The carriage pulled up at exactly nine am. The polished black buggy with its springs like dull silver swayed lightly as the horseman pulled back on the twin tan and white horses that looked more like they belonged at the Sandown races than at work.
The owner of the carriage descended from the unmarked door, down the steps that one could pass right by without noticing, his young moustached face vanished behind the carriage door. No signal was needed as the driver in the tuxedo sprung the strong horses to action, following just behind a Government street trolley car.
On board a man with a newspaper tried not to notice. He looked at his pocketwatch and made a note, tucking the pad and pen back into the tweed coat he originally bought in the Vauxhall high street. It had served him for over twenty years that summer.
Now he had the new boy to consider. One man had stumbled upon far too much and he would have undoubtedly left traces and questions behind for Mr. Baels, the junior clerk from Ottawa not to notice. The passenger knew he could not be get off the street car until he reached the new Legislature.
The car clicked onto the new road beside the grand hotel with the warmth of the harbor sun pouring through the windows. The shadow-like carriage driving behind turned towards the Empress Hotel, driving up the immaculate lawns to the stone steps of the front door. Outside a sturdy woman in white with bags waited by the door, two giants of men flanking her sides.
“Miss Penny has arrived,” he whispered to himself with his eyes just over the unkempt edge of the Colonist “God help us.”
Quiet City is one of the projects I’ve been working on set in Victoria, British Columbia in both modern times and in 1910.
Created by TomPogson.com
I remember nothing.
It is early morning and I am wrapped in the cradle of the lapping waves and the woodland surrounding the beach. Tracks lead from clearing in the bush, pushed back by what I can only assume is my own frame. I don’t remember pushing through them. I don’t remember the night before or who I was I was when I came here so determined.
The smell of the water is the first sense I have as my eyes open to face the side of a fallen tree, my fists clenching firmly packed sand. I slept next to the side of a single piece of driftwood, it’s shape slashing diagonally across from last tufts of grass near the rise of the woodland to the constant motion of the waterline. The waterline is moving slowly and uncertainly as it pulls out, its rhythm too gentle to be the open ocean. I seem to have such basic understandings of things. But I have no idea where they came from, what this place is or how I came to be in the clothes I wear. I remember nothing.
The clothes I see on me are ragged, tattered in all likelihood from whatever brought me to this strange sheltering place. Black dress pants. Long sleeve shirt. An old beige coat with rippled stretchable fabric at the wrists and waist. The coat is torn in a single slit on the left elbow.
Standing up and discovering the soreness in my legs and that left elbow I walk to the waterline. My sand filled black dress shoes reach the hissing sunbaked edge of the tide.
I knee down, peering into the shifting light of cold water. I manage a reflection between the shimmer of the sunlight and twists of hair-like kelp.
I learn little. I notice a hint of blue and look down to see a blue metal nametag that says “Charlie”. I’m in my mid thirties somewhere. My hair is rumpled, unkempt and chestnut. I see nothing else that would set me apart from another man at this age. I’m unshaved and my name is Charlie. Or that is what the tag says.
Looking into my reflection the sound of the helicopter blades grows until the ripples of waves are static across the view.
(Started playing around with this idea as a morning writing exercise. I don’t know if I will keep up the odd present tense but I like the idea of someone who has to start things over from zero like this. Let me know any constructive ideas. Cheers!