#writephoto – Gold – The Third Time We Choose

golden-dawnSue Vincent has chosen yet another gorgeous photo for her #writephoto prompt this week, and here is my response:

The Third Time We Choose

She was scared.

Terrified, if she was being honest. But she’d known she couldn’t take another minute stuck in that place. It had felt so good walking into her manager’s office, seeing the surprise on his sweaty hated face when she’d told him she was leaving.

Good luck to him. Or not. She really hadn’t cared at the time, the bubble of euphoria in her chest lasting until she’d got home and put the key in the door and remembered ‘he’ was there. No doubt half asleep on the sofa as usual, half-empty beer cradled in his slack hands. He’d been handsome, once, she remembered. Taking her breath away. But now all he took was what was left of her spirit.

Enough.

Before she’d been able think about it, before he’d heard her at the door, she’d pulled the key out and turned back to the car. Getting in, she’d put it into gear and driven off, not looking back. Again with that bubble in her chest, like champagne bursts of potential, of what could be.

But once again it had dissipated and now here she was, driving along a country lane going who knows where. She should just pull over, she thought. Take a moment to figure out what she was going to do. Maybe even turn around and go home. After all, it wasn’t so bad, was it?

She started to slow the car, the bubble in her chest replaced by the leaden grey of reality. Then, as the road ahead of her curved, golden light, like champagne, like flames, like the promise of a life yet to live, shone through the tunnel of trees, a beacon leading her on.

It felt like freedom. Speeding up again, she drove towards the light, making her choice for the third time.

For herself.


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 5 – This Road

img_3661It’s Day 5 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. I’ve been a bit short on time today, so I decided to set a timer and write this post, using the prompt: This Road.     I like writing to a timer – it’s a clear window of time in which I’m allowed to do nothing except write, and I find it a great way to get things moving if I’m stuck on a project.

I gave myself seven minutes (I told you, busy day), and this is what I came up with:

‘So is it this road? Or that road?’

‘I dunno. Bloody satnav.’ He tapped on it, hard, as though it might make the crossroads we sat at magically appear on the little screen. But all it showed was a single straight road going on to a dead end. The voice, like a robotic Eric Bana, kept repeating ‘You have reached your destination.’

‘No we bloody well haven’t!’ I shouted, frustrated by the calm Aussie twang. ‘For god’s sake, can we change the voice on that thing?’

‘Okay love, calm down. We can figure this out. Where did she say she was staying again?’

‘A farmhouse. Set back from the road, but she said when we got there we’d be able to see the driveway. But there’s no bloody driveway and it’s getting dark and I’ve no idea whether it’s this road or that road!’

‘Can you ring her?’

‘No signal.’ I waved my phone around in a futile attempt to pick up something, anything, but we might as well have been on Mars for all the coverage I was getting.

‘Right. Well. I’m going left.’

‘Left? Why left?’ I said as he turned the wheel, the car starting to swing around. ‘Oh for god’s sake!’ I shouted again, as Eric reminded us that we had reached our destination. I pushed the button on the top of the satnav then disconnected the suction cup from the windshield, resisting the temptation to throw the whole thing out the window.

‘Why not left?’ he replied. ‘Besides, we’ll hold up traffic if we sit here any longer.’

‘What traffic?’ I huffed. There was nothing to be seen but long fields and dark trees, silhouetted against a purpling sky. No ancient stone farmhouse, no welcoming light, nothing. We were lost.

It’s a little bit rough, but not too bad considering the time frame. As to whether they’ll ever get to their destination, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll find out during another prompt…

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If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Wednesday Wander – Manyana Beach

manana-2My wander this week is to Manyana Beach, on the NSW coast south of Sydney, Australia.

I visited Manyana many years ago with my now-husband. I think I’ve mentioned before that he’s Australian, and likes to surf. On this particular trip we were driving north from Melbourne to Sydney, a drive that takes seven hours or so if you head straight up the Hume Highway inland, or one or two days, depending how often you stop, along the winding coast road.

At the time we were living in Sydney, and had been in Melbourne for Christmas with his family. We’d decided to drive back up to Sydney in time for New Year’s Eve so set off a couple of days before. For some reason, even though we knew it was high summer, school holidays and the magic week between Christmas and New Year that pretty much everyone has off work, we didn’t book any accommodation, confident that we’d be able to find somewhere in the many towns and hotels along the route.

Haha. We spent our first night on the road sleeping in our car, parked in a grocery story car park near the beach. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had, especially when we were entertained by the local youth frolicking nearby, one girl squealing ‘I’m in a trolley!’ as they clattered past the car around 4am. Still, we were younger then so, after an early morning dip in the ocean, we hit the road once more, although with firm instructions (from me) that we were to find somewhere nice to stay that night.

And we did. The last remaining room in a small bed and breakfast, patio doors looking across a paddock lined with gum trees, curious horses wandering up to have their noses scratched over the wire fence. A place where the friendly owners told us about the time they swam with whales as they fed us an excellent home-cooked breakfast. To say it was a step up from the previous night’s accommodation would be an understatement.

And then we went to Manyana. I sat on the sand with my book and parasol, while hubby-to-be surfed the blue waves. It was idyllic, the beach almost deserted, the weather splendid. We left in the afternoon and headed north, arriving in Sydney that evening. I can still remember driving over the Harbour Bridge as the sun was setting, relieved to be almost home.

manana-1And now I sit in a different home, halfway across the world, writing my Wednesday Wanders. Thanks for coming with me – see you next time.