When the prompt arrived for this week’s 99-word story, I immediately thought of my character Matty. Not only because I’ve been reading and rereading and scrutinising a part of her history I want to publish next month, but because swimmingly is exactly the kind of word she’d use (although I don’t think she ever has).
On second thoughts, while you’re here, why not have the title and blurb:
All she has left is her sanity. Will the asylum take that from her too?
In 1939, Matilda is admitted to Ghyllside hospital, cut off from family and friends. Not quite twenty, and forced to give up her baby for adoption, she feels battered by the cruel regime. Yet she finds a surprising ally in rough-edged Doris, who risks harsh punishments to help her reach out to the brother she left behind.
Twenty-five years later, the rules have relaxed, and the women are free to leave. How will they cope in a world transformed in their absence? Do greater dangers await them outside?
The poignant prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is a tragic yet tender story of a woman robbed of her future who summons the strength to survive.
It was all going swimmingly until Doris went for her Woodbines. True, the coffee was bitter but their sense of themselves as they drank it was sweet. Matty blames herself. She should’ve known that the chap who flourished his lighter wasn’t a gentleman from his lanky hair.
But oh, how delicious it felt to skip away from the asylum unaccompanied except for her friend. To ride on the bus among regular people, to browse the menu in the burger bar. To be treated as customers, ladies who lunch. Whatever the consequences, no-one could take the taste of freedom away.