This story was written by my little sis Sarah when she was in school (she lives in London now and works in theatre, daaahling). It showcases how to work a twist into the fabric of your story using the technique of plant and pay-off. Enjoy!
His Word Was Law
“Where’s my lunch?” demanded Charles.
“I’m just getting it ready now” replied Carol.
“Well hurry up, I’m starving” he snapped.
The poor girl wiped her floury hand across her brow, whitening further her already washed out complexion. Head bowed, her mousey un-brushed hair hanging limply to her shoulders, she shuffled tiredly around the kitchen as if each trip from counter to press to counter was a half-marathon.
“Finally” he snapped as she carried his meal into the dining room and placed it before him at the head of the table. “If that’s all you want I’ll just go” she broached timidly. “Umph” he muttered not even hearing her. Sighing with relief she slowly made her way back to the kitchen and flopped into the nearest chair. Ravenous, but too exhausted to move, the aroma of Charles’ food was almost torture. Eventually she summoned the energy to rise and fixed herself a simple sandwich. “What was I thinking?” she wondered aloud. Not that she could really complain. She’d gladly taken the job and it did pay quite well. It was just that she never anticipated how gruelling it would be.
“Carol” came the summons from the other room. Slowly she rose from her chair, praying that her fatigued feet would support her weight, slight as it was. “Yes” she sighed wearily when she reached the door of the dining room. “I’m finished” was all he said, not even looking at her, let alone saying thanks. Then again, he probably doesn’t even know how much I’d appreciate it, she mused miserably. Caught in her reverie, she didn’t notice the proximity of her sleeve to the glass until it was too late. Luckily the crash of breaking glass drowned out her obscenity. “My drink! Clean it up” he shouted angrily before storming from the room. Not that she needed telling. The red liquid was spreading quickly across the carpet leaving a painfully obvious mark.
Squeezing out her cloth over the sink, she gazed absent-mindedly out the window to observe a landscape which aptly reflected her mood. Heavy grey clouds loomed menacingly overhead, deadening everything, even managing to overshadow the jubilation of nature in early spring. Only the golden daffodils swaying rhythmically in the slight breeze lifted the atmosphere of gloom and dejection. Yet they could do little for Carol’s frame of mind.
As she passed the door to her basement quarters her body told her to go to bed, but her head knew she couldn’t risk it in case Charles called her. Instead she moved slowly from room to room, absent-mindedly cleaning up after him. If she’d had the energy she would almost have found it funny that one person could make this much mess.
A noise made her look up and there he was, framed in the doorway, hands on hips, a furious expression etching deep furrows on his forehead, the quintessential ‘master of the house’ pose.
“What did you do with my books?” he demanded.
“I thought you were finished with them, I put them in the drawer”.
“Well I wasn’t. Don’t touch my things unless I tell you” he ranted before storming from the room yet again.
Shocked by the abruptness of the outburst, she stopped dead for a minute before continuing on as before. She couldn’t wait until the housekeeper got here, at least then she might have a rest. She began to prepare dinner, watching as the weather got gradually worse. A gale was now blowing, tossing even the huge sycamore as if it were a mere sapling. A light drizzle had begun to fall and nightfall was closing in swiftly. Carol supposed she should light a fire but then she only had two hands. “It’ll have to wait” she said aloud, if only to break the eerie silence. Just then the back door opened and the housekeeper entered and dumped her shopping bags on the floor. Carol heaved a sigh of relief. “Oh Mum, thank God you’re home. I never realised what a tyrant a five year old could be!.