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Black Donald by N. M. Gillson - HTML preview

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Preston, England,

6 months ago

The reflected sunlight from the shop windows across Fishergate was dimmed through the tinted

glass of the bank doors. Mary Cameron stood facing the doors, ignoring the slow moving traffic

outside; instead, looking at her reflection. Her deep brown eyes told of the sadness she felt in

her heart, a feeling that was confirmed by the tear that trickled its way down her right cheek.

She combed her fringe of black hair back over her right ear and wiped the tear away with the

back of her hand. Slightly sniffing, Mary hoped no one heard her and would ask if she was

alright. She knew that would make her burst out crying. Mary wanted to scream, but saw the

security guard in the corner of her eye standing just to the left of the doors. Anything out of the

ordinary would encourage him to move and intercept her.

A young lady and her child entered the bank and for a moment the noise from the street

outside filled the entire room, but then died down when the door closed. Looking around, Mary

wondered why the waiting room was so quiet; there are only a few people there. She turned to

face the tellers behind their inch-thick glass shield and wondered what their life was like working

in a bank, with all that money? No doubt they are rolling in it and have no need to ask for any

help. Suddenly she became aware of someone standing behind her and turned too quickly

losing her balance.

The security guard caught her just in time before she crashed into a leaflet stand, “You

alryte, Miss?”

She looked up, his grey moustache hung limply over his lip and his half-moon glasses

looked out of place on the bridge of his nose, “Thank you, I just turned a little too quickly.” She


He smiled and nodded, “Tha"s fyne, Miss.” He took his arms away, “Would you lyke a seat,


For a moment, she was going to say yes, but thought better of it; she had to get out of the

bank. She shook her head, “No, thank you, I"ll be alright.” She straightened her jumper and

handbag and began walking slowly towards the door.

“Excewse me Miss, „ave you drawped this?” He held up her purple document wallet. She

hoped she would be leaving the bank with an agreement to a loan in that wallet but she had

been refused. She felt her throat thicken and tears pricked at her eyes but fought it back and

took the wallet nodding.

“Thank you; I won"t get very far without that, now will I?” She faked a laugh, but was not

sure she had pulled it off since the guard did not even smile. Placing the wallet in her bag, she

turned back towards the door and opened it.

Her shoulders hung low in disappointment as she meandered out onto Fishergate. The

warmth of the sun surprised her a little but that was the last thing on her mind. She tried to

comprehend why the bank had refused her a loan again and what her options were now, I can’t

come this far and be stopped at the last hurdle. She understood the current economic crisis

had put no end of pressure on banks, but she was an honest person, or at least she hoped she

was. Her thoughts were interrupted by her phone ringing in her bag.



“Hiya, Babe!” She tried to sound positive, but knew Michael would sense in the tone of her

voice that things did not go the way she wanted it to go. She could never fool him; he always

got the truth out of her.

“Hey Babe, you sound sad,” Michael said.

“Yeah, he said no, apparently with our current account being in the overdraft on a regular

basis, I am a liability when it comes to money.”

“What? Does he not know I have a stable job, want me to give him a ring?” Mary smiled,

awww, how sweet. She recalled Michael was not happy at first with her idea of becoming a

professional shoe maker. She heard his voice telling her it was a waste of time in today"s

society, but when she discovered shoe-making made her happy after taking several night

classes on different subjects; she knew in her heart that she was meant to make shoes.

“Nah! I just need to think of something else, there are always possibilities,” she said.

“Besides, if it is meant to be, it will happen.” There was a silence, “will you be home late?” She

drastically wanted to change the topic before she started crying again. She really did not want

complete strangers to stop and look at her strangely as they passed.

“Shouldn"t be, the meeting was cancelled since the heads ill. Tell you what, I"ll get a bottle of

wine and a pizza and we"ll watch a film or something.”

She smiled again, “love you.”

“Love you too, Babe. Better go, the bells just rang, see you later.”

“Bye bye.” She pressed the off button and began putting the phone back in her bag, when it

rang. She smiled thinking it was Michael again like he used to do when they were dating, just to

say „I miss you" or „I love you", but the caller ID was withheld. “Hello?”

“Is that Mary Cameron?” A deep voice spoke with precision and expert pronunciation, who

the hell are you? The voice was definitely not Michael"s normal voice, but he could have

disguised it.

“Who is this?” Mary began to smile, thinking it was a joke, “Is that you, Michael?” This was

something else Michael would do, just to play a trick on her. Her finger was poised on the off

button just as the caller spoke again.

“Are you looking for premises for a self-employed business in shoe-making?”

“Excuse me?” This is definitely a crank call, she pressed the off button. She could not

believe her ears and began searching for Michael"s number to demand an explanation.

The phone rang again. She hesitated before answering, “Hello?” She hoped it was not the

same caller as before.

“Mary, please do not hang up, this is a legitimate call and offer I want to present you with, I

only ask for a few minutes of your time and patience. I understand that you are looking to start

a shoe-making business, I can help, please trust me, I only want to help you succeed and bring

trade to my village.” The caller sounded serious, but Mary was not fooled.

“I"m onto you, Michael James Cameron, wait until I see you tonight.”

“I assure you, Mary, I am not your husband. My employers are always on the look for new

and exciting ideas, such as yours, that have the potential of developing into top-earning

businesses. My employers wish to encourage you to start your shoe-making business with no

loans, no overhangs and no overpowering boss. You will be totally in charge of your shoe-

making shop, the staff of your choice, the decoration of your choice, everything will be yours.”

This sounds too good to be true.

As if he heard her thoughts, “And if you think this is too good to be true, don"t, there are no

catches what so ever. You will be given everything you need to start and succeed and any help

will be given to you upon your request.”

“Assuming I went with this? And that is not very likely at this point, what"s in it for your


“My employers are only looking for your satisfaction and continual support in protecting their

interests.” Mary looked around to see if she could spot any hidden cameras, “Of course, we are

not looking for a decision just now, we expect you to discuss it with your husband, Michael.”



Mary gulped and began shuffling her feet, “Mary, my employers are so confident you will make

a great success they have offered you this unbeatable opportunity, no strings attached.” There

was a momentary silence, “I look forward to your decision forthwith.” The line went dead. Mary

continued staring ahead with the phone at her ear, still unsure what had just happened. It just

seemed too good to be true.