The jigsaw puzzle, a short story by Templar_uk. Date added: 2007-04-22. Times viewed: 3216.
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- Intro: On a quiet night in what could be safer than a jigsaw puzzle?
- Irene Mason stepped slowly out of the still warm waters and reached for her towelling bathrobe. Although she missed him, she quite enjoyed the times when Derek had to stay out over night on business, it gave her a chance to properly relax and not have to worry about making his dinner or fussing over him as usual.
Turning off the bathroom light, she padded along the landing in her bare feet and made her way down the stairs. She paused in the kitchen for a second before deciding that a cool glass of chardonnay was preferable to a cup of tea. Large, full glass in hand she sauntered into the lounge and reached for the TV remote. American rubbish and monotonous make over programmes were all that seemed to be on offer, and they really weren't Irene's cup tea at all.
She pressed the off button and sat in silence for a minute, wondering how she could while away the hours before it was time for bed. Three sips of wine later and she remembered the boot sale that they had gone to several weekends ago. On an otherwise uninteresting stall she had found a Tupperware tub filled with jigsaw pieces, the man behind the counter assured her that all the pieces were there, just that the box had been damaged. Irene loved her jigsaws, and one that presented the challenge of having no picture to follow was like a red rag to a bull. She had handed over her shiny new one-pound coin and taken her purchase.
Gathering her pale pink robe about her, she went out into the hallway and opened the cupboard under the stairs. There, in an old Sainburys bag, was the tub. She smiled at herself; she was going to enjoy this.
Settling herself before the coffee table in the lounge she cleared a large area and tipped the pieces out. She had a method that she always used, she sifted through the pile and located the four corner pieces, then scanned the rest for the straight edges, it was a fail-safe way to start.
After twenty minutes Irene had the edges laid out before her and things were beginning to take shape, but there was a problem, the jigsaw appeared to be too large for the coffee table. Slowly and carefully Irene scooped up the already joined sections and carried them to the dining room and placed them in the shiny tabletop. Although it was still bright outside she switched on the overhead light so that she could see more clearly. Wine in hand and mind focused she set about her mammoth task with glee.
Seconds and minutes passed. The edges slipped into place comfortably revealing nothing of the picture as far as she could tell. Little sections of the inner pattern were slotted together wherever she could see a colour match, some pale blue here, and a warm brown there. A large section of the picture seemed to be made up of darkish blue and black, which was proving to be quite tricky.
After an hour Irene took a short break, a quick trip to the toilet and a short stopover in the kitchen to refill her glass and she was back at the table. She stood back a little to try and get an over view of the slowly forming picture. Something in the back of her mind told her that she recognised elements of it, but the final design just would not come to mind.
As the sun slowly slipped beneath the horizon Irene Mason toiled ever onward, determined that this conundrum would not get the better of her. Darkness filled the garden outside the sliding patio doors but she hardly noticed, the sole focus of her attention right then was the pale blue section of the picture, a blue that was similar to the curtains now hanging loosely just behind her. A niggling voice broke through her mind, that blue was the same as the blue of her curtains. She paused, looked at it for a second, and then turned to examine the curtains. So it was, what a coincidence. Irene smiled, shrugged, drained the last of her second glass of chardonnay and delved back into the puzzle.
Another half an hour passed, the blue sections seemed finished, so she then attacked the deep, warm brown. It looked like polished wood...the same sort of polished wood that she now rested her hands upon. A feeling of uneasiness crept up her spine and she paused. Surely it was just a coincidence. Another coincidence. Her mouth felt suddenly dry so she reached for the wine glass, bring it to her lips only to find that it was empty. With her hand slightly shaking she moved away from the table and went into the kitchen once again.
She let the cold water tap run as she filled her glass and drained it in once smooth motion. Filling the glass once more she made her way back to the dining room. She stood in the doorway and looked at the table. She began to bring to glass up once more and then suddenly froze. This was the picture, or at least this was the angle that the picture was looking from, but how could that be! Derek had only recently finished decorating the dining room; no one had been there to take a picture of it.
She placed the glass down on the side and went back to the jigsaw. Working from the edges in, she quickly built up the image. She new exactly what colours went where, because she had chosen them herself not two months before. Her heart was beginning to beat faster as she filled in the gaps; the curtains, the table, the plants on the sideboard, the picture on the far wall, everything exactly as it was!
Her hand went into the pile of pieces and, taking one, she looked at it expecting to find more of the room's dÃ©cor. She swallowed hard as she saw that the piece in her hand had a section of pink colouring, the same pink colouring as her bathrobe. Sifting through the jumble she selected all the pink pieces and worked them into the picture. She has known what she would see, but it still came as a shock as she looked down to see herself bent over the table assembling the jigsaw.
Her heart now thumped in her chest, the pounding of the blood ringing in her ears as her hands seemed to work independently, snapping the remaining pieces of the picture into place. The rest of the table, even the half empty glass of water sitting on the side was there in the picture, incredible! The dark blue, and black areas of the picture made up the night outside her patio windows that stood behind her. The last piece clicked into place and she stood wide-eyed surveying the finished puzzle. It was only after staring at the finished picture for several seconds that she noticed a dark figure standing outside her patio window, it's pale face watching her. The hair stood up on the back of her neck and she straightened at the sound of the patio doors slowly sliding open. She screamed...
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