Monica stomped along the road in her expensive Italian boots. The evening hadn’t turned out as she planned.
“It’s New Years Eve and I was supposed to be enjoying myself with James. Dinner, Dancing and then…”
Things catch up with you eventually
She stopped and turned around “Who said that?”
Silence, nothing moved. “God I’m talking to myself AND hearing things. Someone is going to pay for this.”
Someone always pays eventually
“OK, not funny. I know you’re out there. Did James’s wife put you up to this? He was going to leave her anyway, nothing to do with me. He told me the marriage was over. He’d be with someone else if it wasn’t me.”

The frigid night air was still and silent. “Where the hell am I?” Nothing along the dark misty lane looked familiar.

Monica had been at the Royal Charles hotel, waiting in reception for James, her lover. A handsome and very rich business man who’d made his money in the fashion world, backing and funding new designers. She’d been seeing him for almost six months. Her goal was to entice away from his shrew of a wife and snotty nosed kids by the end of the year. It seemed to be working until tonight. Monica waited for him for over an hour. He wasn’t answering his phone so she decided to just check into the room and wait for him there.

“I’m sorry, but there must be some mistake, there isn’t a reservation under that name.”
“Alright, I’d like to reserve a room now please.” Monica said, trying not to be annoyed.
The receptionist didn’t even bother to check availability. She just shook her head. “We’ve been fully booked for months. New Years Eve is popular here. I’m sorry.”
“I’m in the middle of nowhere, what am I supposed to do?”
“If you drive down to the main road, and then head towards town, there’s a B&B on the right, just before the farm. It’s called the Charles Inn, sometimes people get the two places mixed up. Maybe your reservation is.”
“Seriously? A B&B? I highly doubt it. I didn’t drive, I took a taxi!”
The receptionist looked nervous, she didn’t want a scene on New Years Eve while dinner guests arrived. “Let me call you a taxi now.” She frowned as she dialed different cab firms.
“I can’t get anyone here until 8:30” She said apologetically.
Monica looked at her watch. “What, it’s only six o clock!”
“You could always sit in our lounge and enjoy a cocktail while you wait.”
“I don’t drink alone,” she snarled.

Monica picked up her Gucci overnight bag and headed out into the darkness. A five-minute brisk walk put her in on a narrow dark. The only thing that moved in the darkness was a damp luminous mist!

“I wish I’d had that drink now.” She said softly to herself. There was no sign of civilization along the dark country road, but Monica kept walking, what choice did she have. Taking her cell phone out of her pocket, she tried to call James again. “No signal, great!”
She saw headlights approaching and hoped it was him. No luck, the approaching car was battered red Nissan. James drove a silver Maserati. In the distance Monica saw lights, they were smudged by the mist, but she could make out a large dimly lit building. “At last, maybe this is the B&B, if it has a bar I’m going inside. To hell with everything, a drink or two would be wonderful.”

She paused for a moment when she reached the gate. There was nothing indicating this was a B&B. Music and laughter floated temptingly from the open door. Live jazz, lazy, lovely and full of promise. She was mesmerized!

“Sounds like a classy place, maybe I’ll spend the night.”
She took a compact from her purse and re-applied her lipstick. “This face needs a man to appreciate it, a man with deep pockets. I was bored with James anyway.”
Monica took a deep breath, puffed out her chest, opened her coat to show her perfect (implanted) breasts and walked to the front door.
The scene in front of her was warm, exciting, and full of promise.


The Connection!

StagecoachWith all the Christmas decorations packed away the house looked bare, but fresh. A sign of new beginnings. A New Year on the horizon. The week between Christmas and New Year is a no man’s land, an alternative universe. A land where even wandering spirits daren’t venture.

I got home from work early, ready for a glass of wine or two.

“Why don’t we go down to the Stagecoach?” I said to my reclusive husband. “Let’s see the New Year in with friends.”

“Sure if you want, I’ve cooked so lets eat and go down later.”

Shocked at both the meal and the prospect of seeing the New Year with friends I poured another glass of wine. He’d cooked Italian, Risotto with Shrimp. It was delicious. We switched on the television and watched the fireworks over the London Eye as England drifted into the New Year seven hours ahead of us. It put me in the mood to celebrate so I fixed my make-up, changed my clothes and was ready to go.

The Stagecoach was less than a five-minute drive, but it was too cold to walk. We were greeted by smiling familiar faces and found two seats at the bar. “You staying until midnight?” Bonnie asked.

“Maybe, but I doubt it. Not sure if I can keep Les here that long.”

She laughed, she knew us both too well. I could talk for hours, Les, not so much.

“Well there’s a free ride home tonight if you have too much to drink, I’ll put your name on the list just in case.”

Les found someone to talk to and I chatted to anyone and everyone. I was a bit of celebrity to the locals because I had a British accent and was a writer. It made me feel quite famous, even though I wasn’t. In one of the booths in the far corner of the bar, an old man sat alone. Although this was my local I hadn’t seen him before. I felt sorry for him. Awful to be lonely on New Years Eve.

“Hey Bonnie, who’s the old guy in the corner? He looks miserable?”

Bonnie knew who I was talking about without looking in his direction.

“He’s called¬†Bret, he comes here every New Year and gets stone drunk. Been coming in for 20 years or more, long before I started working here.”

“Why does he drink alone?”

“Don’t know the whole story, but his daughter died one New Years Eve, complications of child-birth. Kept her pregnancy a secret because she was only 17. Gave birth in a barn and never recovered.”

I felt cold, my voice was no more than a whisper, “Was the barn close to here?”

“Yes, up off the road you live in. Simpson’s barn.”

Trying to stop my hands from shaking I swallowed the contents of my glass in one gulp.

“Are you okay?” Bonnie asked.

I ignored her, “Did the baby survive?”

She filled up my glass, “No one knows, they never found it. Betty Simpson found the girl lying in a pool of her own blood. She’d been dead a couple of days.”

“Oh God how sad.”

I looked across to the old guy sitting alone drinking. He threw some cash on the table and got up to leave. He staggered barely able to walk.

“Bonnie, make him ride home with your driver, don’t let him drive.”

“No need, he lives at the bottom of your road, he walks.” The old guy¬†brushed my arm as he left. A jolt of energy coursed through my body and I saw the face of the young girl I’d seen in the barn. I know he felt it too. He glanced at me as though he’d just woken up, and then quickly looked away.

I knew I’d see him again though.