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THE IRRESISTIBLE WEB

Set in the 70s – 80s, we meet Charlotte, a young wife and mother of three young children. After the tragic loss of her toddler son, when Charlotte is drowning in her grief, her sister encourages her to take a part-time job at a small esoteric bookshop close to home.  

It is here that she meets a young ‘hippie’ yoga instructor, known as Anu, and they gradually enter into a relationship. When Anu commits suicide, Charlotte seeks answers, and following some clues, meets a fascinating old man. Attending his esoteric group, she is soon swept into a bizarre manipulative cult led by an extremely charismatic ‘teacher’. Subtle brainwashing occurs, and Charlotte is not alone.

Full of intrigue and questioning, the story gradually brings the pieces of the ‘jigsaw’ together, and Charlotte manages to survive to tell her tale.

In Store Price: $23.95 
Online Price:   $22.95

ISBN: 978-1-921731-13-6   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:141
Genre: Fiction
 

Cover: Clive Dalkins


 

Author: Lynn Richards
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English

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About the Author 

Lynn Richards has been passionate about Yoga and Esoteric Studies for most of her adult life. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in the outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 

Her interests include singing, creative dance, reading, writing and designing mandalas for adults and children.  

The Irresistible Web is her first work of fiction.

Preface  

There are two webs that Mother Nature reveals to us; and there are many of us that don’t see the relevance to our lives.

Some have to actually enter deep into the webs to understand exactly what is being revealed. 

Firstly, there is the web spun by the fat caterpillar, when it has finished chomping its way through as many leaves as it can possibly devour. Instinctively this rather lovable greedy creature knows when it is time to stop eating, and become deliriously still so that it can start spinning the finest, shiniest threads gently around its body. So many threads in fact that it creates a cocoon, in which the caterpillar allows itself to respond to perfect stillness, and wait patiently for an amazing transformation to take place. And we all know the result of that waiting; the emergence of a very different creature, a creature of the air, a glorious butterfly, opening its wings to sparkle in the light. Its purpose in life is to dance and fly amidst the flowers, as a symbol of love, light, joy, and hope, to all who are prepared to watch for a moment and witness a display of total liberation. 

Secondly, there is that intriguing web that is spun in the darkness of the night by the spider; a creative masterpiece strung from branch to branch, threads slowing stretched and connected into a perfect mandala of beauty. This spider has all the skills of the master sculptor. But this web is built with a very practical reason involved. As day breaks and the crystalline threads shine in the sunlight, the morning dewdrops hang suspended throughout the mandala, adding to its irresistible beauty.

There are those that are so attracted that there is no way that they can turn away. They long to get as close as possible. And then there are those who are just not watching exactly where they are going and they fly straight into it. Either way they get stuck in the veil of beauty, and no matter how they may try to extricate themselves it is impossible to break free again. So eventually they surrender, because perhaps that is exactly where they are meant to be, amidst the beauty, and in awe of the master sculptor who after all is the inspiration. 

And so, under the spell that one has been selected in a sense, the experience becomes a privilege. This is a wondrous opportunity to be in the ‘light’ of such a master; in other words, to worship a higher being. But it is after all just a skilful spider and its innocent little devotee eventually discovers that it is gradually being bound in a silken cocoon. It all seems magical at first, but then how does one break free at that stage? Little by little the spider helps itself, nibbling away at its unsuspecting morsel, devouring its victim and empowering itself with more and more life force.  

One web requires a lot of courage and trust in the unknown, and the other web is there for the needy and the lost.

The question is which one to choose?  

~~

 

 

‘THE IRRESISTIBLE WEB’ ... by Lynn Richards

(1972 – The outer suburbs of Sydney)

 Part sample.

 

Most people just live their lives. It’s always a bit of a roller coaster. Sometimes everything seems just so perfect. There is a deep sense of happiness which is possibly superficial, because when one least expects it, things change quite dramatically. Everything is so bad, so emotionally chaotic, that there doesn’t seem to be even a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. In fact there doesn’t even seem to be any sign of ever finding the end of the tunnel. People in their concern and wisdom, always say ‘Just hang on in there’. ‘You have so much to be thankful for’. ‘You will get through all this’. ‘Consider it this way. Is your cup half full or half empty?’ ‘You can do it. You have so much inner strength’. ‘Perhaps you need a change of scenery’. ‘You need some different interests to get your mind off things’.

 

Charlotte heard all of these words, but they just floated over her and disappeared. People thought they were helping. They assumed that they knew what she was going through. But how could they possibly know? She had only to push the trolley around the supermarket passing other shoppers, and she knew she was the only one in that store who knew what it was like to lose a child.

 

It didn’t matter what anyone said. It didn’t matter how many counselling sessions she attended. Charlotte just didn’t want to come out of her own personal well of despair. How dare they all think that she had to. It was her little boy that had been taken from her, not theirs; and she would never forget him for a second … not ever!  

 

Charlotte was so subjective about her grief that she held back from Barry too. It was an accident. It was no-one’s fault. It was an accident! She could see it in his eyes, just how much he was suffering too, but somehow she didn’t want even her husband’s grief to compare with the magnitude of her own.

If only he had taken the time to wake Christopher before he left that morning. If only he hadn’t gone to work so early. It was always so dark, what with daylight saving. If he had just left a bit later, he would have seen the little toddler running out behind his car to get his goodbye kiss from Daddy.

In a second … a heavy thud … silence … nothing!

Charlotte sensed it. Her heart began to palpitate. Her whole body was shaking. She raced outside to see poor Barry kneeling over the lifeless body of his son. She grabbed the limp little bundle and started frantically trying to do CPR or something like that; stuff she had been shown years ago. She didn’t know whether she was doing it the right way. It just didn’t seem to matter. She sobbed, and choked, and grabbed for air, again and again. The paramedics finally arrived. They tried again and again to resuscitate the little man, but nothing! Nothing! Nothing!

The girls were standing there in their pyjamas, holding each other close. Amelia, with her tousled mop of auburn hair, and delightful freckled nose and cheeks, was wiping all the wetness from her face with the back of her hand. Her other arm was wrapped securely around her younger sister Lucy, whose cute little face was half concealed in Amelia’s armpit. It was a nightmare. Their dear little brother! How spoiled he was! They all knew that! How he could twist everyone in the family around his little finger. Even at three years old he seemed to rule the roost. That ‘roost’ would never be the same again.

Neighbours came running. They were all trying to console, but what could they really do? Charlotte seemed to escape Barry by leaning on anyone else but Barry. And then the phone calls! Who would make the phone calls? One of the neighbours offered, took the little book beside the phone and disappeared. Then Barry’s brother and his wife appeared, followed closely by Charlotte’s parents. Barry’s dad was away up north. He would have to be contacted. The girls had gone back to their room. The kettle was boiling! Someone was making tea for whoever wanted it. It was like a blur of activity that just wouldn’t stop. It just wouldn’t stop!

 

The beautiful funeral service drew just so many people, all the friends and acquaintances that had tiny children too. There is always that empathy when people can’t imagine just how they would cope if it happened to them. Charlotte was oblivious to everything except the little white casket with its shiny brass handles just catching the beam of sunlight that shone down through the leadlight window high in the ceiling of the funeral parlour. A mass of bright yellow daisies mixed with white gerberas, spread out over the little white ‘box’. She felt Barry holding her left hand just so tightly, as if he would fall if he let go. She responded to him by squeezing back, and just hanging on. She visualised her little angel floating amidst the soft white satin lining … his freckled nose, his bright blue eyes always wide with wonder, his messy blonde curls which made him look like a little girl, and that cheeky pink grin.  

 

They had argued at first about having a third baby. Charlotte thought that two was enough, and felt completely fulfilled with her two gorgeous girls, but Barry felt that another child would make their family complete. He had a brother and a sister, and somehow that was just how it should be. So Charlotte agreed to him postponing his vasectomy a little longer, and have a third. When her dear little boy was born, she felt something quite different. It was a sense of really knowing this little man, this little Christopher Lee, her “Chrissy”. It was as if in another dimension of being, mother and son had somehow already connected. It was as if she had found a part of her that had always somehow been missing.  And to think that she had questioned having this perfect little baby.

And the look on Barry’s face! He had a son. Not that he didn’t love his girls. They were the light of his life. But to have a son, is to have a friend too. Lucy was four when Christopher was born, and Amelia was six. The two girls were already squabbling over their little brother, and that squabbling seemed never to cease. Chrissy brought sunshine into everyone’s life, and the little fellow knew it. Now the shutters were closed, the curtains had been pulled down, and the sunshine was no more.

 

Charlotte seemed to carry out the domestic chores as if on remote control. Even putting the shopping away was done as if some section of her mind knew whether the produce went in the fridge or on the pantry shelf. Frisky little Burt was running in and out between her legs, just wanting to play, or at least to be noticed with a Schmacko or two. She was starting to lose her patience with him. One of these days he would trip her up, and she really didn’t care. Perhaps if she could trip up and fall headlong onto the floor, she could just cry and cry and cry.

 

Barry had arrived home with the golden retriever puppy about 8 weeks ago. It was difficult to know what his motive was, but one thing was for sure, the girls were besotted with the little bundle of wriggling fluff they called Burt. He was slowly having his effect on Charlotte too, even though she would never admit it to anyone. Sometimes when she was on her own, she would just hold him on her lap, so close that she could feel his warmth deep inside her, and tap into his heartbeat. She remembered just how besotted Chrissy was about all kinds of dogs. When he was first learning to talk, he would say, “Pup-pup! Woof-woof!” He was always pulling out the doggie books from the little toddlers’ ‘library’ in his room in preference to any other stories. His favourite was Hairy McClary and friends.

 

Burt ran so fast to the front door, almost sliding on his fat little belly, in response to the car that just pulled up in the driveway.

It was Nancy. Charlotte was a bit surprised to see her older sister at this time of the day, mid afternoon. Why wasn’t she at work? Nancy bounded in through the back door, saying, “Don’t stop what you’re doing darling, it’s just me! I’ll put the kettle on. I’ve got stuff to tell you.”

 

It was all of four weeks since Charlotte had seen or talked with her sister. Everyone knew that Nance (as she was called by close family) had been dating a rather suave business man, quite a number of years older than herself. Since her first marriage broke up a couple of years ago, she had plummeted back into her career as a fashion designer, and had met the very corporate, handsome, and obviously successful Gerry (Gerald officially) at some up market fashion magazine promotion.

“I’ve just given notice, Charls. Gerry has gotten himself involved in an executive position with ‘Catwalk’ in New York. He’s asked me to go with him. He wants us to be a couple. Isn’t it exciting?”

Charlotte smiled rather weakly over the rim of her mug.

It always seemed that her sister was a hard act to follow, but then she hadn’t ever been blessed with children, and she would never know the joy of being a mother, or the deep, deep sense of loss, when a child is taken out of your life.

“I’m not going for four weeks though, Charls; and before I go I truly want to help you to get sorted. You know just how much I love you … all of you … and I can’t go off into the abyss, without knowing that you will be okay. Please don’t get me wrong, darling, but it’s time. We need to get into Chrissy’s room and sort it out. We’ll do it together. I know it is really sad, but I’m here for you, every step of the way.”

 

“We can tizzy it up; all pink and pretty for Lucy. I heard the girls squabbling the other day when I was around. There just doesn’t seem to be enough space in their room for all their stuff. And I’m sure you and Barry will agree that they both need their own space. I really want to help.”

Nancy got up from her seat at the table and embraced her sister who was quietly beginning to sob into the empty mug.

Eventually the sobbing turned into a torrent of emotion, and the two sisters clung to each other, neither wanting to be free of that sense of belonging that only sisters could know. “I don’t know how I can do it, Nance. I just don’t know how to begin,” Charlotte whispered amidst the tears.  

“I’ll be with you every step of the way,” replied her sister, her rock.

 

Nancy had always been the zany, creative aunt, and the children loved her visits, even though they were probably not often enough. But when she arrived she would be greeted with big bear hugs, and there would always be brand new colouring and puzzle books hidden behind her back. Then it was out with the coloured pencils, and they would all colour together until bedtime.

So it wasn’t the least bit surprising the next morning when Nancy arrived carrying two large cardboard boxes ornately decorated with large childlike illustrations of pirates, steam engines, racing cars, elephants, monkeys and tigers. She told Charlotte to take the girls to school, and she would have everything in Chrissy’s room ready for them when she returned.

There was something very sensitive about the whole project which she really respected, and more than anything she wanted it to be a little bit of closure for her grieving sister.

When Charlotte returned, hot cups of tea were ready, and Nancy suggested that while she started stripping off the little Thomas the Tank Engine motifs from the pale blue walls, Charlotte could take her time packing all the toys into the cardboard boxes, with the idea that they could both deliver them to the children’s hospital the next day. They were aware that Chrissy’s favourite teddy had gone with him, but there was a little Peter Rabbit which Charlotte held so close, and they made the executive decision that it wouldn’t be the end of the world to keep a couple of special toys that could spend the rest of their days in the drawer next to Charlotte and Barry’s bed.

The Thomas the Tank doona cover was taken off, and Nancy gathered up the linen to take it home to launder. It would soon find a loving home that Charlotte wouldn’t need to know about. They had both heard how children’s clothes were so needed in the third world countries, so that too would become Nancy’s department.

They both agreed that with her love of fairies and ballet dancers, Lucy would love a pretty pink room, which would leave Amelia with a mauve space to spread out in. So after a little indulgent lunch at the local coffee shop, and a cappuccino to top it off, they grabbed some cans of pink plastic paint, some basic white enamel and a couple of brand new brushes. While Charlotte collected the girls from school, Nancy got going and by tea-time the room had its first coat of pink. They decided to paint the bed-ends and chest of drawers white. That would be a little more fiddly, but by now Charlotte was feeling like tackling the task.

On the weekend Nancy took Amelia and Lucy off shopping, and they both chose new doona covers and matching linen for their very own bedrooms. In her usual generous fashion, their aunt declared that these were to be her special presents to them, as she wouldn’t get the chance again for a long time. The girls were thrilled. Lucy opted for pale pink with bright pink strawberry fairies dancing everywhere, but Amelia surprised her aunt by choosing a cover of quite abstract harlequin dots of all sizes scattered in a very interesting design. The girls were showing their individuality.

 

The following week with the project coming towards completion, Nancy took the opportunity to blurt out what had been on her mind for quite a few weeks now. “It seems a coincidence, Charls, but a friend of Gerry’s has a little new and second-hand bookshop in Clifton Hills. He seems to be getting known, and his customers are increasing. He said that he would like someone with a love of books and reading to work for a few hours each day, just to keep on top of re-shelving and sorting. It would mean helping customers with their choices too, of course. You would be perfect, Charls, with your love of books; and your secretarial skills will certainly help heaps. What do you think? He seems an awfully nice bloke; a little eccentric maybe. But that can make life interesting. What do you think?”

Charlotte couldn’t hold back a little twisted sort of smile. Her sister! She was certainly a power to be reckoned with. She wasn’t going to just let her dwell in that warm, deep bath of grief and despair that she had created for herself. Then there were more words…

“Truly Charls, little Chrissy would want you to enjoy your life. He wouldn’t want you to, you know, be so sad all the time. I know it must be really awful trying to talk with Barry; and you know he will bury himself in his work. Please do something just for you. Do it for me; and for Chrissy!”

She knew that Nancy meant well. How would she survive when she was in the States? The phone bill will no doubt be exorbitant. It wouldn’t hurt to try, she thought. So the next thing that she knew she was writing down the name of the little bookshop, the phone number of its proprietor, and the address.

She said she would talk to Barry first. She promised her loving sister that she would think about it. They hugged, and even though no words were spoken, they both knew just how important these past few days had been for both of them.

 

When Charlotte approached the subject of getting a part time job, Barry seemed quite ambivalent. Since the accident he had withdrawn so much, and spent a lot more time at work. When he was home, he was always attentive to the needs of the girls, but straight after his evening meal, he would be busy in the study designing or catching up with accounts. Even on the weekend, it seemed that he would spend countless hours detailing the two cars in the garage, with a radio throbbing in the background with what one could only call sound, not music.

As a couple it seemed that their only time of togetherness was when they curled up in their queen-size bed; but there was always a large empty space between their grieving bodies, in which the spirit of little Chrissy seemed to nestle, separating them from what they both truly needed, each other. Barry would rise early to get ‘on the job’, and habitually gave Charlotte a little peck on the cheek as he was about to leave. He did the same with the girls. Life just went on.

 

Nancy had been instrumental in arranging counselling for them both after the accident. Barry only went to one session, and then insisted he wanted to deal with it on his own. Charlotte managed three sessions, but found that she was being directed into many other areas of herself that had nothing to do with losing Chrissy. The thought of dealing with a fourth session was almost unbearable to her, so it didn’t progress from there.

Charlotte picked up the phone and called Mr Alexander Morgan at The Corner Bookshop situated at the entrance to The Main Arcade in Clifton Hills. She had ‘sussed’ it out a few days earlier, and had to admit that it had a rather lovely appeal, and a warmth that came from the presence of so many much sought-after old books, that were now out of print.

Mr Morgan was expecting her call, so they made a convenient time to meet the following day. She liked Alex immediately. He was a very ‘booky’ person, mid-forties she thought, small in build, was wearing brown corduroy trousers, a rather creased fawn check shirt, and a sleeveless sweater which was obviously home knitted, and loved. There were a pair of half spectacles with fine gold rims perched about half way down his nose, and his hair was long and unruly, but tied back like a low pony tail. When he moved he seemed to lean a little to one side with a slight tilt of his head towards Charlotte, which was in fact quite charming and showed a certain level of eccentricity.

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