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Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Telegram

Sonia sat in the back of the carriage with the crumpled paper in her hand. The speed of the horses causing a sickening lurch. Reach out yet again to steady herself as the carriage took another corner. On a normal day she would have words for the driver, not pleasant ones. Today was different. Every thing had changed with the receipt of that telegram.

A particularly vicious bump sent Sonia falling to the floor. It took a couple of attempts to get back up. She felt sick and it was nothing to do with this ride. Only an hour ago she had been sitting in her parlour taking her afternoon tea. Then the knock at the door, rapid and insistent.

She had calmly placed her cup back on the saucer and used a napkin to dab her lips. She placed the cup and saucer on the table, adjusted her skirts and faced the door. The maid stepped through followed closely by the messenger.

He passed her the message and stepped back. Sonia had smiled and waited while the maid ushered him from the room. Sonia knew he would be waiting in case there was a reply. She unfolded the paper and began to read. A tear falling onto the message making it harder to read. Sonia called out for her maid.

The door opened, one look at her mistress and she hurried to her side.

“Oh miss, what is it? What has happened?”

Sonia was touched by the obvious concern but she was too rattled to explain.

“Mary, I need the carriage NOW!” She took some of the sting out of the tone by placing her hand over her maids.

Mary picked up the urgency however and was up and running through the door. The messenger was sent round to the stable to sort out the carriage while Mary was a whirlwind of activity. Sonia was soon wrapped in a warm shawl for the trip and her travelling boots. Mary had even managed to get a trunk hastily packed.

Once everything was ready, Sonia boarded the carriage. She gave directions and told Mary to follow on behind her once the house was locked up. A crack of the whip set the carriage moving and Sonia had been thrown back into to seat. The journey had begun and the driver obviously took the instruction to make all possible haste seriously.

Sonia looked once more at the Telegram and wished she would not be too late. The missive had come from her Fathers estate in the country. He had fallen whilst out riding and was now seriously ill. From the tone of the message it did not bode well. She felt her eyes tearing again and she refused to give in to grief. Her Father had taught her that, she should never give up hope.

Pulling up to an inn the driver went inside to procure a room for the night. Sonia wanted to push on but the driver normally a timid man put his foot down. He stood there looking nervous, wringing his cap in his hands.

“Miss, Now I know you want to get to your father but it is too dark now to see the road properly. We push on now and we are likely to get these fine horses injured and were will we be then?”

Sonia had given in and let herself be led to the room. The inn was blessedly quiet and after a light supper she retired to her room. It was a restless night but finally sometime just before dawn sleep took her. It felt like no sooner her eyes shut that she was awoken by a knocking at the door. She got herself ready, wishing that Mary was there. Sonia passed on breakfast but agreed to take a packed lunch to eat on the way.

They were back on the road and the last leg of the journey. The pace set was brisk but not the breakneck pace from before. The motion in the carriage was better now and allowed Sonia to read the telegram over and over again. Finally they entered the drive to her Fathers home. The carriage had barely stopped when she leaped out. She raced in through the front door and up the stairs. Breathing hard she took a moment to gather herself. Opening the door to her Fathers rooms she stepped in....


  1. AWESOME! I sound very wealthy. I hope there's an inheritance... LOL

  2. The first few lines of the story are short, reflecting the protagonist's feelings, which had "changed with the receipt of that telegram".

    I loved the line "A tear falling onto the message making it harder to read", for watery eyes blur the sight, making it hard to read and water on ink would make the writing hard to read as well. I don't know if that was intentional but I loved the line that could bear two meanings and two means to for inability to read.

    It is a short piece. The ending does not tell us what she sees or what has become of her father, so the reader is definitely intrigued to see what happens next.

    I do not know how this fits in with "historical fiction" but I suppose the following chapters or parts will reveal this bit.
    I do believe that there are some commas missing – I'm a bit of punctuation freak, but that's just me.

    Overall: I enjoyed reading it and I can't wait for more - I hope there is more :)

  3. Punctuation is something I struggle with lol When I get ready to publish any work for sale I will get it checked :-)

    Historical was the theme I was set but the word I had to use was telegram and so I tried to convey a feeling of history with the carriage.

    All the stories I write for people I take 2 words and their genre. I try to convey the story in around 750 words give or take. I often leave a cliff hanger and I do sometimes revisit to carry on a story.

    Thank you for your comments, I love getting feedback :-)

    1. Every good writer loves feedback. ;)

      I did get the sense of "history" from those two words: the carriage and the telegram.
      I'm new to historical fiction and not entirely sure how it works. This is certainly the first "short story" I have read in historical fiction but I do like the idea of using two words to reflect a genre; that's creative.

      Thank you for making it short - long pieces often put me off. Again, I enjoyed it and I hope my commentary wasn't too long (I mean it is still shorter than the piece itself, so that's good).

      Keep it up and let me know when you post more to this or any other pieces.