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Short story: <i>Where's Laura?</i>

She’s calling me. I can hear her, like a bell. I know that people talk of bells tolling and voices being clear as a bell, and it’s something of a cliché, but I can hear her voice like a bell because that’s how it sounds when she laughs.

And I don’t mean like one of those big brass bells in the church, they’re too strident to compare to her. She would never laugh like that. She’s more like one of those little China bells with something painted on the side that makes that chirp of bone china on china. There, now you’ll be thinking about drinking tea and the noise of cups on saucers, and that’s not right either. I never was one for analogies, or similes, or the like. But that doesn’t mean I don’t hear her with her delicate china voice. It’s almost like she’s a bit worried.

I’m looking around for her, but I can’t see her anywhere through the crush of people. I think she’s worried that I’m not going to be able to find her in amongst the crowd, but in truth, I’m not that worried. If I lose sight of her I’ll just head to the edges where the trees are, or to the middle where the bandstand is. Then I can climb up to the top and look down for her; although like as not she’ll have the same idea and we’ll meet up the top of the bandstand steps like two lovebirds on a perch. As if I could lose her; her hair is shining like gold in the sunlight and I can see the white rose tucked behind her ear with the petals brushing against her face and her blue eyes looking right at me, the exact shade of blue of the china that the pattern on that bell would be painted. There’s no other hair like that in park, certainly no girl as pretty as mine. She could be over the other side of the city and I could find her, because I’m drawn to her like there’s an invisible thread tied from the middle of my heart to hers.

I can see other people looking at her too, because she just looks so pretty as she’s getting swept along by all these people. She’s wearing a sort of mid-green sundress. I’m calling it mid-green because it’s not a light green, and it’s not a dark green, it’s the colour the leaves on the trees and like a beryl. Beryls might be the poorer, uglier sister of the emerald, but the showy emerald has nothing on my girl’s sundress. It looks plain, alright, but that just makes her look prettier. It shows the tops of her arms, that are soft like butter, and draws in at the waist just so. She has a white rose tucked in at the waist as well, and she’s wearing the locket I gave her for our last anniversary. It’s a really pretty piece; worked delicate, but the gold shade of her hair overshadows it’s prettiness. I don’t mind, my girl’s prettier than any piece of jewelery. Inside is a picture of me and one of her. She almost never takes it off.

I can’t hear her anymore, and I’ve lost sight of her now. But that’s alright. I’ll just work my way over to the bandstand and meet her on the ledge, like lovebirds.


—Jeremy Bills?


—This is Sergeant Green calling from Central Police? It’s about your dad.

—What? Where? What time is it?

—It’s 3AM, sir. I’m sorry, but one of our patrols just picked up your dad in Hyde park.

—Oh, shit. Is he alright?

—Yes, he’s fine, just a little disoriented...

—Right, he has Alzheimer’s. I’m so sorry, I though he was in bed, he must have got...

—That’s okay, sir. Why don’t you just come down to central station and pick him up?

—Of course, of course. Where was he exactly? Just to try and... you know, figure out...

—He was wandering around the public toilet in the centre of the park. He was calling for Laura. He was trying to climb it, I think. It’s just not that safe out there, sir, this time of night.

—I’ll be right there.

This is the result of a thirty minute writing exercise. This week I have taken one of the seven plotlines (theory being, all stories spring from only seven plots) and a random location. Today’s plot and setting were: "The quest" and a public toilet in a park.

Image courtesy of victoria peckham.

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