely alive, she was set adrift without a compass.
She watches dew pearl off a leaf. Maybe she should retrain as a landscape gardener. She loves fresh air. How could she forget that? Was the accident the sea’s way of telling her that raiding wrecks for treasure is not respecting the sea?
Time to step ashore. Maybe not for good. But for now.
Hoth. That’s what I dress for. Going for a ride on my TaunTaun. I’m so far away from home, I might as well have gone to another planet.
There are no TaunTauns, actually. Walking is better for me, anyway, helps me keep warm. So do the layers I put on. First layer: thermal underwear. When I bought it en route, with money I should have handed over, the implications of my decision hit me. Bye, bye tropical paradise.
But where I come from, nobody dreams of running away to Fairbanks. I didn’t. They won’t come looking for me on Hoth.
Bad enough with the fire engine blocking the road, but it’s the parked cars that rile me most. Any excuse for not following the rules. I’d bet my savings there will be complaints to the council because I missed parts of the road. It’s that type of neighbourhood.
‘Dreadful, isn’t it?’ The woman’s standing on her doorstep, nursing a cup of tea.
‘Dreadful? Ain’t the word I’d use. How am I s’posed to sweep? And the soot. No picnic, cleaning soot.’
She gives me a funny look and goes inside – no doubt to watch my progress from behind her curtains.