U3A Creative Writing Workshop 3rd June 2020
Participants: Hermoine, Barbara, Jude, Laraine, Val
This was our attempt at a round robin exercise. We each started off the beginning of a story and emailed it to the next person on the list who then continued the story and emailed it to the next person, and so on until the story arrived back with the person who started it.
This is one of the few stories that managed to get all the way round the group!
It had been decades since she had left school. This was the first reunion that she was coming to, twenty-three years after she left. A very unhappy school experience with lots of bad memories. She was hoping that by coming here she would be able to allay all her fears and move on, leaving the pudgy school girl behind who everyone laughed at...
Looking round the room Sally scanned all the faces looking for someone familiar. After twenty-three years everyone would look different. Sally began to panic, when someone, whose voice she though she knew, patted her on the shoulder.
“Sally? Is it you? The person laughed. Sally turned round and looked carefully at the stranger in front of her.
“Yes, I’m Sally, but I’m sorry, I don’t remember you.”
“It’s me, Jane. I know, we’ve all got a bit older.” Jane put out her hands and took Jane’s between them.
Panic took hold of Sally now. Jane! Of all people, not Jane!
Sally’s breathing seemed to stop and then everything went black.
As she came round, Sally remembered the photos she’d been looking at only that morning. Her lifelong friend Charlotte had sent them to her. They were of their school journey on the Isle of Wight, 1965. Jane had been there and she had looked fine. Of course the photos were old and black and white, but she remembered her very well. She couldn’t tell that her hair was a deep ginger, but she could see the freckles dotted over her face. And that strange turquoise cardigan she loved. It was rather baggy and seemed two sizes too big for her, but she always wore it. Sitting up, she took another look across at Jane. Yes, it was indeed her, but she had changed beyond recognition. Sally felt that there was at last some justice here. Jane looked as if she’d had a hard life. She was pinched and thin and looked ill. Sally had no sympathy for her, it served her right. All those years ago, She should never have done it.
Richard had been the love of her life. Everything had been perfect until Jane came along and spoiled everything with her poisonous lies. Richard had believed the lies and although she’d protested her innocence, she remembered the hurt in his eyes. After that he faded out of her life. It wasn’t as if Jane had wanted him – she just didn’t seem to be able to cope with someone else’s happiness. But why was Jane contacting her now, after all this time?
She felt in the pocket of her cardigan. Her lodestone was still there. She curled her fingers around it and drew it out. It sat in the palm of her hand, a coppery sheen with some verdigris around the edges. She felt comforted just looking at it. Then it began to glow. Softly at first like a glow-worm, then the light grew brighter and began to sparkle and as she watched, it slowly rose up off her hand like a firefly and flew around her. She and the firefly danced around together, circling and circling until she felt herself lifted off the ground. She was flying, light as air. Up and up she and the firefly flew up into the night sky. Amy looking out of her bedroom window saw two new stars coming to rest in the sky just above the big old oak from where the owls hooted at night.