A flash of Friday fiction
She tucked herself deeper into her hoodie, shrinking and folding herself into the unforgiving bucket seat. She shivered, huddling down against the queasy morning chill and drew her chin into her chest. Each second that passed seemed like an age.
When she had left the house that morning dark had lain over the fields like a rich, velvet blanket. As she had neared the ferry terminal black had softened to navy blue as the light crept in to pull back the sheets of night. The first ferry off the island was the 6am. She had prayed it would be running to time. The sea was brooding, still as glass.
“Going somewhere, Mhairi?” The voice snatched her back to the present, a gasp catching in her throat as she looked up. It was Harry, a mate of her dad’s.
“I have an interview.” She noticed his eyes sweep over her. “Waitressing. I’m going to change when I get to Oban,” she indicated her backpack. “I thought I might get a bed in a hostel through the week if I get the job. I – I want to show Dad I can help,” she faltered, cursing herself for rattling on.
“Aye, right enough.” Harry fixed her with his gaze for a second. Mhairi could almost hear her heart exploding in her ears. “Best of luck then, lass,” he shrugged. “Likely see you on the way back.” He shambled off in the direction of the restaurant and she let her breath escape in a tremble.
The five-hour journey to Oban seemed unending. He would be awake by now. He would have noticed the bed unslept in, the range unlit, the breakfast unmade, the tea caddy empty.
As they finally reached harbour the sun was bright in the crisp, winter sky. Mhairi attached herself to a group of French foot passengers and slid past Harry’s car, melting into the morning before he could offer her a lift.
There was no interview. But the train from Oban to Glasgow would see her safely away before Himself could do anything about it.
© Caroline Mackay