Friday, 10 June 2011

5th Challenge Romantic Friday Writers.

I'm cheating this week with snippet from previously published novel of mine. It's a mainstream romantic suspense in which Cassie is reflecting on the loss of her husband. 
Assassinated by a bomb placed under a car (nine months previous), he'd asked her a question, and she'd promised to reveal her answer at dinner that evening. He died not knowing her answer and, she witnessed his macabre death. Cassie is now suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and much of the novel relates to her struggle to combat this terrible affliction. But, amidst events destined to freak out any woman left alone with two teenage children, and faced with conspiracy of silence from her late husband's ex colleagues, she sets out to discover who these people really are: a fatal mistake!

* * *

‘God, when I think back to how I wondered what-if, what if he never comes back. I went through hell sometimes wondering if he was alive or dead, and all because he rarely made contact in weeks, sometimes months. Then when he quit the SAS and kept going walkabout, still I wondered what he might be doing. Then to lose him like that, in that . . .    
      ‘You really shouldn’t feel guilty, Cassie. And yes, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right in one sense. If you’d said yes to his question, immediately, it might have made you feel a whole lot better now, but I don’t suppose he minded one jot. In fact, in all honesty, I’d say he likely got off on not knowing the outcome. Not that he wouldn't have, later that evening. You know what I mean.’
      ‘Given time who can say how much lost ground we might have regained, and yes, he often derived sense of enjoyment from a little suspense within our marriage. That said, he had changed, a lot, during the last few months of his life . . . Changed to someone I felt I could no longer relate to half the time. It wasn’t that he was less loving or inattentive when at home, it was something else . . .’
       ‘He hadn't seemed any different to me.’
       ‘Not to you, Rhian, but take when he and I went out together. The getting from A to B had to be as quick as possible and by differing routes, which didn't lend any sense of romanticism to evenings out . . . In the last few weeks, you know . . . before it happened . . .’ Cassie wiped away a stray tear before it shimmied down her cheek. ‘Well, you know how it was . . . Like the way he tensed up when awaiting specific phone calls. And that’s not all that happened. I don’t think I've mentioned this before. But you see, I returned from the office earlier than expected on one occasion, and believe me, he’d locked himself in the study. Had, actually locked himself in. To this day I cannot think why, and he certainly had no explanation and not the least intention of providing one. He just shrugged his shoulders and laughed it off with gesture of finger-to-nose.'
       Tears filled Cassie's eyes . . . Heart-wrenching tears. Her persona detached: elsewhere in purgatory.
      What could one say?            

Word count 414: I don't care! It wouldn't make sense otherwise. ;)

To see pieces by other participants' go here and follow the links.


Margo Benson said...

As it's such a good piece, are you forgiven for reminiscing rather than forgetting? :-)

I like the feeling here of Cassie's helplessness. Things are going around and around her mind. There is an intrigue of why he was killed and also the wondering about 'the question' - she'll never know all the answers.

N. R. Williams said...

Such a tough marriage. Always gone, the true life of a spy. Not a very romantic life as Hollywood would have us believe. Great job showing what your character missed jumbled up with memories of what she experienced or didn't.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

andymac89 said...

I think we'll forgive you 14 words seeing as it was pre-published so you can't really edit to allow for word count. I like the language you use in this piece, my favourite being "Tears filled Cassie's eyes . . . Heart-wrenching tears. Her persona detached: elsewhere in purgatory. What could one say?" Great write.

Kittie Howard said...

A lovely trip down Memory Lane. I got a bit confused with "Had, actually locked himself in" but think that's a typo and "He" is missing.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Margo,

Memories, such terrible memories over-shadow every word Cassie utters. What happened? Forgotten - never!

Hi Nancy,

Yeah, that's the thing with Hollywood, glamour takes precedence when fact is less than pleasant.

Hi AndyMac,

Thanks, glad you liked the end bit. Says it all, really. Cassie's in hell!

Hi Kittie. Not a typo. It's Cassie's fragmented thoughts relayed as she sees them. ;)


Andy said...

Hello Francine.
I'm amazed how I become so hooked on these little snippets!

My heart cries out for what poor Cassie is having to deal with. The manner in which her husband died is just nasty. I too would love to know what the question/answer was.

Very intriguing indeed. Leaves me wanting more.

L'Aussie said...

Yes, Francine, these RFWers stories are hooking us in but in a good way. I'm so enjoying reading so many great stories. As you know mine have been newly-minted each week but next week I'm re-writing a short story that I had published in a magazine to make it fit the 'Up, up and away' theme.

I'm enjoying reading so many snippets from your unique WIPs. You fairly had me sobbing along with Cassie (one of my heroine's names, love it.)


Madeleine said...

Oh this does have a great sense of intrigue. I feel as though the forgetting is in some way related to how they used to be before he changed, as in he/they forgot how to be a romantic loving, couple :O)

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Madeleine,

You're close: Jamie hadn't forgotten how to be a romantic husband, just time and events against him! ;)



Beautiful scene! I can feel her heartache. Favorite line: her persona detached: elsewhere in purgatory. So good.

Ms. Queenly said...

I loved your word count note, Francine, lol! I can definitely see what you mean. Everything is well-worded and paced well. The conversation between Cassie and Rhian is not lacking or full of pot holes, very full and fluid, like you're in the room with them. I'm definitely left with a sense of mystery over the situation as well as Cassie's sadness and need for an explanation. ~ MsQ

Laura said...

A snippet that definitely makes you want to read more... a great bit of tragic tortured love
:) Lxxx

Anonymous said...

How romantic!
I used to live in Brighton and remember a few times being on the seafront when the Red Arrows did their fly by's and stunts. I also remember when one of them crashed into the water just off the pier one year too.
This was a good read, thank you and thanks for visiting my blog and the lovely comment.