Thunder muffles the sound of iron hitting glass. The two women breathe sighs of relief. Saved by Mother Nature herself. More glass breaks away and then they squeeze through the now bare window and land on the other side. The forbidden side. Gertrude and Lilian are drenched after hiding outside in the rain for hours. Stealth and rain seem to go together, but it makes for an uncomfortable time. More thunder. More rain. More wind whipping the building as if it would pick it up, women included, and turn it about. But turning the building about was their job, not the wind’s. The two women peer into the darkness and see flowers. Orchids to be precise, rows and rows of orchids. They are special orchids, precious orchids, and they are the prey.
It begins with one pot. Picked up and smashed to the floor. And then it trickles down the line. Planters thrown off their steady shelves, orchids crushed under foot, under pot, under the strength of their long, thin iron rods. Stems snap, petals rip, and soil scatters. Mass destruction of flowers.
Suddenly a large crack of lightning comes and thunder follows immediately. Lilian takes the opportunity to smash the glass wall of the greenhouse. Her iron rod reverberates the power in her arms and brings the wall to its knees before her. Gertrude joins in on the wall-smashing, and they send blessings to the grey tormenting skies above for the cover of the storm.
Finally, standing back as rain blows in through the torn-down walls, the women see what they have done. Dirt, glass shards, and pieces of clay pots litter the floor. And flowers, broken flowers, paint the picture of chaos around them. Their hands, used to sewing, writing letters to friends, and smoothing back children’s hair, are covered in dirt and their own blood. Their hands will never again be delicate things to be covered in lace gloves or to hold a fan to their faces. Their hands are now the hands of ruin, soldiers’ hands, strong hands, women’s hands.
About the book
Author: L. Davis Munro
Genre: Historical Fiction
Being an independent woman in 1913 London is certainly empowering, but Emmy Nation is tired of the inescapable damp seeping through her worn shoes and the hopeless grumblings of her stomach.
When she receives an offer from Scotland Yard to boost her typist income by spying on the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmy jumps at the chance. But as she grows closer to the WSPU women the lines begin to blur, and when a painful part of her past resurfaces Emmy begins to question her choices.
How far are you willing to go to secure your equality?