Thanks go to Tess Kincaid who organises and hosts this meme J Each week she posts a pictorial prompt to stimulate verse or prose. To read more Magpies please click here.
Image copyright Tess Kincaid
Clare loved shells and had collected them all her life. They were displayed informally in baskets and bowls throughout her house and garden and were beautiful reminders of happy days at the seaside and fabulous holidays in exotic locations.
Her favourite shells had pride of place in her bedroom, delicate pastel greens and pinks echoing the colours of her soft furnishings. Her room was comfortable, relaxing, tastefully decorated. Gerry was abroad so often on business that she felt the room belonged more to her than to them. When he was at home he worked excessively long hours and frequently stayed in the guest bedroom or even at his club so that she shouldn’t be disturbed. He was very considerate.
It was only recently that Clare had begun to realise just how thoughtful he was or at least, how much thought he put into his actions. He had left a cryptic message on her phone - ‘A word in your shell-like.’ What was that supposed to mean? She called to ask him what he wanted to tell her. Gerry replied that he didn’t have anything to say to her but that maybe she should consult her shells. They would tell her plenty.
Clare had dabbled in Tarot and astrology but had never considered reading shells. Maybe Gerry was teasing her. She wandered about the house, trickling shells through her fingers, but could find nothing untoward. In her bedroom she studied her special collection. She touched each one lightly, then noticed a stranger, one that didn’t belong. She picked it out and turned it over in her hands. It was just a small conch, a very pretty one, to be sure, but nothing remarkable. Now, as she examined it more closely, she saw the minute spy camera tucked inside and her stomach turned over at the memory of what it would have recorded.
Gerry filed for divorce of course, and naturally Clare did not contest it. Shells featured prominently in her consciousness – she was shell-shocked, she had been shellacked, she had retreated into her shell but ‘A word in your shell-like’ had never seemed so bitterly apt as she drove away from the court.