Chapter 7

Written by: Donna McTavish

 At work, it was impossible to concentrate on the spreadsheets that normally brought calm and order to her troubled mind. At the weekly meeting of department heads, she fidgeted with her pen oblivious to the conversations around her. It was David, her boss, who broke through her reverie and, with a strange look at the dark clouds and stormy seas drawn on the paper in front of her, brought Alice back to the present. With an embarrassed laugh and a hurriedly made up headache, she left the meeting and returned home in the late Cape Town sun.


For a long time she stood in the hall facing the mirror, conflicted, confused. Her world was black and white yet the mirror had shown her life in the grey spaces in between; there were people with stories that had touched her heart even as she knew she could not make any sense of them. Still she needed to know if Oliver had been rescued. 


She reached out and felt the smooth surface of the mirror. The familiar swirling took hold and then she was standing in a wide hallway in Emma’s house. Maria hurried past with an armful of towels and a worried look on her smooth black face. It took a moment for Alice to understand that, this time, Maria could not see her. A woman cried out and Alice followed Maria up the staircase and into a large room where Emma was lying in bed.


“Jacob has returned with news, Madam. The doctor is on his way,” said Maria, “and we shall be prepared when he comes.”


Alice heard Emma’s breath catch in her throat. “I wish for Captain Seton to be here,” she said quietly before gripping the bedcover in her pale hands once again.


It was more than Alice could bear to watch without comforting Emma. Her cries ripped through the stillness of the house and she struggled with only the strong hand of Maria to hold. Neither the doctor nor her husband were present for the birth of her tiny wriggling baby boy. “We will call him Oliver after his father,” Emma whispered as Maria placed the infant in her arms. 


When Maria pulled back the thick cream drapes sunlight flooded into the room. Alice almost missed it but as she moved closer it caught her eye. A thin band of gold. In the same instant the infant stirred and Emma lifted her head and smiled directly at Alice. It was the ring that Oliver had held in his fingers in the lifeboat and now it was on Emma’s finger. 


Alice woke from a disturbed sleep and slowly regained consciousness with the cries of a newborn ringing in her ears. It took a few moments to realise that the intercom was buzzing and someone stood outside her front door. Alice peered blearily at the security screen. “I’m sorry to bother you,” said the figure.  “You will think this is strange but my name is Oliver. Oliver Seton”.


This is a brilliant chapter. It has flow and pace and links all the worlds in a believable way. It was like watching an old-fashioned movie and the end when Oliver appears in person (or an Oliver) is genius. I couldn't stop reading.
A wonderful piece of work. Bags of description and a great surprise at the end which is preceded by the rings appearance and reference to the lifeboat. This chapter provides a great springboard into what hopefully will be a dramatic conclusion.Smashing!
This serial is shaping up to be one of the best ever. Every author so far has done an absolutely fantastic job of keeping the story interesting and the continuity flowing. Each chapter builds on the previous ones and just gets better and better. Wow!
Donna, I'm so impressed with the way you managed to fit so much into this chapter without jolting us into a faster, unnatural pace. I love the way you incorporated the detail about the ring too.