Echoes From The Past – Episode 09

Holly spent the day before Bea’s admission to hospital sorting out both her bedroom and her workspace, the highly polished and well-lit dining-room table.

Then, with a cheerfulness neither of them felt, they set off for the hospital. It was as Holly helped her aunt into the van that she realised how slender Bea had become, and how much care she might need on her return to the Stirling house. It might be longer than Holly had thought before she would get back to the Lake District cottage. It was odd, but she found she didn’t mind at all.

She liked the area, and she might well get a chance to see much more of it in the next few weeks. She would regard it as a working holiday.

As the hospital came into sight, Bea spoke for the first time in several miles.

“Now, I don’t want you feeling you have to visit me every twenty minutes,” she said, with a return to her old briskness. “I’m quite happy to be left with the experts. I appreciate you being on hand, but I don’t want you to feel manacled.”

Holly laughed out loud.

“Of course I don’t feel manacled. I’m looking forward to getting out and about, reacquainting myself with the middle of Scotland.”

Bea nodded.

“That’s all right, then. I think you’re supposed to park over there.” She pointed an imperious finger, and Holly did as she was told.

Once she had made sure that Bea was settled in the ward and had all her things about her, Holly took her departure, Bea’s strictures ringing in her ears.

“Don’t you dare come back this evening unless I call you,” she said. “You can call the hospital tomorrow when the operation’s over.”

Holly grinned then stooped to kiss the soft wrinkled cheek, and waved her way out of the ward. Walking smartly along the corridor, she bit her lip on an unexpected rush of emotion as she thought of the small figure in the big bed. Then she wrested her mind away from her aunt and on to her own concerns. It was still afternoon, and she would have plenty of time to get to the sewing-machine shop in Friars Street before it closed.

Having purchased the part she was looking for in the shop, Holly found herself leaving her business cards and fliers in various places in the town. It always paid to advertise. This, after all, was a whole new area for her. Who knew who might express an interest in her work?

Driving back to Aunt Bea’s road, Holly found herself turning over ideas for new patchworks based on the fine city of Stirling. She parked, and sat thinking for a few minutes, before becoming aware of a car a little further along the road. Someone was sitting there, too, just like herself. It was silly to feel threatened, but she did. The driver could be anyone at all, there for any reason, but Holly shivered just the same.

Scolding herself for her stupidity, Holly got out of the van, locked up, and made her way to the front door. Once in the house, she forgot all about the car and its driver, so it was something of a surprise to go into the sitting-room half an hour later and see from the window that the car with its watching driver was still there . . .


Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!