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   Chapter 9 Twist Of Fate

Broken Past By Arathi Characters: 13350

Updated: 2018-08-06 16:17


Sitting on the bay window bench while nursing a hot cup of tea, my mind is in quiet contemplation.

Much has happened since I last saw JT. The first morning at my new house, a barrage of women found me asleep outside my home. Talk about embarrassing. I wonder what explanation they came up with for my bizarre behavior. Whatever it was, it had to be better than mine. I still hadn't figured out that part.

And even though JT had filled them in on what needed to be done, communication was a mess! They weren't fluent in English, and I had no clue what they were saying. Despite the hiccups, by nightfall, the house was sparkling and felt livable for the first time. Their assistance had been much appreciated!

That first night at home was awkward. It had taken me barely ten minutes to settle my meager belongings. A mattress on the floor of the largest room with the pretty bay windows, a few pots and pans in the kitchen, and a cupboard to hold my clothes. The day had been filled with chatter since the women spoke mostly among themselves. Although unfamiliar, their prattle had been comforting. My small link to the human world. The night, however, was in stark contrast. It was just the crickets and me. Another alien language that I didn't understand and a conversation I couldn't be part of!

When boredom settled in, I took to walking around the house like a ghost. With nothing to do and even less to look at, I let my mind wander. My frustration was beginning to drown me. It was chipping away at the courage I had mustered. My resolve was weakening. Never having been a stranger to seclusion, this change shouldn't have been so hard. But I found myself craving for some company. Wanting to get away from Tom had been a huge thing for me. I was beginning to see myself as separate from him and to complete that transition; I had concluded that I needed my space. Why couldn't I have picked a quaint neighborhood somewhere in England? Why did it have to be almost halfway across the world and in a country where everything was so alien to me? In doing so, not only had I jumped into the fire by leaving my comfortable life, I had carried a mother-load of gasoline with me!

Was I afraid that I would find myself weakening? That I would go crawling back to Tom when things got difficult? Or was I concerned that Tom wouldn't let me leave? I didn't have all the answers. But I was beginning to realize that there was a massive difference in being introverted and in being an alien. At least with the former, I could choose to step out of my shell. Had I set myself up for failure without knowing it?

Not wanting to indulge my mind further, I resigned myself to the mattress. Attaching my phone to the charger, I browsed the few games available. When nothing caught my attention, I closed my eyes and sighed. Fortunately, sleep didn't take long to claim me; despite the nightmare of the previous night.

Over the next few days, I had taken to roaming the market, scouring for deals. I had already flooded my bathroom with an impressive array of hair products, and cleaning essentials. An electric kettle sat grandly in my kitchen, surrounded by packets of milk powder, coffee, and instant noodles. On the floor adjacent to my mattress, was a growing pile of books and crossword puzzles.

My mind, however, was relentless in its pursuit to keep me distracted. Every empty and dull moment and there were a lot of those; I found myself thinking about JT. And about our time together. How was it that we had hit it off so well together? Was I running away from one man only to end up in the arms of another? Did I feel that way about JT? Could one encounter with someone be that powerful? Truly? Had my time with Tom jaded me so severely that I couldn't envision a future with another man?

I must confess, by the fourth day, I felt I would go stark raving mad if I didn't have a decent conversation with somebody... anybody. And something told me that perhaps I already was well on

hen another there and yet another next to the first two. Pretty soon the clouds had disappeared, and the entire sky was glimmering. It was so surreal!

The faintest traces of courage still lingered somewhere inside me. And clinging to that like a crutch, I took a peek around me. I hadn't traveled far, of that I was glad. I noticed the end of the mountainside just beyond the fencing. I had never been beyond this point. So how was I to have known?

Bollocks! Realization hit me then. Had it not been for the cast iron fencing, I would have gone tumbling downhill. I couldn't see how far the drop was and physically, I felt relieved without that knowledge. But thoughts of my broken, mangled body lying somewhere hidden by undergrowth didn't help the situation. For the first time in a long time, I was terrified.

Looking away from the dark abyss, my eyes land on the tombstones. They were grey with age. Lichen grew up the corners and weeds snaked up the front. The inscriptions stood out as bright white against the murky grey, but I couldn't read anything from where I was sitting.

I shuddered. I never did like cemeteries. I always felt like I didn't belong, even though I was visiting out of respect for loved ones. And this one was no different more so because I was invading. These weren't graves of my family. These were strangers, and I had no business being here.

But then again my house had been empty for years. These graves were as forgotten as I was. My heart lurched at that thought. These were graves of real people. People that once meant the entire world to somebody. Somebody who had loved them enough to want them close by even after their death. And they didn't deserve to be forgotten!

Hanging on to what little courage I had left, I stood up and limped towards the graves. The soil squelched beneath my feet. Oh, how I despised that sound! A shiver found its way up and down my spine adding to the eeriness of the night. I crouched before the closest one. It was the larger of the two. With trembling hands, I reached for the weeds that obscured the inscription from my sight.

As my fingertips brushed over the dull green leaves of the weeds, that soft voice was back, encouraging me again. I stopped. My mind was racing. Was I here by accident? Or did something bring me here? Were the two voices I heard today a part of my imagination? The more I thought about what I was about to do, the queasier I felt.

I withdrew my shaking hand. I wasn't going forward with this. Not tonight. Not anytime soon!

Just then the wind picked up again. The weeds tossed around, and a word peeked out from behind the weeds!

Gwen...

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