Friday, January 9, 2009

Let There Be Light

“Mind if I open the shutters?” A faint sweaty waft as he edged past Louise: hard times for estate agents everywhere, especially here at the back of beyond. She suspected that he really needed this sale.

“Yes. Let there be light!” The words fell out of her mouth before she could stop them.

“What? What was that?” Louise met his bewildered gaze and gestured with her hand; a “silly me” flapping that seemed to satisfy him. The biblical stuff had got to stop; she’d left it behind, with all the rest.

He tugged at the latch and the light surged in through the wide windows, stencilling bright panels on the long cream wall. Behold, there was light. Outside yesterday’s greyness had bled into a watercolour, wet on wet; pale and luminous.

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered, smiling.

“It’s very light,” he said, smiling back. “This is a unique development, not many old warehouses left untouched. Most of them were pulled down so this is special.”

She looked away from him and down the long sunlit room and wanted to weep at the sense of homecoming. This place was her place, the light was her light. From the window she could see the café’s scarlet sunblind: a brilliant spot of brightness amid the grey stone buildings.

“This was the show flat, you know.” She could hear his worry that the deal might slip away. “Hence the furniture.” An uneasy laugh, followed by: “Of course, you could always rent this place while you make up your mind? Get to know Greyling Bay? In your own time?”

Two hours later she was in. A month’s deposit paid, bags moved in, car in the designated slot. As she turned the key in the door she hesitated; what if the shadows were back?

But no, the long room was flooded with light and she felt a tremulous happiness. Let Andrew look for her; let him find her, even. There was nothing he could do now. She leaned out of the window and snuffed the salt on the air and the words were banner-high in her head again before she could help herself.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.

Nicola Slade


Anonymous said...

Nicola - I love the sense of the story developing, the light and 'snuffing the salt'. Andrew - ooh - what did he do?
Also been reading the stories on your site - 'I to the hills' is also a favourite psalm of mine, albeit the metrical version.
Meanwhile this is growing so fast my intentions to contribute are being swept away by the tide - still, you never know!

Jane Smith said...

Ali, Nicola has done well, hasn't she? And between you and me, I hear that she's just submitted her latest novel to her agent, so if we run out of her short stories at least we'll have something longer to look forward to soon.

I'm delighted by the response that this project has had: but do please send me something if you have time. While I've accepted quite a few contributions I've had to reject many more, for all sorts of reasons, not all of them bad: due to the nature of the project there have been a couple of times when I've had to reject excellent work because it doesn't fit with stuff I've already accepted, but not yet put up.

If anyone wants to blog about this and spread the word, I'd be grateful....

Nicola Slade said...

'Andrew - ooh - what did he do?'

I'm working on that, DebutNovelist, but it's not what it might appear at first sight!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have done the blogging, now just have to do the writing!