Monday, 13 June 2011

Magpie Tales #69 Shell Shock

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

Shell Shock

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. 

30 comments:

  1. Very clever use of the prompt, I loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ouch... wonderfully spiny as are some shells. Fabulous tale.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ooo...clever word-play going on there. Loved it!

    Ellie Garratt

    ReplyDelete
  4. moving, shell-shocked and shell-lacked are brilliant words to showcase emotions,

    well done magpie.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I didn't expect the end wonderful story-telling!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice write. I love the notion of reading shells.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well that just goes to show you - never take for granted what you have or what you are given.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a rat!
    What did he expect would happen if he left his wife alone all the time.

    I am wholly on her side.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good story. I didn't expect the ending. I have a lot of shells, but none with cameras in. They'd just see me and the cat anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  10. oh my... this is one shell of a story! great job :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooh, very nicely done, Janice.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful shell put to a sinister purpose. A surprise too since I suspected the husband--- Very clever take on the prompt.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Uh-oh. How ironic for her to be exposed by a shell. Nicely done!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very cryptic. I was left at the end wondering was she better off? - Lots of room for the imagination to fill in the blanks.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Whoa. That was unexpected. I thought he would be the one fooling around on her at first. Very good.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A world lives in this tiny piece - wonderfully well written tale.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my ! fortunately I don't collect shells and my room is also rather boring besides my cat collection,but to be sure I'll check immediately if there is a hidden camera in one of the cats !
    I say it again, you have a blooming phantasy ! lol !

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well done, I did not see that ending coming.

    ReplyDelete
  19. ...it's interesting how everything goes and becomes with those shells... amazing write my friend... thanks for the reads.(:

    ~Kelvin

    ReplyDelete
  20. A good story line, using the prompt in an unusual way.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Artful twist! Just like that shell!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you, one and all, for your comments:-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great! I didn't see that one coming, and I enjoy how you play with words. So creative!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thoroughly amazing how you worked so many 'shells' into this tale!

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate that some people like to give awards but for me your comments are reward enough.

Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.