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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

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Short story

Short Story: Middle Earth

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Windsurfer: Gold Coast, Australia

Rhian parked up in the last available space in the tiny school car park. Just one space left! Quickly, she manoeuvred the car into the spot.

Looking down at the brand-new dashboard, she switched off the engine, still coming to terms with driving the large jeep-like people carrier that they had bought the previous week. Matt’s enthusiasm as they left the car sales showroom the previous week was entrancing, and they’d taken advantage of the powerful engine as they drove down the Pacific highway,

‘What would they think of this back home?’ he’d laughed, ‘We can drive onto the beach and allsorts, it’s awesome!’

Jack and Carys had giggled at his enthusiasm, strapped in the back of the humungous vehicle, Carys looking small in the large car seat.

They’d been living in Australia for just over a month now, and were loving it. The lifestyle was laid back, the weather fabulous, the scenery breathtaking. The route to the border to New South Wales had taken them past eucalyptus trees, glimpses of azure blue ocean, and the smell of frangipani overwhelming the senses. They were lapping up the sights and sounds of this new landscape. Just last weekend they had picnicked up beautiful Mount Tamborine with its gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean, and the high-rise apartments that made-up Surfers Paradise. From this height the apartments looked like little Lego pieces arranged along the coastline.

‘Mam, hurry up or I’ll be late. I can see Ryan over there, waiting for me!’ Jack’s voice broke into her thoughts.

She glanced at his eager face and smiled. He had settled beautifully into his new school with the minimum fuss and bother, enjoying the Australian school environment. Any nerves that she had felt were diminished the very first day when Jack had skipped out of school, chatting away to a group of other boys. At nine years old, he was young enough to adapt quickly to his new life. Carys on the other hand, was not so keen on the crèche that they’d enrolled her into. Rhian thought that she was still cranky from the long plane journey and the heat. She was not sleeping as soundly as she had in Wales. Rhian made a mental note to buy a free-standing fan to help cool the evenings.

Unbuckling the car seat, she held onto their hands whilst they crossed the road to the school gates. The sun was already a golden globe in the sky, promising another day of hot sunshine. She smiled to herself as she remembered the first week that she had stood at the school gates waiting for Jack to appear. She had been chattering away to Carys when they were surrounded by a group of nine-year-old boys, Jack included.

‘Hi mam, this is Ryan, and Tyler, and Blake. I told them we are from Wales.’

‘Hello boys, how did school go?’ Rhian replied, looking at the faces gazing up at her with what can only be described as utter confusion.

Jack giggled as he looked at their puzzled faces.

‘You must speak slower, mam,’ he giggled.  ‘They are just getting used to your Welsh accent. Either that, or they think you are from Middle Earth!’

‘Don’t be cheeky, Jack!’ she replied, adjusting Carys t-shirt, Across the front were the words: I Heart Australia in bold gold and green letters.

Suzanne Bowditch

 

 

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Short Story : The red dress

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The woman in the dress shop had told her mother it fitted perfectly. ‘This is so in now you know,’ she’d said, standing next to her in front of the ornate mirror. ‘Red is the colour at the moment, haven’t you seen it on the best cat walks?’

Her mother shrugged, pulling the dress down over Rosie’s knees. A whisper of gauze underneath, to complete the look.

‘Please mom, can I have it, please?’

The ring of the bell on the way out, the parcel tucked under her arm, a grin across her face.

*

Now, in the shade of her bedroom, she wasn’t so sure. The taffeta clung to a bosom that was still as unfamiliar to her as the teenage spots that had appeared on her face practically overnight. The dress fitted just below her waist, straining across her stomach; puppy fat and wobbly thighs hidden underneath its folds. She pulled at the thick unyielding material, supposedly meant to fit across her shoulders in a chic 50s style. She groaned, rubbing at the ugly red marks where the sleeves dug into the tops of her plump arms like a vice. Turning sideways, the patterned black and red flowers seemed to mock her, spread as they were across her back and finishing on her bottom, making her feel like an overgrown rose garden, fallen into disrepute.

‘You look lovely, Rosie,’ her mother stood in the doorway.  ‘A good choice.’ Her slim arms were folded across her chest, her jeans snug across slender hips and thighs.

She smiled encouragingly. Pushing long locks across a face that was barely lined.

For the thousand time, Rosie cursed her own well rounded body, a throwback to her father’s mum, her granny Beatrice. Why couldn’t she be long limbed too?

As if adding insult to injury, her older sister Taylor bounded in the room, the image of their mum. Taylor wore teeny denim shorts, a seersucker top and tanned legs that seemed to go one forever. She sat down onto Rosie’s bed, her limbs tucked under her like a young gazelle.

‘You look like a flowerpot!’ she giggled, exposing a set of iron braces across her gums. A sprinkle of freckles across a perfectly upturned nose and sparkling blue eyes completed fifteen-year-old Taylor’s look.  Naturally gorgeous without even trying!

Rosie turned away, her brown eyes filling up. I can’t show I’m upset; I can’t! she thought, glancing at her reflection for a second time.  If the flowerpot look was in vogue, she’d win it, hands down.

Taylor had a point.

Her mother looked at her watch, encased around a slim wrist. ‘You’d better hurry, Rosie, or Amber will be waiting. Dad’s downstairs. Come on.’

She grabbed her around the waist in a familiar hug. Rosie’s blonde hair fell across her cheek and for once she was glad that her unruly locks betrayed the hurt she’d felt by Taylor’s remark.

‘Thanks mom,’ she smiled, the remark rolling off plump shoulders.

That was her, ever the trooper, the solid one, who let everything slide, like water off a duck.

*

The party was just starting.  Music blasted from somewhere inside, mixed with the shrieks and laughter of people arriving, chatting, having fun. Rosie clambered out of her dad’s car and smoothed the folds of the dress, staring at the bows on her pumps. How she wished she’d chosen to wear the brown dress instead! Colour did not suit her, she knew that, especially not the Scarlett look. The brown one had been worn, it was an old faithful, but she felt comfortable in it.

An arm hooked under hers, and Amber smiled at her. ‘Don’t look so scared Rose; we’ll have a drink and a dance and forget all about anyone else, you’ll see. Bye Mr Gardener,’ she waved to Rosie’s dad as he drove away.

A couple of giggling girls ran past, dressed in bright colours and flouncy skirts; a flash of skinny legs in pumps.

‘I’m starting to think that the 50’s were the least flattering time in history!’ she moaned.

‘Come on, you look fine.’ Amber frowned, and pulling at her arm. ‘You know how cool Lily Anderson is, and her parents are well loaded. We were lucky to get these; everywhere in town is sold out,’ she remarked, pushing her coiffured bangs away from her eyes. Her deep blue dress looked well fit on her petite frame. ‘Trust Lily to be the trend setter of the parties.’

‘It’s okay for you. You look as if you’ve not eaten for a week! Whereas me……,’ she sighed, pulling on the off the shoulder sleeve for the hundredth time.

A dark haired boy walked up the path in front of them, hidden from view by a large rose bush in front of Lily’s house. His head was down, hands in pockets, shuffling his feet.

Why was Alex, the science nerd, invited?

‘Hey Amber, get you a soda?’ Blake Magill slid up behind them, and Amber giggled.

‘See you later, Rose,’ she called over her shoulder as they ran the path.

Great.

Now she was truly on her own. Just as she was thinking of calling her dad, Alex appeared. She could see him approach from the corner of her eye, and her heart sank.

This was turning out to be an awful night.

‘Hi Rosie,’ he stammered, looking awkward. Did she want to spend time with a geek?

‘Hi Alex,’ she answered, then stopped herself. From this angle, his eyes looked deep blue, his eyelashes thick and dark. He was wearing a baseball jacket and sneakers, a 100% improvement on the nerdy bowtie and sensible lace ups that he normally wore on a school day.

‘You look lovely,’ he smiled.

This close, he didn’t look half bad.

‘Say, why don’t we try that new frozen yoghurt place down by the pier? I can get my dad to drop us; he’s just around the corner in his shop. Then we can take a walk along the beach…. if you want to that is.’ He stammered, and in the darkening light she could see the blush on his face.

Rosie had to think. Ice cream down the pier, against an awkward party?

She smiled.

*

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Short Story: Princess Molly

My sister in law is a gifted artist. She is also a cat lover, having 4 cats who share her cottage in England with her husband Alan, a retired doctor (I say share here, because the house is very much their home as well). Molly is a gorgeous Bengal cat with superb markings that remind me of a Royal cat, one who should be lounging around, being hand fed luscious tidbits, and wearing a sweet bejewelled crown on her head.

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There you have it …Princess Molly is born.

Inspired by Molly, I have started to write short stories, aimed at children. I hope to have them illustrated in the future, but in the meantime I’d love to share my latest story with you.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Princess Molly and the new toy.

Princess Molly sat in her favourite corner of the garden, washing her paws. There was barely a rustle from the house. Missy was in her studio, busily painting.

Suddenly, the large rhododendron bush next to Missy’s studio rustled, and a face appeared from its depths. Jack, the large tom cat from next door, blinked in the sunlight. His large amber eyes shone in the deep green leaves of the bush. He gave a long yawn, and stretched his paws.

Princess Molly liked to avoid Jack. Her princess ways were used to someone a bit more refined, not like Jack. She turned her green eyes away, hoping that he would take the hint, and jump back over his wall.

But he didn’t. In fact, he strolled right over to Princess Molly.

‘What you up to, Molls?’ he rasped, in that uncouth, pussycat way. ‘Do you want to check out the bins in the alleyway?’

Princess Molly looked disgusted. She stood up on her haunches, and stalked back towards the house.

‘Wait up Molls; I know you’re a princess, I was only teasing. Come and see what ‘s in my garden.’

Princess Molly stopped, tail in the air. She turned around, intrigued.

‘Okay,’ she replied. Her afternoon snacks could wait a little longer.

*

Moments later she was following Jack over the stone wall into next door’s garden. She had only visited Jack’s garden a few times, preferring her own, more refined one. But curiosity go the better of her. What did Jack have in here that was so special?

Jack’s garden was bigger than hers. It had a well cut lawn in its centre, and a cut out of dirt in the middle. Colourful flowers swayed in the breeze; reds, yellows and pinks. It was a feast for the eyes, and perfect for pussycats. She yawned in annoyance, suddenly bored. Hadn’t she seen this before? She plonked herself down onto the lawn, and started to lick that unruly patch of fur on her tail.

‘Over here, Princess Molly!’ Molly looked up, startled (it was a particularly satisfying scratch). Where had that voice come from? She looked around, and spotted a tail peeking out from a small door at the end of the garden. She had not noticed that part before. She stalked over, paws avoiding the course grass. What was the mystery?

The door had a gap at the bottom. Princess Molly poked her head through the gap, pushing against the door with her clean white paws.

Beyond the gate she stopped. Jack and the voice (she was still not sure whose it was) were on top of a huge colourful thing. As she watched, Jack slid down a bright blue slide, into a pit of sand. He shook his head free of the sand on his whiskers, and miaowed. The other cat (for that’s whose voice she heard) clung onto a coiled piece of rope, next to the slide. The cat, a very furry tabby, scratched and flicked its tail, purring contentedly.

‘Look what Abigail bought me – my own playground!’ cried Jack, climbing up the slide the wrong way.

Princess Molly forgot that she was a royal, very important and refined cat. She purred, and threw herself onto the slide, behind Jack.

*

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

June 27 Challenge

June 1-30 challenge

Day 27 Twenty-seven Sentences

June 27, 1927. On this date the United States Marine Corps adopted the English bulldog as their official mascot. 

Write about any subject. You can write about a Marine, a bulldog, or an Englishman if you’d like. You can write about anything! But you must write exactly twenty-seven sentences. No more. No less.

Alternative: Write a poem with 27 words or syllables.

Holly

Holly stood next to the film director, a clipboard in her hand.

‘Cut,’ yelled Mr Spielberg, as she walked over to the set. ‘That’s it folks, lunchtime.’

The actors stood chatting to each other, tired after a long morning on the shoot.

‘Hey there, girl, make yourself useful and grab a bottle of water can you?’ The most arrogant actor that she’d ever encountered stared at her from behind reflective shades.

Holly shuffled off, reaching the trailer in record time. She grabbed a water, heading back.

She could hear the actor even from this distance, shouting at a young lad named Michael. Holly shuddered; he was a thoroughly despicable man! No wonder everyone called him Alf behind his back; A for a**hole.

Holly stepped into line at the lunch queue. Up ahead, the dishy new actor called Chad stood next to his female co star, a European model who’d decided to go into films.  Holly had a crush on Chad, ever since she’d seen him in that vampire film last year, where he’d spent most of the film with his shirt off. His poster adorned her bedroom at home, and he filled her dreams.

That was why she was so pleased to have got this job, working for Spielberg himself. It meant that she had a chance to ogle Chad to her heart’s content.

In front of her the little actor named Vance smiled.

‘Hey there Holly, good to see you. How long are you working on set?’

‘All summer,’ she replied, glancing over to where Chad sat next to the model. They were picking on their salads and mineral water, whilst looking at their reflections in the glass door of the trailer.

‘There she is, just the one I was looking for. Get me a salad will you, darling.’ Alf the a**hole sidled up behind her, thrusting a $50 note in her hand. ‘No anchovies,’ he smirked, sauntering away to the rest area.

Spielberg appeared behind her. ‘Hey there Mr Cage.’ he called. The actor turned at the sound of his name. After all, he was working for one of the world’s great directors.

Spielberg put his arms around Holly’s shoulders.

‘Come and meet my daughter.’

*

 

 

 

June 23 Challenge

June 1-30 Challenge

Day 23 In or Out

June 23, 2016. Britain votes today whether to stay in the European Union or get out of it.  The choice is simple: In or Out. But the ramifications of a vote to leave are complex and uncertain.

Have you ever had to choose In or Out? Maybe it was a job that you didn’t like. Or a business deal. Maybe you were in a relationship where you had to choose In or Out.

Write about making a simple but difficult choice.

Here’s a short story I wrote last year about making decisions – IN or OUT

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Sally  

Sally pulled open the veranda doors and stepped out onto the balcony. She was standing at the back of the house, looking up at the magnificent snow clad fir trees that made up the border to her garden. She stood with her hands clasping the rails, as pure frozen air emitted  from her breath. She rubbed her hands against the iciness of the day. A gentle wind made itself present as the chimes at the end of the balcony tinkled under its tutelage.

She looked down onto the garden to see the deer tracks in the snow, which looked so fresh. There was a rustling further along the corner of the house, where the trees met the now snow covered lawn. The swings and slide that were normally the play areas of the garden, were now a ghostly white.  A movement beyond the small snow covered lump that was normally the barbecue area caught her eye; and then she saw it. A huge deer was standing a little way back. She tried to focus her eyes, squinting in the pale sunlight that had decided to peer through the trees. Yes, there was a small deer stood beside the adult; a mother and doe together at the end of her garden.

They had been living in Canada for nearly six months. Sally, Jake and the boys had flown over for a holiday initially, to take in some skiing and snowboarding that they all loved. They had fallen in love with the people and culture of Canada, and had applied for residency almost immediately. They  loved every minute spent there.

But lately there had been a subtle change in her relationship with her husband. Jake had embraced his new home and all that it had offered, but these past few weeks had seen a difference in him. He was not so enthusiastic about his surroundings as he had been just a few months back. His relationship with the boys had changed too; where once he would take them snowboarding on the weekends, now he fobbed them off, claiming to be tired. There always seem to be some project at work to complete instead. This had led to a distance between Sally and him too, a barrier that no amount of subtle comments, pleading looks or downright discussion had assuaged.

So, the inevitable had happened, and they’d had a blazing row. Looking back, Sally blamed the red wine,or perhaps she felt that there was no future for them anymore. She had become more and more tense the more that he’d pushed her away, and she’d exploded.Now, with a red wine hangover, she was feeling remorseful. Jake had left early and taken the boys up to the resort for some skiing, leaving her alone to her thoughts. They had barely spoken to each other, and she knew that is was the start of something momentous in their lives.

Where would they go from here?

Today, more than any other day, she felt that Canada was not home. She missed the atmosphere of home; the bright lights and the shopping. She felt a pang for her favorite restaurants, and for her family. They had all melded into one in her mind, and now they rose like ghosts, spoiling the quiet calm of this snow clad scene in front of her.

She turned her head and walked into the living area. There was a noise outside, and their family car pulled up onto the drive,  Jake and the boys spilling out. What would Jake’s mood be like after last night?

Jake and the boys walked into the living room. The boys, sensing that there was some tension in the air, made themselves scarce.

‘We have to talk.’ he said. He sighed, and led her into the bedroom. She sat on the bed, and suddenly felt an impending dread.  What was he going to say?

Jake held an envelope in his hands. It looked pretty official, and one that she’d not seen before. She’d not checked their PO box at Whistler this week, so had not picked up the mail.

‘I know that its been a little strained for a while, but I’ve had a lot on my mind,’ he started to say. That’s an understatement, she thought, somewhat peevishly.

Jake looked at her face, and continued on quickly, sensing another row.

‘Its just that…well…they are really pleased at my work here lately. They regard me as a valuable member of the team.’ Jake paused, and swallowed a few times, nervously.

What was he going to spring on her?

‘Righto, I’ll just come out with it. They have offered me a promotion. The thing is, the firm is expanding and have opened up some new offices. They want me to run them. I know how fond you are of Canada, and the boys love the skiing, and all the snow, but ….,’ he paused, looking at her.

‘How do you fancy living in California?’

Sally looked up at her husband. A few seconds ago, it seemed that her world had ended. This was so unexpected, that she threw her arms around him in excitement. Jake looked perplexed.

‘I thought you loved it here, Sal. Lately though, I thought you might have been hankering for home.Could we move again, in such a small period of time?’

Sally smiled and shook her head.

‘After 14 years of marriage, you still don’t know me at all do you?’ she laughed.

Her doubts and insecurities vanished.

‘Lets go tell the boys’ she said.

*

 

 

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