The first short for free here. If you're quick, you can get the whole book for free today. Otherwise you'll have to shell out $1.99.
By nine-thirty that morning, Clare felt completely done in. Rain -- unyielding, unforgiving and unending -- fell in cold sheets, washing away what little color was left in her world. Even her morning coffee and scone were tasteless and dry.
She sat at her desk, her three-walled prison, patting her still damp hair with a paper towel, Clare worried over the thousand small stresses that seemed to have taken over her life. A mental game of jeopardy, with categories like "RELATIONSHIPS," "FINANCES," "FAMILY" kept surfacing and fading in her mind.
"This bill needs to be paid by Friday if you want to stay warm. Answer: What is gas? Correct!!
Days like today muted happiness and magnified the rest. The rain’s soft and constant splatter whispered in her ear, encouraging her to give up.
Her coffee, long gone cold, sat on her desk, ignored. Even the weak fluorescents jumped on the bandwagon, pulling at the frayed threads of her spirit. Not ready to deal with the numbers on her screen, she glanced out the office window and gave a soft gasp. For the past forever it had overlooked a white desert of snow, snow dunes, and snow banks.
Now, today of all days, she was presented with a new vista. Most of the snow had washed away. Muddy grass, resurrected from a summer a million years ago greeted her eyes.
She leaned forward in her chair and drank in the sight. A clutch of four, sunny yellow daffodils, framed in a sea of muddy, dead grass.
She felt the warmth of them. A ghost memory of warm grass and sunlight tickled her nose. She sat for some time as unacknowledged tension melted away, sloughing off her shoulders and back, an invisible avalanche reacting to her thaw.
And then she smiled....
Joe from accounting stared at his monitor, another office zombie waiting for motivation.
Friday – cold and rainy. The last place he wanted to be was exactly where he was. Days like this always left him tired and feeling thin from the moment he woke up. Everything appeared muted, unreal. A slate gray sky hanging inches above the world, pressing down on everything.
He looked up from his work, his gaze wandering aimlessly across a dull room of secretary desks and bleached green carpet. His eyes touched upon Clare for a second, another colorless prop.
And then she smiled.
Heat flared inside him as he drank her in.
He’d heard the phrase used on many occasions and now he understood. She smiled and he couldn't breathe, stunned.
The most beautiful thing he'd ever seen; a blazing promise of joy and summer. Life.
He stared, hands shaking slightly on his keyboard. Not thinking, just being. Everything changed right then.
Impossible to tell whether the world or the man was transformed.
In the end, it didn't matter.