Okay so this is my offering for #samplesunday on Twitter - the opening few paragraphs from WITHOUT REPROACH
The face in the mirror reminded her of a bad shave in a cartoon. It was full of nicks and scratches, and visible ends of stitches where flesh had been sewn back together. The trouble was, cartoons were supposed to be funny but this cartoon made her feel like crying… Where had her face gone?
Apparently, after they’d brought her in she’d remained unconscious for several days - and they said she was lucky… She felt like shit.
Her shoulder had been pinned together, her head, a tiny metal plate inside. It was true that only a small chunk of swirling dark hair was missing but it made her self-conscious. Her once petite nose was swollen, discolouration fading but noticeable, high cheekbones marred with stitches.
“You haven’t caught me on a good day,” she said, glancing from the mirror to the woman by her bed. “I could be bitchy.”
“You’ve been a hard person to trace, Jenny. I’ll manage.” The woman proffered her hand. “Maria Santos, abogada.”
“You’d probably call me a solicitor back in Britain. A lawyer.”
“I know what an abogada is. What I don’t understand is why you’ve been tracing me.”
Jenny took the hand in her good hand as best she could. It hurt her shoulder though, and she wished she hadn’t. She’d almost learned to move without moving, would probably make a good busker when she got out.
“Sorry! I should have realised. Are you feeling up to this?”
“I guess so. But I’m still woozy. I’m afraid you’ll have to bear with me.” She put the mirror onto the cabinet by the bed.
“Say if you want me to leave.”
“I’m fine. I’ll be okay, just don’t expect too much.”
The woman undid her attaché case, took out a sheaf of papers and studied them. “I’m afraid red tape in Spain is rather cumbersome. I sometimes wonder if one day we’ll get buried under our own paper work.”
Jenny became curious and struggled into a sitting position. Denia hospital was far from home and the prospect of company, a treat. The next bed was empty. It had been occupied for a while but the woman was gone, discharged. There’d been hardly anyone to talk to for days. Not that the woman had spoken much, but she’d been a face to look at, someone to share her frustration with.
“Is it the accident? I wasn’t driving you know. I can’t remember much about it but I wasn’t driving. I’d scrounged a lift after a party.”
There had been a confusion of red tail-lights, a blocked carriageway, the car jolting, scraping, bucking; nowhere to go before they hit metal. She’d drawn her knees up; instinctively lowered her head; willed her whole being to shrink up her backside. It was sounds she remembered the most; metal screeching, glass splintering, sounds she didn’t want to recall.
“No, it’s nothing to do with the accident.” Maria shook her head, her eyes all the time on Jenny, perceptive, no sign of emotion. “Okay, so let’s start with your full name.”
WITHOUT REPROACH is available from:
Amazon Kindle USA for $2.99
Amazon Kindle UK for £2.13