Welcome! If you missed Chapter One of this short story, you’re more than welcome to take a look at the previous installment first! Thank you for reading.
‘I need to speak to Patrick’ said Georgina, finally breaking the silence, as both women sat huddled on the tiled floor contemplating what to do next. ‘He always knows what to do, and he loves me, he’ll understand this-‘ she gestures towards herself and looks towards Lottie for reassurance.
‘I don’t know about that-‘ the younger woman responds, her voice filled with confusion ‘How exactly would that work? How would you, you know, communicate?’
‘Well I can talk to you! You can see me!’ the bride counters, pushing her face towards Lottie’s to emphasise her point.
‘Er – yes, but I don’t think that’s normal hun.’ said Lottie with a raised eyebrow, backing away from the blue face pressed in front of her own ‘Anyway, I need to get out of here. If anyone sees me, they’ll think I’ve lost it! How the hell am I going to explain why I’m talking to myself next to a pool with a dead body in it? None of this is normal!’
‘You can’t leave me!’ Georgina cried out once more, her hysterical tone returning.
Ignoring the ongoing pleas, Lottie stands up and heads for the exit. Her strides quick and determined, her short but well-built body doing its best to get out of this nightmare. Reaching the main entrance, she holds out a hand to pull the door open when she is brought to a standstill.
‘STOP!’ the teary mess, smudged with lipstick and mascara, appealed dramatically ‘You have to help me! You’re my only hope and I can’t be stuck like this forever! I need help, I need answers, I need to know why this is happening to me!’ finally the bride’s rant came to an end, her body slumping against the door, eyes pressed to her face – sobbing.
‘You finished?’ a wry smile crept out of the corner of Lottie’s mouth followed by a single laugh. She wasn’t sure why it happened, but she couldn’t help it. An old expression her Nan used to tell her frequently rang out through her head – ‘You’ve got to laugh sometimes, love, otherwise you’d cry’. After being lost in her own memories for a moment, she eventually responded ‘Fine, I’ll help you out, but you’ve got to come with me otherwise I’m done for’.
‘You can’t just leave – me – in there’ Georgina cried out once more, flailing her arm out back in the direction of the pool, ‘Just the thought of laying there all night, cold and wet, all alone, I can’t bare it’.
With a roll of her eyes, Lottie turned around and walked away.
‘Where are you going? You can’t -‘
Reaching her arm out and with a single strike, Lottie shattered the glass and triggered the fire alarm. She walked back towards the exit swiftly, holding open the door – ‘Let’s go’. Georgina freezes for a moment, shocked, before hurrying after her new companion.
‘Get in’ ordered Lottie pointing towards a crumbling Rover Metro, the luminous red car had definitely seen better days as scratches interrupted the paintwork whilst one mirror remained in place only with the help of duct tape.
Georgina said nothing, lunged her tall figure into the vehicle and bundled her sodden wedding dress in before slamming the door. She had never been in such a dilapidated piece of junk and it almost seemed fitting that this was the car that she had been blessed with riding in, in death. She looked around the interior, her eyes greeted with a mess, the back seats acting as the home for a large amount of clutter. Mostly clothes, but also empty packaging and drinks bottles. A lone CD sat on top of the pile of oddments – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Georgina didn’t recognise the name and so shrugged and turned forward to sit posture-perfect in her seat once again. The pair sat in silence for a while, Lottie’s forehead wrinkled with concentration as she drove.
‘I’ve got a holiday home in Paris’ said Georgina eager to take her mind off her problems, but garnering no response from the driver. ‘I’m not bragging or anything like that, I just thought maybe once all this mess is sorted out I could go and stay there – in my château!’ her face lit up as if she had finally solved a problematic conundrum.
‘And how will you get there?’ Lottie asked in a monotone voice, starting to tire. Her shifts cleaning at The Summer House were draining enough on an ordinary day without the extraordinary events of today cumulating on top of that!
‘Oh, I didn’t think of that’ said Georgina with a sigh. She fell speechless once more.
‘Anyway-‘ began Lottie ‘Something has been bugging me, other than the obvious. I thought ghosts were supposed to walk through walls? How come you can’t touch me yet you’re sat perched in my car like a princess? Why can’t you just float away?’
‘Well, I’m not exactly an expert yet,’ replied Georgina, dejected. ‘I don’t know’.
‘Must be a myth then I reckon’ shrugged Lottie ‘And I’m sorry, but we won’t be going anywhere as fancy as Paris tonight. I can put you up in a hotel just down the road. It’s probably not up to your usual standards but it’s the best that I can do at the minute’.
‘No, no, that’s fabulous! I just want some time to think and reflect and get a plan together, I need to calm down and figure out how I can get in touch with Patrick and-‘ Georgina’s thoughts were cut short as a building came into view. An intense rouge light radiated onto the street, a sign reading simply ‘HOTEL’ being the culprit. The letter ‘H’ flickered on and off displeasingly. The nauseating stench of backed-up drains filled the air.
‘Here you go’ smiled Lottie, turning to her car-share buddy for the evening before pulling the lever on her car door and exiting out onto the garish, red-lit street.
Georgina collapsed into her seat, head in hands. Disbelief.
Meanwhile, back at The Summer House: police car sirens, fire alarms and flashing blue lights immerse the scene as Mrs Georgina Smyth’s body is found afloat in the pool for a second time…
Thank you for taking the time to read the second chapter of this short story! I have to say that I’m really enjoying this project, discovering the characters and what stories they have to tell. If you do have any suggestions please do let me know. I want you, the reader, to be part of this story! The chapters are short, but I want this to be something that can be read on the go, preferably in one sitting with the goal of putting it all together. Again, thank you!
Please join me next Monday ; 15th July for Chapter Three of Paper Roses
I can’t wait to see what happens next!