Rachel West – Character Sketch

A short sketch of a couple of characters in my current project “The West Wind.”


Rachel West leaned forward on her stool watching through the broad store window as rich coaches clattered by on the cobblestones.  The occasional passerby hurried past with scarves and collars held tightly against the wind.  The activity on the street stood in stark contrast to the emptiness of the clock shop.

The early fall chill seeping through the poorly glazed windows was barely being held in check by the heat from a small stove.  The smell of the anthracite coal would always remind her of the hours she spent learning the craft of watch making from Hamilton.

The ticking of the hundreds of clocks lining the walls filled the shop with sound; each clock a distinct voice in the small crowded shop.  Twice a day Rachel would make the rounds winding each clock with great care.  It was a solemn ritual that Hamilton had conducted with great pride.  With Hamilton gone, Rachel wondered why she still kept this vigil.  Perhaps it would be better to let them run down.  It certainly would be quieter.

Rachel turned and watched Clarence completing his chores in the workshop behind the store.

“I finished sweeping Rachel.  I also straightened up the tools just the way Papa and you like.”  Clarence smiled brightly at her.  “I am really good at that.”

“Yes you are Clarence.”  It was strained, but she couldn’t help but smile at Clarence’s sunny mood.  Rachel doubted the tools needed his attention.  They had not been used in the weeks since Hamilton had passed away.

“I am hungry.  Is it time to close the shop?” Clarence asked.

Rachel looked at the clocks on the walls, then at the empty store.

“Yes Clarence” she said.  “It is time to close the shop.”

More to come…

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