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Room vacant. (standard:mystery, 1073 words)
Author: Bryn PearsonAdded: May 07 2001Views/Reads: 2221/1435Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
When Will and Beatrice find they cannot pay the bills, they advertsie for a lodger. The year is 1911, and life will never be the same again.
 



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South America, travelling south in search of seals. In the meantime he 
had sent me a brooch. He hoped I would wear it.  I opened the parcel to 
find a tiny bird mounted on a setting. Feathers colourful, jewels for 
eyes and the beak was gold. I hardley dared to touch it and I could not 
imagine ever wearing such a thing: It was too much and I hated to think 
what he had spent on it.  But it was beautiful. I almost wished I had 
some clothes good enough for wearing it with. 

I imagined Mr Angarth in some hot, foreign place where all the trees
were full of brilliant birds. I watched my resident flock of starlings, 
and wondered what name the bright foreign thing had, and thought how 
pretty a whole bird must look. I didnít think about why he had sent it. 
I knew, but I didnít think about it. 

With hindsight, war was inevitable, but we spent a long time trying to
tell ourselves that it would not come. Will was making engines and 
there was no question of him being called up. It seemed like a distant 
threat, looming on the horizon. That year the final letter came, from 
somewhere in South America. Mr Angarth had seen seals and had found a 
boat he could go out on. By Christmas I was to have my coat. I never 
believed that it would happen. 

I remember one dreary wet day at the end of November. My little son had
a cold had was sleeping at last, wrapped in a blanket and curled up by 
the fire. His coughing had been terrible all morning. I stopped for a 
while to catch my breath and warm my hands. Above the crackling of the 
fire, I heard a floorboard creak, and then came the soft padding of 
feet, back and forth, socks on a thin mat in the bedroom above. I 
listened, too shocked to mourn or wonder. 


   


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