'Flash!' Winter 2017

Reads: 4243  | Likes: 5  | Shelves: 2  | Comments: 85

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story written by Imaginarium member, India Emerald.



https://www.booksie.com/users/india-emerald-171800

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Deep and Crisp and Even

Submitted: November 20, 2017

Reads: 136

Comments: 3

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Submitted: November 20, 2017

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Deep and crisp, and even. Written by India Emerald

The snow fluttered to the ground and quickly turned to slush on the concrete. This lot wouldn't be settling, although it was forecast for the whole day. Valerie sipped on her Hot Chocolate, wishing for something stronger as she contemplated her plans for the big day. She'd wait for the family and then start the present opening. With more snow forecast, a last minute drive to the shops was out if she'd forgotten anything, but no driving also meant no need to put off a Hot Toddy. The wind had picked up and with it, the snow began to arrive in flurries. Valerie shivered despite the double glazing. She gave a light snort at her silliness and gulped down the rest of her Hot Chocolate.

With the whiskey warming on the hob, Valerie plopped a sachet of stewing spices in and drained the peeled potatoes over the sink. She'd prepared everything the night before to save time. Years ago, when she was new to family life, she would have spent half the day swearing and the other half roasting from frantic preparations in a hot and humid kitchen. Nowadays everything felt like a well-practised drill. The kettle clicked and she added the boiled water to the potatoes, flicked the dial to 9 with one hand and removed the spices with the other. A well-deserved sit down seemed the next order of business.

The cuckoo clock that Bill had bought her from Switzerland announced the hour and Valerie raised a sombre glass to her husband. It wasn't just the snow that brought the cold to her, the ghost of her husband and the memories they'd shared brought the occasional chill with it. But that was why she'd moved here, to begin anew, and she sent the ghost flying with another sip of her Toddy. Valerie rose from her chair and walked to the window again. The small tree on the doorstep looked forlorn, its boughs drooping under the weight of the now furious snow. Save for a few bird footprints the snow sat perfectly on the ground, glistening as new snowflakes were added to the icy duvet. Valerie felt the urge to hum a Christmas Carol.

The incessant ringing of a Skype call interrupted her thoughts. The family had arrived. She grabbed the presents from the corner of the room and dragged them to the sofa before answering.
“Hello love, what time is it there? You didn't have to go to any trouble.”
“1 AM, but the boys are off for the holidays, so don't worry. Is that a Hot Toddy I see? Mmmm.” Despite the late hour her daughter seemed to buzz with energy.
“Hey, Gran. Hope you like my present, I made it myself” Michael, the oldest, beamed.
“Oh, hang on you lot, I forgot my cake!” Valerie leapt up and made for the kitchen. She grabbed down a “good” plate and a knife, then fetched the cake from the pantry. As the knife cut neatly through the smooth white icing she savoured the smell of almonds and apricot jam. The cake had been maturing for two months and was anointed with brandy once a week.
“Look at that beauty!” Valerie held the cake up to the webcam, to the “oohs and ahhs” of her family.

For the next ten minutes, Valerie opened the pile of presents at her feet and then as slowly as the day itself had approached, all the quicker the gift opening was over. The family offered good wishes and wished they could be there, Valerie smiled at the two boys that were growing up so rapidly and so remotely.
“Well, I suppose the boys should be off to bed if I want them to be up before lunchtime. Happy birthday Mum. We'll speak in two weeks, Ben's off to his Summer Camp in Wales on Saturday.” The family waved goodbye and as her family slept, Valerie began her day, nine hours ahead and two seasons away.
 

 


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