Friday, 22 July 2011

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No 11 - "Coming Home"

My entry for this challenge is a snippet from a modern historical set 18 yrs post WWII. 
Brief: American pilot officer once stationed at an airfield in the Cotswold Hills, Oxfordshire, UK, has returned, and memories haunt his every step.   

He steered the car toward the village, until now the locale quite alien. The road seemed a lot wider than he’d remembered, plus a few modern houses grouped to the right on approach to the village. 
       His heart lifted on passing the village sign on the roadside.
       Halleluja, the quaint little cottages either side of the main thoroughfare little changed. The church to the right, the village green to left backed by a row of cottages, and the post office still there, just as it had been eighteen years ago. He drove on, and there it was, the Swan Inn nestling on the bank of the River Thames, the stone bridge beside it. The bridge that had once led to  . . .   
       He eased his foot off the accelerator.
       Hell. Stepping back in time not always good.
       As the car glided past the ancient structure, bar for excess in floral display it looked just as it had  . . . 
       He gunned the accelerator, and within a hundred yards braked hard.
       Goddamn it, he’d almost missed the turn.
       He steered the car up the steep incline, the tight bends familiar and his heart beat increased, adrenalin coursing through his veins. Bizarre as it seemed, it felt akin to coming home: a Texan coming home to the Cotswolds.
       The plateau finally reached, his heart felt as though ready to burst. The car ground to a halt where the sentry post had once stood, the old runway barely visible beneath swathes of meadow grasses and wild flowers; brick conning tower and office block dilapidated and roof caved in. Not a sign of Nissen huts.      
       Movement the far side of the airfield caught his eye.
       It was a string of horses and riders at the gallop.
       The memory of a once special girl who’d galloped her horse alongside the perimeter fence just at the point of his aircraft leaving terra firma leapt to mind.
       Then what, shot down over Germany, and not a reply to any letters sent from a stinking POW camp. What was it her mother had said: she doesn’t live here any more. She’s married to an RAF pilot.
       He reached inside the car, grabbed a pair of binoculars.
       No  . . . Get a gripYou’re seeing things.           
       His heart lurched.      
       Just as beautiful as I remember, but you’re trespassing, Patsy. You’re trespassing on my property.  

Word Count: 400.

To see entries by other participants go here


Empty Nest Insider said...

Beautifully written shifting from the present to vivid memories of the past. I'm on the edge of my seat wondering how long it will take them to rekindle their romance! Julie

L'Aussie said...

I'm with Julie, Francine. I want to know what happens next. You've set up quite a little story here. Loved it.


Kiru Taye said...

Exciting home coming. I want to know what happens next. I like it a lot.

Andy said...

Hello Francine.
I found this quite intriguing. Loved "a Texan coming home to the Cotswolds"...made me laugh! The village picture is very quaint.
Wonder if they'll rekindle what was?

Paula Martin said...

Great excerpt, love his memories and the changes, and want to know what happens when they meet up again.

Beverly Diehl said...

Love this, I am totally there with... whatever his name is. And think that he and Patsy will have an interesting reunion.

It's wonderful how places that weren't, originally, home, can become so because of events or experiences there. You describe that very well.

Amy Jarecki said...

Very cool - definitely hooked me, and I want to read more - You nailed it! :-)

Marsha A. Moore said...

It's heartwarming that he found something special waiting for him back home. I could feel his heart leap at the site of her! Wonderful scene.

Jennifer Wilck said...

Beautiful! I love how he shifts from present to past (and how you make it so fluid). Terrific post!

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Ladies,

Thanks ever so for dropping by to comment. I really have a soft spot for this guy, because he went through hell when he returned in late 1945 to find Patsy gone: married!

Now he's back and so is Patsy, and oh boy there's a lot of emotional turmoil ahead for both. He has no idea what he's walking into, and she has no idea he's there! ;)

I'm only on-line for a short while tonight, but will get round to comment on ever entry by tomorrow night, promise.


J.L. Campbell said...

Sounds like this guy at the start of something new. Makes me wonder if Patsy is available again. I just know he's gonna give her hell.

Heaven said...

Interesting story... nice emotional tugging of the heart...a sweet but poignant homecoming

Lovely share~

Donna Hole said...

Beautiful, vivid scenery. Well described. He is an interesting character, seems fun and nostalgic both.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Patsy is trespassing on more than his property -- seems she's straying into his memories and heart as well! Great glimpse into his past and love, Roland

Francine Howarth said...

Thanks Heaven, Donna and Roland, for stopping by to comment.

Tough times ahead for Patsy and Cap: the latter short for a bright shining star: his nic.


Margo Benson said...

This is so gripping! The imagery and emotions are instant and have me really caring and wondering about these two.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Margo,

Thanks for dropping in. I must admit I have a soft spot for these two, both having gone through hell in one way or another, and hell once again before them!


Ruth Madison said...

Lovely! This definitely makes me want to read more. Great to have a picture with it too.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Ruth,

Glad you like it. When that happens, I feel I must be getting something right! ;)