Posted on November 9th, 2017 by Dayna Anderson
The past two weeks had been so distressful that Gladys felt she was living in a nightmare. The jogging of the carriage seemed to relax her a little, and she did her best to enjoy the trip, but memories of recent events kept creeping into her thoughts.
The last happy thing she could recall was sitting on the divan wrapping a favourite ornament that she and Tom had received as a wedding gift to take to Oaken Arms, the estate her father-in-law had built for the three of them to live in. The ornament was two beautiful china doves sitting on a branch, and she was trying to imagine what it would look like on the mantle in the sitting room of her suite in the lovely new mansion. Then she heard someone knock at her door.
She wished she could block the next scene from her memory, but she remembered opening the door and seeing Peter Pickwick standing there. She could still picture his sickly white, puffy cheeks as he took her hand in his and turned it over. When he saw the scar on her palm, he stared at her with an evil and smug look and said, “Aha! Gladys Tunner, I believe.”
As soon as she heard her old name, she knew that her past had been discovered at last, but she had no idea how devastating that information would be for her and her daughter’s future. The carriage stopped, interrupting her thoughts, and the driver opened the door.
“We’re ‘ere at Forbes junction, Mrs Pickwick, mum. Would yer likes ter use the facilities? They makes a good cuppa tea ‘ere too, mum.”
Dolly woke when she heard the driver and sleepily asked, “Are we there, Mama?”
“No, dear, but we can get out for a stretch and have a cup of tea and maybe a biscuit, if you like.”
They only stopped long enough to partake of some refreshments and to use the outdoor facilities before returning to the carriage. Dolly went back to sleep a few minutes after resuming their journey.
Gladys’s thoughts returned to that fateful day once more. She hadn’t heard the name Tunner since she had left the slum neighbourhood of London known as Old Nichol some eleven years ago, and now it sounded foreign to her.
She had taken the name Tweedhope the day she ran away because it was the name of a dear lady in Old Nichol who had taught her how to read and write. Now, as the carriage rocked back and forth, she recalled how lost and frightened she had been back then, travelling incognito in a coach, to an unknown place called Dover with three strangers. There was something about the ride this day that was causing her to have the same feeling of trepidation.
Amberjack Publishing, founded in 2014, is an independent small press of fiction books with offices in New York and Idaho. Amberjack’s books are distributed by Midpoint Trade Books, one of the largest distributors in the industry.