Saturday 10 June 2023

Saturday Sample: A Gentle Nudge, Mason Bushell, A Chance Encounter with Love, spring water,


The clouds were gathering beyond the silvery surf this afternoon. Glen and his dog Willard always walked the clifftop path each day. At thirty, Glen had a hole in his heart. He’d felt love for a girl just once as a teenager. He failed to make the connection he felt in his heart with her though. Maybe Remy was why fourteen years later, love had never blossomed again.

Those thoughts left him wistful on days like today. He felt as though love would never come now, he was too old for such a thing – wasn’t he?

“Come away from the edge, Willard!” he called to the brown-and-white English Pointer.

Willard returned a wag of his thin tail and obeyed.

“Good, lad.” Glen gazed ahead, watching a lady in a burgundy and black running vest and shorts, jogging toward him. Even from three-hundred-yards, he could tell her titian hair was the same shade and ponytailed just as Remy’s always was at school.

Willard looked to the moody skies and barked.  

“I agree, a storm’s brewing up there.” Glen cast his eyes over the scudding clouds. “Time to get h—”

Lightning tore open the darkened skies. The thunder which followed was like a monstrous bowling ball crashing down the alley. There was something more. As the rain began to deluge the cliff face, Glen heard a terrified scream.

Willard howled and ran to his master.

Glen couldn’t see the runner anywhere; she’d gone. Realising why, he burst into a run . Sideways rain whipped across the clifftop as the squall storm arrived in a fury.

The thunder rolled with such intensity it made man and dog cower as they sprinted through the torrential downpour. Both Glen and Willard were soaked in seconds but pushed on regardless.

The clifftop used to have safety railing. Erosion had sent many of the bars to the beach almost a hundred feet below. Even now the rains were causing more of the clay to slide and fall from the face. 

Glen ran to where he thought the runner had been before the lightning struck. He forced his eyes open against the wind and rain and started searching for her. “Lady! Where are you?”

Willard had gone on further; he pawed at the ground and barked.

“I’m here!” she cried from below him.

“Good, boy!” Glen ran to him and scratched his soggy ears for a moment. There was one upright post of the old railing left here. He wrapped the dog’s lead around it and secured it to his belt. “Don’t move!” he threatened the post as he dropped to his belly and leaned over the edge.

The beach seemed to rise toward him. There was a lot of rock down there; a fall would almost certainly be fatal.

The lady screamed.

Glen snapped back to reality, threw out a hand and caught her about the wrist as the cliff fell away beneath her, “Kick your feet in. Get a grip!” he urged while fighting not to let her slip through his wet hand as the storm raged on.

“Help me!” she cried scrabbling helplessly.

“Kick the wall and get a foot in!” Glen yelled over another deep rumble of thunder.

She did and this time she made a solid purchase on the clay wall. As she held on she looked straight into her rescuer’s face.

Glen felt like he’d been shot by the lightning. Rainwater flooded his eyes leaving his vision blurred, a sensation which only added to his heart pounding madly in his chest. He flashed back to an earlier time on the school playing field; wishing she would notice him, yearning to kiss her. Those amber eyes were still the same. His soul told him this was her. “Remy?”  

“I’m slipping!” she cried.

“No, you’re not!” Glen reached down as far as he could and latched his free hand under her arm. “Get up her-argh!” he roared as he forced his muscles to lift her.

Willard took hold of his belt and hauled on him as well.

“Good boy, Willard!” Glen gritted his teeth. “Come on!”

Inch by inch, the lady was pulled through torrents of water and mud until she was lying on the cliff top, exhausted but alive.

Glen collapsed beside her with Willard licking his face. Despite the ordeal, he was smiling at the chance encounter. Above him, a golden light had come over the storm clouds. Sun began to split through the darkness. Glen felt fingers take his hand and hold tight.

“You saved me,” she said.

“You near gave me a heart attack disappearing in front of me like that!” he replied still sucking in deep breaths. “I’m glad you’re alive.”

“Me too! I’m a little wet and dirty, but I’ll be fine thanks to you — Glen.”

Glen rolled to face her. “Remy, it is you.”

She nodded. “I remember you. Always in the background smiling toward me but never having the courage to speak to me.”

“Yup, that was cowardly me,” Glen admitted.

“Then I was a coward too. I couldn’t bring myself to speak to you either. I was scared, I didn’t know what to do.” She giggled. “Silly kids, huh!”  

“Just a bit. What now?” Glen asked. All these years later he still didn’t know what to do.

“Look.” Remi accepted a lick from Willard and pointed to the sky. A beautiful rainbow spanned the cliff top, splitting the ominous clouds into the most mesmerising prism of colour and beauty.    

“Oh, that’s magic!” Glen grinned having rolled on to his back again.

“It’s more than that. It’s the sign I’ve been waiting for.”

“I don’t understand.”

“When the sky is turned aglow by the colours of a magnificent rainbow. Your soulmate will be there to take your hand and hold your heart forevermore.” Remy said.

“That’s beautiful.” Glen frowned as she beamed toward him. He felt sure he’d missed something.

“A fortune-teller told me that when I was twenty-five. I never believed in such things until you rescued me by taking my hand and then the sky gave us this magical rainbow.” Remy sat up and looked into his eyes.

Glen returned the look. “I’d be happy to hold your hand and take care of your kheart forever, Remy.”

Remy reached forward and brushed her cheek against his as she kissed him.

For the second time in five minutes, Glen felt struck by the lightning. Her energy filled every cell in his body with euphoria.

Willard had seen enough; he began kissing both of them with enormous doggy licks.

“Pah! You know, Glen. If we’re going to kiss more often – and I hope we are - we’re going to need different arrangements for this guy!” Remy poked the dog in the nose, laughed and hugged him and Glen together.

Glen just looked to the rainbow and grinned. “Thank you, Mother Nature.”


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