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Vicki Childs author

VICKI CHILDS

Rachel's Butterflies - Chapter 1 

 

 
Rachel
Monday, January 28th - London

Rachel looked up at the moon, her green eyes, usually so heavy with sorrow, were now composed. 


She turned, her shimmering backless gown rippling around her. Her long dark hair swept back into an elegant high bun, along its crest, tiny diamond studs glimmered in the light, like the first stars in a night sky. The hairstyle accentuated her long neck and delicate features, her only other adornment was a fragile diamond bracelet which matched the diamonds in her hair. 


An icy breeze blew through the open balcony doors, running its fingers over the papers on her desk. She no longer felt the cold, she felt nothing but a sense of calm. Soon the car would be here to collect her. 
Tonight was the industry’s most prestigious event, and she was to be honored for her work. Her journey as a photographer would be distilled and narrated, her most iconic photographs projected onto a huge screen for all to see. Her life’s work, her legacy. 


When her name was read out she would stand, smiling at the others around the table, and make her way to the stage as the room erupted with applause. She would take the award and turn to the sea of adoring eyes. She would thank her family, her mentors, and the industry for all their support. Later there would be press interviews, maybe even television appearances. This moment would elevate her to true stardom, securing her a place in history amongst the giants of the field. 

She was ready. 

Turning, she walked across the hardwood floor to the staircase which lead up to mezzanine level above the living room. She gathered the folds of her dress in one hand and placed the other on the railing. As she ascended the stairs, she stroked her fingertips along the ornate wood. With each step the years slipped away, like heavy winter coats shed in the first warmth of Spring. The weight she had been carrying for so long lifted from her, leaving her light and fragmentary, ready to soar to the stars above. 


At the top of the staircase she paused, looking down on her living room, her quiet sanctuary for so many years. The bookshelves, crammed with well-worn books, doorways to the worlds she had loved. Several comfy chairs facing the large fireplace, mismatched and threadbare, but welcoming. She had spent many a night in their warm embrace, her feet tucked up beneath her, reading and sipping a mug of hot chocolate. 

She would miss this room.

The rope, secured to the railing, felt rough as she picked it up. The coarse, twisted fibers accosting her freezing fingers. 
As she slipped it over her neck, it became a necklace of sparkling diamonds, the reflection of a thousand chandeliers. She was transformed, as if in a fairytale, with no midnight hour to break the spell. No more forced smiles. No more pretense. No more eyes watching her, expecting her to be something that she could no longer be. Now she would dance and spin and be free forever. 


She inhaled, filling her lungs with the cold crisp air as she climbed over the railings to the other side. 


Looking down to the room below, she thought of her parents, and a deep sadness enveloped her. There were no more tears to shed though, and she stepped forward. 

One sharp snap, and then nothingness. 

The next morning there were concerned knocks, and then urgent bangs. The front door was unlocked, and the stillness of the living room was shattered by a scream. The screaming faded and was replaced by men and women in white suits. 

Then the car arrived to take Rachel away. 

 

*****


What a waste of a precious life. I wish with all my heart I could start this story differently. I wish I’d stopped her from doing it. But the loss of Rachel was the catalyst for everything that was to come, so I have to begin here.

She couldn’t have known, in those final moments, the impact she would have on our lives. That when our worlds collapsed around us, she would be the thread that would hold us together. 


Her talent and insight gave us the courage we needed to get through what was to come, and to come out stronger on the other side. I only hope that by telling this story, we can do justice to her.
 

 

Want more? Buy your very own copy of 'Rachel's Butterflies' here! Available in paperback, Kindle or on Audible, read by the author herself. 

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