Chapter 4

Written by: dannyo77

The voice came from behind me – I’m still standing in the doorway. A young man is giving me a look; partly quizzical, partly urgent. Evidently he’s called to me a couple of times before I actually notice. I don’t mind admitting I thought he was also good looking.

“I’m sorry?”

“She’s hurt bad. Do you have a phone? Can you call 999?” He has a distinct Australian accent. I nod and start fossicking in my bag for my trusty Nokia 3310. He dashes through a rickety gate in the fence next to the house. The rusty hinges cling desperately to the fence post and groan as the gate shuts behind him.

I follow as I continue to rummage through my bag. How can a cell phone be so difficult to find in such a small space? The area between the parking building and the house is the same as all the others; dark, damp and dusty. Black rubbish sacks lie in piles. Old wooden crates with empty brown bottles are stacked against the house. An old mattress even – that was different.

The Aussie is crouched just behind a set of black sacks and I can hear him speaking to someone. As I get closer I see an open door into the house. That must join to the kitchen.

“Marie, Marie? Can you hear me?” I can make out his words now. As I round the corner I see that it is, indeed, the landlady. She’s lying on the ground with a nasty wound across her forehead. I choke back a scream. She looks so pale.

The Aussie glances up, there is genuine concern in his eyes.

“Did you make the call?”

I’m holding the phone and have even punched in 999, but I haven’t called yet. I stare at him.

“For heaven’s sake!” he moans, and snatches the phone out of my hand.

As he speaks to the operator he holds on to Marie’s hand. Her eyelids flutter and then open. She seems to take a while focusing, but her gaze alights on me.

“Tamara,” she whispers, and tries to smile. She’s never used my name before, except in writing on the contract.

“Are you OK?” I ask. I knew it’s the dumbest question to ask, but it’s all my confused mind can conjure.

“No time,” she replies, “look in the kitchen. You’ll understand. She told me you’d come here.”

The effort drains her of energy and she passes out again. I stand up and walk toward the open door.

“Hey! Hey! Can you grab her a blanket? There’s one inside,” the Aussie calls to me as he covers the receiver.

Inside the doorway is a stack of scratchy, old, grey blankets. I pick one up, but am transfixed by the adjacent wall, which is covered in photos, flags and little pieces of paper with scrawled notations. It’s the photo of me (and the backpack) with the Eiffel tower in the background that catches my attention.

Comments

Quick little gripe. First and fifth paras have two POV's and should hav been seperated. Apart from that - FAB! Firtst and third paragraphs are gems. Fossicking, groaning hinges and general descriptive work is par excellance. The standard of writing from ALL the SM members has improved to an unbeleivable degree. The hook reads as though it was casually thrown in place and yet it doesn't just catch the attention of Tamara.
Dan, what a well written chapter. It's going on my web site.
Thanks Ray, always appreciate your feedback.