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by dharker 

Posted: 11 October 2010
Word Count: 731

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Kate and Bill felt good - They had just bought their first home; and today was moving day. At the end of a long leafy lane, they had found the old house for sale, and they’d fallen in love at first sight. They both had that strongest of feelings that this was the home for them. The location on the edge of a beautiful lake something they had dreamt of but never thought they would ever achieve.

Kate reached across and squeezed Bill's leg, he looked across and smiled back.“You excited?”

“Are you kidding?” she responded, a huge grin on her face. She looked into the cat box sitting on her lap.

“See! Gizmo can’t wait!” she giggled as Gizmo, their elderly cat, snored gently in her blanket.

The convoy drew to a halt outside the new home. Dappled sunlight, filtering through the trees, played on the veranda as they wearily emerged from the car. Shattered, Bill stretched his aching muscles and sighed contentedly as a grebe called from somewhere far across the lake.

Bill grabbed Kate by the hand and they walked across to the front door. He took the tagged key from his pocket, unlocked the door, pushed it open, then stooped and lifted Kate into his arms.

“I love you!” He whispered as he carried her across the threshold. He gently set her down and they looked around. Motes of dust danced in the occasional beam of sunlight that fell through the shuttered windows.

“I’ll open a few windows” Kate laughed as she saw a fleeting look of distaste cross Bill’s face. She walked over to the nearest window and opened it and the shutters. Light flooded in, and the scratchy sound of tiny mouse footfall briefly interrupted the silence.

“Hmmm… I think Gizmo will have to come out of retirement for a while!”, said Bill as he wandered across to the kitchen. Entering, he felt a warmth and the faintest of touches on his shoulder, but looking around he saw nothing except for a beautiful glass figurine on the window sill, her broken arm beside her on the sill. Wishing it hadn’t been broken, and thinking how much Kate would love it, he made a mental note to look for the glue.

Moving across to the sink he idly turned the old brass tap. At first it produced only a hiss and a cough of dust, but then a splutter and then a steady stream of crystal clear water, drawn from the well that supplied the house.

“Ooooh! Is that you filling the kettle?” shouted Kate from the lounge, “mine’s a coffee!”.

Minutes later, still chuckling and carrying two steaming mugs of coffee, Bill returned to the lounge to find Kate sweeping whilst orchestrating delivery men and their furniture.

“That goes in the bedroom please, right of the window! Dining room… Opposite the door!”

Bill marvelled at woman’s innate capacity to remember and to plan the minutiae of home building… especially as their one and only viewing had been just a fleeting visit some 3 months before.

“You’re amazing… do you know that!” he chuckled as he delivered the mug to her outstretched hand.

“That’ll be why you married me!” she grinned cheekily, taking the offered cup.

Bill walked out onto the veranda, and looked out across the lake. The last of the days heat warmed his skin and he felt so comfortable and at home.


Her scream instantly dragged him from his reverie and he ran inside. His pulse racing, he frantically looked around to see what had happened. As he ran into the kitchen he found his wife, who ran and threw her arms around him.

“You shouldn’t have!” She shouted excitedly.

Confused, he asked “What? Shouldn’t have what?”

“I’ve always wanted a Lalique! and it's an early one! look! 1914! How on earth did you manage to afford it?” She beamed as she held out the figurine, now somehow completely intact and flawless.

The warmth enveloped him again. “Tell her it’s a welcome from the house” whispered a female voice in Bill's head. Then a male voice continued

“We've been guiding you to our home, no - YOUR home, to repay a kindness your great grandfather paid me during the great war. Without him I would have undoubtedly died and I'd like you to consider this gift just a small payment in return”.

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Comments by other Members

Desormais at 10:18 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
This is a very nice story Dave. I think you established the relationship between Kate and Bill very well with the dialogue, and you've made them a very likeable young couple. There are some lovely descriptive touches in here as well, all contributing to the general atmosphere. I like the description about the tap finally starting to run.

pushed it open, then stooped and lifted Kate’s legs from the deck

I think I might change this. I had a fleeting image of Bill pulling Kate's legs out from under her! Either that or doing a fireman's lift.

The concept of the broken Lalique somehow mending itself was fine. For me though, the second sentence of the last paragraph just didn't sit too well, and I can't really articulate why. I felt a bit let down. It seemed a touch contrived, lacking some of the subtlety of the rest of the flash.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and I think you've done a very good job with this. Well done.


dharker at 11:12 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
Hmmm... re reading it I can see what you mean about the last paragraph Sandra! I shortened this bit as the word count got way too high. I'll try to rework it. LOL! Maybe the firemans lift idea isn't that bad? but I'll also look at that as well! Great and very helpful critique! Thank You!


dharker at 11:35 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
I wanted a touch of the supernatural in here alongside the concept of the couple being "called" to the house - hence the restored figurine. I've reworked the end a little and I hope it sits a little better...


Desormais at 12:16 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
For me that's a big improvement. Now that I come to think of it, the awkwardness of the earlier version had all the hallmarks of word-count reduction. I've done that so often myself, chopping words out and because I know what I meant to convey, I sometimes don't see the lack of subtlety that results.

dharker at 12:26 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
LOL! Another valuable lesson learned! Thanks Sandra - I really appreciate your help!


crowspark at 12:56 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
Lovel story, Dave.
My only suggestion would be to trail the haunted aspect earlier. For example, the cat might stare at something they cannot see or a shadow distracts for a second. Just something that eases the reader into your twist of a haunting.

Thanks for the read.

dharker at 13:00 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
Thanks Bill... that's a very good idea! This was something I'd developed but then took away... I WILL get used to this writing lark! LOL!

Cholero at 19:46 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
Hi David

You've got a real knack for moving a story along and I had my nose to the page right the way through this. I like the easy style, the personalising touches, the gently humourous affection with which you treat your characters, the ever so slight air of menace or uncertainty. All great stuff.


The ending comes out of nowhere, and because of that the whole story ends up being a bit of a let-down with suddenly less conviction to it even though as read I felt the writer really knew where he was going. I suppose you need to flag up some aspect of the ending earlier in the story - a mention of a lost relative who died in a war long ago and far away, or a thought that the Lalique could have been brought back from France in WW2 or something, I don't know what exactly, but the ending has to be organic to the tale in at least some way or it simply feels unsatisfying.

But that aside, thanks for the read.


dharker at 20:03 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
I see what you mean Pete... I think some connection to the war could be established or even better the Lalique could have been brought back after the war. I'll try to rework this but I'm very conscious of the length! As always Pete I really appreciate your insight! Thanks!

dharker at 20:38 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
I've taken the suggestions on board and done another minor rework. It's now a lot over length but I really can't think of anywhere to trim! LOL! More Explosion than Flash Fiction folks! My apologies! I hope the mods make sense... I think your suggestions have definitely improved it as a story...

Desormais at 21:12 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
whispered a ladies voice in Bills head.

Picky, I know, but this is getting better all the time so minor grammaticals shouldn't be allowed to spoil it. (lady's) and (Bill's head). Though I'd be tempted to use 'woman's' or 'female' rather than 'lady'. Maybe it's just me, but whenever I hear anyone talk about 'a lady' I always feel it automatically shifts the narrator to a subservient position.

dharker at 21:21 on 12 October 2010  Report this post
Good point Sandra! Thanks for spotting that!

dharker at 07:56 on 13 October 2010  Report this post
OK Folks! I can't edit it any more... I think with your help its a much better story now! Thank You all!

choille at 19:42 on 17 October 2010  Report this post
Sorry Dave to be late at getting to this. It's really sweet & gentle with the nice supernatural twist.

It does seem that you've had your hands full with edits & sometimes it can get that you you can't see the story any more, can't go any further with it.

All the best
Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.


dharker at 21:38 on 17 October 2010  Report this post
Thanks Caroline! I love your style... will be watching out for more of your work and learning!

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