How’ve you been?
Not too good, but I’m so glad to have some time to start blogging again.
I’m not ready to start talking about how I’ve been yet. Its been a very hard time and I’m still trying to make sense of it all myself. I have a very good support network and getting the help I need.
So, What to blog about?
In 2009 I completed a writtng course with the open university. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have wanted to carry on.
for my last assignment, I had to write the first chapter of a longer work that includes some use of time-shift and dialogue…….
Here’s my entry.
In the Shadows
I had been summoned to watch her, to infiltrate her life.
They had hired me.
I call them they, because in my ten years of employment I had never been given another name to call them by. They knew I could get their information with quiet ease, never questioning my methods and always pleased with my results.
I too had been watched ten years earlier. It had been noted that I could make myself melt into backgrounds and disappear with no unwanted attention.
They had pushed a handwritten note under my door, informing me of their surveillance, that they were impressed with my skills and would like to meet in person to discuss employment. It appealed greatly. After such a long time of hiding and catering only for my own needs the challenge excited me. They offered to pay handsomely, which tempted me. I was tired of my talents serving only my own ends. There was one catch. If I refused their offer, my skills would be revealed to all.
The meeting place always changed. This time it was in the market square at dawn. The stall holders all sang their songs; calling the interest of the local tradesmen, the restaurant owners who had come early to catch the best deals of the day. The smell of fresh fish, flowers and fruit and veg’ hung on the early morning mist. No doubt this would pull more custom in later, when tradesmen were replaced by wives and mothers.
I watched from the shadows and I waited.
A light footed man walked towards me, oblivious to the noise and deals going on around him. His long dark hair blew behind him, the mist forming minute droplets in the long strands. His stride confident, never faltering.
As he came closer, his striking features came into view. His dark brown eyes, creased with concentration, focused on my position. His sharp angular nose suited his sculpted chin, encased in olive skin not native to here. He belonged on a beach not an early morning market.
He spoke authoratively as he joined me. “Good Morning, Solomon”
He nodded politely, ushering me towards the alley which led to the back of the market. We walked in silence; polite conversation was not needed here. At the precise moment we stepped out onto the street, a black Mercedes with blacked out windows stopped in front of us. The back passenger door opened and Tobias gestured for me to go in.
The inside of the car was custom made, cream leather with silky black stitching and extra seating behind the driver facing towards the back seats. Tobias gestured once more for me to take this seat as he flanked the occupant on the back seat.
‘Ah Solomon I finally get to meet the man whose work is completed in such style and with outstanding results”
He spoke in a subtle tone, which held such gravitas. A slim face framed my deep seated eyes and pursed mouth. Those dark eyes never left me. He had a regal look not of this time, the stature of great kings from times gone by. A smile broke through his thin lips.
‘May I introduce myself? I’m Nathaniel”
This is not our usual way of conducting business, Nathaniel.”
“This is no usual business Solomon. You have more than proved yourself, so now I have a rather important job for you to do. We have been watching a rather special young lady for a while now and believe she has something of great importance to us.”
Nathaniel went on with the details. Her Name was Ava. He informed me of where she lived, a detailed list of what she did and when. He told me she held the key to an ancient secret and it would be my job to find it and bring it back to them. Nathaniel could give me no real detail of what I was looking for-and I was not to disturb or take anything- I was to memorise everything. This wasn’t a problem, I’ve been blessed with a photographic memory, able to recall the tiniest detail from the oldest memories. If necessary, I was to infiltrate her life to gain her trust. I would communicate with Nathaniel directly, and he would come to me. I questioned how I would know what I was looking for
” That’s the beauty of it my dear Solomon, you will not. But we will, from the information you supply.”
A sneer escaped Nathaniel’s lips.
When I asked about my payment, Nathaniel replied that, if I succeeded, I would never have to work again. Ever. With that the car came to a gentle stop outside Ava’s residence.
“Good luck Solomon. I will be in touch. ” The tone behind the way he said will had an sharp edge any sword would envy. ” I will send Tobias to collect you.”The Mercedes glided away from the pavement and left me to survey the property.
Hidden from view, I watched for an hour or two, taking in every door and window. Nathaniel had told me which room was hers. The house was built in the new England style, its boards painted white. Sat in its own grounds, surrounded by a tall brick wall, front security gate, and intercom.
I quickly stepped out onto the pavement in front of the house, walked alongside the wall as far away from the house as possible and checked my surroundings. No one was aware of my presence. With an effortless leap, I was over the wall and hidden in the garden.
I stayed close to the wall, creeping closer to the back of the house. I listened. Her room was empty. I could hear the whir of a computer, the swish of the organza that rippled in the breeze. But no human. The room had no life in it. After three centuries of sharpened hearing, I trusted my senses and made the short dash across the lavish garden. In one easy jump I was up on her second story balcony. With such speed, I knew I would go unnoticed.
I entered her room through the French doors as the mid day sun filled the room. The light caught on a full length silver mirror. The sun shimmered against its surface, making the curve of the metal frame appear like liquid. The opposite wall was dedicated to book shelves, filled deep with every imaginable genre of classic and modern literature. Amongst these were many ancient historical and mythological tomes. My photographic memory now came into its own, taking in every title, spine, cover and storing it in my own mental photo album – ready to be opened and viewed at my own will.
A hand crafted dressing table dominated its space in front of a matching ornate wooden double bed, dressed in delicate silk matching the colour of the sky outside. As I had heard from outside, an ultra stylish laptop slept until its user was ready to go again without having to reboot. In a group of photos, one really stood out. Dressed in a jade evening gown was the most elegant woman with a simmering smile and amazing green eyes.
On the other side of the table, a large intricately carved wooden keepsake box cast a shadow over the table. I couldn’t resist feeling my way around it, my fingers tracing the tiny dragons carved along the edges of the box, guarding its secrets. A thick gold band ran aside the edges of the lid of the box, binding them together with a gold padlock. The orchid on the lid was so detailed; you might have been convinced it was once a real flower that, with time, had slowly turned to wood.
The fitted walk in wardrobes were made with such skilled craftsmanship that one could have mistaken them for the wall, had one not opened its door to invite me in. The stunning jade gown from the photograph floated from its hanger, waiting to be filled again. Alongside so many others, I doubted it would ever be worn again. A breeze rushed through the translucent jade silk and filled the air with the scent of burning leaves with a sweet undertone of liquorice. I closed my eyes and let my senses take over, as if she had walked straight past me. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and a distant memory stirred deep in my mind. Taken back to a place long ago. I lost my focus, immersed in her scent. I had to regain my composure, after all there was a job to do.
Regaining my composure, I looked a the lap top, to see what she had last been doing, but the wooden box called to me with its aura of intrigue. The lock wouldn’t be an issue, but I had my instructions. I wasn’t allowed to take anything or disturb it; no one was to know there had been anyone in the room. I moved over to the laptop and tapped the touchpad. It whirred and clicked back to life. The page displayed a group of symbols I had never seen before, my photographic memory did the rest.
Then footsteps. A little distance away, but heading in this direction. I put the laptop back to sleep and stepped out onto the balcony. A quick survey told me my way was clear. One silent leap and I was hidden once again in the great garden.
So there you have it, the first chapter of my book. Love to hear any thoughts you may have!! Thank you Jo x
All written content property of the author Joanne Piper. All rights belong to Joanne Piper.
No part of this material may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Copyright Joanne Piper 2015