Writing Journal

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WIP Dear Someone – Excerpt from Chapter one. Harper receives a sinister letter from a girl everyone presumed dead. 

Dear Someone.

Before I met him, I was broken. An empty shell, left cracked open by others wrong doings and life’s many hardships. I was 21 years old, working at a book store while I finished studying.  I can still remember the day I first met him. I was shelving a new delivery of Clare Mackintosh’s new book for Andi, so completely focused on that task I didn’t even see him come in. I knew Andi would freak out if it wasn’t exactly how she wanted it. The display was so close to being finished as I leaned on the table to help myself off of the floor to retrieve the last few copies. Before I knew it the table crashed to the floor, one of the legs finally coming loose from the ageing furniture, taking my hard work to the ground with it. Quickly, scrambling to the floor to minimise the mess before Andi came flying to the scene in a whirlwind of stress and superlatives, I started scooping the books back into the packing boxes, when a pair of strong hands appeared, helping me along. 

Those hands belonged to a gentle faced man, with brown eyes, full lips, framed by a mane of golden curly hair. His nose was angular and his jaw and cheek bones pronounced, a smile seemed to hover around his facial features permanently, even at rest. He was wearing blue jeans and a plain white button-up shirt. I looked up at him, while brushing back tangles of brown hair from my eyes, smiling. “Thanks, but I’ve got it” I mumbled shyly as I reached out for the small stack of books in his hands. “Are you always this clumsy?” He joked lightly, a full smile lighting up his face. 

That’s how it started. Isn’t that how it always starts? A harmless joke between passing strangers, a fleeting smile, an unexpected conversation. The next thing months, maybe even years have passed and you can’t imagine life without them. We were great for a while. He made me feel so special, like I could do absolutely anything. I even rationalised him always having a reason not to meet my friends and family. It was always work or other commitments. I admired how hard he worked to provide for us. To make sure I was happy and safe. But sometimes things aren’t always as sparkling clear as they first seem. 

Sometimes, they are dangerous. They hurt us. If you’re reading this I need your help. I was naïve and I believed he loved me. I’m trapped now. I don’t know where I am or what will happen to me but I don’t think I have long left. I need you to find me. Please find me. 

He’s going to kill me. 

God, I hope someone’s reading this. 

Please be reading this. 

Avery Maddison.

As the wind tugged gently at Harper’s auburn hair, she desperately looked around the small car park for a sign of who could have left the letter. Everything seemed normal. The usual business people walked to their cars and to coffee shops after a laborious day in their offices, mums pushed their wailing babies in prams down the cracked pavements. Nothing seemed out-of-place, besides the letter that was slipped between the windscreen wipers of her car. A white, sinister flag in the midst of a normal landscape of Harper’s day. She re-read the letter again, a well of worry filling up slowly in her chest, silently hoping she could have imagined the entire content of that single piece of paper. Nothing had changed. The words didn’t morph or change on the sheet. The fear in Harper’s stomach didn’t suddenly retreat. Who could have put this here? And why? Why Harper’s car, of all the cars in the lot? 

Just as she was going to retreat back inside her car and start her drive home, Harper noticed a parking attendant walking nearby, inspiration struck. “Excuse me?” 

The man kept walking, he had headphones in, Harper realised. His brown-haired head discretely nodding along with a silent rhythm. She jogged up beside him and tapped him lightly on the shoulder. He looked up, surprise filling his brown eyes as he tugged out an ear phone. 

“Hi?” He had a Geordie accent and stubble covering his chin. 

“Hello, um… My car is the red mini just there. You didn’t notice anyone place a letter under my wipers at all today did you?” Harper asked tentatively. 

“That one there? Not to my knowledge, no. Why, is there a problem?” Asked the man as he scratched at his chin thoughtfully. 

“Oh, um no. No, not at all.” 

How could she explain to this stranger that there had been a letter placed upon her little car by a stranger the town thought had been dead for months? How could she know it was really Avery? All the things Harper knew about the case that had swamped the news a year ago flew around her head. It couldn’t be her could it?