Amy C at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie atTink’s Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate – you publish your Fiction Flash on Friday – 350 words, give or take. Below you can find the picture posted last Monday:
A nice spooky mansion…I decided to write a really short story, concerning the pic, and then continue Neelya’s story too. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Mrs. Bowden, as busy as usual, didn’t notice that letter at first. If you are a mother of five you might overlook many seemingly important things. Only when her daughter, Heather, started to sort the mail she saw the official manila envelope with a notary seal. Heather was disappointed by the lack of a nice stamp on it but Mrs. Bowden, intrigued, took the letter to her kitchen and examined carefully. It had her name and address on, no doubts here, but why a civil-law notary from a town which name she’d never heard before would write her a letter? How did he get her address?
She opened it, read it, reread it several times and gasped, still unsure about the content. In short the letter stated that her great-grandaunt, Lavinia Mary Honorata Smith, (huh?) who has just passed away, reaching the ripe old age of 107, decided in her last will to leave her, Emilly Marie Smith-Bowden, a house and a small sum of money, deposited in a bank some time ago. The picture of the house, a bit fuzzy and dark, evidently taken at night (why?), was very sensibly attached, along with the full address and the telephone number of the notary. The sender requested her to contact him within a week after receiving the letter.
According to the official description the house was a large, old mansion, with ten bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens (the second one being described as barely a kitchenette but still bigger than that at Mrs Bowden’s home), a basement and two garages. The building was in good condition, fit to live in immediately; the whole property- without any outstanding bills or debts. However, it was outdated. Looking at the photo Mrs. Bowden could certainly see why. The house looked simply weird, like something from a fairy tale, full of unexpected curves, turrets and balconies. Beggars are not choosers, though. Mrs. Bowden sighed. She has been cramped for space since she gave birth to her first twins, two boys, Tommy and Gordon, now both 12 and rather rowdy. With three more kids, which followed in quick succession, her lovely, little, three-bedroomed lodgings, bought right after her wedding, were way too small. Her husband started to stay at work after hours more and more often, officially to ‘earn enough to make the ends meet’, unofficially because he found his office much quieter and comfortable than his home. She understood him perfectly and even envied but she couldn’t indulge in similar luxury. She was a mother.
Now Mrs. Bowden was pregnant again. Her doctor told her that she is going to have another pair of twins, and it was like a thunderbolt. Her husband actually fainted hearing the news. Then they had a series of nasty rows, blaming each other for the pregnancy and harsh life. Mrs Bowden dreaded to think about future. A bigger house was something she has been dreaming of but never dared to mention. The mortgage on this one hasn’t been paid yet. Only a miracle could help her and this letter was as close to a mirracle as you could get. She decided to phone her husband and ask him to return home as soon as possible today. She could hardly wait.
Now a short installment of my usual : Neelya’s story part seven:
Neelya slept very badly. When she woke up, however, she noticed that it was already late morning. The sun was shining high and birds chirruping outside. She felt better. She got up, noticing at once some brown woolly clothes next to her bed along with a pair of leather shoes. She dressed and extended her hand to open the door when a ray of light reflected from the small mirror Zavi had left her yesterday. It reminded her that the door might be protected and she shouldn’t touch them. She sighed. Taking the mirror into her hand she brushed its silvery surface with her thumb and said his name. A face appeared immediately.
– Neelya? Good you remembered. Already dressed? Fine, wait a bit, I am coming.
She sat on her bed and closed her eyes. He didn’t need to come. After a while she heard the door creaked open but she didn’t feel like looking or moving at all.
– Did you sleep well?
– No, but it doesn’t matter.
– As soon as our escort arrives we will head to the Council Hall.
– How are you doing?
– Oh please, stop this small talk, you are useless at it. I am doing well taking into account the circumstances but I would like to think and concentrate a bit. Leave me alone.
– No problem. I am going downstairs. Keep your mirror close by, when everything is ready I will call you.
The door creaked again and Zavi left. She felt relief and started to think about the conversation she had the previous day with Ketino, the innkeeper. The woman was very friendly but she warned her in no uncertain terms against disobeying the Council. She also tried to warn her about many other things in Nar. It seemed this little, backwater country was really a dangerous place to live in but somehow Ketino herself had managed to survive so many years, even though she wasn’t gifted at all. Perhaps she was exaggerating the danger a bit to make her more compliant.
Her mirror gave a squeak and she heard Zavi’s voice calling her name. Time to go. It will be over soon, the sooner the better.
Neelya almost run downstairs. When she entered the dining room she was a bit flushed. Zavi stood next to a tall man covered with black cloak. ‘Another Black Brother,’ she thought. When Zavi saw her he said something to that man, touching his sleeve, and they both turned to greet her. She looked at her escort and she stopped breathing. Never in her life had she seen such a handsome masculine face before. With painfully regular, elegantly chiselled features, neither too soft nor too angular, a perfect ivory skin and beautiful, big green-blue eyes surrounded by extremely long, dark lashes, it was a face every girl would kill for. Neelya couldn’t stop looking at that wavy auburn hair, slightly aquiline nose and full, sensual, red lips, not knowing what admire more – the face or the body of its owner. Despite the large cloak it was obvious the man had broad, well-muscled chest and shoulders, long legs and a slim waist worth of a wrestler. Next to him Zavi, although undoubtedly handsome in a way, looked like an uncouth peasant.
– Neelya, this is our escort, Master Elrik, a Black Brother and my personal friend. Elrik, this is my new apprentice, formerly lady Neelya of Thavos the royal archer-guard.
– Nice to meet you, my lady. It’s my honour to accompany you today – said Elrik bowing slightly but not even trying to touch her. His voice was a bit low but very pleasing to the ear.
It took Neelya an eternity to answer, her eyes glued to his face:
– The honour and pleasure is also mine, sir. Nice to meet you.
She sounded genuinely happy for the first time since her abduction. Zavi, noticing her enraptured face and the tone of her voice, smirked sourly and said:
– Enough of these pleasantries, my lord and my lady, there will be plenty of time for that afterwards. We must get a move in order not to be late.