The First 750 Words

The First 750 Blog Carnival

Reality of a Dream

Reality of a Dream by Maela Torre.

Fiction -> Romance


The story starts when Emma loses her family in a car crash. After their funerals she spends months alone in her big empty house in Italy. One day, her friend Billy calls her and invites her to go and live with him for a while in Maela Torrehis stone cottage in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. There, he introduces her to all the people that are part of his everyday life and with their support, a few legends and a love that is starting to blossom Emma manages to overcome the pain and learns how to live and smile again, seeing life as it really is: a gift.  Everything seems to be just perfect, until destiny makes a move and changes everybody’s life once again.

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Chapter 1

For the people walking outside her house and who had nothing to do with Emma‘s life, this was just another usual day. They had their wake up call at a cruel early hour, a quick coffee and a commute to work or school, depending on age. They would work until evening and finally return home to finish the day with either family or friends.

For Emma, locked up in her room, this wasn‘t a normal day.

It was a Sunday in springtime, and that morning, her mother Elena, her stepfather Paolo and her little brother Matteo had gone out, heading to Matteo‘s best friend‘s birthday party.

“Are you sure you don‘t want to come? Nicholas‘ parents promised him they would hire a magician for the party! It‘ll be so cool!”

“Please, don‘t tempt me”  Emma had teased him “ but I really have to study. I have a test in two days. Next time, okay?”

She had no idea yet, but that was the last time she was going to see him alive.

Right after lunch, the three of them had left the house leaving Emma alone, which was almost a miracle since she lived with other three people under the same roof. She turned on the radio and made herself a cup of coffee, the only thing that helped her focus during the long hours of study, and then she put together everything she needed for the exam.

Emma had been studying for that test for two months: the six wives of Henry VIII, how did they die and why? What would have been like in the internet and reality show‘s era?

An hour and half of studying had already gone by when someone knocked at the front door. Emma almost fainted when she opened it; two police officers dressed in their uniforms were standing on her doorstep. “Miss Talbot?”

“Yes…” Emma stammered feeling the blood freezing in her vein.

“I‘m Officer Maffei and this is my colleague, Officer D‘Amico. We‘re really sorry to inform you, but there was an accident.”

Emma couldn‘t understand one more word the officer was telling her. It was as if a thick soap bubble had formed around her head. Her shoulders felt heavy, and her head began to spin. The only thing she remembered was the officer grabbing her while she was falling down.

“Come, let‘s sit inside,” said the other officer.

“Could you… could you tell me what happened one more time, please?”

“Apparently, a truck didn‘t stop at the red light and your family was in its way,” said Officer Maffei as he handed Emma a glass of water.

“Did anyone… is anyone still…?”

Both of the policemen shook their heads lowering their eyes.

Emma‘s throat tightened and she could not breathe.

“Do you have someone to call? Someone that could spend the night with you?”

“It is not advisable for you to be alone right now” said Officer D‘Amico.

“No, I only have my mother… It‘s not… It‘s not… you must be wrong; it can‘t be them,” Emma said sobbing, taking Officer Maffei‘s hand.

“I‘m sorry,” he said shaking his head one more time.

“Where are they now?” Emma asked drying a cheek with a sleeve of the jersey she was wearing.

“They have been taken to the nearest morgue.”

“Did you two find them?”

Yes, a witness called us, and we rushed there immediately, but there was nothing we could do.”

“May I see them?”

“You have to; we need you to come to the morgue with us for the identification.”

Emma moaned and gasped for breath. She felt her throat closing; she was sure she was suffocating. She heard Officer Maffei‘s sympathetic voice say, “I understand this is the last thing you want to do, but it‘s the procedure.”

“Let me grab my coat,” Emma said getting up, but her legs were so weak that she fell back on the couch. “Would you give me a minute?”

“We‘ll wait outside,” said one of the policemen, and then both walked outside in the garden.

Emma took some deep breaths, her head was still spinning and her shoulders felt even heavier. She looked around, unable to recognize what was around her. It was still the same house that her family had left only a few hours earlier. But now, everything seemed slightly distorted, as if she was seeing it through an illusionist‘s glass. Emma couldn‘t help but think “I have to tell Mum; she will handle this all. Once she‘s home, she‘ll hug me and tell me that everything is going to be all right. She‘ll…” Emma couldn‘t still face the fact that she wasn‘t going see them again.

A sense of nausea hit her like a punch in the stomach. She moved to the bathroom and became sick. When the nausea lifted, she splashed water on her face and went into her room to put on her coat.

It was not possible; she wasn‘t about to go to the morgue to identify the bodies of Matteo, her mother and Paolo. Maybe, after her arrival, the people who worked there would open the bags and find out that it was nothing but a huge case of mistaken identity.

With every single step booming in her head, Emma went downstairs and out into the garden to meet the officers who would drive her to the nearest hospital to do something no one in this world would want to do.

It was the longest fifteen minutes of her life.

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Maela Torre, Italian writer. Trained as a tour operator, Maela Torre worked for many years as a social cooperative for people with emotional issues and then as a teacher’s aide in a nursery school. Her passion for Scotland started in 2001 when, after graduation, she decided to make a study tour in Scotland for two weeks. Since then, she has visited Scotland eight more times and has transferred her passion for that land into her novels. She started to write novels and fairytales at a young age. Reality of a Dream, is her first published novel, and it is available from HumorOutcasts Press in both English and Italian.

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