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Candle in Barbed Wire (standard:drama, 3277 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Dec 20 2004Views/Reads: 2301/1304Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A group of Amnesty International members come together for their monthly meeting… Perhaps not the easiest of reads, but hopefully the ending will make the effort worthwhile.
 



Candle in Barbed Wire 

©2003 Ian Hobson 

Winifred removed her coat and scarf and hung them over the back of a
chair before routing through her bag for the sign and returning to the 
door.  The sign, hand written on green card, was getting a little 
dog-eared.  She pressed it to the outside of the door with her thumbs, 
and the well-used Bluetack at the ends held it in place.  The sign read 
‘Amnesty International Meeting', and at each end of the words was a 
hand drawn interpretation of Amnesty's candle in barbed wire symbol. 

The door squeaked as Winifred closed it behind her and walked back into
the room.  She routed through her shopping bag once more, removed most 
of the contents - a ring binder, three large envelopes, a diary and a 
ballpoint pen - and placed them on a nearby table.  Winifred had been 
secretary of her local Amnesty International group for the last 
eighteen of her sixty-eight years; campaigning tirelessly for human 
rights, writing hundreds of letters on behalf of prisoners of 
conscience, hardly ever missing a monthly meeting - except for 
recently, due a spell in hospital - and faithfully recording what was 
said in the minutes of the meetings. 

The door squeaked again, announcing the arrival of Christine, the
group's chairperson.  Like Winifred, she was grey-haired but a little 
younger and more smartly dressed, looking every inch the retired 
businesswoman that she was.  ‘Hello, Winifred,' she said 'What a 
dreadful evening.'  She put down her briefcase, before taking off her 
raincoat and shaking it.  Wind and rain rattled the leaded windows, as 
if to confirm her statement.  The meeting room, part of an old building 
attached to the Methodist church, was used for various church related 
activities, but was also hired out by clubs and societies like Amnesty 
International. 

‘Oh... is it raining again?' asked Winifred.  ‘I must have been lucky. 
It was windy when I walked down, but it wasn't raining.' 

‘Well, it's absolutely bucketing it down now.  I managed to park near
the entrance though, or I would have been drowned.'  Christine pulled a 
handkerchief from her sleeve, removed her frameless spectacles and 
began to wipe them dry. 

‘Oh dear,' said Winifred, ‘there'll probably be a poor turnout then. 
I've already had apologies from Bernard and Rosemary...  We may have a 
new member, though.  “Angelina” I think she said her name was.  She 
sounded keen.' 

‘Oh, good, I hope she comes.  We could do with some new blood...  What
happened to that woman that came at the start of the year?' 

‘May?' 

‘Was it?  I thought she came earlier than that.' 

‘No, that was her name.  She came to the AGM in February and then she
came again in March, but we've not seen her since.' 

‘Oh.'  Christine ran her fingers through her damp hair then reached
towards her briefcase. 

‘Can you give me a hand with these tables, Christine?' Winifred asked. 
‘I should think two will be enough.' 

Christine turned to face Winifred, then hurried to help her.  ‘Let me do
that.  You shouldn't with your hip...  Do you know if Mary's coming 
tonight?' 

‘No, I've not heard from her.' 

As Christine helped Winifred drag two tables together, to make one large
one, the door squeaked again and a well-built, bearded, man entered the 
room.  ‘Evening, Ladies,' he said.  ‘It's raining cats and dogs 
outside.' 

‘I know, Roger.  I almost got soaked,' said Christine, pulling a chair


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