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Blunder Chapter 1

Posted on July 27, 2010 at 8:24 AM

That year was the snowiest and coldest winter on record in 20 years. Much of the United Kingdom was blanketed in snow, and it was cold enough for the sea to freeze in places such as Poole harbour in Dorset or the Thames. The Met Office warned there was no end in sight, and that heavy snow was due to fall in some areas - where fresh snowfall of 5 and 10 cm was expected.

Except for the youngest, it was not weather which brought much pleasure to the averge British citizen, especially Helena. She HATED winter! Just the merest thought about it made her feel sick. She did not like to look stupid either, and anyone walking on the snow did. It felt like walking on eggshells, as if you had horns under your feet, or even like you were disabled, and with her knee high boots with low heels, it didn’t make it easier.

The main reason was probably due to her origins. Helena was born on June 9, 1960, in South America, in the Brazilian state of Bahia. However, she had no memory of her native country and of her parents, as she had travelled to the UK at the age of two after being adopted - torrential rains causing devastating floods, mudslides and stormy weather had struck the state, and claimed a lot of lives, including her parents - so when people asked her how it was that she dislike the snow, she simply said that it was simply down to her native blood, resurfacing as she grew older.

However, there had been a time she liked the snow. She remembered how happy she had been when she discovered it for the first time and the great time she had playing on the snow; her first snowman when she put the carot for its nose with Peter and Debbie in the front garden; playing luge, or the snow fight with her chilhood friend, Jessica, daughter of the next-door neighbours, and both parents.

That evening, Helena got back at the agency at 7 o’clock with a contented smile upon her chocolate-skin face. It had been a tiring but successful day, and what’s more the weather had not been too bad. She had finally concluded the sale of a property valued at £490,000 for a 4 bed detached house in Bramley Hill, South Croydon. Fortune smiled on her today, she told herself, because even with her power of persuasion, it had not been a foregone conclusion. The couple had already visited the house twice and still hesitated, but with two children bubbling over with excitement at the large rear garden with a swimming pool, they had given caved in. Sitting at her desk, Helena nodded to her colleague leaving before she set to work. She still had some papers to do, and although it could be put aside for the evening, Helena had a philosophy ‘Do not leave it till tomorrow what you can do today.’

Outside, there was not a soul to be seen through the darkened streets, dimly lit by lamp posts while heavy snow began to fall and rustle against the window panes of the agency. Half and hour passed by, Helena was still typing, filling in papers, and little by little the writing began to blur and dance before her eyes. She yawned, and her eyelids started to feel droopy and heavy.

‘The remaining will be done tomorrow. After all most of the work had been done,’ she said to herself, arrenging the documents in a neat pile. Once her peacot and her bow beret were on, and her flowy white scarf wrapped around her neck, she turned off the light and locked the door behind her. She stood a while, and wrinkled her nose in disgust at the falling snow. She then broke into a run to her car, parked in the lot across the street, when without warning, she was flung into the air and landed heavily on the pavement.

It had come like a bolt of lightning, like a bullet from a gun. Why on earth didn’t she see it coming? She lay on the now frozen ground. There was an incredible pain in her head as if a hammer had just came down to her. The dull twinge in her left leg, now twisted the wrong way, became a more constant pulling throb at every moment. She wished she was dead. She knew she wanted to scream or shout for help but it was beyond her strenght. A bead of blood trickled down her cheeks, and the sensation of the icy snowflakes nipping and melting on her face made her soft pink lips and thin lovely lips feel numb.

‘Hold on’, she told herself, ‘It’s just a matter of time and everything will be soon over.’ She was maybe dying for 5 minutes or so now but how long should she still have to endure the torture. As time passed, she became aware of a faint sound breaking the dreary silence of the night. It made a steady humming sound like bees buzzing around. So far she had heard nothing but the racing pulse pounding in her chest like the sound of an old clock running down and about to stop working.

Then, the humming sound stopped. She heard a voice talking in the distance, but she couldn’t distinguish any words of what was being said. The voice sounded agitated, and seemed to draw nearer and nearer but Helena’s semi-consciousness state made her unable to understand it. Despite her current situation, for the first time she felt good and realized that the pain was also slowly ebbing away.

Wave of emotions swept over her as thoughts raced through her mind. She thought about her ‘Angel’ as she was used to call her since April was little. About her baby’s first steps, words or even her first scracthes while she was learning how to ride a bicycle. Lots of vivid images flashed through her mind as if her whole life had came down to a few minutes. In the meantime, the voice had got closer and closer and was still talking. It stood by her body now, but Helena feel into a deep darkness, tears streaming down her face.

Categories: Sebastien, Crime & Mystery

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1 Comment

Reply Christopher Law
5:22 PM on July 27, 2010 
I liked the general atmosphere of this, there's some genuine suspense towards the end and I'll be reading the next part when you post it. There were a few places where the language let you down a little, in my mind anyway, although most of those seem to be typing errors

"as if you had horns under our feet" in the first paragraph "why on earth didn't see it coming?" in the ninth, there's a 'y' from 'your' and a 'she' in front of 'see' missing.

Also from paragraph nine, I'd change "she laid on the now frozen ground" to "she lay..." and "..as if a hammer had just came down..." to "as if a hammer had just come down" or "as if a hammer had just fallen".

Only minor points in an otherwise enjoyable read, although I did get a good chuckle at anyone, or anything, working in the South-East of England with that much snow - it's my area of the world and anything more than an inch tends to make everyone start panic-buying and the entire transport network to shut down.

I hope I've been helpful and not a nit-picker, I really do want to know more about the stranger in the snow.