Cathy froze as the post dropped to the floor. A letter. Without a stamp, but instead a governmental seal. An official letter. Her hands trembled as she carefully put her teacup down onto the saucer and picked up the letter, feeling the thick brown paper envelope under her fingertips.

Jim had been in the reserves when the war had broken out. He had never expected to be called in to fight. Nevertheless he had gone without hesitation, proud to be serving and defending the country. She was left all alone. Waiting. Dreading the day that a letter like this one would fall through the door.

No news was always good news.

She ran her fingers across the flap of the envelope, picking at it gently with her nail. Then she stood the letter up between the salt and pepper shakers on the table and went into the kitchen. She wasn’t prepared to read what was inside without a fresh cup of tea.

She heated the kettle, her eyes staring straight at it, unblinking. Pouring the boiling water over the tea bag she focused on the task at hand, trying to do the impossible, trying to put the letter out of her brain. She watched the clock tick as the tea stewed. To keep herself occupied she counted every second. Tick. Forty. Tick. Forty-one. Tick. Forty-two. She wondered how many other left-behind women had one of these envelopes fall through their letterbox today. She wouldn’t be the only one.

She gently poured in the milk, then stirred in the two sugars. Just how Jim liked it. The steam rose slowly from the cup as she sat back at the table, the letter in front of her once more. Taking Jim’s favourite letter opener from a desk drawer, she carefully picked up the envelope and sliced it open. Pausing for a breath, she pulled the letter out and read.

Fragments jumped out. “Success on the front”, “need for fresh troops”, “period of leave”.

Jim was coming home. Not in a box, but whole and healthy. 

Jim was coming back to her.

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8 months ago

This gripping story is a model of how to build tension through concentration on crucial details. Loved the wonderful ending! (Relief!) The author is a new member we hope to read more from.  

Reply to  Voice-Team
8 months ago

After reading this comment, I re-read your story. Voice-Team is right – those little details put the reader in the kitchen, right there with Cathy. I especially liked when she propped it up between the salt and pepper shakers – so visual! And of course when she made tea. Great… Read more »

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
Reply to  Joseph Daunt
8 months ago

Congratulations on your win, Joseph! The little details really make this story, wonderful work!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
10 months ago

Hi Joseph and welcome to Good news indeed. Your story was sensitively written. Good job.

Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz
Henry Vinicio Valerio Madriz(@henry-vinicio-valerio-madriz)
10 months ago

Thanks for the hope you build up in the reader’s heart… after tons of curiosity haha. Great job!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Welcome to the voice club, Joseph. That’s pretty good news. Your story is full of hope. Excellent.

Allan Neil
Allan Neil(@allan-neil)
10 months ago

A real good news story, especially in these dreadful days when parents in war-torn countries are living in dread of ‘The Letter’. Well written Joseph, with suspense right up to the end.

Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
9 months ago

Thank you Joseph for writing a happy ending.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
9 months ago

Through the actions of your protagonist we understand so well the angst she feels at the thought of what might be contained in the letter. The term ‘left-behind women’ really resonated with me. A really good read Joseph and a lovely uplifting, happy ending.

Kayja Daniels
Kayja Daniels(@kayja-daniels)
9 months ago

I like how heartfelt the story is. It certainly delivers on the “good news” theme. What can be better than the love of your life coming home despite the odds? Good job.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
9 months ago

I like all the little details in your story, Joseph. Together, they make your story visually clear so that we can empathize with Cathy and sigh with relief with her once the letter is opened and read. Good job!

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
8 months ago

Congratulations, Joseph. I really enjoyed your story and I too hope to read many more from you.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
8 months ago

Congratulations Joseph, this was a super story 🙂

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
8 months ago

Congratulations, Joseph.

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