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Midnight Sun (standard:mystery, 1113 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Nov 25 2008Views/Reads: 2615/1221Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Daniel Blake returned from work to find his wife had not returned home...she didn't return the next day or the next. Daniel feared for her safety. No belongings were missing and the weeks went by. Those weeks became months, then a year...till...

Pulses of rain sweep in off the Pacific, funnelling through the practice
ground at Bodega Golf Club. There's barely enough light yet to see from 
one end of the range to the other. On the high ground next to a wood, a 
solitary figure pounds golf balls toward the shoreline. The trees are 
full of sound; the commotion of crows, rain dripping onto leaves, and 
branches rustling. Rain saturates the man's jacket, seeping through to 
his shirt; squelching into his socks. But Daniel Blake is oblivious to 
these diversions. 

His only concession this damp, chilly morning has been a gentle rotation
of the arms. For a man who does little exercise and approaching a 
fortieth birthday, this is not enough. Every one of the dozen golf 
balls spears off to the right. It is infuriating, an injury to his 
pride as a five handicap golfer. 

‘Take it easy,' he reminds himself, ‘take it away slowly and hit through
the ball.' He tosses another ball onto the wet turf; takes another 
practice swing before taking a deep breath, planting his feet, and 
making solid contact between steel and balata with no jarring of cold 
hands or tingling of fingertips. He watches the ball curve away in a 
lazy arc before reaching its zenith and plunging back to earth only a 
few paces from the practice pin. He grunts in quiet satisfaction and 
with the rain dripping off his hat reaches into a shag bag for another 

The memory that haunts him through the night is now relegated to the
back of his mind, at least whilst he dispatches a succession of white 
balls into the restless, grey Sonoma sky.  For an hour he practices. 
For an hour he thinks of little else other than grip, alignment, tempo, 

“I want you to keep taking the medication. Don't give up hope.” The
doctor told him. But this platitude didn't make it easier. He hasn't 
given up hope, but he does keep asking himself how long will it be 
until there is no need to kill early morning hours watching black and 
white movies on the TV? 

He picks up his clubs and shag bag and makes his way back to the
clubhouse, tossing them into his old 4 x 4 parked in the slot reserved 
for the club secretary. His eyes are drawn to the roof where water 
spills from a broken gutter. When first built the clubhouse had been 
the proud symbol of a prosperous community. There were sepia 
photographs of the opening ceremony with the mayor and a brass band and 
massed ranks of tweed coated onlookers. Since those heady days the 
clubhouse has been unloved and neglected. 

Just before eight thirty he steps inside the clubhouse and goes straight
to the locker room. He towels his hair and pulls on a dry shirt and 
socks. Emerging into the bar area, Jenny, wife of Tom Richardson, club 
steward, puts her cigarette aside and thrusts a mug of coffee into his 

“You'll be needing this,” she says, crinkling her nose. 

He nods appreciatively and slopes off to his office. The desk is clear.
Absentmindedly he flicks through his diary.  Entries begin on 1st 
April, April Fools' Day; the first day he eased his backside back into 
this chair. He swings round to gaze out the window, taking a sip from 
the mug and grimaces. The administration is straightforward enough; 
what he finds frustrating is relying on others to do the most mundane 
things. Once a director of a merchant bank he could snap his fingers 
and people jump. Not any more. The drip of rainwater into a bucket 
standing in the corner is testament to this. He smiles whimsically. 

His office has just enough space to accommodate a desk, filing cabinet,
computer and solitary swivel chair. The shelves on the walls are 
crammed with files. It took Daniel only a few days to realise that his 
new job extended far outside these four walls, beyond the perimeter of 
the golf course. There is a community and he has become part of it; the 
affairs of the club and the town are inextricably linked. Henry 
Higgins, club captain and sail maker is one of the biggest employers in 
the area.  His recent behaviour has become even more eccentric than 
usual. If Daniels' growing apprehensions about the business affairs of 
the club captain are well founded, he predicts there will be troubled 
times ahead. And he knows very well that if someone has kicked Henry, 

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