An Unexpected Visit

An Unexpected Visit

A Chapter by Wendy Seames Garner
"

“My car broke down just south of here, could you call a tow truck for me?”

"





I detest being late. Looking at the clock on the dashboard, I saw it was 6:42 pm; Fran's Chocolate Party was starting in 18 minutes! Although I dislike driving at night, never having attended a Chocolate Party, I was curious enough to go. Besides, who can resist chocolate?



The car started making a strange clunking sound and just quit. Glancing at the gas gauge, I saw it still had half a tank left. Coasting over to the side of the road, I tried the ignition...nothing. After several more attempts, I gave up.



Searching through my purse for the cell phone in the dark car wasn't easy. Finally, my fingers wrapped around the elusive device. Hauling it into view, intending to call my husband, I realized the phone had no bars. I was in a "Dead Zone.” I got out of the car and started walking north down Slattery Road.



The wind was howling as I made my way down the deserted road, fallen leaves crackling under my feet. The sky seemed unusually dark, thick clouds had rolled in completely covering the moon. A chill went up my back raising the hairs on my arm. Thunder rumbled, quickly followed by a streak of lightning. I was pelted with a stinging rain.



I tried the cell phone again...nothing! Just then, I realized there was a brightly lit house on my right. I puzzled why I hadn't seen it before.



Heading up the long driveway, I noticed an English style garden and a barn out back. Stooping, I rubbed my hand through a lavender plant, then brought my hand to my nose, inhaling the wonderful fragrance. Winding my way up the little path, I looked up to see a woman standing in the front window.



A stone step led to the door. My knock was answered almost immediately by a short middle-aged woman with her hair coiled on the back of her head in a style now out of date. I was greeted with a welcoming smile. It was almost as if she were expecting me.



“My car broke down just south of here, would you mind calling a tow truck for me?” I inquired, quite out of breath from my walk.



“I'm sorry dear, my phone isn't working; it must be the storm. Please do come in and get warm. What a nasty night to be out!” she said, taking my arm and pulling me inside.



“My name is Mable, can I get you a cup of tea?” she warmly asked.



She seemed strangely familiar and so nice. I let her usher me into the living room where a fire burned cheerfully in the fireplace.



“My name is Wendy,” I replied, “And I'd love a cup of tea, Mable. Thank you so much!”



As she drifted off to the kitchen, I looked around. The room was furnished with a lot of beautiful antiques. Lace doilies graced the tables. I admired a small rocking chair, so similar to the one I owned that had once belonged to my grandmother. Except for the upholstery, they were identical.



Either the poor old lady had poor eyesight or she was in need of a housekeeper. There were cobwebs dangling from the ceiling and a thick layer of dust on the furniture.



Sighing, I tried my phone again. Still no bars. I didn't know how I was going to get home if I couldn't contact my husband or a tow company. I didn't relish the thought of going back out into the nasty weather. Maybe I could get the woman to drive me into town or at least someplace with a phone? I searched my purse for some money I could offer her for gas and found the ones and a five, which I figured should be enough.



“One lump or two, Wendy?”



I almost jumped out of my skin, I had been admiring an ornate cherry mirror and didn't notice Mabel reentering the room.



"What?" I asked a bit confused, wondering why I hadn't seen her come up behind me in the mirror.



"Sugar, one lump or two?" Mabel repeated.



She set a tea and cookie-laden tray down on the table and handed me the lace-edged towel she had slung over her arm.



“Two please, I need lots of sweetening,” I said, “This is so nice of you, Mable, but really you didn't have to put yourself out like this.”



I felt embarrassed by all the trouble I had put her through. I quickly dried off my face, arms, and hair with the proffered towel.

She reassured me saying, “It's no bother at all, I was just going to have a cup of tea myself. Besides, it's not often I get company.”



I'm not really a tea drinker, but the tea and cookies tasted just wonderful! Maybe I was just so happy to be out of that dark cold night, but I couldn't remember anything ever tasting so good.



Mabel and I chit chatted for a while before I asked, “Mabel, could you possibly drive me someplace so I could make a phone call? I have money for gas.”



With a perplexed look on her face, she replied, “I'm sorry dear, I don't own a car; I don't even know how to drive.”



The antique clock on the mantel, with its lions' heads and pillars on each end, reminded me of the old dusty clock I played with in my grandmother's basement so many years ago. I loved to open the clock face, move the hands and listen to it gong.



I was shocked when I noticed the time read 9:42. How could so much time have passed already! I had definitely missed the party, and Gary would be worried, he expected me home around 10:00 pm.



“Well Mabel,” I said, “Thank you for the wonderful tea and your hospitality. You have a lovely home, but I've really got to get going.”



Taking me by the arm she replied, “You are welcome my dear, I enjoyed having company for a change. I'm just sorry I wasn't able to be of more help to you.”



I pulled on my coat, dreading the walk ahead of me. One last time I pulled out my phone and glanced at it. There were bars!



I quickly phoned my husband asking him to pick me up. Waiting about fifteen minutes before venturing outside, I hugged Mabel good-bye, feeling strangely sad at the thought of leaving her. I left with the feeling we had met before.



Walking back to the car, I noticed the rain had stopped. The big full moon lite the night, only a few wispy clouds passing over it. The air smelled as if the rain had washed it clean.



A gust of wind carried the sound of sirens to me, causing me to worry that Gary might have had an accident on his way to pick me up. Trying to follow the sound I turned around and saw flashing lights to the north. I let out a sigh of relief, Gary would be coming from the south. I reached my car and only had to wait about five minutes before Gary's truck pulled up.



Hopping out he said, “OK, try starting her up.”



I turned the key in the ignition, the engine started immediately.



“I can't believe it, I tried several times and it wouldn't start!” I exclaimed.



Gary just rolled his eyes. I'm always doing stupid things like this. There was the time I tried to start the car using my dad's keys instead of mine, and the time I hid the kids Christmas presents in the trunk of grandma's car - along with the keys!



“What's going on down the road,” Gary questioned.



“I don't know. I just started hearing the sirens and seeing the flashing lights as I walked to the car,” I said.



Gary's curiosity is peeked by flashing lights and sirens. At one time he was the press photographer for the local newspaper.



“Let's go check it out,” he said, closing the hood of the car.



We hopped into the car and drove down the road, as I quickly relayed the night's events to him. We were soon stopped by a police officer Gary knew.



“You'll have to turn around, you can't get through,” he warned.



“What happened, Bob?” Gary asked.



“It's pretty bad, looks like a lady was murdered as she tried to change her tire,” was his grim reply.



Chills ran up and down my spine when I heard that. It very well could have been me, I thought as we turned around and headed back to Gary's truck.



I kissed Gary good-bye, and he got back into his truck warning, “Be careful driving home.”



Driving slowly - and with Gary following me - I watched through the window for Mable's house. I wanted to write down her address and send her a thank you note. But I couldn't find Mable's house, somehow I had missed it. Just wanting to get home, I decided to come back the next day when the sun was up.



After breakfast the next morning I headed out. I had some shopping to do, a few bills to pay, and later I had to pick the grandkids up from school. But first, I wanted to get Mabel's address. The drive was a little out of the way, but she had been so kind to me. Hard telling what could have happened, if I hadn't sheltered in her house.



I had brought my camera along with me so that I could take a picture of Mable's enchanting house to show Gary. I drove up and down the road twice. Confused, I finally stopped on the spot where I thought Mabel's house should have been. The hairs on my arms stood on end, I was chilled to the bone in spite of the heat. There were no houses on this section of the road, just a cemetery - as I was now remembering...the same cemetery where my great-grandparents were buried. My great-grandmother's name was Mable Henderson!








© 2017 Wendy Seames Garner


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Featured Review

What a good story, Wendy! Okay, so my mind kept going this way or that, trying to think ahead, but, no, you kept me guessing until the very end! Nice build-up, fine and natural dialogue, gentle chat amongst the setting of Mavble's decor and character, and, as implied, the ending was certainly unexpected. Beginning to think an anthology of short stories is your next step. Thank you so much for sharing.

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Oh Dear God ! I was expecting an eerie twist somewhere---with the references to old times and grandmother's belongings...but never in my wildest reverie could I've thought she would turn out to be your great grandmother...stunned ! great write ..

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wendy Seames Garner

7 Years Ago

Thank you so much for your comments, Arabdha, they are very much appreciated.
Arabdha

7 Years Ago

you're most welcome :-)
Wow -- got chills at the end. There's the right mixture to keep you present in the story and still try to guess what will happen. I love stories that can do that. It held me up until the end. Catherine L

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wendy Seames Garner

7 Years Ago

Thanks so much, Catherine L, I'm glad you enjoyed my story!
I enjoyed this story, more on thi8s topic please Wendy,:)) Moonbeam

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wendy Seames Garner

7 Years Ago

Thanks, Moonbeam! There are elements of truth and pure fiction is this story.
moonbeam40

7 Years Ago

smiling:))
A very impressive and enjoyable story. Nicely told.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oooo, pretty eerie! As I've come to expect from you, the writing and story-telling is excellent. It's fiction, I guess, but I've often wondered if some of our family members might look out for us from the other side.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, a really impressive story. I didn't see the ending coming. Very moving how her great grandmother protected her great grandchild just when she needed it. I really enjoyed this!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a good story, Wendy! Okay, so my mind kept going this way or that, trying to think ahead, but, no, you kept me guessing until the very end! Nice build-up, fine and natural dialogue, gentle chat amongst the setting of Mavble's decor and character, and, as implied, the ending was certainly unexpected. Beginning to think an anthology of short stories is your next step. Thank you so much for sharing.

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Very fun Wendy !! A good write... each better than the one before

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I quite literally felt a chill when I finished reading this remarkably good story.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 5, 2012
Last Updated on December 2, 2017
Tags: chocolate, tea, sirens, car problems, ghosts, copyright Wendy Seames Garner 20, murder


Author

Wendy Seames Garner
Wendy Seames Garner

Lapeer, MI



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I believe that every person we meet, every thing we touch has a story. more..

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