The Present

The Present

A Story by steve

A woman picks up a girl in a snowstorm.

The Present

The snow fell hard.  On the ground it was half a metre high.  This was the worst snowstorm for years.  It had started a week ago and hadn't subsided.  The temperature was below 0, which made the roads lethal to travel on because of the ice.  This was far from ideal.   The children didn't want it to stop.  With extreme conditions there were always fatalities, especially with the older folk and the vulnerable.

    With the weather being so horrendous it would take at least an hour by car, to get to work.  She wore a thick winter coat and walked swiftly to the vehicle which by luck was parked close to the house.  After clearing the windows of the snow that had fallen the night before , she got in quickly, then started the engine.   Before long warmth was felt from the heater.  That was much better.  Maggie had cleared the drive the best she could when she had got home from work yesterday, but with the endless snow it was always a losing battle.  Checking the front and side mirrors she reversed the car down the long drive.  Once on the road safely Maggie made her way to the traffic lights.  There wasn't a single vehicle in front.  The lights changed, and she proceeded with caution up the road.  At another set of lights she turned left, then carried on reluctantly.  Ahead of her about twenty metres away stood a person wearing a black hoodie.  As she got nearer, she observed the person signalling her to stop.  Maggie pushed her foot down softly on the pedal and the vehicle came to a halt.  

    Opening the passenger door she asked the now recognised young woman, "Are you okay, would you like a lift somewhere?  It's freezing out here."  She looked so much like someone she knew years ago.  Regret was felt. 

   "That would be great," replied the girl.  "You can drop me near a bus stop, that would be absolutely fine." 

    She got in and closed the door. 

    Maggie noticed she had jet black hair and a very attractive face.  The girl was probably a college student as she wasn't wearing a school uniform. "So where are you heading?"

   "My name's Gemma, very nice to meet you and thank you for giving me a lift.  I need to catch a bus to the city, I'm starting my new job today, but this weather hasn't helped at all.  My parents moved here about a week ago, I'm still trying to get to know the place.  I was making my way to the bus stop when you came along.  Thank god you did, I was absolutely freezing."

    Maggie liked her straightaway.  She understood what it was like being in a new place, not knowing anyone, starting a job for the first time. "All my pleasure, Gemma.  Very nice to meet you.  I'm afraid I've got to head to work but I could give you a lift to the bus stop, near the stop is a supermarket, just in case you wanted a bite to eat or to get out of the blizzard." 

    Gemma looked at her with a smile, then answered," Yes that sounds good.  I missed breakfast this morning because I got up late."

    Maggie laughed. " Yes, we are all guilty of that, especially this time of year."

    Being careful Maggie pressed her foot down, and the car drifted along. The problem was it was difficult to make out the side of the road because the snow had built up considerably around the area.  Maggie had to be at work by 9am, which shouldn't be a problem as there didn't seem to be as much traffic as first expected.  The bus stop wasn't too far from here, and it was in the same direction to where she was heading.  The clouds above were heavy, promising more atrocious weather.  

    "So, what do you do as a job?" Gemma asked with interest on her face.  "Because I haven't quite worked out what I want to do with my life yet." 

    Her job wasn't the most exciting if the truth be told, and answered truthfully, "I work in insurance, it's dull, the people are okay.  It's a job." 

    "At least you have a job," said the girl.  

    "True," was all that Maggie replied, knowing she was lucky compared to many who didn't.  

    Suddenly Gemma shouted, "What's that man doing in front?" 

   Maggie slammed her foot down on the brake, the vehicle stopped immediately.  "God, you nearly gave me a heart attack.  What man, I see nothing?" 

    The girl turned to face her with a smirk on her face, then answered, "Guess what I've got in my pocket, Maggie?  It's a little present for you."

    Maggie didn't see the funny side at all, stopping the car like that could've caused an accident.  "Why did you say there was a man in front of us, were you lying, young lady, if so, why?" 

    Gemma laughed like she was enjoying herself immensely with this silly game.  "I wanted to get you on your own in the middle of nowhere.  Guess what present is in my pocket, I bought it earlier just for you, as I knew you would travel along this road today, and I knew you would stop the car for me, as I probably reminded you of Suzanne.  You remember Suzanne, don't you?"

    Maggie froze with fear.  How did this girl know about something that had happened years ago, then it all made sense?  She thought back to the terrible events which had unfolded years before.  Her and Suzanne were the best of friends, they also worked in the same factory for a little while.  Her friend had given birth to a beautiful daughter and things couldn't have gone better for her.  Then one day tragedy strikes in the cruellest of ways. 

    Maggie looked at Gemma with sadness, then said tearfully, "I know you grew up without a mother, as you are the spitting image of her.  I observed this when I saw your face for the first time, and when you said her name, everything suddenly made sense to me." 

    "Why did you kill her?" yelled the girl, as she tried to grab Maggie's hair. 

    Maggie fought her off and pressed her face against the window so she couldn't retaliate.  "It was an accident, a silly accident.  I didn't mean it.  Every day, I regret not helping her, I think about her every day, she was my best friend.  I need you to know the truth.  You need to understand what happened." 

    "I don't believe you," Gemma shouted, she got hold of the handle and the door opened.  She got out and ran into a nearby woodland.   For a long time now she'd been fantasising about meeting the woman who'd destroyed everything.  Most of her life she'd lived in foster homes.  Her father was a worthless drunk and the rest of the family weren't interested in bringing her up. The trees surrounded her, Gemma fell to her knees.  She sobbed.   

    Maggie needed to find her.  It was all her fault, what a mess.  She left the car on the road, then proceeded to where she'd disappeared.  "Where are you, Gemma?" she shouted.  The snow was deep, treacherous, but she carried on regardless.  Through some scattered trees Maggie could see her on the ground.  She was crying uncontrollably.  This broke her heart.  Maggie approached her with caution.  A metre from her, she said, "It was an accident, Gemma.  I swear to you that's all it was. We were drunk and young. We got into an argument about a boy we fancied.  I pushed her, not meaning to do what happened next.  Your mother, my friend, died instantly.  Suzanne smacked her head you see when she fell.  There was blood everywhere.  It was the worse day of my life, I swear to you it was just an accident, I didn't mean any of it. Please forgive me, I beg you.  I beg you to forgive me for what I've done."

    Gemma stood up and faced her.  Anger expressed on her face. "I'm sorry but I can't forgive you."  

    Maggie observed Gemma getting hold of something from inside her coat pocket, when her hand reappeared she was shocked to see that the girl had a gun.  "Please don't," Maggie begged. 

    The girl smiled, then replied, "Are you ready for your present." 

    Out of instinct Maggie ran as fast as she could back to the car.  She heard two shots as they echoed noisily through the trees.  Then she heard the girl cry out in frustration.  Finally she'd made it and got in.  Her mind was all over the place, but she needed to get out of there.  She turned the key, then slammed her foot down on the pedal, causing the vehicle to go up the road too quickly. 

    The next day the police returned to the scene where there had been a fatal car accident, which resulted in a woman in her forties losing her life.  While they investigated further they were shocked to discover the body of a young female in the nearby woodlands.  Cause of death, a single gun-shot wound to the head, and clasped in her left hand was a note, which read. 

I miss you, mum.  And I'll see you again very soon, love from Gemma, your beloved daughter x

The End













© 2020 steve

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Added on January 29, 2020
Last Updated on January 29, 2020
Tags: Woman, girl, snow, gun




Hi, I hope you enjoy my short stories. I've been writing for sometime now, and thoroughly enjoy it. To be honest, I find it quite addictive. Even when I'm at work I am thinking about the next story.. more..

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