Welcome to Day 21 of the Third Annual A to Z Challenge!
My theme – my 26 fiction posts will revolve around something musical – it could be anything, as long as it's musically-related… maybe a song title, an artist/band, musical terminology, musical instruments, words relating to sound/rhythm/movement/dance etc.
MUSICAL ASSOCIATION/CONNECTION. UPBEAT – an unaccented beat/beats that occur before the first beat of the following measure; it is an impulse in a measured rhythm that immediately precedes, and hence anticipates, the downbeat; the last beat in a bar where that bar precedes a new bar of music; the upward stroke made by a conductor to indicate the beat that leads into a new measure.
The familiar words bounced around in the vacuum of her mind.
It formed part of a daily ritual… almost like a mantra: Barring serious accidents, if you are not preoccupied with worry and you work hard, you can look forward to a reasonably lengthy existence — it's not the hard work that kills, it's the worrying that kills.
He was one smart guy, that Thomas Edison.
It's the worrying that kills.
And Mildred Lawson had put the words to good use. She had not a care in the world. Well, that is what she told herself. Over and over. Everyday. And she knew about hard work too. Inherited that streak from her mother who, it was widely acknowledged, had worked herself into the grave at the ripe old age of 77 years. Add the bonus of possessing a meticulous and cautious work ethic… and you have a win-win-win working situation, courtesy of Mr Edison.
Work… work… work.
That's what life consisted of.
No more, no less.
Her very existence had been reduced to it. It was the sum total of her life. She represented the 'poster-child' for workaholism.
Work was her ally.
Work was her solace.
Work was her sanity.
Always had been, always would be.
She thrived on good, old-fashioned work. Of the physical kind. Not your fancy, sit-behind-a-polished-desk-in-an-office-kind-of-a-way. Not for her, thank you.
She never had been that kind of a person… the thoughts swirled around in her mind… as she lay in quiet contemplation… one of those random moments when conscious thought surfaced, with a stark clarity, before mental fatigue took over…
* * * * *
He entered the tiny room.
The make-shift sleeping quarters housed the dozen or so women.
The familiar sneer was in place. He barked his orders at the dispirited inhabitants. The monster had reared his ugly head… time to work… on cue.
Some of the faces wore the mask of rebellious resignation while others were totally defeated.
But not Mildred.
She looked forward to the routine, welcomed the sheer mind-numbing, back-breaking hard labour imposed on them…
If he thought that work was a form of punishment, or a way to pry information out of her, or a method to break her spirits, then he was sorely mistaken.
They had no idea who they were dealing with.
She was a different type of woman.
They didn't know that.
And she had no intention of letting them learn too much..
* * * * * * * *