Can you believe Story Chat is one-third of the way through its year which starts each October? We met Hugh Roberts started this year with a spooky Halloween story, “Puddles.” Doug Jacquier broached the tough subject of PTSD after WWII in his story “Brooching the Subject.” Cathy Cade, wrote us a delightful heartwarming Christmas story, “On the Streets.” Geoff LePard started the new year off right with “When Gratitude Is Hard to Come By”
Now KL Caley, of New2Writing and hostess of Write Photo, is coming to shake us up a bit when her tea warns her to be cautious. As we approach the day of romance, I wondered if there might be a hint of romance in this cautionary tale. What do you think?
Authors say that your Story Chat comments make a difference in their writing. Grab your favorite Valentine hearts, a chocolate or two, and beverage and join us with your expressive analyses of “Handle with Caution.” Bookmark the story and feel free to check back often and joust with the other chatters. Enjoy snippets of your and your friends’ banter linked to your blogs in the Story Chat Summary at the end of the month.
So, without further ado, let’s read now and talk in a minute.
“Handle with Caution” by KL Caley
She stirred the tea leaves around her cup. The question mark again. She knew what that meant, “BE CAUTIOUS”.
A small bird fluttered past the window and caught her eye for a second. She rose from her chair teacup still in hand and watched it hop around the garden. Whilst it picked up little sticks from here or there, it was cautious, always watching, always looking around. Occasionally its stony black eyes glared directly at her, knowing she was there, yet it assessed the situation and continued as was.
The doorbell to the little shop made a noise in the background. and she hurried to tidy her cup away and make her way through the door but before she had a chance, Tom’s distinctive Scottish burr startled her.
“Reading tea leaves again, are we?”
“Always. One day you’ll let me do yours”.
“Ha, you know I don’t believe in all that rubbish.” She laughed and then pouted pretending to take offence. He was standing in a shop full of incense, candles, and crystals after all.
“Then what is there to be afraid of?” She smiled having caught him out. He raised his hands in a gesture of submission.
“I’ve dropped off a package for you but this one needs a signature I’m afraid.” He gestured through the door and she followed his gaze.
“Crikey, what’s in there?” She walked over to a large box that sat in the middle of the shop floor, how strange no return label. The neat handwritten address confirmed it was definitely for her.
“I must admit I’m curious, it’s a heavy box you have there. Do you want me to give you a hand moving it?” Tom’s cheerful smile seemed to sparkle off all the crystals in the room.
“Just give me two minutes and I’ll find some scissors to open it first. I can’t think what it could be.”
“No need, I have my pen-knife here if you want.”
“Sure”. She stepped back and Tom knelt beside the box. He carefully slid his knife along the two sides and then began to slowly move down the centre seal. As he got halfway, a huge bang escaped from the box and all the lights in the shop went out.
“Tom!” Rosie shouted into the darkness. Her eyes slowly adjusting with a little help from the LED candles scattered around the store. She could just make out Tom’s body lying on the floor next to the box.
“Tom!” she shouted again dropping to her knees beside him. His body started shaking. Then a loud noise followed.
“Hhahahahhaha. What the bloody hell was that? Are you trying to kill me, woman?” His deep chuckle continued to fill the air.
“Tom, it’s not funny.” She got back to her feet and made her way over to the lights, expecting the fuse to be blown she flicked them on and off but to her surprise, the room illuminated before her. Now it was her turn to laugh. She was laughing so hard tears began streaking down her face.
“Oh, now you find it funny?” Tom asked dusting himself off, getting to his feet. Still struggling to talk, Rosie picked up a mirror off the shelf and held it to Tom’s face. He took a glance and realized he looked like a raccoon with black smudge marks around his eyes.
“So, what exactly was in that box? From the look of your face, you must have got a good look.” Rosie began laughing again at her own joke.
“Well, if it was any other shop I wouldn’t believe it, but I think it’s a cauldron?”
“A cauldron?” She walked over to the box and sure enough inside was a large black cauldron. Although more curiously it was empty except for a small rolled-up piece of paper with a ribbon around it. Rosie unravelled it to reveal a note.
Happy Birthday Darling, I thought you’d like this, I know you’ve had your eyes on it for years. I hope you didn’t mind my little surprise. Lots of love, Grannie. Xx
“You’re right, it is a cauldron.” She turned back to Tom and dropped the little note onto the counter. “Would you like to come through and clean yourself up a bit?”
“Yea, if you don’t mind. Perhaps I’ll have that cup of tea after all.” Tom added and they made their way through to the back room. He chuckled. “I think you’ll try anything to make me a believer. In saying that I think I’ll be approaching your parcels with Caution from now on!”
They both laughed as Rosie put the pot on to boil, she picked her discarded teacup up to give it a rinse.