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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.

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

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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