Chapter 7

Written by: Kalli Deschamps

“It must be fifteen years since I have seen that backpack. Not since college. Not since I was married.” My disheveled mind whirls. My skinny legs begin to wobble. Brian grabs my arm.

“ Sorry,” I mutter. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Why did you change the pull on the backpack?”

“I didn’t.”

“But you have the old one in your hand. And there’s a new one on the backpack.” I am acting like a child…whining, petty. So what if there was a different pull? “I’m sorry,” I reiterate. “Tell me about the letters. Did you read them?”

“No time. Not sure I would have read them anyhow.”

“I guess it’s still my backpack even though I haven’t seen it in years. Let’s get out of here, find someplace quiet, have a cup of tea and read the letters.”

Finally he says, “Are you sure you want to share their content with a total stranger?”

I consider his question. True, he is a stranger but he had held me upright when I would have fallen. He is trying to comfort me and maybe I shouldn’t be alone when I read them. Will I uncover my past? Do I even want to uncover my past? What about the photo in the vacant room? And who rented the room? What about Marie’s words? Brian just showed up.  Who is he? Where did he come from? All of a sudden I hear the music! I slam my trembling hands over my ears and run from the room!

“Tamara!” screamed Brian. “What’s wrong?”

He catches me on the dusty landing and holds me close. I swirl around, my choking tears soaking the front of his immaculate shirt. “Please, Brian. Help me. Let’s read the letters together.”

I watch him return to the room, grab the rumpled backpack, pick the New Zealand key ring from the table, take a last look around and quietly close the door.

I am a mess, mentally and physically. Brian finds a quiet coffeehouse, orders tea and guides me to a table near the window so we will have light enough to read.

Brian reaches to the depths of the dark, blue, canvas backpack and pulls out a packet of letters carefully tied with a red ribbon. He throws me a puzzled look. “These have never been mailed.” He hands me the little bundle.

I shake my head and return them. “You read.”

He unties the ribbon, removes the first letter, opens it and starts to read. “Paris, France, 1945.”

My eyes fly open. “What?”

Brian continues to read; his voice drops to almost a whisper. “To Whom It May Concern.” He looks at me. I nod for him to continue.

“The nurse has wheeled my chair closer to the window where the light is better. I am in a hospital on the outskirts of Versailles. The war has ended. My part ended six months ago when I stepped on a land mine.”

Comments

Oh Kalli, just when the dust was settling you stir it all up again with your pen. This is turning out to be one of the best serials. Letters from 1945 tell another story and we want to know who wrote them. I see something developing within the serials as a whole. Writers are not writing as an individual but as part of team. This shows in the way each chapter not only follows the story-line but is being written with much more feeling. Kalli has written another clever clue to the mystery that leaves 3 chapters for the answers. A great chapter, Kalli.
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Thanks, Ray. I have a good time with these serials and look forward to writing the chapters I have currently booked.
I am involved with the Santa Cruze Chapter of the Southwestern Society of Authors. Now that I have returned to AZ for the winter I will give a presentation on the Story Mint and what a challenge it is to writers to improve their skills. I hope to generate some interest. We might attract some new writers.
I agree. What a terrific chapter. This opens up a new possibility in a way that is believable and atmospheric. Lovely.