So, Norman is now dead.
That night, back at Luke’s house, Luke had something to get off his chest. If you remember, after Norman had slapped her, Sandra had gone to Luke to ask him to let her stay at his house for a few days. She had been afraid to return home. Now that Norman had passed, Luke needed to know whether she’d feel that she didn’t need him or his shelter anymore. She put his mind to rest as only lovers can.
The following morning, Sandra visited her children, Barbara and Paul, fearing that they would blame her for bringing about their father’s death by seeking to divorce him. They reassured her that the pressure of his work and his putting on more weight had been all that had been needed to kill him. In fact, they said, they needed her, as their mother, more than ever. Plans of action were agreed – particularly a visit to the undertaker.
Sandra visited Norman’s former partner, Mark, who was helpful and reassuring. She visited Norman’s solicitor, who showed her the will and its provisions and he also showed her the deeds to their house. She also arranged for the divorce proceedings to be halted. Together with her children, she met the Vicar who’d be leading the funeral service.
The funeral was a quiet, dignified affair, Sandra and her children supporting each other in grief. Sandra had been divorcing him, but she’d never wished him dead.
All that remained was the aftermath of bureaucracy. Norman had been very considerate by dying at such an opportune moment. The partnership could now be dissolved by claiming on a provision of the Partnership Agreement. The divorce could be halted. Norman hadn’t had the time – or foresight – to cut her out of his will. Finally, Sandra was free to remarry – if she were to receive a proposal by someone. At a meeting with her children, Sandra, now a wealthy widow, agreed how the future of the house at Uppermill could be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Good man, Norman.
It seems fairly clear to me now that, almost at the end of the basic story, this will be a novella rather than a novel. At 36,000 words, it will fall probably 5,000 or so short of the 40,000 minimum for a novel. What I have so far is a draft which will require considerable editing and, in parts, rewriting, but I have no intention of padding it out with extra words for the sake of an arbitrary target. The story is what it is. The joy has been in creating it for its own sake. It wasn’t written in the expectation of volume sales – or any for that matter.
By tomorrow the story will be complete and I will say more about some of the ways in which I already know that I shall be re-shaping it.
The featured photograph today is of St Thomas’s church and graveyard at Stockton Heath, Warrington, Cheshire, UK. I captured the image in January 2017, using my old Pentax K-50 16 mm cropped sensor camera and an18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens at 18 mm and f/8. The ISO was 200 and the shutter speed 1/60 seconds. The shot was handheld.