She didn’t seem real, the first time I saw Fiona. The taxi pulled up at the double doors of the hall of residence and bulging black bin bags, followed by the thin plastic of Low’s supermarket bags tossed energetically out. At last, onto these tumbled a person. She landed like a fragile bird on top of the forgiving heap of belongings, her tartan cape gathered around. She untangled herself amidst squeals and laughter, her wispy blonde hair caught in the breeze across her eyes. The girl swished it aside, an action I came to associate with Fiona and her constant battle between the sea wind in St. Andrew’s and her long hair.

The taxi driver reluctantly stepped out of his car, muttering, obscenities no doubt. It was the same guy who had brought me here yesterday — one of 3,500 students descending on the town; the sleepy silence broken by the exuberant excited youths.

Years later I’d be on the other side, older, dreading the return to classes; an American gal settled in the deep dark depths of the north-east of Scotland — all for love, or so I convinced myself for many years.

Back then the sun gleamed through the windows, the corridors bustling with chatter, nervous giggles, hormones and alcohol; all to the backdrop of Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson and Runrig.

From below the angry voice of the taxi driver drifted up to me.

‘That’s six pounds? Do you hear me? Are you quite all there?’

The girl stood stock still, her gaze firmly upon the edifice of McIntosh Hall, or Chatham as I quickly learned the slang name for my new abode. Across four floors the impressive stone-built building curved in a long crescent around the garden to the front. This was the view from my shared room; from others, I learned their rooms overlooked the infamous West Sands. I coveted these rooms until seeing them soon after for myself. The beach view was but a corner snippet only visible by leaning out of the sash window at a sharp angle. A sash window that one day crashed down on its own accord just as I’d safely pulled in my head.

On this my only second day in St. Andrews, unaware of the dangers of the windows, I leant out and called down to the dazed girl.

‘I’ll be right down to help you. Don’t move!’

The latter words were superfluous I realised; Fiona remained motionless, oblivious to the wrath beside her, unaware of the stares and glares circling her.

Dashing down the wide wooden staircase I deftly dodged new arrivals hauling up suitcases, and grappling with backpacks. I soon arrived on the pavement outside.

‘Here’s your fare … thank you!’ I said to the driver handing him six crisp £1 Scottish notes, all the time eyeing intently the girl in front of me.

‘I’m here,’ she whispered. ‘Truly arrived!’ Her tranquil awe was infectious and in tones much quieter than my usual robust way of talking I replied cautiously to her.

‘You have indeed arrived! Welcome! What’s your name?’


‘Fiona the Fey,’ I uttered unintentionally.

With a gasp, I tried to reach out, and grasp back my thoughtless remark. To no avail. Yet fey suited Fiona perfectly.

Not tall myself, she barely reached my shoulders, her face and hands beyond pale, a translucent white. Upon her wrist dangled an old silver watch, her limbs skeletal and resembling the build of a young child. Her face looked gaunt, the cheeks sucked into themselves but it was the eyes that held my stare. Vivid hazel-green orbs shimmered, as striking as a baby’s large eyes on their smaller head. Eyes that rarely seemed to blink, eyes that would unsettle many around her.

With a start Fiona roused herself and flung her body towards me, enveloping me in a hug.

‘Thank you! Thank you for this wondrous welcome! We will be the best of friends,’ she declared with force.

©Annika Perry, June 2022

I hope you enjoyed the above which I hope to develop into a longer piece of fiction told with an alternating dual narrative perspective of Gail and Fiona. Happy Writing!

110 thoughts on “ARRIVAL

  1. Awesome writing here Annika. I like the characters scripts which describe both Gail and the other character, amazing jargon words as well such as Untangling🙌🙌🙌
    I enjoyed reading this fictional story and I imagined the characters in my head. Quite a writer you are

    1. Thank you so much, Mthobisi and it is great you enjoyed my story and could imagine the characters in your head! I really appreciate your kind words about my writing – thank you! 😃

  2. This was such a clever piece of writing, Annika. As I read this piece, I felt like I was seeing the return to classes from two perspectives, from two different girls, each one none the wiser. First days or just return to classes can be rather chaotic, and I think you captured that sentiment very well – so much uncertainty of where to go when you first arrive and you wonder in what company you will be. I like that the start of a friendship is also like an arrival – an arrival of a new season with someone who brings meaning or lessons to your life. Like some of the commentors have said, your writing is so vivid, the descriptions really conjure up the air of school days. Hope you are doing well 🙂

    1. Mabel, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and sharing your insight about the story! I am smiling how you realised that neither of the girls were ‘each one none the wiser’! That first day of university is life-transforming, and yes so choatic and in those moments critical and key actions are made, friendships formed. As the girls are arriving at a new place, meeting each other for the first time, so is the reader and I think this is always an effective technique in writing. Your words mean a lot to me and it’s great you enjoyed this so much.

      We are all doing much better and hope you are keeping safe and well! 😀

      1. I actually really like that thought for writing – the characters meeting each other for the first time, and so is the reader meeting them and the story for the first time. I’ll keep this writing technique in mind. Thank you so much 😊

    1. Awww … LaShelle, that’s fantastic and welcome to my blog! It’s so lovely to have you as a new reader and so glad you enjoyed this piece! I look forward to popping over to your site.

  3. Dear Annika, I have been waiting for quiet moments around here to relish your words and you never disappoint. ❤️

    Ooooh, goosebumps reading your first sentence. An intriguing phrase “tranquil awe was infectious.” A great deal of personality and essence depicted before any words are spoken.

    Your description of Fiona, subtle, ethereal, “fey,” intriguing… what will this waif of a girl become…what will be her story?

    And of course, the observant, keenly aware, sensitive Gail.

    A story filled with infinite possibilities. I look forward to reading more! Much love and hugs in your direction, Annika, and I hope you and loved ones are feeling better. xx ❤️

    1. Erica, I’m smiling how you wait for a quiet moment to read this in peace and absorb the story so far! Thank you so much for your wonderful and thoughtful comment. I feel as if you were there and you capture the characters perfectly! That gives me goosebumps! Oh, Fiona has already had one incredible childhood whilst one feels that Gail has had quite a comfortable life … but perhaps not for much longer?!

      Thank you so much for your love & hugs ..I can feel them! Hugs xx ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Debby and it’s great that you enjoyed the start of the story & my writing! I look forward to continuing this as I’m brimming with ideas! Wishing you a lovely Sunday, my friend! xx ❤️

    1. Bless! Jacqui, it’s lovely how you remember my writing room and you are right, it is inspiring me in many ways! I feel very lucky indeed! So glad that this has you hooked and wanting more! 😀 Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend of celebrations!

    1. Thank you so much, Carol and glad it brought back memories for you. That moment of arrival of thousands of students upon a town is one filled with emotions, expectations … a unique and powerful time and one I thought a good place to begin a story! As the characters meet each other so the readers are seamlessly introduced to them as well. Oh yes, there is a lot of drama to come, I fear!

  4. Anonymous

    Annika, I am captivated. Please don’t wait too long for the next installment and where it takes me! So vivid. I was right there hearing but not listening to the taxi driver! Creative and talented writing. oxox

    1. Mary Ann, wow! That is wonderful and your comment about my writing and the story means so much to me! Haha! Probably best to not listen to the taxi driver although mostly unintelligible in the broad Scottish accent. 😀

  5. petespringerauthor

    A great story needs interesting characters, and you have set the table well with Fiona and Gail. It does feel like the beginning of an adventurous friendship.

    1. Pete, it definitely is the very start of an adventurous friendship and one with many twists in it! I love books with engaging, interesting characters and without these I cannot become hooked by a novel … I would love to be able to create something similar!

    1. Laura, I’m smiling away at your comment and indeed I think I was on a writing high with this piece … but a couple of months ago! My brain fog is slowly clearing but not up to this yet! So glad you enjoyed the start of this story and one I hope to take much further! Wishing you a lovely creative and musical weekend!

  6. I love the way you have built the setting Annika, making the story sound so real. Your rich style of writing with a touch of fascination promise that the next installment would be wonderful!

  7. I can see the sights and hear the sound, Annika. The double door, 3,500 students, the angry texi driver, The pleasant meeting of Fiona the Fey and Gail. What a rich and vivid writing. I was drawn to St. Andrew because my daughter went to summer school there.
    I missed what you’re recovering from and what caused the fatigue.
    I look forward to your next installment, Annika. 😍💖

    1. Miriam, how wonderful that your daughter went to summer school in St Andrews … and definitely the best time of year to be in the town. The winter wind and rain can be relentless. Did you get a chance to look around the town and area yourself? I hope your daughter had a great time!

      It’s wonderful your are drawn in by my writing and find richness within it … this means a lot to me and I’m taking this to heart. I love it when books paint a vivid image of the setting and characters and wanted to recreate this – so glad I seem to achieved this here.

      My previous post was a poem to my mother … we were all positive with the dreaded Covid after two years plus of avoiding it. After three weeks this morning I felt a first glimmer of improvement. Treasuring each and every day! Xx ❤️

      1. My daughter went to summer school at St. Andrews, the summer before Prince Williams went there. My daughter said the girls were excited and giggling, talking about the Prince. They had field trips on the weekends. She went to Scotland to visit the castles. I 🐕didn’t go with her but I always want to see the castles. I may do that someday.

        I always enjoy your writing, Annika. When you write about your walk, I feel like being there walking with you.

        Sorry about the Covid. I hope you’re getting better and better every day. One person in my writing group just got it. She can’t use her fingers to type on the laptop or text on the phone. The coordinator of our group said she can talk, do calling her is okay.

        I heard that the new variant spreads fast but it’s mild. I didn’t know people can get very sick.

        Take care and I hope you didn’t get the “long haul” Covid and you can fully recover. 💖😍

    1. Exactly, Jan! I love books about friendships, the ‘kindred spirits’ of Anne of Green Gables … yet this friendship I fear will lead to much darker depths! Thank you for your lovely comment and interest!

  8. I read this this morning before going out and simply didn’t have time to comment, Annika. I feel well overdue for one of your stories and this has lots of promise. The exuberance of youth and St. Andrews – a place I’ve never been. That has to be a winning combination 🤗💗

    1. Jo, your comment has me beaming away as you felt ‘well overdue for one’ of my stories! I’m glad you can see this as a wining combination. Before starting it I thought a lot about the books I like, the characters and setting and came up with this piece!

      Oh, I am sure you would love St. Andrews and could just imagine one of your walks there, the beaches, history, buildings, university and LOTS of cafes for cake breaks! 😀❤️

    1. Exactly, Audrey! This has been incubating for a long while, Fiona has lived within me and it is fantastic to start creating the story. So many ideas … I must give them room to develop but not be led too astray by them all. I read a series of wonderful books and made notes what I liked about them and after the character and story the setting was often key. I settled on St. Andrews as it is a heavenly dreamy location but one where there can be a lot of hidden darkness, I feel.

  9. Oooh, Annika. I was mesmerized by both of the young women. By Gail’s kindness and Fiona’s unusual appearance and nature. What a friendship and what a story this will be. Thanks for sharing and Happy Writing. I hope you’re all feeling well and getting back into the swing of things. ❤ ❤

    1. Diana, your comment means so much to me and wow, to see that you are mesmerised by Fiona and Gail is terrific. They will form a unique and unusual friendship at a pivotal moment in their lives but as with all good stories nothing is quite what it seems … I imagine darkness in this place of unrivalled beauty. I wrote this a couple of months ago and I’m brimming with ideas. Currently still extremely fatigued and even the smallest errand leaves me breathless … slowly but surely onwards and upwards, I tell myself. ❤️

      1. I’ve heard that the fatigue is the worst part, and though recovery seems to be slow, it comes. I’m glad you have the energy for musing over a new story! That’s wonderful and I always look forward to whatever you write. 🙂

    1. Brad, I’m smiling at the thought of Fiona & Gail already having the start of their own fan club! 😀 Very exciting! I love that this has caught your imagination and are eager to read more about their lives … I best get writing more! 😀

  10. Oh my! Like Fiona the Fey— thank you. Thank you for this intro. It’s phenomenal. Wow. Can’t wait to read more.
    Are you feeling better now, Annika? I bet! This didn’t come from someone who’s under the weather. Keep going. Amazing stuff. Xoxo

    1. Selma, I’m beaming away and happy you are taken with Fiona and her story! Haha! Wish I could write like this at the moment! This is from a couple of months ago; as it is my brain is having problem working through the fatigue – I even managed to publish the post initially without a title! I really hope to keep going with this and have lots of ideas! xx

  11. Oh my, YES!! I’m hooked already. Fiona the Fey and Gail the Compassionate One. This is going to be a great tale, Annika. Keep hooking us, PLEASE. Happy June 30. A special day in my world (our anniversary). To love love love around the world. ❤

    1. Yeah! I love that Gail has also gained a title and yet, I fear that compassion may be the cause of much of her suffering. It will be fun to explore this unique friendship at such a pivotal moment in their lives.

      Awww … Happy Anniversary to you both!! ❤️ 🥂💐 I hope you’re having a very special day. It is our wedding anniversary tomorrow. Oh yes, the world needs the love! hugs xx

    1. Bernadette, it’s an idea that’s been floating in my mind for a few years and Fiona always keeps coming back to me. It’s strange because she’s gradually developed within me. She has not had an easy life and although it seems that at last she has found happiness I fear dark days lay ahead!

    1. Oohh … I love that you found this tantilising – words every writer dreams of hearing. Thank you so much!

      Anne, my thoughts are with you at this difficult time and I am so sorry for your loss. hugs xx

  12. Janet Gogertyy

    Fiona is my daughter’s name, though she would more firm the Gail character! I have only been to St. Andrew’s for a one day visit, but it was graduation day so the town was abuzz. One day is enough to picture a place and I look forward to hearing how they get on in this wonderful location. G

    1. Ah, Fiona is a beautiful name and the one here is very much of my imagination! How lovely that you were in St. Andrews on graduation day – I bet there was excited mayhem in the town and lots of proud parents! It is an idyllic location, unrivalled beauty yet I hope to weave some darkness into the story as it unfolds.

  13. Ahh.., Annika, what a wondrous piece of writing. I feel I am there, see it all.
    Feel the awe mixed with worry. All so much new, another world to live and work.
    The two girls finding each other, so different and yet, both with warm hearts.
    The buildings and setting come so alive with your deft writing. I can feel the smell from the sea and the the dangerous old windows that many old houses had
    and maybe have.
    Please, write a novel about their lives, I ended up feeling it just can’t end here, please. 🤗.


    1. Miriam, wow! I feel your joy and excitement at reading about Fiona & Gail tumbling out of you and that means so much to me! I’m beaming away with your exhuberance. You are right, I am thinking this would only work at full novel length and with all my ideas and images I would need that to fully develop the story. I love that I brought the characters alive as well as the setting. The latter is so important and in the midst of the captivating beauty of the beaches, the old stone buildings there is an undercurrent of darkness. So far warm light days of early friendship … which direction will this take? Thank you for your terrific comment and your great words about my writing – a real boost! Happy Writing, my friend! xx

  14. Yes, I like it and Fiona the Fey seems to suggest something otherworldly. Some mysteries to be unravelled too and why she stayed in Scotland. If you have dual narrative all will be revealed about Fiona. Just wondering. Some lovely description showing the first time she sees Fiona.

    1. Georgina, my next chapter is from Fiona’s POV and you are spot-on about her otherworldliness and the misery this has caused her until now. I take your point that a dual narrative could reveal too much about Fiona but I have read a few books where the character not only holds back from the reader to a certain extent but also from him/herself as they only see / reveal the reality as they see it. (Hope this makes sense.) It will be fun to experiment and see what works best. I’m so glad you enjoyed the descriptions and tale so far!

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