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Short Story Saturday Story 001: A Walk to Destiny by Jane Risdon

24 Nov

Welcome to the new Short Story Saturday story slot and the first story in this series. Because I have a 1,000-word limit on the Flash Fiction Fridays, I’ve decided (helped by Jane!) to add a story to the SSS slot and I shall be alternating (because I just don’t have the time to do both, sorry!) between a full short story and a review. Here is one of Jane’s, a great 1,410-worder. 🙂

A Walk To Destiny

The ancient wooden gate creaked loudly as she pushed against it. The leaf-dappled lane she found herself in smelled of damp earth, moss, and rotting leaves which stuck to the bottoms of her walking shoes as she made her way slowly, taking in the sheer peace of the place. As sunlight filtered through the heavy tree canopy and danced upon the ground in front of her she could hear rustling and fluttering as birds and other small animals moved about their business inside the thick green hedges stretching as far as she could see on either side of the lane.

Overhead high in the blue cloudless sky an aeroplane droned as it climbed higher and she thought how typical of a summer day that sound was. It never failed to remind her of her childhood. She was transported back to about age five, reading ‘Dick and Dora’ and ‘Janet and John’, somewhere outside, bathed in sunshine and with the smell of freshly-mown grass. Somehow it made her feel safe and happy.

After a few minutes she came to a stile, made of rusted iron overgrown with vegetation, and she took great care climbing over it – even though she wore jeans – she was wary of the stinging nettles.

She stood looking around at the slight change of landscape. To her left there was a vast expanse of farmland, some fields looked as if something was growing there, but she could not see what, other fields looked fallow.

Beyond the fields in the distance the land rose and was covered in a mass of green. Dark green, light green and almost grey-green leafed trees seemed to hover above the fields. They looked wonderful against the blue sky; almost Germanic. Memories of the Ruhr valley came to mind and the endless swathes of forests she had loved when she had lived there a lifetime ago. All along the River Ruhr where housing gave way to forest, the countryside was beautiful and so lush. She had spent many hours walking through them in her youth. If only she had possessed a camera back then, she thought, as she gazed at the scenery. Now she only had her memories to fall back on. She turned to her right and in a huge clearing the ruins of an old farmhouse stood, with roofless outbuildings and a side-less barn which still held various decaying farm implements, such as a hay wagon made of wood and rusted metal, some sort of cutting machine which looked as if it had been cut in two. A big old-fashioned rolling machine, which had two huge rusting drums attached to a long handle which she thought must have been for flattening something once.

An old tractor had been left with doors open and was now overgrown with weeds and a young oak tree seemed to be sprouting from the driver’s seat, the leather rotted long ago. The tractor was similar to those used in the fields which rose high behind her grandparents’ home where she used to play as a child, long before combined harvesters and real mechanisation had taken over farming.

When she was a child she used to run alongside Spangle, the local farm-hand, as he pulled various machinery for cutting hay, bundling it behind his rickety old tractor, and then she and her friends and siblings would help by stacking the square bales of hay. Sometimes they would make dens inside them, hidden from the world where they would play for hours. No-one seemed to worry where they might be.

Other times she would collect eggs at the local farm and take little lozenge shaped pellets which had an oaty smell, to feed the cows as they were milked in the milking parlour, a million years away from the modern mechanised milking of cows she had seen on television programmes like ‘Country Ways’ and ‘Country Tracks’, which even now she really enjoyed watching.

Often she would help the farmer and Spangle pick and collect the potatoes when they were ready and the smell of the earth in the lane reminded her of the smell as they harvested the potatoes. Later they would visit the farmer’s mother in the warm cosy farmhouse kitchen and have a glass of homemade lemonade and hot newly baked biscuits or cakes.

The farmhouse has now been turned into a Harvester’s pub and restaurant, however, the original building seems to be almost the way it was in her childhood, with obviously modern additions.

She had been once inside just to look around. It was a really strange feeling to stand in the bar, once the kitchen, and remember how it was back then. The huge fireplace had been retained, so had the low beams and there were sepia photographs displayed of the original buildings and farm. She had found it a very sad experience. Sad for the house and the farm and those she knew who had lived and worked there, and sad for herself; her lost childhood and her happy memories. For the first time in years she wondered whatever had become of Spangle. He had slept in the big barn and had his meals in the farmhouse but as far as she could recall, he had never had a proper home. He must be dead long ago, she mused.

Somewhere in the distance she could hear sheep bleating and following their cries she could just about make out a flock high on a ridge to the left of the farm where a field stretched into the distance. She wondered where the farm they belonged was located. The farm next to her had long been abandoned which had her wondering what had happened to cause it to be deserted, seemingly in a hurry given what had been left behind. It must have been good working machinery back then and the house would still have been habitable, a mystery which would remain unsolved unless she met someone she could ask. She didn’t think she would however.

The lane continued past the farm and became more and more overgrown until it was impossible to go further. She looked around deciding what to do; try and cross the field where the sheep were and take the faster route home, or go back the way she had come. Looking at her watch she decided she had time to retrace her steps, enjoying the warm sunshine and the scenery.

She needed this walk, to clear her mind and refresh her spirit. So far it seemed to be working.

The fresh air, warmth of the sun and the beautiful scenery filled her with a calm contentment and her fears and anxieties began to be absorbed into the peace and tranquillity that surrounded her.

Now she could think clearly and she stopped for a moment, listening to the sounds of nature around her.

She belonged here, in this place, in this time, in this skin. She had every right to exist just as the animals and birds and vegetation around her had a right to this space and time. Bending down she touched a fern and recalled how ferns had been on this planet since the very beginning and no doubt would be here long after she had gone. Long after he had gone.

He. He crept back into her consciousness, ruining the moment. He. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly through her mouth. She tasted the earth and the vegetation on the back of her throat and her resolve stiffened.

Looking around her she was filled with an overwhelming sense of self, of her ability to cope with anything; at last, courage. Courage to face what was to come, to face Him. She thrust her chest out and straightened her back and began to walk purposefully back along the lane.

She reached the stile and hesitated for a second or two as she gazed along the lane on the other side. Somewhere deep down she knew, she felt, that once she crossed over the stile to the other side there was no going back. She would have to carry on now that her mind was made up.

Whatever the outcome, there was no going back. The decision was made. She mounted the stile and as she alighted on the other side she knew that ahead was her walk to destiny. She felt strong.

© Jane Risdon 2012

Thank you, Jane. I love a strong female protagonist. 🙂

For the last thirty years Jane Risdon has worked in the International Music Industry as an Artiste Manager, Producer and Music Publisher with her husband who was a professional musician when they met in their teens.

Together they have discovered, mentored and guided the careers of Singers, Bands, Songwriters and Producers all over Europe, the USA and SE Asia as well as the UK, resulting in Chart hits, TV and Movie Soundtracks and numerous other successes, including launching the very first Industry Showcases at the London Hippodrome in the mid 1980s.

She has lived and worked in Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, USA, as well as Europe and England – working with English, American, European and Chinese artists in all genres of music and in various languages including Mandarin and Cantonese.

Jane has been writing since childhood and has had articles published in the Music Press. Her main genre is Crime writing; mysteries and thrillers – usually with a twist in the tale.  At the moment she is writing a crime story, ‘Ms Birdsong Investigates’, which features and ex-MI5 Officer and her new life in a rural Oxfordshire Village.  This novel should be completed by early 2013.

In addition to this novel she has a series of stories which she describes as Character Based Gentle Humour, called ‘God’s Waiting Room’, which she hopes will be completed next year.

Jane is also co-writing a novel with an award-winning author of over 28 books. They hope they will complete their joint venture early in 2013.

With numerous Short Stories and several Flash Fiction pieces under her belt she is a prolific writer who is yet to publish a book in her own right.  However, she has had several short stories published for Charity during the last year including her story, ‘The Look’, in ‘I am Woman Anthology Volume 1’, in aid of Breakthrough, Women for Women and Women’s Aid and two stories, ‘The Debt Collector’ and ‘The Ghost in the Privy’, published in the anthology, ‘Telling Tales’, in aid of The Norfolk Hospice.

Jane also has written a chapter for a new book project, which features several authors all writing a chapter each, without any idea of what the other has written.  She found this great fun and looks forward to reading the finished book. Jane would like to thank Morgen Bailey for all her support and for publishing her Flash Fiction stories and Short stories, and she wishes her much success with her own novel.

Jane Risdon (Author) Blog: http://janerisdon.wordpress.com

Jane Risdon (Author) Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2

The ‘I am Woman Anthology Volume 1’ is available on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

:*) You’re welcome, Jane, thank you, and good luck with your novel. 🙂

***

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with crime novelist Mike Walters – the five hundred and sixty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do, and I also review stories of up to 3,000 words on Short Story Saturdays. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 3,000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me posting it online in my new Red Pen Critique Sunday night posts, then do email me. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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36 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2012 in blog, Facebook, short stories, writing

 

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36 responses to “Short Story Saturday Story 001: A Walk to Destiny by Jane Risdon

  1. Margot Kinberg

    November 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    What a lovely story! Thanks for sharing it! Jane, you are are so skilled at evoking the farmland setting, and there’s real insight into your protagonist too. Beautiful!

     
    • Jane Risdon

      November 25, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Margot, thanks so much for your kind comment. I am looking out at pouring rain, howling wind and leaves dancing around like confetti at a wedding at the moment – such a long way from warm sunny summer days lazing in the grass gazing up at blue skies, droning aeroplanes and the hum of bees…..but that is reality for you! Pleased as punch you liked it. x

       
  2. Page Central (BookShelf)

    November 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Brilliant short story Jane….fabulous blog Morgen, thank you so much xxxx

     
    • morgenbailey

      November 25, 2012 at 5:57 am

      🙂 Thank you very much. I post 3+ times a day so I hope you’re sitting comfortably…

       
    • Jane Risdon

      November 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Thanks so much ladies I am glad you enjoyed it and yes, thanks to Morgen and do visit her blog as there is so much here for all to read and take part in. Chat to you again soon. Appreciate your time and trouble seeking this out. x

       
    • Jane Risdon

      January 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks so much ladies, appreciated and I do hope you will pop in and read some of my others and those of other featured authors here.

       
  3. Carol Matthews

    November 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Jane, really enjoyed your story, the description was so good I could smell the wods and earth! I was walking down that lane with you! Loved the resolution to deal with the problems in her life, I want to know more! Many thanks to Morgen for a great blog, very readable! xxx

     
    • morgenbailey

      November 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you very much, Carol. I’ve passed on your comment to Jane.

       
    • Jane Risdon

      November 29, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      I know I have thanked you both before elsewhere but, really, I am so happy that you liked it and I know how ill you have been so appreciate the time and effort taken to read and comment. Thanks so much. xx

       
    • Jane Risdon

      November 29, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Carol, I appreciate you popping over and reading my story and I am so thrilled you enjoyed it…any time you fancy a walk in the country you are welcome to come with me. I stop and take lots of photos so you will need to be patient! I am glad I left you wanting more…..

       
    • Jane Risdon

      November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Carol. I seem to have replied to you in the wrong box so if you read a bit further down you will find my reply….sorry I have no idea why I did that. I have glasses on! xx

       
  4. Kelly Jean Richardson

    November 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    jane-well done. i loved the story. felt like i was walking beside you as you ambled along. such evocative writing. love how we learned so much about your character as we looked through her eyes, both into her past and her present.

     
    • Jane Risdon

      November 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Kelly, you know me and country walks. I am glad it was clear that my character was thinking about happier times and resolving to get rid of her unhappiness…the stile being her decision to take a hold of her life and future and turn her back on the horrid past (the man!). Appreciate you commenting, I value your comments as I do each and every one left for me. Thanks.xx

       
  5. Pam Griffiths

    November 27, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Jane this is a great story, really enjoyed it well done you! x

     
    • Jane Risdon

      November 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Pam thanks for reading my story and for commenting. I know the last 24 hours were a nightmare getting your The Next Big Thing ready….good luck with it and good luck to all the ladies taking part in The Next Big Thing – I enjoyed it and I hope you all do too…I shall be over soon to catch up on all the blogs. xx

       
  6. morgenbailey

    January 11, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Reblogged this on Morgen's Online Short Story Writing Group and commented:

    The first story to appear on my main blog’s Short Story Saturday story slot…

     
  7. Jane Risdon

    June 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Morgen, thanks for forwarding my most recent like here, from Susanne Leist, how kind of her to find this and read it. Many thanks again to her and to you.

     
  8. Ms. Vee

    August 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I enjoyed this story. I will revisit and explore when time permits me.

     
    • morgenbailey

      August 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Thank you, Ms. Vee. I’ve forwarded your comment to Jane.

       
      • Ms. Vee

        August 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

        You’re welcome. Thank you. You both have a glorious day!

         
    • Jane Risdon

      August 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Ms Vee thanks so much for taking time to come and read this. I am happy your enjoyed it and thanks also for following my blog. Much appreciated. Have a fab day too 🙂 Thanks for forwarding this Morgen 🙂

       
      • Ms. Vee

        August 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

        You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to reading your writings. 🙂

         
      • Jane Risdon

        August 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

        Oh thanks so much. You can find some of my work in anthologies in aid of charities: I am Woman vol 1 available via amazon, and also In A Word: Murder, in paperback and ebook also via amazon (links on my page). Unfortunately the other book I have stories featured in, Telling Tale, is no longer on sale. This was in hardback, paperback and ebook formats when on sale. You can find a few examples of my work over on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog (see blog roll for links) – I have Flash Fiction and some Short stories there too. At the moment I am working on stories for a couple of other anthologies – one book is for charity, the other is for a publisher. Not to mention all my novels and other short story projects. Keeping me busy Ms Vee!! LOL. Thanks so much for your interest, I really appreciate it. Let me know if you find anything to read, which I have written. 🙂

         
  9. Samantha Wilcox

    March 12, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Hi Jane, I’ve just read this story for the first time – I think it’s great. Your description takes me there and I’m in the story; I love it when writers do this. Excellent.

     
    • morgenbailey

      March 13, 2015 at 7:08 am

      Thank you, Samantha. I’ve passed on your comment.

       
      • Jane Risdon

        March 13, 2015 at 5:31 pm

        Morgen, thanks so much for letting me know Samantha’s comments. Appreciated. 🙂

         
    • Jane Risdon

      March 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Samantha thanks so much for your kind words. I try! I do hope you like other stories and flash fiction I’ve written too…comments always welcome. Much appreciated. 🙂

       
  10. sheldonk2014

    July 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I just read that poem morgen wrote about her family
    I really liked it
    Thank you for visiting
    As always Sheldon

     
    • morgenbailey

      July 29, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Ah, thank you, Sheldon. It’s appreciated.

       
      • Jane Risdon

        July 29, 2016 at 9:58 am

        Morgen thanks for forwarding this on to me today,(SheldonK2014) but I think it was not meant for me…what do you think? Anyway, have a smashing day either way. 🙂

         

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