Darling Daughters

Chapter Eleven

 

Early Monday morning the alarm destroyed the silence. It took a while before Elizabeth and Summer were sat together eating breakfast. Summer’s exhaustion was obvious, the late night and heavy workload were taking their toll. “Sum, when we get in tonight I need to have a bit of a chat with you.”

“What about?”

“Just a few things, I just want to talk to you about something.”

“I don’t need ‘the talk’ talk.”

“We can talk this evening.”

“What is it about Ellie?”

“Look I just want to talk to you about something.”

“About Zach?”

“He might reach the highlights. But really, we need to talk about something ok?”

“Fine.” Summer slumped off to finish getting ready.

***

The air was cool and crisp; autumn was turning quickly into winter. The chill in the air sent shivers down the girls as they hopped in the car, it had been a while since they had acquired it but somehow the car had developed a layer of fun little car accessories inside, an indoor clutter. It was just a knickknack storage hiding place.

Elizabeth dropped Summer off to school before she said goodbye she reminded her to be on time tonight for their chat. Summer rolled her eyes and disappeared. Even now Elizabeth knew she sort of missed Summer.

***

Summer got home and reluctantly finished off her homework. Her motivation wavering, she closed the last book and toyed with the keys in the bowl on the dresser table waiting for Elizabeth. Summer examined the keys one by one, finding a key with a rather jagged “S” scratched into it. The familiarity niggled at her thoughts.

Summer bent down in front of the dresser, the lower shelf had the same “S” scratched into the surface near the lock. Tentatively she pushed the key into the lock and turned, there was a faint click. Gently she pulled the draw but it didn’t budge. Standing she adjusted her position and pulled on the draw harder.

The draw opened, within it looked as though it hadn’t been opened in a long while, there were leaver arch folders full of papers and note books. Old photo albums that smelled like old paper tucked in stacks with letters; some formal, some with the familiar scrawl of Archie Darling. Carefully Summer extracted the contents of the draw and took the files trying to keep them in order into her bedroom.

Summer took the file at the top, with a large “One” scrawled over it. Taking the file to her desk she opened it to find files of papers. Each one with her name somewhere on them, throughout. She returned to the dresser and locked the draw before bringing the key into her room and placed it in the small jewellery box in her bedside table.

The air cooled as she read. Summer had managed to get a few paragraphs in when she heard Elizabeth returning. Marking her page, she put the files and notebooks into a storage box and tucked it under her desk.

Summer strolled into the kitchen assuming the coast was clear. She turned on the oven to preheat while she began to prepare the potatoes. The air was quiet, before a shockwave hit her and made her heart race, a loud bang, a very loud bang that echoed through the house. Elizabeth came rushing downstairs.

Both the fridge and the cooker had committed suicide, their insides engulfing in flames. A heartbeat saw Summer rip the plugs from the sockets near the fridge and countertops that she could reach.

Elizabeth was on the phone to the emergency services while Summer pulled oils and flammable liquids from the cupboards surrounding. Their hearts were racing. Summer pulled out the heat proof oven cloths from the draws and ran them under the tap. Taking a risk with Elizabeth’s back turned and the fire service not here yet Summer wrenched the oven door open and slung a couple of the heat proof cloths soaked in water over the oven door and slammed it shut.

Elizabeth turned at the noise and pulled Summer back from the oven. Summer wrenched herself free as the fire crew came through the door and took over.

The fire crew looked at Summer’s use of the heat proof cloths. “Where did you come up with the idea for the cloths?”

“My mum managed to set our grill on fire by accident a few years ago, I put it out in the same way, strangled the fire.”

“That’s actually quite clever, especially at your age.”

“Thanks, I’m used to putting out one kind of fire or another.” Summer smiled, she caught Elizabeth looking at her with an expression she couldn’t read.

“I’m surprised; didn’t the heat scare you?”

“Honestly in that moment, I didn’t feel it, fire doesn’t scare me. It should I know, but some people see the ferocity and destruction, I see soothing and the creation of something amazing in its wake.”

 

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