Chapter 4

Written by: cindimp

Liam jumped down from the boxcar. He pulled the collar of his worn jacket up against the cold and thrust his hands deep inside his trouser pockets. Crowds of people jostled past him, each leaving wisps of vapor in the air behind them. In that moment he was not worried about being chased. This town seemed safe.

The smell of homemade rolls and pies wafted under his nose, causing his stomach to growl. He caught sight of a small bakery and remembered the taste of Emma’s delicious Pastees.

A bell, hanging over the bakery door, jangled as he entered. Behind the counter, a young girl turned to serve him. Liam noticed her sparkling eyes first, a light shade of green. Her black hair was pulled into a tight bun and a few strands that had slipped out of the comb framed her beautiful face. He stood frozen in the doorway.

For a fleeting moment, Liam forgot about his growing hunger.

“I hope you’re not planning to stand there all day.  After all, you aren’t the only person who wants to eat.” The girl folded her arms across her white apron and tried to look stern but the sparkle in her eyes and the twitch at the corners of her mouth told Liam she was holding back a smile.

When she looked into Liam’s eyes her smile burst through like a sunrise and transformed her face, “So, what can I get for you?”

Tongue-tied, he eyed the Pastee. The girl followed his gaze and pointed. Liam nodded.  She wrapped it in wax paper.  When she handed him the package, their hands touched. To Liam, her hand felt warm and electric. They lingered a second more.  Liam caught his breath and turned red with embarrassment.  Looking away, he reached into his pocket with the other hand and gave her 10 cents.  Closing the register, she placed both hands on the counter, leaned forward and looked through black eyelashes at him. “It’s not every day I meet such a handsome man.” 

Liam didn’t know how to react. He never knew a girl so beautiful and outspoken.  Their eyes locked and his heart beat faster. For that moment, thoughts about the next train and his journey west evaporated.

At the jangling of the bell, Liam’s thoughts were broken. He turned and with sudden shock, looked into the leering face of Mr. Brown.

“Got you, you damn peasant. Now you’re for the drop!” Brown stepped forward and grabbed Liam by the scruff of the neck.  The two men struggled and fell against the counter.

Held from behind, Liam heard the sound of something hit Brown over the head. They fell to the floor together. Sweating and breathing heavily, Liam struggled to his feet.

 

Cindi Prewitt (USA)

 

Comments

This is one writer who is really trying. Concentrating on characterisation and letting the reader see and feel the emotions, the sentence construction was a little flat but, rather we have that than reading a scene with no eyes, nose, or emotion. Once all the strands of good writing come together I am sure future chapters by Cindi will attract an audience. Every reader wants to be 'In' the scene and I was definately there. Really good work. See how you get lulled into a false sense of security by the love aspect and then torn away with high tension right at the end. Was there a sharp intake of breath when you read the last few lines?
I agree. I sometimes get so lost in making the story 'sound' right that I forget (or actually delete) all the good adjectives and adverbs and other bits of a story that make it smell, look and sound real.
The only thing I would say, is that this story seemed to much of A-B-C. So rather than taking us on a ride, we watched as the road went on a factual and obvious straight road. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes a road with a few bumps and non-obvious negatives can put a certain thrill into a story.
Good stuff!
Attraction is bringing a new thread to this story. Liam is young, bold and has lots to offer. I liked how the girl in the bakery had her hair tied in a bun and Mr Brown got a smack in the head.
I agree with Mat that it is more interesting if the road has bumps and turns along the way. But, since we are limited to 500 words we can only travel short segments of it at a time. This writer did a swell job of giving life to this part of the journey. You do write good romance. I could feel the heat of the sparks that were flying.
Thank you everyone.