Writing prompt number 9 - 14 December 2020
See previous blog posts for the whys and wherefores. Warmth
Lily had been walking for what seemed like hours. The rain pelting down like stair rods on her back. Yet, she still plodded forward, clutching the parcel beneath her coat in a desperate attempt to keep it dry. Had she known what was going to happen before she headed off, she would never have set foot out the door.
Christmas Day was just hours away and Lily had but one parcel to deliver. As Marcia hadn’t answered her phone, she reluctantly decided that popping round and leaving it on the doorstep wouldn’t be the best solution. But she hadn’t reckoned with the car. True, Rupert had told her that the petrol gauge was playing up weeks ago; the display stuck on a third full. But in her haste to finish off her Christmas chores, it had completely escaped her mind. And so, that very thing you imagine would happen, happened. Lily’s car coughed gently, hiccupped over the potholes in the road before coming to rest beneath a tall oak tree. Then and only then, did Lily remember Rupert’s warning and his advice to take the spare petrol canister with her if she went out in the car. Cursing mildly under her breath, Lily also realised that her mobile phone was sitting slap-bang in the centre of the kitchen table. There was only one thing for her to do, walk to Marcia’s and telephone for help once she’d got there.
If there is one thing we can all rely on, it’s when bad things happen, they come in threes. So, it was no surprise when the heaven’s opened and a month’s worth of rain fell on our unfortunate girl. She had no option but to trudge onwards and upwards if she wanted to make it home in one piece.
The dark was absolute. The countryside can be a scary place for city-dwellers at night and it wasn’t long before she lost her bearings. In her panic, she wandered through a gap in the drystone wall, thinking it was a shortcut. “The shortest way home is the longest way round”, her mother had always said. Lily now fully understood those pearls of wisdom.
Not a sound could be heard. Wrapping her coat more tightly around her, Lily lent into the wind. Carefully putting one foot in front of the other, she inched her way forward until she met the side of a house. Relief flooded over her like a hot shower as she made her way to the front door. The light from a lamp spilt cheerfully across the path. Just as Lily stretched out her hand to ring the bell, the door was suddenly flung open. A large man stood in the doorway. “Aye, lass, what are you up to on a filthy night like this. Come into the warmth, why don’t you?” Lily nodded gratefully and the last thought that went through her head as she stepped over the threshold was of her gift.