Mystery flash fiction
‘Semper Fidelis’ by Stewart Storrar
It had seemed like any other day to her. She woke from the faint rays of sunlight cutting through her thin, cream coloured curtains. Her cat was softly purring away, asleep at the foot of her bed. The glass of water sat on her bedside table that she had left there for herself the night before. She lifted it, sipped the lukewarm liquid and glanced at her clock.
She sat her glass down and swung her legs out from underneath her cotton bed covers. She felt the stirring of Whistle, her cat, as his ears popped up to greet her. She let her hand rest atop his delicate head and heard a purr of satisfaction. Sliding each foot into a slipper, she stood from the bed and turned off her alarm set on the clock. She didn’t want to disturb Whistle more than she already had.
She stumbled from the bathroom in her pajamas, having completed her morning brush. She glanced back over to the bed to see Whistle fast asleep, undisturbed. With a smile she made for her bedroom door, picking up the glass of water on the way. Taking another sip, she opened up the door and left; being careful not to wake Whistle on her way out.
She glanced to the clock above the sink. The microwave dinged and she took out her breakfast; porridge. Sitting on her sofa, she switched on her TV to watch the morning news as she ate. Nothing too important, no major world events that would impact her. After a while she finished her food to hear the patter of paws against the laminated flooring. She turned round to see Whistle plodding towards her. Time to get his breakfast.
With his food dish on the floor and his water bowl across the hall filled, she let Whistle set about his breakfast. Leaving for her bedroom, she jumped out her slippers, slid off her shirt and pulled off her pajama trousers. She gave a quick glance to her naked self in the mirror, cursing at her imperfect perception of her own body, before opening it up to reveal a wardrobe. Carefully selecting her outfit for the coming occasion, she proceeded to dress herself and apply her make up.
The bus, as usual, was late. It just happened to be that little bit later than the usual late and as a consequence, it would make her late.
When it pulled up with its distressed looking driver, she hurried on; flashing her bus pass at the ragged looking, overweight man. He seemed to scan it quickly through his horn rimmed spectacles and nod her on; not that he was going to stop her. Not that anything was going to stop her. As she sat on her usual seat, she watched an elderly woman carrying bagfuls of shopping dwindle onto the vehicle and sighed. Today was going to be a long day.
She barged into the office, her laptop bag in trail. The main cubicles for the senior staff were all empty bar one.
“Has it started?” she asked. The short, blonde woman in the occupied cubicle was fresh out of university and through fluke, had landed in a senior position. She hated her for that.
“The meeting? Yeah.” The blonde smiled as she spoke with a smug authority. Bitch.
She straightened her hair in the bathroom, re-applied her lipstick and picked up her notes. She may be twelve minutes late but if she looked good, it gave her a confidence boost. She quickly scanned over the notes she held in her hands, double checking she had everything she needed. Content, she left for the boardroom.
She walked out of the boardroom with more notes than she had entered with. She had not been received well by her superiors. This had been her chance to get the promotion and she blew it. If she wasn’t punctual, she could kiss any promotion chance goodbye. She walked over to her cubicle and gathered up her things. She needed to head down to the flagship store and update the manager there about the changes in policy. She sighed. Picking up her bag, she left in the wake of a smug smile from the blonde.
She wasn’t even half way into the briefing and even she felt bored. The tension in the room was horrific. She looked on at the managers before her, and as she gave her presentation, she wished them mercy. She was far too near the top to be doing store visits like this. She was getting tired of the fake smile and the simulated enthusiasm every board member was expected to convey. She knew, that they knew, she was faking. Everyone did, really, deep down. It wasn’t her creation, her company. She wasn’t passionate. This was a job, not a career, and it showed.
She sat in the back of the company car as the driver took her back to the head office. The consultation on updating the flagship store about policy was most certainly a punishment for her almost habitual, dilatory nature. For all her efforts, time was her worst enemy. She was good at her job and that was the only reason she had not been fired yet. With a sigh, she plugged in some earphones and sunk into a podcast.
The day was over. She hadn’t gone home on time like she usually did. Whistle had enough food to last him, he would be fine. It hadn’t been long since she entered the bar that a dark haired man, fairly tall, in a neatly pressed suit, began to eye her from the other side. She smiled.
She didn’t need to take a bus, he had paid for a cab. Calvin was his name. An attractive, handsome lawyer. Not that it mattered too much. He wasn’t really her type, at least, not for anything long term. She needed a release and so, as they left the cab to go into her apartment, she felt a flutter of excitement. The door closed.
She lay in her bed. Calvin was asleep. She glanced over at his clothes, neatly folded over her dressing chair. Then she looked to hers, scattered across the wooden floor. She lay there and wondered. Not about Calvin but rather, about Whistle. She had briefly caught a glimpse of him out the corner of her eye when they came in. He sat atop the sofa contently, simply observing them as they stumbled away into the bedroom. She glanced to Calvin, lifted his arm off her chest and slipped from the bed.
She had found Whistle. He was asleep, curled up on the sofa. He must have known. He always fell asleep at the foot of her bed. She smiled. Making her way over to the sofa she sat down and curled up next to him. It was only at this point that she felt something she had not felt all night. His soft purr soothed her to the soul. She felt content, but she felt more than that.
She felt love.
More about this mystery flash fiction
This light-hearted flash fiction was written by Stewart Storrar, a young Scottish writer and Chief Editor of Lore! Be sure to check Stewart out over on his Twitter account to stay up to date with his work; such as his other flash fiction and short stories. This specific flash fiction was first published on the Medium publication P.S. I Love You by Stewart before he published it on Lore Fiction when Lore existed on Medium. As of now it has been ported over to Lore’s new home here on our website!
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