A Curious and Confounding Thing – Rebecca Marsh
2000 words Literary / General Fiction
Only child, teenaged Meg has always been fascinated by their neighbour, Julia Everett. The Everetts had been something of a bone of contention between her parents and a source of ongoing gossip among the neighbours, but canny Julia had kept them all at bay. In the throes of first love, Meg wonders whether the Everetts could ever have been in love and learns a surprising truth about adults, love and marriage.
‘She’s as nutty as a fruit cake,’ my father said, when Julia was arrested for stabbing her husband. ‘Oh, Jim, don’t!’ my mother pleaded. ‘She’s eccentric I’ll grant you, but she doesn’t mean any harm’. ‘Doesn’t mean any harm, Nancy! She’s as mad as a hatter. For all we know, that poor old bugger’s lying there fighting for his life and you think she doesn’t mean any harm!’ my father said, his face crimson. I listened to their arguing in a detached way, not sure which of the two had the better of it. At sixteen, I was not mature enough to have formulated a valid opinion of my own but I knew one thing; Julia Everett had always fascinated me.
Crossing the Wasteland – Rebecca Marsh
4600 words General / Literary Fiction
Vicky’s world falls apart when her husband tells her he wants a divorce. Picking herself up, she makes a decision that shakes not only her husband but her family and friends as well. How a mother could abandon her children is incomprehensible to them, but Vicky’s made of more determined and sterner stuff than even she herself realised!
The minute they walk into the restaurant, Vicky Barrett knows it’s wrong; the little black dress and pearls, confirmed by the Maitre D’s supercilious smile. As outdated, among designer outfits smart and casual, as the word frock in the new millennium. Ushered to their table by an underling, they’re seated away from the mainstream. She turns her attention to the table. Napkins starched, convoluted into swan shapes, silverware catching candlelight. It’s Valentine’s Day with heart-shaped chocolates on their side plates. . She was one of three runners-up in a competition,. Dinner for two at the exclusive La Premiere was the Consolation prize.
Husbands and Other Impediments – Rebecca Marsh
1800 word General Fiction
When Helen Harvey is widowed at a relatively early age, she contemplates her newfound freedom from the ties of marriage and parenthood. Her decision to relocate from Windsor to Swanage, offers unlooked for possibilities, but is she up to exploring them?
The day after Henry’s funeral I celebrated my 54th Birthday. While celebrate might seem a negation of my utter devastation at the suddenness of his departure, celebrate was what I would do. Not the fanfare, trumpets and champagne variety of event but a rather more sober celebration of my unforeseen liberation from the ties of marriage. Alone in the bed I’d shared with Henry, I settled back against my pillows and contemplated the day. Most of the morning could be written off responding to the letters, cards and various expressions of sympathy, I’d received. Judging by their egregious eulogies, the Henry they knew and the Henry I knew were horses of different colours.