The fiction of Jacqueline Applebee

Excerpt from "Fallen Soldiers"
Published by
Liquid Silver Books
ISBN: 978-1-59578-405-6

Chapter One

    My new lacy black knickers weren’t doing the trick, and I didn’t know what else to try. Whenever I’ve felt down recently, I always found that some new lingerie would cheer me up no end. However this morning, as I hurried through London’s Paddington train station, I couldn’t shake the tired, washed-out feeling that thrummed through me. I moved alongside determined commuters and slow-moving backpackers, and the noise combined with the dirty belch of train exhausts left me feeling irritated. Truth be told, I was fed up; my secretarial job was going nowhere, I was in dire need of a decent break, and I longed for the quiet of the countryside. I wheeled my battered red suitcase behind me, mentally checking where I’d put my ticket and lipstick. The last thing I needed was to end up with a penalty fare, or see someone nice without my make-up on. I’ve always tried to be prepared, and after all, I was on holiday...

    I was supposed to be travelling to the Somerset town of Wells with my new boyfriend Leo, but he had changed his mind at the last moment and decided to go on a hill-walking holiday with his friends in the Scottish Highlands instead. I had been annoyed at first; the hot sex we shared was fun, and I thought I’d have lots of it on our holiday. I hadn’t been intimate with anyone for months before I met Leo, so I’d been ravenous when we’d got together. I had tried cajoling him to come with me, enticing him, and I had almost pleaded without any dignity at all, but he went with his mates, anyway. It was only after he’d left that I discovered he’d cancelled our holiday completely. I didn’t know if he assumed I wouldn’t want to go without him, or if he just wanted me to be miserable, but I rebooked and was lucky; it was the start of the holiday season, with Easter only a few weeks away, and the Red Fox Guesthouse had plenty of vacancies.

    I felt a bit bad about that episode and how desperate I’d been. I’d seen a side of myself that I wasn’t too proud of. I suppose I had been going through a rough patch when we had first met. I had been surprised and delighted that Leo thought I was attractive, fun and the sort of woman he wanted. Just his seductive smile was enough for me to forget whatever was on my mind and want to pull him into bed, but sometimes I felt like he was actually holding this over me, moulding me into being a girlfriend who would do anything, because she was lucky to have him at all. At this point in time, I didn’t even want to see Leo; his controlling nature had pissed me off.

    I chose to console myself, thinking that the peaceful solitude might be better for me. I always had my right hand after all. I held it up and was surprised to see a little red line crossing my index finger. Noticing the cut for the first time meant noticing the sting, too, and I winced as I sucked on my finger, checking it once more.

    The announcer boomed out that my train would be departing in a few minutes, and it was as I walked slowly down the platform towards it that I first noticed a statue. The aged and tarnished bronze sculpture of a soldier stood in front of me. I marvelled at the craftsmanship; it was so lifelike, I was impressed. There were dimples in his cheeks and errant strands of hair over his temples, but as I peered closer, I also saw how sad the soldier looked. He seemed so young, too, and his old-fashioned helmet and trench coat were several sizes too big for him. He held a slim open book in his hands, but with closed eyes, he didn’t look as if he had been reading; he may well have been sleeping standing up.

    The life-size statue was planted above a brown, stone plaque, commemorating all the men and women of the Great Western Railway who had given their lives for King and Country in the First World War. In fact, the inscription actually read the “Great War,” and I supposed that no one back then would have thought that there would ever be a second outbreak, twenty years later.

    I rummaged in my shoulder bag and found my small camera nestled in my spare bra, with the extra padding keeping it safe. Usually sculptures don’t interest me very much, but this was so unlike anything I’d seen before, and the memorial seemed important somehow. I thought about how different his life would have been if he were born today, and I felt a sudden wave of melancholy, a hollow ache that made my eyes sting. My own troubles seemed insignificant when I compared them to what this guy must have gone through. A scratch on my hand was nothing to being shot at. I wondered if he ever had made it back home.

    I stroked my warm, brown hands reverently over his bronze boots and silently wished for peace. My fingers tingled with an intense cold as I patted the tough surface goodbye, and my silver bangles suddenly felt chilly against my wrist. I looked down at the base of the statue and noticed a drop of my blood over the boots. I tried to wipe it off, but only succeeded in smearing it, before it finally disappeared. I rubbed my hands quickly and turned to go.

    I boarded my waiting train on the same platform, glimpsing the sculpture of the handsome soldier once more through the window. As I gazed, I noticed that something had changed, but couldn’t quite trust what I saw. I had been certain the soldier’s eyes had been closed before, but now they were open, a carved stare directed straight at me. I felt intrigued, and I would have gotten out to have a closer look, but the train lurched forwards and lumbered slowly, heavily out of the station and into the surrounding built-up areas of West London.

    The carriage that I sat in was practically empty, save for a few railway men a couple of seats ahead of me, talking loudly to each other. One of the three men was describing his new girlfriend to the other two. The woman in question seemed to be very imaginative when it came to sex.

    “Chloe does this thing with her tongue ... like sucking porridge through a straw!” he exclaimed to his captive audience, making a strange hand movement as if to demonstrate. I just sighed; everyone was getting some but me.

    The powerful engine gained speed, and I tried to tune the men out by looking at the lush springtime vegetation of the open countryside speeding by. However, I soon became distracted, and I found myself growing interested in the men and their gossip again. “She’s insatiable, even reads me porn down the phone. I mean how kinky is that?” The other two men nodded in agreement. “What Chloe knows, you need to learn, mate!” he finished, grinning.

    I leant forwards in my seat, straining to hear more, finding that I was getting aroused in a needy way, aware of my clit trapped between my clenched thighs. I had only ever been with one woman, and it had been good, but a little clumsy on my part. I had been an awkward, twenty-year-old at the time, overwhelmed by someone as lovely as my church choir-mistress wanting to be intimate with me. Her name was Joanne, and she was tall and lean, with a sweet smile and a naughty laugh that had made me tingle. She used to tell me that I had a special power inside me, that I would have a mighty singing voice if only I would open up at choir practice. But I was shy, whether during rehearsals for Sunday service, or in the privacy of her home, I couldn’t let go. When we got together it was a hasty affair. I had wanted to explore her wonderful body, but was too nervous to do more than just fumble, feeling intimidated by her older years, and the illicitness of our experience. I’d never been with a woman since, although I’d often fantasised about it. The closest I’d come was sharing these dreams with a few of my boyfriends; only two of them, including Leo, got excited when I spoke about what I never seemed to have the nerve to do.

    Now as I listened to these uniformed men talking, I was reminded of my unfulfilled desires, and my clit throbbed with intense waves, making me almost swoon with pleasure.

    I tried to imagine what I would do with someone as adventurous as Chloe. If I closed my eyes, I found I could almost visualise her. She had been described as a plump, busty brunette, and a “bit of a goer.” I imagined her in the carriage with me, could almost smell her musky perfume and see her eyes sparkle with mischief. She would hold my gaze and slowly remove her clothes. She would strip like a professional, holding out her soft breasts for me to sample. I could practically taste them ... ripe raspberries, peaches and a fruity sweetness blossomed deep in my mouth. I groaned, low in my throat at the pleasurable sensations.

    I blinked my eyes open and realised that the three men were staring at me, with wide eyes and open mouths.

    “Are you alright, love?” one asked.

    I looked at him confused.

    “You were making more noise than the train! If it’s privacy you want, we’ll leave you in peace. It’s getting a bit chilly in here, anyway.” The men rose, snickering to themselves, and I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, aware of dampness as I moved.

    What had I been doing?

    I walked through the now-empty carriage and towards the onboard toilets, feeling the need to relieve myself in more ways than one. I opened the sliding door and came face-to-face with a pale man, oddly dressed in strangely coloured clothes; he didn’t move as I waited expectantly to get inside.

    “Your knees,” he said with a musical lilt to his voice.

    “Beg pardon?” I couldn’t move, feeling transfixed by his dark grey eyes.

    “I would kiss the backs of your knees,” he stated, staring at me. “Would worship your body with mine, lick every single inch. I would take you to where you belong,” the man continued, and then he reached out a cold, pale hand and touched my cheek. I jerked back from the stranger, brushing his hand away, but when I looked again, he was gone, and I was left alone in the freezing cold of the corridor.

    Why would he want to kiss my knees?

    I squeezed myself into the narrow room, but opened the door slightly, to peek outside. No one was there, and the strange man was well and truly gone. I realised that I had been holding my breath, and I breathed out a grateful sigh that     I wasn’t going to be pestered. My apprehension subsided after a few moments, and I pushed the event away. Nothing was going to spoil my holiday, I was determined.

    I bolted the bathroom door behind me, and sat on the small toilet, as the train juddered on the tracks. I slowly reached down and around to lightly touch the back of my knees. It felt so different to what I was used to, fluttery and ticklish, and I shivered, feeling as if I were sinking down into a well of syrupy sensations. I pulled down my lacy black knickers, and soon my own fingers dove into the slick wetness between my thighs. I bucked and arched up on the wobbly seat, pressed back against my digits, circling and pinching my clit. My free hand spread the folds of my pussy wider, smearing my juices as I massaged myself urgently, all over. As I shook and jerked with an orgasm, I pictured strong grey eyes before me, and realised that I had seen the strange man before. He looked just like the statue of the soldier at the station, minus the helmet. I almost hit myself when it clicked; it was definitely one and the same guy, as crazy as it seemed. Maybe I had become so desperately horny that I was starting to hallucinate, but his arctic touch had been real, just like the heat radiating from my sore pussy was real.

    The thought of being caressed by a ghostly apparition made my head hurt. It just didn’t make sense. I’d heard of a great-great-uncle in my family who had fought and served during the First World War, back when Jamaica, like much of the Caribbean, had still been a part of the British Empire. He had had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to fight for King and country, but I didn’t know much else about him. My parents had disowned me, after they discovered my affair with my choir mistress, and I hadn’t spoken to either of them in years. I had a relative or two in the same part of London--my elderly cousin Cecil, who always seemed strange, and an even older great-aunt Ruth, who had never said more than two words to me. I had never really been that close with any of them to start off with, and suddenly, I wished that I knew more about my great-great-uncle’s experiences or could talk to someone who knew about them.

    As I rose from the seat, I felt the room shudder and clatter. It was a different motion from the movement of the train on its tracks, and I touched the grey-stained walls, tensing involuntarily. The door rattled suddenly, and the clang made me jump back in the confined space, making me pull a sharp intake of cold air into my lungs.

    “I’ll be out in a second!” I called, but it didn’t seem to make any difference; the door still rattled, almost shaking itself off the hinges. The noise seemed to be transmitted on lines of startling pain to my eardrums, and they ached and stung with the raucous din. I couldn’t take much more, and I wished that whoever it was on the other side would just go away. My wish was granted instantly, and a split second later the noise and shaking stopped, and the only thing I could hear was my own panting, breath, sounding out above the train engine.

    I flushed the toilet and washed my hands, then carefully creaked the door open a fraction, looking at the empty corridor outside. There wasn’t a living thing in sight.


See my 5 star review of "Fallen Soldiers" at Rainbow Reviews