A Life of Hope Part 2 #fridayflash Randall’s Quest for Love Continues

Le Cirque by Georges Seurat Wikimedia

A Life of Hope


     Randall waited at the edge of the ring, his muscles tense with anticipation. The seats around were filled with bright eyes and big smiles. But, even the charm of the audience wouldn’t calm his nerves. His mind raced with questions he didn’t want to know the answers to. Where had she gone? Who was she with?

      He shoved away images of Marianne dashing out of her tent last night wearing one of her most becoming outfits. Seeing her dressed so fine for someone other than himself made his heart fall to the ground in a heap of blood and pulp. He willed himself to the shadows and watched her ride off in a very fine carriage across the park. The further away from him it went, the heavier his heart became

      In the ring it was time for the star of the show, but Miss Stena was n.owhere to be seen. The Ringmaster eyed Randall from the sidelines. Randall helped Julianne onto the white horse. Seconds later she trotted out into the ring showing off her amazing agility and balance. For the moment the crowd was distracted from Miss Stena’s absence.

      Randall heard her voice before anyone else did. She stood at the back of the tent. Her clothes a mess of ribbons and clasps. He ran to Marianne’s side, his face flushed.

 “Why’d he have to put Julianne in the ring. I’m not that late.”

“You’ve been gone all day. Where have you been?” After he said it Randall closed his mouth. His tone sounded harsher than he meant it to.

Marianne looked up at him. Her eyes were red and swollen, as if she’d been crying. “Home.”


“Yes, home with mother and father.”

The dull ache Randall had felt in his chest all day faded. “How did they-”

“Mother was in the balcony seats last night. Didn’t you see her?” Marianne turned her back to him. “Fasten me up.”

“No.” The moment Randall touched her skin butterflies burst into his stomach. His fingers shook as they hooked the clasps together. “What happened?”

Marianne walked to the closest mirror and fixed her brown hair. “Well, first he was just wonderful and dotting, just like I remembered. But then, after breakfast he was back to his old self and spent the rest of the day begging me to come back home and marry.” She touched her puffy eyes. “They just don’t understand. I’m not like them. I can’t live that life.”

Randall took her hand. “I understand.”

Marianne touched the side of his check with the back of her fingers. “You’re the only one that does.”

    Randall started to declare is adoration for her, but a voice shouted their direction. Marianne was quick to obey and ran on her tiptoes to the ladder that took her to the top of the arena.

     Behind him a warm muzzle nudged his shoulder. He reached up and let his shaking hand run down the horse’s warm nose and buried his face into the side her neck. Part of him was relieved. What if he had said the words and Marianne didn’t say them back? What would he do then?

A girlish voice behind him snapped him out of his thoughts. “That one will never be yours.”

Randall narrowed his eyes at Julianne. “That’s not true.”

The young girl shook her head. “You know it is.” She gazed around the tent, a slight scowl on her face. “She’s not one of us.”

     Julianne placed on hand on her hip and sauntered off without a word more. Randall’s throat tightened. Was it true? Deep down he knew Marianne was much more than any of them could ever be. 

 Catch up on the rest of the series

A Life of Freedom

A Life of Hope

A Life of Wondering

A Life of Forgetting


12 Comments Add yours

  1. I love the way this series is unfolding. Each part fits into the puzzle and completes the images you show us. Well done as always, Lara 🙂

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      Thanks Florence. I think a story with Julianne’s POV is in order now.

  2. Steve Green says:

    I can’t help but feel sorry for the characters in this series, no-one seems to be happy with their circumstances, even Marianne following her chosen life suffers her guilt and sadness. The story is well-woven and hopefully ends in happiness.

    Each episode of this has reminded me somewhat of Elvira Madigan, your story is nothing like her life story apart from the fact they are both circus girls, but as in Elvira’s (real) life, I feel tragedy unfolding here.

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      I haven’t read that story. I’ll have to check it out. I hope their stories end in happiness to, but you can’t always get what you want-or at least that’s what a rolling stone told me once. 🙂

  3. Helen says:

    This is a great story, I think it could be much more than a serial, there is the skeleton of a novel here.

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      I’ve had a fun time writing these mini sagas. I think it could too, but I’d need to do some research on the period to get the scenes, language, etc. detailed a little more. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. John Wiswell says:

    This has such sweet anticipation to it. I actually wouldn’t want it unpacked to a full short story or novella. It clicks along paragraph-to-paragraph here, and seems to evidence how you’re honing the craft of very short works.

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      @icysedgwick Me too and thanks.

      @timvansant haha! now for one of my fantasy pieces that would fit perfectly!

      @johnwiswell Thank you john. I do feel like I have improved in understanding the craft better, still have more to learn, but loving every minute of it.

  5. ~Tim says:

    Nice addition to the serial.

    For a second I thought, “Cool, a talking horse!” But it was Julianne…. 😉

  6. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Oh I do hope that things work out well for Randall – he’s so “real” as a character.

  7. Not normally the stuff I read, but really enjoying this Lara. Fingers crossed for Randall. I understand what he is going through.

    I look forward to the next part 🙂

    1. Lara Dunning says:

      Thanks Craig. I’ve got my fingers cross for him too, but you know Marianne might be a little to independent for her own good.

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