Five years later, I sat in the office of a literary agent. My feet tapped anxiously on the wooden floor and the daylight irritated my red skin; I always got rashes when I felt uneasy. This was the most uneasy I'd felt in quite some time.
I arose to the conclusion of writing my own book, as my husband did, as I had felt inspired to pen a story that would relieve my imagination. Not my story. No, I did not want anybody to know I was the widower of the late George Holloway. His novels sold better after his mysterious death, too. My job as a teacher became redundant, and with the rising income, I decided to dedicate my time to my first book.
Senseless, I assumed so. But much needed in an empty time of my life.
A woman approached me. She was very smart-looking, official-like, like the boastful, experienced teachers at the school I taught in. 'Mr. Green will see you now,' she said.
Now all anxieties climaxed against the bones of my chest. I could not bring to mind what I was expecting from this meeting. I did not want to seem incapable, so I grabbed my things and rose to the woman's height. She moved to one side for me, and I glided past her.
The door to Mr. Green's office was open, so I walked near it. I reduced my speed the closer I approached, and with one last glance to the woman, I entered. She closed the door behind me, just as my eyes met those of Mr. Green.
'Ah, Rowena Hale, have a seat,' he said with the most welcoming of voices. He rose and extended his arm, and as I shook it, he asked, 'would you care for some tea?'
My nerves subsided slowly, and for a second I forgot that I had changed my last name to Hale to hide behind. 'Oh, no thank you, I wouldn't want to trouble you.'
'It would be no trouble at all,' he insisted. Still, I had to decline, and my eyes wandered to the manuscript on his desk. My manuscript; he had read it.
'May I ask what you thought of my book?' I enquired, and while the gentleman appeared friendly enough, I had to discuss business.
'It was perfectly fine, bating the way it was written,' he said, rather definably.
I seemed to freeze. 'I beg your pardon, I'm confused. Does that mean you like it?'
He was trying to be kind; I could tell by his pained expressions. I continued, 'you can tell me if you did not like it.'
'Well, it is a little fond. I found the voice of the narrator to be rather weak and uninspired.'
It was hard to digest the criticism on a novel I had written for three years. I was unsure of how to reply at all – my mouth forgot how to function.
He continued, 'the words were dry. I could not make it past the first four chapters, I'm afraid. There were times when I felt as though I was reading a parched monologue of a woman who had nothing better to do than write.'
I swallowed back rising distress. The time, the effort, wasted. The sincerest belief I had in myself and my writing was shattered upon the words that rolled off his tongue, a tongue that poisoned any confidence I had left.
He noticed my silence after I swooned out of the conversation.
'Have you been through much in your life?'
I now had to speak to answer his personal question. 'Not an awful lot,' I lied. He seemed to agree.
'Yes, I can tell.'
One dagger to the chest after another.
'Do you seriously want to become a writer?' He queried.
'Why, yes, yes I do!' I replied, this time with utmost honesty. 'Surely I could re-write, edit my work to improve...'
YOU ARE READING
Fen of Stagnant Waters: A Ghost StoryParanormal
In 1840, Rowena Holloway lost her husband and baby in one fateful night. Five years later, she travels to the North of England to uncover the ghostly mysteries of Grasmere and its connection to her.