During 2018’s A-Z Challenge, we wrote the first draft of “The November Deadline” and to celebrate that this is now (finally) out with beta readers, we’ll be producing a daily piece of micro-fiction linked to it – some prequel, some containing a detail not included in the story, some snippets from sequels currently being written.
Coln had spent surprisingly little time amongst the ephemerals, and even less immersed in the cities of London and Westminster. It was as if she had woken from a dream into a dream as she wandered and learned her way around. The vibrancy of living was almost palpable. Amidst the welter of galleries and museums that she had discovered, one of her favourite haunts, as she emerged from her chrysalis beneath the Thames, was the Victoria and Albert. Here, put into context, she had seen that the clothes that she tended to wear were decidedly old fashioned. But she’d also come to see that whilst fashions changed, invariably they built on what had come before, and who better than someone like she to take the measure of history and cut its cloth to suit?
With Billy’s assistance, her family had found themselves extremely wealthy: the pick of the items that her father had collected and hoarded over centuries had found their way to collectors. Even in this world of post-war austerity, there were those who would pay handsomely for unique and noteworthy artefacts. And if Billy did not know a collector personally, he knew a man who did, or at least someone who could reach out on her behalf.
She’d had time to think, time to plan. She wished she could have discussed things with Jack, but that was not to be. She now had wealth and more importantly a sense of purpose, an ambition. She was going to open a haute couture salon, not only because of her new found love of clothes, but because she had realised that there would be an opportunity to exert influence behind the scenes.
She sat on a bench, a little down from Cleopatra’s needle, and watched the boats chug up and down, and looked across the river at the derelict warehouses and brewery. Examples of the goods they had once housed had been part of what had been sold recently. This afternoon she would go for second viewing of a house on Jermyn Street that looked like just the thing. It was owned by a chap who’d made an awful lot of money in South Africa: the dark wood panelling might need some attention, but thankfully he would be taking all the Zulu assegais and shields and things with him – they didn’t fit her plans at all.
She waved as she saw her confidante approaching. This was the sort of decision that really did need someone you could trust to talk it through with.
© 2021, David Jesson & Debra Carey