Chapter 3

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

The sky had turned a bruised blue, just like Samantha’s sore head and scraped elbows. Yet she trotted along to track the girl with the red tartan umbrella. The girl seemed to have melted into the evening crowd as seamlessly as sugar melts into tea. 

Tired and in pain, Samantha spotted a quaint café at the corner of the street. Finding herself a cozy seat, she called Jeremy for a ride home. 

The strong, rich smell of coffee filled her senses. Memories of her father brewing coffee for her beloved mother each morning made her smile and softened the ache in her head.  Breast cancer had claimed her mother’s young life when Samantha was still in her pre-teens. Her father, who adored his beautiful wife, had been devastated. Within a short time, cancer had ravaged her body and spirit ruthlessly. Every medical intervention had proved futile, eventually plunging Samantha and her father in a sea of grief. 

To distract him from his sorrow, Samantha’s father had taken to heavy drinking. He had also started dating within a few months of her mother’s death. Her father’s propensity towards booze and young women and her unresolved grief at her mother’s untimely passing had resulted in their relationship deteriorating to an acerbic point. Neglect and anguish had turned Samantha into a bitter, lonely teenager. She began to loathe her father for his drunken antics, too young to realise that this was just his coping mechanism. Every time they came face to face, her pent up anger bubbled over, spilling beyond the boundaries of civility and respect. 

Tears stained her rosy cheeks as she recalled her last day with her father before he ‘died’ a decade ago. It had been an acrimonious shouting match triggered by Samantha’s belief that her father was being swindled by one girlfriend after another. She constantly fought with him to take control of his finances. But he had steadfastly refused. After their last fight, Samantha had stormed out of the house in a fit of fury and stayed at a friend’s place. When she had returned a week later, she discovered that her father had gone missing.

Despite intensive search efforts, neither he nor his body were found. He was soon presumed dead and Samantha had started life afresh. She had met Jeremy a year ago at work and the two had fallen madly in love. They were married soon after. Only after marriage did Samantha truly begin to empathise with her father’s mental state and his need for companionship. She often prayed for a chance to meet her father just once so that she could apologise to him and make amends.    

“Excuse me, can I get you something?”

Samantha’s reverie was broken by a familiar foreign voice. She found herself staring at the smiling face of a girl whose front teeth were set with diamonds, the latter’s expression devoid of any sign of recognition.

“We need to talk!!” hissed Samantha as she grabbed the girl’s arm. 


Nice work Hemali. The back story gives depth to the unravelling mystery. Well done.
Thank you Gabrielle for always being so encouraging.

My pleasure Hemali !
A very nice chapter full of detail. I'll have my work cut out following.
Thank you Ray!!
This is a superb chapter Hemali. The characters edge up to being strange, the lady with the mauve hair, the girl who hooks Samantha with her umbrella and the girl with diamond studs in her teeth. They unusual but people we might meet on the street at any time. This quirkiness creates a distinct world and arouses the readers curiosity. It's terrific and your chapter carries the story forward superbly.