Week two and my second unedited, first draft NaNoWriMo teaser for ‘Beneath the Stormy Sky’:
The anniversary of Freya’s death arrives and Jasmine’s mum fears the bluebells won’t flower in time…
Jasmine woke early and watched her mother trudge down the garden. It was raining, an early morning shower, and Mum walked to the apple tree. A pink blush appeared over the horizon as the garden still sat in gloom. Jasmine peered around her curtain, not wanting to interrupt her mother’s private ritual.
At the tree, her mother sank down to the dewy grass and began gently plucking fresh bluebells. She touched each stem, carefully moving it away from the cluster, examining the delicate bells and choosing the best flowered stems to pull. There wasn’t a strong showing this year and Jasmine watched as she left flowers still tightly in bud only picking the open blossoms. She had a paltry handful, when Jasmine’s attention was diverted.
Out of the corner of her eye, in the semi darkness, someone moved in next door’s garden. Not worrying about concealment, she lifted the curtain and squinted. Their elderly neighbour, Daisy, wandered down her garden, in fluffy slippers. Jasmine’s eyebrow rose. Daisy shuffled quietly towards a crop of bluebells beneath her hedge and bent down. She moved slowly and definitely, choosing the best flowers as Jasmine’s mother did in her own garden. Daisy’s bluebells filled her frail hands as she painfully straightened her back and stood.
Jasmine glanced back at her mum and saw her brush tears away with her sleeve. Her mum held the small bunch of flowers against her chest as she sat beneath the tree.
In the still of the burgeoning morning Daisy’s soft murmur could be heard even by Jasmine through her window. Her mum looked up, turning to the fence. She saw the flowers in Daisy’s hands and more tears fell. She got to her feet and moved to the fence. The two women grasped hands and Daisy offered her flowers to enhance the grieving woman’s own bouquet.
Jasmine suddenly felt hot tears course down her face as memories flooded back. She remembered standing at that very fence handing bunches of flowers to her elderly neighbour. She recalled posies of daffodils, huge yellow trumpets and thick stems; bunches of freesias, purple, red, yellow and white, with long and broken stems; clusters of sweet peas, filling the air with scent and colour; late bouquets of bright blue cornflowers, bright red montbretia and heady purple lavender; and as today, limp bunches of bluebells…
Memories swamped her and emotions rose like a tidal wave. Warm and choking moments of pride, memories of a small girl gifting her neighbour battered bunches of flowers to continue a tradition set by her lost sister, threatened to undo her and a sob welled up with her tears.