This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Alice always thought she had an ironclad will, a crush proof armor that provided no way in for anyone or anything. That had been true of her once but now it seemed feeble, what had she been thinking taking up with him again? To be honest the idea was a little ugly, as we all know time cannot defy gravity, at best it absorbs it then re-contours it in a south like manner. Yes time is a jaw-dropping experience and the passage of it shapes all things for better or worse, mostly. Whatever is traveling south stays in the south. It does it not because it knows that’s what was on the itinerary but because DNA said so. It continued to unravel without an inkling as to what it was doing or why. Time is of the essence they say, but why is it ticking away so fast and why is there so little reward to show for it, you can seize it but you sure as hell will never please it.
They say age is an awful trade for experience, still, age is not a question it is an answer, the answer, that is its natural place, mort, finale, end of story. So, isn’t it our good fortune that none of this is a problem in relationships. You see relationships all happen in a different place, in the ephemeral realm, that's in a higher transitory space. Don't think we've got one? Sounds like gobbledygook to you and me but believe me this is where it happens, in a place that is so beautifully, stubbornly and staggeringly short sighted that it confounds belief. Now you understand.
She had been fine as she was until he came along reminding her she had aged and was alone. Somewhere, somehow her bright youthfulness had passed on in a fleeting whisper leaving her only memories to hang onto in the dim present. She was just as passionate as that adolescent who had delighted at the little things of life, she still possessed that funny unconventional attractiveness, but that feeling, she couldn’t help that feeling. Had there been some omission, is this all there is? she questioned and where had the years gone. How on earth had she end up in this wilderness?
Alice like so many of us had watched life play and studied it from every angle, why hadn’t she even helped others get through it? Still for all this she looked for the slight of hand, the one that made her miss the trick every time. Her perennial instinct was that she’d been fobbed off , she’d got the cameo role and everybody knew it. Now he was back around, he longed to remind her of what could have been, what still could be.... age and experience, really, it was going to take more than her own reasoning could provide to avoid a head on crash.
That summer had been amazing, exciting, leaving the all too familiar route she’d met up with old friends. It had been a long time coming and so long since she had taken time to herself that she had lost sight of it. Unfortunately that’s how life can be, with your nose pressed hard to the window of life carrying the weight of responsibilities becomes second nature, so much so that you just carry the bags, until one day you notice you’re not even window shopping, the store has closed down. Someone told you about the receivers sale but you passed it by on your destination to nowhere.
She had ignored being starved of life, the slow listless fatigue that sticks to your ribs when you have nothing left to give, it hung on her like an unspoken apology. You could see it in how she responded to everything in life with the same bland disinterest, she was too busy polishing this turd that would never shine. A holiday might have helped but not all holidays are good she remembered, lets face it some are disappointing, an anticlimax or an expensive disaster.
Life had made her a pessimist, a broken hearted pessimist with a bank account to match, empty, empty as her soul, so if she hadn’t noticed how unsociable she had become it was no surprise. Life had thrown a hard deal her way she hadn’t started as a pessimist and she wasn’t thick skinned either, quite the opposite. No, where many would have hated those who violated, cheated, beat or destroyed, she forgave, well in the most part. In many given things where you or I would retaliate, have been bitter or vindictive she would not, you see she was mild, mild as they come but refused to bend, to be reshaped in the twisted way you so often see. There is the cost, right there. If you have ever seen real justice it holds a white feather pen, that's what it looks like, it doesn't taste of blood.
It truly had been decades, unnoticed decades of absorption in the business of marriage, work and children and the twists and turns of life that had seen her passion run to a trickle, then to a stop where it now hid under her skin. Doubtless when she tried a new life plan, a new start that had only gotten her deeper into trouble, it is that simple sometimes, seize the moment or die. So she seized it, ran with it wouldn't you guess straight into a wolves den, a pack of legal wolves, the worst kind. These type of wolves don’t have a heart, they don’t lick wounds and they couldn’t win if they played fair so this was the place she was stuck in, in their lair, looking through a pane of broken faith and suffocating.
Twists and turns, twists and turns, we all get them, just one rule, be careful to watch where your’e running to. Well no matter, our friend has a lot of juice, she puts a face on it and sets about tracing old friends. She hated social media, had the lowest opinions of it, though no one could deny the power it had to remake what time had lost or undone. Nothing wrong with looking for friends that life had perhaps smiled on, it’s nice to see the smile and you never know it might rub off. That of course was the point of it, she needed to remake something out of the chaos she'd gotten into, and who ever had suffocated in the unknown?
She at least had insight, knew it, knew there was something better if she could only overcome herself. As an older woman, matured more experienced and apparently worldly wise she didn’t have to act anymore did she, its not as if she needed to hide it, especially not with old friends. She had learned these things in life, how to survive, how to care, how to get by, how to love, how to loose and yet now she had lost all love for herself. Deep inside she’d engraved something on her heart, it was incised so severely that it had almost stopped it beating, who could she trust? Now it’s clear that no one could own that heart again.
“Hold your glass over” Christa said pouring in some pungent red wine generously to the brim. They were all a bit tipsy by now giggling about how Brendan Twerp, AKA Brendan Sharpe had mangled his member in his fly zip in the boys room at school.
“OMG” Jules laughed as if to split her sides “it was a bleeding nightmare the first time I’d ever seen one and it was hanging off”. They laughed raucously at the exaggeration.
“So that’s why you decided to become a nurse is it Jules?” said Alice throwing her head back laughing.
Here they were back together the famous three, it had been five but Jennifer since she had become a preachers wife declined Christa’s invitation. Alice couldn’t quite get her head around Jules’ explanation but it seemed like without pointing fingers that Jules was the cause. “We did used to talk at one time” Jules explained “but seems she’s offended by my psychic abilities. You know my mum had them don’t you”. It wasn’t a question, they all remembered her, an Irish immigrant, short, round, friendly and unassuming but she could put the fear of God into you in a moment by talking to the departed who happened to be standing next to you just over your shoulder. “Well, Jennifer thinks I’m in touch with the devil and wants nothing to do with it” she said looking offended.
Miriam was also missing on account that she had recently lost her husband and was in grief so it was just the three of them. “Remember Leslie Crowfield, well, he’s my postman now” Christa said “and Matt Denby, I saw him in Windsor the other day”. Alice gave a brief flicker.
“W’eve been in contact for a while.” Alice said, self conscious with all eyes on her. Alice rolled her eyes “email, tells me his schedule”. Matt she considered to be a friend, a very old and dearly held friend, there had been a romance once, a long time ago in the 70's, he’d wanted to put a ring on her finger then, but that was then, in the past, they had left it all behind.
Ever since she had hooked up with them again, they had kept in touch frequently but this weekend was special she knew by the fluffy white bath sheets Christa had folded on the beds, and by their warm greeting at the coach station. Matt on the other hand, that contact was infrequent, his business life shut the door of opportunity firmly. He was married and business regularly took him off all over Europe and beyond but never around her way. They were figuratively speaking like two butt prints in the sand of time left behind on their last romp in fools paradise, a paradise she had forgotten.
Nothing more was said so the conversation moved on. It was what was unsaid as usual that was interesting.
“Have you seen her” Matt had asked Christa in Windsor.
“No, but we are planning to get together” she replied.
Christa had exchanged all the usual niceties in which she found he was separated, there was no reason for her to think further on it, wasn’t everyone? Christa knew them two had been an item once but that was a long time ago now, it didn’t figure, she didn’t mention it to Alice.
"Seance anyone" Jules asked getting into her spiritual receptor pose, but why did he ask?
Well perhaps Matt appeared to have everything he ever wanted but in spite of that something was missing and he was certain of what that was. He was sure Alice would still be attracted to him, he wanted Alice again. Matt is not the sort of person who’s used to getting less than he was aiming for. He had a fantasy and whats more he wanted it made real.
Fantasies, they look fine in the movies, they're still okay as a hope, a dream, but put them to paper and they start to look a bit shabby. Alice opened yahoo. ‘Alice, I’d like to see more of you, what do you think?’ he had asked unexpectedly. Alice frowned at the mail box, then she churned it for a few days, what for she asked herself. 'Matt', she replied ‘How does that work, binoculars or google earth? Like, I live in Wales? I’m not sure Matt, its a bit … strange, you want to be my weird friend?’ The ownership clause on her heart pulled uncomfortably, she couldn’t unmake it and she suspected he wanted something more. ‘It works, it can work Alice, I’m going to be around a lot more, I’m free, getting a divorce, no pressure just give it a chance?'. So that was how it started, the hook, where’s the harm?, give it a go, but if you follow the line to reach the net months later down the line then you'll arrive at the point where Alice wonders how she landed there.
Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...
catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.
MelanyFrey: This story is just so realistic and so amazingly written that I felt I was a part of it. It starts off completely ordinary, describing the lives of three young brothers, then slowly shifting the focus on one of them, putting him into the spotlight and following him into this unusual, but yet so r...
Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...
Jordan Young: *ALERT FOR POSSIBLE SPOILERS* Where to start? I don't know how to sum up this review, this story was absolutely sensational. Brilliant. Flawless. I loved every single bit of this story, it is truly amazing. I read this story in fifteen hours, it is magnificent. I loved everything about it, the p...
colt: i love your books! all of them! i am so happy for you! when i first read your book i thought "this seems really interesting" and i just got hooked had to have more, i wondered if you had a sequel to the first one, and you did, i was so excited that i had to start reading it. your series left me t...
Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...
MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...
Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."