Giselle Marks

Regency Romance and Fantasy Author

The Stranger

on July 2, 2014

A  five hundred word maximum story for Ailsa Abraham’s competition with the first sentence compulsory.

The stranger standing at her gate asked how much her house was worth.mansion-2

“Dunno, Ma’am,” Abigail declared, thinking what a nosy old woman.

“I’m to draw some interior designs for the owner.”

The van parked outside was inscribed “Abigail’s Interior Designs,” but the house had been left to her by her great-aunt Phoebe.  Abigail knew the valuation of “the Rookery” she planned to update the décor and sell it.

The woman clung to the gate-post, looking ashen grey. Abigail feared she would collapse as she gripped her chest, grimacing with pain.

“Are you all right Ma’am?” she asked.

The woman, dressed all in black, could have been any age between sixty and a hundred. Nature had been unkind and aging had not improved the job. A hooked nose and several large moles festooned with grey hairs were her main features in a mass of raddled wrinkles. But as Abigail, looked closer she saw a pair of beautiful piercing and very knowing blue eyes.

One minute the old woman was standing, then she crumpled into a heap of black draperies. Abigail moved fast, half lifting, half frog- marched her up the path to the front sitting room where she heaved her onto the sofa. The woman revived as Abigail lifted the phone, to call an ambulance.

“No doctors please, I’ll be fine shortly. If I could just have a cup of tea?” she croaked weakly.

Abigail replaced the phone and bustled to put the kettle on. Then floated back, worried about the woman collapsing again. She was sitting up and rummaging in a huge battered handbag.

“You are Phoebe’s great-niece Abigail, aren’t you?” she said more normally, the colour returning to her face.

“Yes,” Abigail said awkwardly having been caught out.

“Have you read her letter yet?”

“No, the lawyers didn’t give me any letters!”

“It’s in the top drawer of that bureau.”

Abigail looked finding a sealed letter addressed to her. She tore it open.

Dearest Abigail,

I’ve asked Jocasta to tell you about this letter.

I ask you stay one night and welcome the next person to call.

All my Love


Abigail stared at the letter in her great-aunt’s embellished writing. The kettle whistled and she looked at the old woman, she was standing. She held her hand up muttering “Blessings be on this house,” then left faster than Abigail imagined was possible.

Abigail had loved her great-aunt and so made a bed on the sofa and tired fell asleep.

The doorbell rang waking her and she went to the door.

Outside stood the most handsome man she had ever seen.

“My brakes failed, and I can’t get a signal. Can I please call…”

He stopped and stared at her as if struck down. She stared back.

“I’m Joshua, Jocasta must’ve put a hex on my van. She’s my Nan, I think Phoebe and her have set us up. Nan’s a witch, so was Phoebe…”







8 responses to “The Stranger

  1. Nice! Well done. I’d love to read more.

  2. Barbie says:


  3. jdt1505 says:

    This sounds so exciting. I’m anxious to read more.

  4. anarchy0029 says:

    Looking forward to read more of it. Very nice!

  5. Judy Reveal says:

    Giselle I enjoyed reading this and think you took the first sentence and expanded it into a well rounded story. I like the ending and don’t think it needs to go any further. I did see a few typos – let me know if you want to know about them before you submit.

  6. Jon McGee says:

    You have us entranced. What next? We know it will be a good one. The children of magik have an adventure for sure.

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