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The Delivery - the first part of our collaborative story

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

We are taking turns writing a story. The prompt we took was:

"Flowers came to my house every other Monday exactly at 1 o’clock"

Karen Ali took the first challenge, read on to see what she did with it.

We are each writing a piece of the story with no idea where it will end up, but you can find out by reading subsequent posts.

The Delivery

Part One - by Karen Ali

Flowers came to my house every other Monday exactly at 1’o'clock. I had only moved in two weeks before and so I thought it was a slightly late, but well-intentioned welcoming present from a friend. Two weeks later, when the same bunch of white calla lilies arrived, I looked a little more closely at the packaging. Housed in a long slim cardboard box and adorned by a silver ribbon, the beautiful presentation gave little away about its origins, ‘thinking of you’ was the only wording that I could make out amongst the twirls and hoops of the ornate decoration on the casing. Still, the flowers were beautiful, standing like elegant ladies sheathed in green gowns in the vase on the dining table.

By the time the fourth delivery arrived, I had felt uncomfortable. Surely whoever was sending these flowers would expect some sort of response or at least an acknowledgement, but despite my forensic searching, I could find nothing that could give me a clue as to the sender or even the flower shop where they must have originated. My sense of unease led me to see if there was a symbolic meaning to these beautiful lilies and it did not put my mind at rest when I read, “Callas is said to mean purity, faithfulness, and holiness. It is for this reason Callas are often used as funeral flowers.” Was someone trying to send me a message? If they were, it was chilling.

Who would want to do me harm, and why? It’s true that I had moved into this house after my divorce had become final and although it had taken a long time and been emotionally exhausting, I don’t think that my ex-partner and I had that level of bad feeling. No, it had to be a mistake. Someone was sending these flowers to this house thinking that someone else lived here. Who had lived here? The whole house buying transaction had been handled by my agent’s assistant and so, apart from looking at the details of the house online and a quick drive by to make sure the area was OK, I had never encountered the previous owners. I must have come across their names when I signed the contract, but I had done even that in a hurry, as I was going to be late for a book signing.

“Hey, wait”, my voice sounded feeble even to me as I shouted after the figure retreating down the garden towards the gate. Dammit, I had meant to find out who was sending these flowers by accosting the delivery man, but I’d been delayed on the telephone. “I’m sorry Martha, it’s these damn flowers. I can’t concentrate. It’s not helping.”

“And before that, what was it? The divorce?” Martha’s tone was becoming increasingly impatient. I’ve known Martha, my agent, for years. She’d been the one who’d had faith in me to take on my first book. We were more than just colleagues; over the years, I like to think that we had become good friends, but now that friendship was being tested I hadn’t been able to write a word for over six months and I had a deadline looming.

“This is now the sixth delivery, and it’s getting very creepy; I still have no idea who’s sending them or why?”

“Hmm,” I could hear that Martha was giving this her full attention. “Kristen, I have an idea which may help and at least might take away some of your anxiety. What would Bertie do?”

“What do you mean, what would Bertie do?”

“Don’t be dense Krissy, Bertie your sleuth, treat this like you would one of your novels. Use Bertie’s brain to find out what’s going on.”

Drriing, thump. I ran down the stairs and pulled open the front door, but again I was too late, just in time to see the back of a bulky man in a donkey jacket and black beeny climbing into a white van. I looked down to see the familiar sight of the calla lilies in all their packaged glory sitting on my front step. This was the seventh delivery over a period of three months. Whoever was sending these was certainly persistent. As I bent down to collect the flowers, an icy chill ran down my spine–there was a black bow tied around the package.

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