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The Delivery - the fifth part of our serial

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

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"

We are each writing a piece, but we have no idea where it will end up, and can't wait to see where that will be.

Part Five

By Flavie Salaun

Just a Normal Letter

It took a while. Exactly one hour and forty-three minutes. One hour and forty-three minutes on a wooden chair listening to Mr R explanations. I didn’t want to sound ungrateful, but my ass was numb. I am now aware of the functionality of his cameras, the daily recording and how to check the videos at fast speed. I thought I caught one shot of the front of my house. It was gone before I could firmly identify it. He finally drank his tea from that mucky cup that turned my stomach. I was glad I refused one earlier with the pathetic excuse of being in a rush. I wanted to go back home and process what I’d learned. It took another thirty minutes to ask him to angle one camera better towards the place where the mysterious Audi usually parks.

Since then, I have hardly slept with all these thoughts turning and turning in my mind. My stomach complained again when I opened my empty fridge. If I wasn’t careful this situation was going to kill me! So, last night, as I was forcing my eyes to shut, I made a plan.

First, I emailed Martha to say that my aunt was unwell, and that the manuscript was going to be delayed for few weeks. Not sure she will swallow my lie, but what could she say? I Googled a place to rent a car, waited for the sun to be high in the sky and the rush hour to be gone. Then I headed to the high street with my shopping bag. I didn’t look towards Mr R’s window, I had to act as normal as possible. In Costa at the end of the high street, I bought a coffee and a croissant. My brain was fuzzy with sleep deprivation; I needed to top up my energy for the day. The food made me sleepy so when my eyes dropped a little too much, I left to buy biscuits and a small bottle of water at the corner shop.

“I’ve come to collect my car,” I blurted out as soon as I opened the door of the car rental. The tall man eyed me from his chair and put his mug back on the desk. He readjusted his face and smiled, “Good morning. Please come and take a seat.”

It took nearly half an hour to go through it all, but I finally drove away in a small Toyota.

This is where I am now, back at my house. Well, not exactly, I drove past slowly, close enough to my front door. I know this is when the delivery man will pass, and the mysterious Audi will follow. The only thing I don’t know is what the delivery man will do when I’m not there to receive the flowers. My heart is pounding and cold sweat chills my body. I shiver. Come on girl, a little courage. I need to understand this stupid situation. If not for curiosity, for the sake of my mental state. And, I can always quit the chase if it becomes dangerous.

It’s 12.59p.m. the delivery man should be parking on my street. I.00p.m. Still no sign of him. I grip the steering wheel a little more. He’s not coming. Just my luck. He’s always been on time. I might as well give up. It’s 1.02p.m. when he finally drives past, not a glance my way. I had taken great care to disguise myself with dark coloured accessories: a hat to camouflage my blond hair, sunglasses, and gloves. This is what they do in films. I also made sure I didn’t drink my water. Don’t want to need a pee in the middle of a car chase! The delivery man was waiting for me to answer the door. His shoulders relax when there is no reply. He hesitates to ring again then leaves the flowers by the steps before heading back to his van. What the blooming fuck? I could be lying on the floor in the hall dying, and he was rushing back to his van to avoid another awkward conversation. I will deal with him tomorrow. At least, Mr R will be concerned at not seeing me.

It is now 1.05p.m. and the mysterious red Audi is parked at its usual place. Where did it come from? I need to refocus on my mission. I glare at it from under the steering wheel. The driver is alone. I can only see a shadow of a thin adult. After another five minutes, the Audi is on the move. I turn the ignition on and follow.

We drive across the town, heading South. I hang back as much as I can in the heavy traffic. I can’t think of anyone I know who lives south of the town. It’s been half an hour of traffic lights and turns. The roads are less busy now. What do I do? The car rental is dark blue. Not a bright colour, I was precise on that, but there is only so much you can do to avoid being spotted. I am behind the Audi at another traffic light. It goes green, but the car does not start promptly. A minute passes. The driver behind me finally blows his horn. That works. We’re driving again. I lock the door and slow down to put some distance between us. Quite difficult at 20 miles per hour, when you don’t know the area.

After few more turns, the Audi sinks inside a private car park under a posh residence. I turn around the block and park by the entrance noting the address and the Audi’s number plate on my phone. Mr R will know what to do with it. I eat a biscuit and take a gulp of water. This is a nice area. All the red brick buildings are clean as new, and there are no potholes in the roads. A man is walking a chocolate Labrador. People say dogs looks like their owners, this one walks like his owner: nose up, long strides, focussing on his own world. If dogs could smoke, this one would do it, with a pipe. I get out of my car and walk towards the concierge hoping for a glance at the names on the number plates. Sounds unlikely, but I need to find a way to have more information. As I cross the street, a tall woman in a summer coat and high sandals comes out of the main door. Her long, blond hair is styled with such bounce you would think she’d come directly from the hairdresser. She passes the door, sees me, stops. She lifts her enormous sunglasses and stares at me. It takes me by surprise. I stop too.

“May I help you?” she asks.

“Um, uh.” Goodness me. I check behind me to make sure she is talking to me.

“I am looking for the nearest post box,” I blurt out.

“Is that to pick up a package or a return?” she talks slowly and doesn’t conceal her smirk. The silence drags.

“No, no. Just a letter, a normal letter, first class.”

She points with her right hand, “Next left.” It must take some effort to lift so many golden rings and bracelets.

“Thank you.” I nod. She flicks her long strands back and I notice a birthmark on her neck. A croissant and a little dot that could easily be translated as the moon and sun. I frown at her. I know this birthmark very well. Her eyes are on me again. We keep looking at each other as if we have paused the entire scene. Her smile stretches, as much as a Cheshire cat. Finally, she breaks the silence.

“Anything else?”

“Uh. No, I don’t think so.” I stand mouth open. Of course, there is something else. I have about a trillion questions. Like, do you know me? Do you know someone else with the same birthmark? Do you own a red Audi 3? Are you the one sending me flowers every day?

“In that case, I’ll leave you to post your letter.” She eyes my empty hands and puts her sunglasses on.

As I watch her walk, I try desperately to think about something, anything that could reopen the conversation. However, it is futile. She has sucked any logical thoughts I had and spat them at my feet.

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