Monday June 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: grim tidings.

Spent most of the day picking strawberries. There were not a whole lot out there, but we have what we need for our boxes tomorrow and enough leftover for freezing and making jam for ourselves.

Looking forward to our first box program day of the year, while also hoping that we're not forgetting anything important or run short of any produce we're planning on including.


The day dawned like any other, with the sun peering over the eastern horizon and the livestock in the yard coming noisily to life. Nelson swung his legs off the right side of his bed, his left foot landing in a slipper while his right touched down on cold floorboards.

It didn't seem to matter how he adjusted their positions when he went to bed, one slipper always managed to evade his toes in the morning.

He moved stiffly through the house until he arrived in the kitchen. Once a pot of porridge was heating on the stove he bent over the sink and splashed running water on his face until he had cleared away most of the cobwebs from inside his head.

The coffee would take care of those that remained.

Straightening, Nelson looked into his front yard while blinking his vision clear. Truthfully, he saw it immediately. But he did not trust his eyes, or did not want to believe them. And so he did not react until the water had dried, once there could be no denying the reality of what had been left under the cover of darkness.

A dead body propped up against his front gate was not the way he had intended to begin his day.


Greg said...

I hope the box-program gets off to a good start! And I hope we get pictures of the freshly-bottled jam too; strawberries have such a wonderful colour in glass :)
Poor Nelson, that's quite a way to be thrust into the day before either the porridge or the coffee are ready! At least the body's up against the gate and not the door :) I do like your eye for detail in these stories too.

Grim tidings
Once a month there's a spring tide, and about a week later there's a neap tide. Jacomo was familiar with them and planned around them. Often at the neap tide he wouldn't go out in the boat at all but spend the day repairing sails, nets, ropes, planks, or portholes; or he'd clean and polish, or polish and clean... the list of tasks were never-ending. Sometimes his daughter, a grown woman married to an undertaker and on her third child already would take him to task over what she called 'messing around on boats', but he let her words wash over him like a summer's wave on a calm day.
A week after neap tide her husband would come to see him though, and they'd wait until nearly sunset and then take the boat out to catch the grim tide. It chilled Jacomo far more than the winter rains or the storm's bluster to see the grey ghosts drifting across the waves under the moon's sickly yellowish light. While his son-in-law gritted his teeth and hauled in a grisly cargo of lost souls and vagrant spirits Jacomo looked on. The ghosts wore expressions of sorrow, suffering and desperation, and their immaterial hands clutched desperately at the living men, seeking any shred of warmth that might be available.
Only when the grim tide turned again could they turn the boat back and head to shore.

morganna said...

The detective was baffled. He had traced Emily to the Irish ferry, but no one had seen her after disembarking. She seemed to have vanished into Ireland. The body of James Wilkes had been buried in the pauper's cemetery after his family could not be traced. And Christopher Harrison, usually known as Chris, was nowhere to be found, alive or dead.

He sighed and stretched out his legs at his desk. It had been a long day, chasing after people who disappeared just as you thought you would lay a hand on them.

He sat up quickly as his door opened. A young man came slowly and hesitantly into the room.

"Detective Wilkes?" he asked.

"Yes, that's me."

"I know where you can find Chris."

Marc said...

Greg - I will try to remember to get some jam pictures for you. And yes, against the door would have been much, much worse (I shall have to remember that!).

Some fantastic descriptions here. Particularly the undertaker's work on the boat. It all just really captures my imagination... as though I had the time to continue it.

I think, instead, I shall just pester you to expand it :D

Morganna - good to see the Emily entries continuing! Such a complex and deep world you've created, and I enjoy each visit to it :)