Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Ripe Tomatoes By Daisy White

There was a smear of blood on the tomato, spoiling the ripe, juicy perfection of the pile, which lay in a white dish on the sunlit windowsill.

How annoying, but whoever knew that blood could gush and spurt so far, ruining her pristine floor tiles, dripping from the sparkling chrome cupboard doors.

She licked her finger thoughtfully, and leant across the sink to remove the offending stain, inhaling a lungful of bleach as she did so. Cleaning had been easy – she was used to it, and had got stuck in straight after it happened. She’d given herself twenty minutes to finish, and the tick-tock of the yellow alarm clock had driven her on.

“Clean, clean that’s all you’re good for you lazy cow...”

She titled her head to one side, almost hearing, but not quite. Outside a mower hummed in the distance, and children screamed with hysterical laughter, but her house was silent. Her shoulders sagged, jaw relaxing. She even managed to pop the radio on.

“Turn that useless crap off ‘Trina. I want to listen to the football!”

The ringing phone brought her sharply back into the room, heart beating too fast, fists sweaty and clenched. Deep breaths, and a quick smile into the mirrored perfection of the white fridge. Fine, it was fine. She turned back into the room, revelling in the pristine shiny cream floor tiles, the polished black bin.

“Answer the bloody phone you lazy cow. I hate it just ringin’ and ringin’.”

For a long moment after she stared at the dish of tomatoes, before reaching carefully for the phone. Her sweaty hand moulded to the receiver, and she smiled determinedly at the wall.

“Mrs Amos? It’s Camden Hospital. I know how worried you are, so I thought I’d let you know straight away. Your husband is out of danger – still unconscious of course, but we managed to stop the internal bleeding. I expect we’ll see you later? Do remember visiting hours are finishing at 8pm tonight because we have a staff meeting. Bye!”

Katrina Amos placed the phone carefully back on the table, and wiped her hands on her skirt. The radio was playing a lovely piano concerto – beautiful, happy music. The notes danced through the silent house.

She popped upstairs, changed into a bright red dress, picked up a small ready-packed case and her passport, and ran quickly down the stairs.

“What are you wearing that for? You look like a bleedin’ tomato...”

Leaving the keys on the hall table, lined up neatly next to the phone, she walked quickly out of the front door, turning to close it carefully behind her.

There were small children playing in the street, the sun spun a web of gold across the neat front garden, and far above, a distant aeroplane was a tiny speck of black.

Her hands were dry now, and her smile didn’t falter, and she marched smartly down the paved path.

There was a bus stop just outside her house.

 


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