Authors: Evelyn Harper
Copyright © 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical
methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the
case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other
noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
© 2015 Evelyn Harper
appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living
or dead, is purely coincidental.
Warning: This work
contains scenes of a graphic sexual nature and it is written for adults only (18+).
All characters depicted in this story are over 18 years of age.
hell did I get here?
bullet burst through my windshield and buried itself in the back seat. The
sound echoed in my ears. The blood drained from my face. I turned to look at
Mathis. His blue eyes staring back at me widened in shock. For a moment I
couldn’t hear anything. My vision blurred as my eyes fell to his lips, which
were mouthing words I couldn’t hear. What? What was he saying?
my hearing started to come back. “Ama… Aman… Amanda!” My dazed eyes now focused
on his blue ones again registering his voice.
TWO WEEKS AGO
sighed with discomfort as I leaned back in my chair, stretching my back as far
as it would go to ease the dull ache which was developing after four straight
hours at my desk. I was sitting in my bland, grey cubicle, the monitor in front
of me blaring its offensively bright glare and the fluorescent lighting above
me doing absolutely nothing for my fair complexion or the general cheeriness of
the room. Of all the places to work, this little accounting firm had to be one
of the most soulless.
delay the inevitable moment when my tired eyes would have to refocus on the
painfully boring excel sheet in front of me, I untied my thick, glossy brown
hair, combing the dark strands with my fingers and retying it in its customary
braid, putting the wayward strands in their rightful places. Unfortunately, my
practiced hands took only a few seconds to perform this task. I looked at the
excel sheet again. The sullen little rectangle of tiny black figures looked
If you don’t concentrate on me, Amanda, you’ll lose your
job, and then where will you be?
Great, now I was imagining my excel sheet
talking to me.
for a distraction, I looked around my cubicle again. Dull and grey and
lifeless. The only point of color or interest was my tiny little Christmas
tree, still cheerily embodying the spirit of a festival which had passed more
than three months ago. Still, even in March, the Christmas tree seemed to perk
the place up a bit, its little lights glowing loyally and its ornaments
managing to turn the florescent glare into something approaching a twinkle.
Slightly cheered, I went back to my skulking excel sheet, determined to knock
that insolent attitude right out of it.
gentle tapping of keys filled my little cubicle as I got to work again. See,
this was fine. This was a nice, sensible job to have. It paid the bills, kept
me in clothes, bought me well-deserved vanilla body scrub, and even allowed me
to grab a sandwich from my favorite deli once in a while. Excel sheets were
great. Much greater than out-of-date Christmas trees with no presents
underneath them and irritatingly upbeat ornaments.
looked up from my work again as the mailman came into the room, eager to see if
he would be heading my way. This wasn’t just another pathetic attempt at
getting out of my work. I’d already finished reconciling myself to the fact
that I would be making spreadsheets until the world ended or my fingers were
too withered to type anymore. I was expecting a letter any day, and now was as
good a time as any.
been three weeks now since my Uncle Andy’s passing. He wasn’t really my uncle –
he was my great uncle, my grandmother’s brother. Still, we’d been very close,
and his lawyer had already notified me that I was included in his will. It was
unthinkable that he wouldn’t leave his favorite great-niece without a little
something to remember him by. I wasn’t expecting money – Uncle Andy had always
been very serious on the subject of everybody having to work to earn their
bread, but I was excited to know that he had remembered me in some little way. So
here I was, ears pricked, waiting for the mailman to bring me a letter.
he didn’t bring me a letter.
Amanda Taylor?” he confirmed with me, his eyes twinkling (he knew I’d been on
high alert for mail for the past couple of weeks). “Here’s a package for you.”
package?” I said, grabbing the little rectangular package quickly and shoving
it under some files so that my nosy co-workers couldn’t get their eyeballs all
over it. “Huh, I thought it’d just be a letter. Thanks, Jim!”
nice day,” the mailman grinned.
too,” I murmured, eyes still lingering on the package. “Have fun making the
walked across the room towards another lucky recipient of his services, I made
a quick survey of the room: Daisy’s ample bulk was shielding the photocopier,
Kyle and Jill were flirting like crazy in the cubicle opposite and, from the
gentle snores coming from the cubicle next to me, I figured that David was
probably taking his customary day-long nap. Those were the worst gossips
accounted for – I would risk my other coworkers and get a peek at the package.
trembling fingers, I took the little package from its snug nest of month-old
files. It was addressed to me in Uncle Andy’s elegant, precise handwriting.
Although the sight of his writing tugged at my heart a little, I knew there was
no danger of tears – I’d already cried all my tears at his funeral; there was
only so much salt water a human body could produce, especially considering the
chronically under-seasoned fare available from the company cafeteria. Besides,
I’d never cry at my office. It had been my number one objective never to be the
subject of lunchtime gossip and so far, the conversation over limp chicken
salads and tasteless quinoa had been entirely Amanda-free.
one last glance around the room, I deftly opened the little package, lifting
off the wrapping with care. Inside, I found a book and an envelope, the book
wrapped in crinkly white tissue paper and the envelope, with its typewritten
address and little plastic window, looking very much like the bearer of bad
news. I opened the envelope first, pulling out a very official looking slip of
paper from Williams, of Williams and Slopey, my uncle’s lawyers. A quick scan
of the paper told me that it was indeed about his will. At least I wasn’t in
any kind of trouble.
started over from the beginning, the part where it said ‘to whom it may concern’
instead of my actual name, and tried to separate the details from the
lawyer-speak. After a few minutes of intense struggle, I surmised that my uncle’s
will was going to be read and that I was supposed to be present. The details of
the place, date and time were all there – a huge, fancy building I had never so
much as set foot in before. I decided to worry about it at a later date. I’d
probably have to go in wearing a full suit and some shiny court shoes. Well, if
it was what Uncle Andy wanted, I would be there.
the envelope to one side, I turned my attention back to the “package” part of
the parcel. Tearing off the thin layer of tissue paper, I carefully lifted out
an old book, dog-eared and careworn, the spine cracked and the pages discolored
from years of use and multiple re-readings. While the letter had failed to
raise much interest, this book more than made up for it. I remembered the book
, by Jack London, a book I had read countless times. Not just any book
either – this exact copy. I could remember Uncle Andy lending it to me for the
umpteenth time, his lips quirked into an indulgent smile as he gestured to his
vast library. “You know where it is, Amanda – you read it frequently, after
all. Why you don’t invest in your own copy, I’ll never know…or has your copy
dropped it in the bath,” I answered glibly.
you’d better be careful with this copy, Young Lady. It’s a first edition. It
won’t go well with bathwater.”
my previous certainty that I would remain stoic, I felt tears pricking in my
green eyes. Before I could get weepy, though, I was distracted by a piece of
paper peeping out of the book. I drew it out and read what was written in Uncle
follow your dreams, Amanda – dreams are what make us alive.
smiled fondly as I recalled his dry, pleasant voice telling me exactly the same
thing almost every time we parted. He had always believed strongly that
everyone should have a dream and pursue it with all their heart and soul, just
as he had. He had built himself up as a successful hedge fund manager from a
modest background, believing in himself and his ability to be someone.
back down at the book. Somewhere, almost lost in the sands of time, it had been
my dream to be a writer like Jack London. I loved this book so passionately,
was so inspired by it, that every time I turned its pages it felt like I was
reading it for the first time. It was the first book that had made me think
that one day I’d be a writer.
had that dream gone? As I looked down at the book, I recalled how strongly I
had wanted to write, to let my feelings and emotions pour out onto page after
page of creamy white paper. I had dreamed of sitting outside with an empty
journal and a fountain pen, creating masterpieces as other people worked away
indoors, processing meaningless data and dealing with belligerent colleagues
and aggressive customers. I would be free to let my own creativity flow,
crafting my own worlds and writing as the mood took me.
at my partly-finished excel spreadsheet, I smiled bitterly to myself. Follow my
dreams? I couldn’t imagine anything further from what I had imagined back in my
youth. But that was reality for you. Uncle Andy may have succeeded, but for
most people, the things they dream about as children and teenagers are just
that – dreams.
the book and the letter into my desk drawer and throwing the wrapping paper
into the bin, I pulled in my chair, took a deep breath, and began tapping away
at my keyboard again.