I have been nominated by Nowathome to participate in the 5 Day Black and White Challenge and by Lrod to participate in the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge. This post is my day 2 response to both.
I’d originally intended to write a single little flash fiction piece for today’s picture, but then I started getting more ideas. This is now a collection of 6 little stories, generally unconnected other than by the fact that all of the characters live in the same village and the stories all center on the phone box. I hope you like it.
She waited by the phonebox every Wednesday evening; waited for the ringing that would set her fears to rest. It was usually around eight o’clock when the call came, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes later. The late ones were the worst – her constant worry morphed quickly into outright terror.
What if something had happened? What if he had been discovered? What if…? What if…? What if…?
The call only ever lasted a few minutes but it was long enough to hear his voice, to reassure herself that he was still alive. He called from a different number every time, he reassured her, nothing that could be tracked. But it was dangerous, she knew that only too well. They were playing a perilous game and the odds were much too high for taking such risks. For now they believed him to be dead; if they discovered their error they’d act quickly to remedy it.
Then one week the phone didn’t ring.
He leant against the phonebox as he waited for Olivia to arrive. They met there each morning, around the corner from her sprawling house, well away from her father’s disapproving gaze. They had to be careful to keep their relationship quiet – the grumpy git had never liked him. His own parents, meanwhile, looked on with an indulgent eye.
It would be a lie to say his thoughts didn’t stray towards sex more often than they should. He was a teenage boy, after all, and Olivia was dead sexy. But it wasn’t just about that. He loved her.
He kissed her tenderly in greeting before shouldering both of their schoolbags. Hand in hand they walked to the bus stop.
In all her long years living in the village she’d only used the phonebox once, back before mobile phones became common. She prayed she never had to do so again. She couldn’t even look at it nowadays.
Everywhere else in the village she lost herself in bittersweet memories of Jacob’s childhood. She remembered watching him standing on the swing in their garden, running with his friends on the quiet lanes and climbing the trees on the green. There were times when she could almost hear the sound of his laughter drifting on the wind.
Sight of the phonebox, however, took her back to that day: frantic fingers dialling those three numbers, her panicked words to the calm voiced operator on the other end of the line, dashing back to the house only to hold her baby boy for one final time.
Others may think the phonebox to be a picturesque glimpse of old England. She just wanted it gone.
He watched the world through his window, as he’d done for so many years. He rarely left his arm chair these days, rising only when necessary, his old bones creaking their complaint as he moved. The only people he ever saw were the man who delivered his shopping and the nurse on her weekly visit. He didn’t know any of his neighbours, didn’t know their names or their stories, so he let his imagination roam through increasingly bizarre scenarios as he watched them pass before his house.
Someday he’d go out and talk to some of them, find out who they really were. He’d ask the young lady why she paced by the phonebox every Wednesday night, ask the teenage couple what it felt like to be young and in love. He’d ask the walker why she cried, her shoulders stooped and eyes downcast.
Someday… But not today.
The telephone box had been a teasing glimpse of hope for so many years. It wasn’t all that far away – a hundred yards at best – but between her and it were two locked doors.
Until the day he forgot to turn the key.
She had to wait until he had left the house before she could escape the bedroom, the place that had been her prison cell for over a decade. She couldn’t stop shaking as she crept down the stairs. Her heart raced. What if he came back? Maybe he’d remember that he hadn’t locked the door… If he found her out of the room she didn’t dare to think what he’d do to her. She had to get away as quickly as she could.
The front door was locked. She’d expected that. Eventually she found a window that opened just enough for her to climb through. She wasn’t even aware that her feet were bare until she felt the bite of the gravel drive on her soles. The cold tarmac of the road was a welcome change. It was the feel of freedom.
The relished the sensation all the way to the phonebox.
He longed to make the call: every night he dreamt of doing so, dreamt that he could hear the sound of her voice; every morning he woke with the number playing on a loop through his head. But he knew it was too dangerous. If they found out that he was alive they’d stop at nothing to find him and kill him for real.
When he’d been warned that they were watching her he’d known… It was better this way. Safer. For both of them. He wouldn’t put her life at risk. Not again.
The mistake had been his, not her’s. He had gambled everything and lost. Until Grey and all his goons were behind bars he wouldn’t, couldn’t, contact his beloved Victoria again.
The rules of the 5 day black and white challenge are:
1) post a black & white photo daily for 5 days
2) Invite someone different to participate each day.
The rules of the 5 Photos-5 Stories challenge are:
1) To post a photo every day for 5 days
2) To write a story to accompany your photo for 5 days (this can be fiction or non-fiction, a page, a paragraph or a poem)
3) To nominate a different person each day
My nomination for day 2 is Exploratorius.
There is no obligation to accept the challenge but if you wish to do so you can choose to do the 5 Day Black and White Challenge, the 5 Photos – 5 Stories Challenge or a combination of the two as I have done. Enjoy. 🙂