Richard's Pendant By Sinistra Part 1 Richard sat in his armchair, his gaze fixed on the grandfather clock on the other side of the room. 14:03. Open on his lap lay a large, leather-bound book, but he'd given up on even pretending to be able to focus over an hour ago.
For a man who had so many bookcases stocked with endless tomes, collections, and novels they nearly covered every inch of his wood-panelled walls, this was not something normal. Normally he relished the moments in his study, where he could read in silence, undisturbed but for the gentle rustle and sway of the leaves on the great oaks that surrounded his estate.
Today it was too silent. Each second seem to linger too long, and Richard began to feel tense and uneasy. He felt on the verge of madness, and no matter how doggedly he paced the room, turned the pages of his book, or occupied himself some other way, he found he couldn't escape the dull ache of boredom that seemed to suffocate him.
However this was not a normal day. He sat and watched the pendulum sway, counting the seconds, timing the gentle ticks and tocks of each passing second. Maybe, he mused to himself, Maybe if I just try hard enough… Richard focused on the gentle arcs, back and forth, back and forth.
.the pendulum will swing faster… Richard lived alone. He'd had a wife, but once he'd discovered her little affair with a man from the city he had kicked her out soon afterwards. He also had a wonderful daughter, Charlotte; but she was at university, and had little to no time to come and see him.
Life in the country had its benefits; he wouldn't trade the chatter of the Chaffinches in the morning, the blissful misty mornings, or the tranquil Yorkshire Moors for anything.
Well, maybe to spend some more time with Charlotte now and again, but for now all he had was Bernie, his pet Beagle.
For a man of 45 Richard was in great shape. He walked his dog every morning, and cycled into town regularly to buy food or to work at his job at an accountancy. He ate well, slept well, and there was something about the wonderful fresh air that seemed to soothe his mind and refresh his senses.
However, no matter how much he occupied himself with meeting clients, reading, or playing cricket on a Sunday, it was in the act of tenderly outstretching his arm in the early hours of the morning - only to find himself alone - that was the proof of his heartache. This tight routine had kept him going ever since his daughter had left a few years earlier, and why it threatened to totally unravel when she called him out of the blue one evening.
He tapped on the screen to answer the call, his finger quivering. 'Hi Dad!' Her tone was so casual that anyone listening would have been forgiven for thinking they were merely catching up on some gossip. Richard swallowed and cleared his throat. 'Charlotte. How are you? Are y-' 'Oh it's wonderful here.' she gushed. 'The people, the food, the city - you should really come and visit some time!' 'That's fantastic, darling. Are you getting on well with your course?' It crossed his mind to ask why that not once in the last few months had she thought called him, but he could sense her smile through the call, and any spite melted away at the sound of her bubbly voice.
'Yes, it's fascinating. The professors are so supportive and just a few weeks ago we went to an archaeological dig at an iron-age hut - and guess what I found.' Richard listened. Wait, am I actually meant to guess? 'Uh, a bracelet?' He heard a giggle from the other side. 'No, silly. Bones! We found them underneath the threshold - or where it would be if it wasn't underground. I know, right? At first I thought it was a grave or something, but then we found this horse skull too.
Dr. Robertson says it was part of some sort of foundation sacrifice. Isn't that cool?' 'Yeah. Actually that's funny, because Bernie's doing his own bit of archeology. He ran off on one of our walks a few weeks ago and dug up this small wooden box. It's this small varnished thing, remarkably well preserved - anyway inside there was this small necklace inside with a wooden rune or something engraved into it.' Richard bit his fist, and then added gently, 'Maybe if you visited soon you could have a look at it, y'know, and um, see what it is.' 'Yes, well that's actually what I phoned about.
Coming to see you I mean. It's great here and I'm having so much fun.but I miss you. And I miss Bernie too.
Is it alright if I come to visit for a week maybe, perhaps more? I just need to - and don't call me clichéd - I just need to get away from the city for a bit.' Richard felt himself go all tingly and queasy inside.
'Alright? Charlotte that's lovely - you can come anytime you want! I've kept your old room and everything, of course you can stay here. You don't have to ask.' 'Thanks Dad. There are still a few days left of term left, but I was just checking you were, y'know, ok with it all. If I arrive on Saturday, then stay a week, and leave on Sunday - is that good for you?' 'Oh Charlotte, you can stay for as long as you like.
I'm not sure if you'd survive considering we still don't have wifi here, but I'm more than happy to.well, just have you around.' 'Awww, Daddy! You're the sweetest. I can't wait. See you soon!' 'Bye darli-' but she had already hung up. The crunch of tyre on gravel plucked Richard out of his hazy sleep.
Instantly he stood up and made his way to the front door. He still felt groggy, and had to fiddle with the lock before opening it. Swinging her legs out of a silver Ford Fiesta was Charlotte. Charlotte was undeniably gorgeous. Her rich brunette hair was tied back neatly behind her, falling down behind her shoulders. She had a delicate nose, and wide, laughing, sky-blue eyes. A pair of large sunglasses was pushed up to her hairline, and she was wearing small silver earrings, a white top with denim shorts, and sandals.
When she saw him she smiled, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear, and strode towards him, leaving her suitcase on the path.
He drank in her figure. Gone was the skinny, tomboy aesthetic - here stood a woman, elegant and feminine, but still his little girl. He couldn't help but admire her supple body, especially her supple legs - and for a fleeting second he wondered whether she felt as smooth as she looked. 'Hi Dad.' They embraced, his extra few feet in height causing him to cradle her head in his shoulder. Her hair smelt of Aloe Vera. 'Charlotte, you don't know how much I've missed you.' he murmured into her ear before pulling back to look at her.
God, she looks just like her mother… 'Sorry Daddy. I've been so busy recently. But look! Here I am!' She giggled and twirled on the spot. Suddenly Bernie came bounding out through the doorway and she gasped, grinning as he jumped around her. She put out her hands in mock protest before bending down to massage his back and tickle him behind the ear. 'Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?' Richard chuckled and raised his eyebrows.
Charlotte and the dog turned to face him. 'Oi you. Stop making fun of me. Look at him. Just look at him!' Richard looked at Bernie, whose head was tilted to one side and whose tongue was lolling out of the side of his mouth.
Charlotte rolled her eyes in faux exasperation. 'Alright grumpy chops.' She collected her suitcase, Bernie in tow, and walked back to the house. It was just like she remembered. The walls were covered in dark wooden panelling, and rooms split off from a central open hallway.
A staircase curved round the back wall and a small chandelier hung from the ceiling. She walked up the stairs, Richard in front, whilst Bernie sat patiently on the bottom step. When she got to her old room she flung herself onto the bed like she had done so many times and let out a sigh. 'As you can tell I haven't really done anything or moved stuff.
All your old books and toys are still in the attic if you want them.' 'Thanks. Maybe we can dig them out at some point.' She lay there for some time on the cool sheets.
'Remember when you used to read to me?' 'Yeah.' 'I liked that.' By the time Charlotte had unpacked, the sun was setting and the white walls of her room were painted with amber rays of light. She left her books and outfits at the foot of her bed and made her way downstairs where Richard was cooking dinner.
Soon, two steaming bowls of spaghetti were laid out on the table, and wine was poured for both of them. 'So.Dad. Have you been, y'know.seeing anyone after Mum…' Richard winced and shook his head.
They made small talk over supper. Richard found out that Charlotte was single too, but she had recently broken up with her manipulative ex-boyfriend John. As they chatted about music, books, and shared anecdotes about annoying colleagues, they realised they shared a lot more in common than they'd thought. As conversation shifted to her research Charlotte was suddenly reminded of their conversation on the phone. 'Hang on. I swear you mentioned something…' 'What?
When you phoned me?' 'That's it! Something Bernie found on a walk.' 'Oh that. Yeah I should have it somewhere.' Richard dabbed at his lips with his napkin then wandered off into his study. Charlotte sat patiently as she heard papers ruffle, drawers open and shut, but eventually Richard returned holding a small wooden box. 'You didn't find it like this did you?' 'Oh no, the wooden container we found it in was disgusting.
It was mouldy and smelly and.here it is. Look what's inside.' He opened the latch, revealing a small thing wrapped in thin paper. He tenderly unfolded it, and Charlotte gasped. It was remarkable. A dark, jagged rune was engraved in the centre of a claw-like object, a black string running through a hole at one end. Dark beads lined the rest of the thread. 'Do you know what it is?' Charlotte leaned forwards, gazing at it with reverence.
'It's incredible.the pendant.it looks like.a bear tooth. I've never seen anything like it. It's an old Germanic rune; Uruz, if I'm not mistaken.' 'Oh wow. What's, uh, Uruz?' 'The Aurochs.
It's the rune of the wild Ox; power, potential, strength of will.sexuality…' 'Incredible.' Charlotte was lost for words.
'How did you - I mean what.where did you find it?' 'It wasn't technically me, really. As I said, I was on a walk with Bernie and he just ran off. I tried to catch up with him, because I thought he might run into the bog.
Indeed he trotted back later, his fur brown and matted with mud, but he was clutching the box in his teeth.' 'The bog.that'll be why it's preserved.' Richard blinked. 'Huh.' 'I hope you don't mind my asking' Charlotte said tentatively, 'But would you let me take this back to university?' Richard's heart panged.
It's only been a few hours, and already she's talking about leaving? 'I'd bring it back, of course. But we could date it, maybe find something else out?' She looked up at him hopefully. Even if he wanted to he couldn't deny anything to those bright, shining eyes. 'Yes, that's fine. That's completely fine.' 'Oh Dad, thank you. This is wonderful.' 'Anything for my little girl.' They embraced. Richard realised with a sudden pain that before today, he couldn't remember the last time he'd hugged someone.
'I love you.' He told her. 'I love you too.' She had planned to investigate the study, but it was getting late and Charlotte began to feel the first familiar pulls of sleep, so she made her way to bed. 'Goodnight Daddy' she called down from the stairs. 'Goodnight' he called. 'Are you sure you don't want me to read you a story?' Charlotte laughed. She shut herself in her room, got changed into her nightie, turned out the light, and drifted into dream. Richard was still downstairs.
The necklace lay in the box on the desk in front of him. I should probably give it to her now, before I forget… He walked up the stairs, pale moonlight streaming through the window, still holding the necklace before him. He opened the door to her room gingerly, watching the light from the hall spill onto her cheek. Sitting down on the chair next to her bed, he gazed at her tranquil expression.
She really is beautiful… he thought. He absent-mindedly fingered the necklace, which now hung around his neck. He reminisced of the day's events, and remembered how happy he'd been to see her. He remembered the sunlight glinting on her hair, her sublime smile, her wonderful body.
It was almost perfect.if only she was wearing a sundress…and then she would walk up to me and I would reach down and find she was wearing no panties… Richard jolted his head up.
He felt like he was going to be sick. What's wrong with me? He rubbed his forehead, the dizziness fading. Where did that all come from? I haven't had had over an attractive woman in years is all, he mused. I'll be fantasising over the next curvy tree I see if I'm not careful. He knew he shouldn't be fantasising like this - this was his own daughter for God's sake - but there she was before him, beautiful, peaceful, docile.
She was a fantasy. However - deep down Richard knew there was something else. The memory of his wife still haunted Charlotte's every laugh, smile, and her beauty. When she looked at him with her beautiful blue eyes he couldn't help but be reminded of his loneliness. He would have liked to gaze upon her forever, but weariness set in, and he too made his way to bed. The necklace had become uncomfortably warm, and so he laid it on his bedside table before falling to sleep.
Charlotte, blissfully alone, breathed out a gentle, dreamy sigh, mumbling something too quietly for anyone to hear.
* * * Richard woke up to the sound of footsteps behind his doorway. Still half-asleep he mumbled 'Morning Charlotte.' She opened his door slightly and peeked round the edge. 'Sorry. Did I wake you up?' 'No, no.it's alright.' He sat up and rubbed his eyes. 'Oh. I thought I heard you downstairs. Sorry. I'm just going to make breakfast, and then I was thinking we could walk Bernie together. Do you want toast?' 'That's nice.just give me, uh, a few minutes…' he said, his head sinking again into his pillow.
Charlotte rolled her eyes and left. That's funny. I could have sworn I heard him talking downstairs, or at least turn the radio on. When she had been putting on her powder blue sundress, she had become slightly distracted by this distant echoing voice.
She couldn't make out what it was saying. She had thought it sounded like Richard, but reflecting now, munching on her cereal, she wasn't so sure. Richard was eventually ready, and soon they headed out. It was a glorious Summer day, and as they walked down a path flanked by Evergreens, they admired how the sunlight danced in the leaves as they fluttered in the wind.
'I'm beginning to see why you still live here in the country when the rest of the world is in the 21st Century.' Charlotte said as they walked, Bernie bounding forwards before them. She was again wearing sandals, and her sundress loosely flapped above her knees. The wind still had a chill bite, an echo of Spring, but the Sun was warm on her skin.
'What can I say? I don't want to sound like some hippy - but isn't there nothing so beautiful as what you see before you?' Charlotte thought about it for a moment. 'Me? I'm very beautiful.' She said, grinning. Richard chuckled and nodded. 'Yes, yes I suppose so.' Charlotte blushed, and Richard felt a strange knot in his stomach. For crying out loud Richard, relax. Yes, your daughter is beautiful, but that doesn't mean you want to fuck her.
They kept on walking, chucking the occasional stick for Bernie. A surprise gust of wind caught them both by surprise, and Charlotte's dress fluttered upwards, revealing the curve of a perky, toned ass. Richard faltered.
Oh my God.
She's not wearing any panties. She quickly tugged the hem down back to her knees, but the image of her gorgeous curves in motion was etched into his memory. He stood there, unable to think, when Charlotte turned round, pulling a loose strand of hair behind her ear, grinning. 'Is something wrong?' Richard's throat was dry. A naked image of his own daughter flashed before his eyes.
'Are you.Why are you…' 'What?' Richard blinked.Come on. He thought to himself. She's probably embarrassed about it too.
'Nothing' he said, shaking his head. He no longer felt paralysed, and walked towards her. She outstretched her hand. 'Here, take my hand. We don't want you falling behind.' She flashed him a dazzling smile. Richard had so many questions, but he felt unable to speak.
[/i]My own daughter.what does she think she's doing?[/i] Richard couldn't work out why he felt so strange. It's not my fault, I can't choose how she dresses.
But then why do I feel guilty? He tugged the necklace that now hung heavy on his neck. He felt something was wrong, but with the faint chirping of the birds, and Charlotte's smile and her soft hand, all his anxiety melted away.
After they had walked home, Richard prepared them a wonderful Sunday Roast. Living alone for so many years had made him somewhat of an expert in the kitchen - according to Charlotte at least. She took to the lounge afterwards for a small nap, and Richard cycled into the city to do some shopping.
When he got back he found Charlotte in the reading room, sitting on the sofa with her legs crossed. 'Hiya.' 'Hi. I found this film while I was shopping and was wondering whether you wanted to watch it after dinner.' He showed her the case. 'The Gap.' she read. 'Yeah sure, looks alright.' After dinner they again retired to the lounge.
The widescreen TV was probably the most modern thing in the house, and Charlotte snuggled up to him on the sofa as the film began to play. He held her in his arms under the blanket and began to stroke the back of her head. The film wasn't very interesting, and when it finally rolled to credits Richard realised that Charlotte was fast asleep.
The pendant round his neck was cool as he held it in his fingers. 'Charlotte? Charlotte darling?' He brushed the hair back from her ear. She's perfect… Slowly she began to murmur. 'Mmh.Yes Daddy…' Her eyes were still shut, and only her lips were moving. Richard felt a stirring within him, and the tooth began to quiver around his neck. He held her head in one hand, but his other began to lazily caress her smooth calf.
'I've been meaning to speak to you about something. When we were walking the dog today, a gust of wind blew your dress up. Do you remember that?' Charlotte said nothing, but an almost imperceptible nod of the head revealed all Richard needed to know. 'I know you weren't wearing panties today Charlotte. Why would you tease your poor father like that?' Richard suddenly felt very exposed. Why am I saying this?
Why am I saying this to my own daughter? But almost as soon as the seeds of doubt began to grow, they were stamped out by another thought.
And why shouldn't I? I'm a man after all, and this is my house, and it's my right. Charlotte's soft lips parted slightly, but she showed no other signs of consciousness. 'I.don't know, Daddy. I just did. I think I got distracted.when getting changed.I can.wear them tomorrow…' 'No.' The engraving on the tooth seemed to pulse with heartbeat, flaring like embers, but Richard was so enchanted by Charlotte's peaceful candour that he barely noticed.
'No.Charlotte, my darling. It was very bad to tease me like that. So I think it's only appropriate to not wear anything that might cover your pretty bottom anymore…' That's not right.
No.Yes it is. Isn't she just so.gorgeous? Oh God forgive me, I just want to touch her, to caress, to- 'Not wear.anything to.cover my bottom?' Charlotte's brow furrowed slightly. Her breathing became heavier, more laboured.
'Yes, Charlotte, yes. That's right. Good girl' Richard's hand was rubbing her knee now, creeping higher, touching her thigh… 'Not.cover.bottom…' she sighed. The pendant went still.
It seemed like the world had come back into focus. 'Let's take you upstairs. You've been a good girl this evening, Charlotte.' And he took her in his strong arms, and walked her up to her room, as she whispered softly 'good girl.good girl…' As he lay her down in her bed, he pulled the duvet up to her neck and caressed her cheek.
'Night, princess' was the last thing he said before shutting her door, and going to bed himself.