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‘The Girl On The Tram’

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How it all started

Many years ago, while at school, I wrote a short story. My teacher was so impressed, he suggested that I enter the school writing competition but I didn’t get around to it (story of my life really!) and so the story went untold. Years later, I had another idea in my head and when I finally had a chance to start writing, two things happened. Firstly, I came across a newspaper report from the 1900s, about a tram that crashed in my home town, killing a passenger.

The other thing that happened was when I was researching my family history; upon opening an old metal chest I found a pile of cards sent between family members back in 1900 or so. One of my relatives wrote about her first time on an omnibus; an unusual sight in those days. Her name was Carrie and a story started to form itself in my head.

The Girl On The Tram was born, and the heroine had to be Carrie of course …

Extracts from the first draft

The crash

He looks up, dazed. ‘The tram. It ran down the hill and crashed into the railings. The horses have bolted,’ he says, pointing behind me with a bloodied hand. ‘Nobody could have survived that, miss.’

Feeling dizzy, every bone and muscle in my body aching, I turn and see one of the city’s trams on its side, the horse harness lying tangled in the road.

The Detective

He adjusted the collar of his new suit. The sleeves were too long and the collar stiff.

Wearing civilian clothing instead of the regulation uniform might be one of the requirements of being a ‘detective’, but he felt like a fish out of water.

A fat lot of good this new qualification will do in sleepy Devon, he thought to himself.

Carrie

I look at the dried blood on my hands. I realise it’s not my own.

I think of poor Rose, lying in the street, covered by my bloodied shawl. I inspect my face in the mirror. Across my chin is a streak of mud and grit. I look dreadfully tired.

Come on, Carrie. Focus, says the voice. The game is afoot. Yes, Holmes, it most certainly is.

Words, they are just words. But my, what a way they read.

Anon