REVIEW - The Little Dove
by Linda Guest

Reviewed by: Michelle Medhat

The Little Dove

Daniel’s Story

My name is Daniel.  Today is my birthday!  Yep, 18 again, depending on my audience.  Some days it’s 28, 38 or even 58, it all depends.  Sometimes I’m British, sometimes American and occasionally Australian, it all depends.  Sometimes I’m male and sometimes female, occasionally non gendered.  About that birthday, as I don’t want to start off on a bad footing with you, dear reader, my birthday can be any day of the year, it all depends. My name changes too.  I have a folder on my laptop to keep things straight.  One day I’m a doctor, another a general or CEO of a multi-national company. But I am always wealthy, always charming and always single.  I love this game.  Today feels like a good day, today feels like a productive and lucrative day, so I start it with a smile and a great big glass of freshly squeezed orange juice before opening the windows to let in the sunshine and bird song then I sit down in my favourite chair and turn on the laptop.  Humming a little tune that has ear wormed it’s way into my head, I wait patiently for the Wi-Fi to connect and there I am!  Connected to the world.  My email box is full of people who would love to chat with me, messenger has gone mad during the night.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  I settle down to my work.  A quick reply here, a longer reply there.  I’ve been doing this for so long now it’s effortless, I no longer have to think about what to write or say, I have backup files to remind me who is whom and I’m able to recall names of loved ones, work details and personal information about all of the friends I have made around the world.  The big question that I ask every morning is who will be funding my lifestyle today?  Who is the lucky person who will be contributing to my personal pension currently standing just short of a million?  I have always maintained I would retire once the magic million marker was reached but, and it’s a big but, I’m not sure that being without my work would make me happy and I am making other people happy too – at least for a while…


Stokrotka’s story

My name is Stokrotka.  I was born in Poland and came to England as a small child when my wonderful, kind Polish parents were killed in an accident and so I came to live with an aunty who inherited my parent’s estates and looked after my trust funds.  Sadly, these proved to be worthless and I inherited nothing when she died.  After the birth of my own children, I was very happy living in a small flat in London with my husband but then he went away and I was left alone with two little ones.  Eventually they left too and then I was totally alone. Everything is so expensive in London.  I have a little bedsit, big enough for one, but I’ve been so lonely.  However, No longer!  I have joined a dating website and I have met the most amazing man online.  He is in the American forces and his photo shows he is a distinguished looking man.  He is a General, General Mark Falk.  His name sends a shiver of delight down my spine.  I’m sure he has done heroic things but he is modest and says he is just happy to serve his country.  He is tall, handsome and has a winning smile, I’ve only seen a photograph as his laptop cam has broken but he looks very distinguished.   It was love at first sight and he says the same!  I can see so much happiness in my future now.  I have some little jobs that pay my way but I have few savings.  I’ve cooked, cleaned, worked in shops and bars, served in cafes and petrol stations but my American love is rich and has described his amazing home, high profile job and three cars to me!  Can you imagine?  He is coming to London on business at the end of the year!  I hope to meet him very soon. 

Over the last two months, since we found each other on the 10th June, I have learned so much about my General.  He is a romantic man and calls me his Little Dove.  At 38 he is a little younger than I am but I have told a small lie and said I am 36.  Actually, I am a decade older than this, but still look good for my age.  If the subject arises when we meet, I shall say it must have been a typing error.  Hehe.  I think he will forgive me as we are so much in love.  He loves everything about me!  Imagine that!  He says my name is poetry and my photo is kept close to his heart.  The photo I sent him is many years old and my hair is different, my face is younger and I have sunglasses on.  It was taken on the beach in Brighton and I like it, it shows my best traits, I think.  My small waist and blemish free legs.  I keep his photo on my bedside table and kiss it every night before I go to sleep.  I no longer notice the dingy curtains and tired furnishings in my bedsit.  He has become my sun and moon.  Even when I am doing my mundane jobs and saying ‘yes sir, no sir (three bags full sir) to my employers, I am dreaming of a time when they will be saying ‘yes madam’ to me.  The big news is General Mark has proposed to me!  I can barely believe it but he says he can’t live without me in his life and he will be coming to fetch me very soon now.  I’m so excited.

Daniel’s story

It’s been a busy morning, so many people to answer, so many promises to make, I must admit I enjoy the romance of it all.  It’s a false romance but it still makes me happy to read that there are people out there that love me. Today, I had a chance encounter in real life and I find I am still thinking about it, even though I am eating a delicious evening meal in a local Italian restaurant, it’s a hot August night and the moon is out, I am thinking how much more I would enjoy this if I was sharing it with Daisy. Yes, she has a beautiful name, I introduced myself as Danny from number 202 and she smiled her sweet smile and told me her name.  I was just on my way out of the building and she was already in the lift.  I held the door for her to leave first, I was bought up to be polite, and our eyes met.  It was that easy.  It would be madness to get involved with someone while I have so many other things going on in my working life but still my thoughts turn to the lovely lady in the lift in my apartment block.  She lives in the block, I think, as I often see her from a distance, but today when we spoke briefly and our eyes met as they say, I felt a spark pass between us.  No, I need to stop this.  It’s madness.

Stokrotka’s story

I rushed home from work and, even before I had removed my coat, I turned on the computer.  I was anxious to see if I had a message from the General.  I had!  So exciting.  I sat down to read the text message and my heart sank.  He had bad news.  His trust fund had been impounded and he needed to raise some money for a lawyer in order to get it back.  His aunty was contesting his parent’s will and he no longer had access to any funds so he won’t be able to visit me unless he can sort it out.  This wonderful man needed help and I had to find a way to aid him.  I had always suspected that my Aunty had spent my inheritance and it looks like his Aunty was intent on doing the same. I sent a quick message back.  ‘To General Mark Falk.  Try not to worry.  We will find a way to be together, Love you always’.  Now I need a plan….


Daniel’s story

I’ve worked out that Daisy leaves the building each evening about 6 so I plan my excursions around this time, hoping to see her and exchange a few words. She lives in the penthouse suite!  This is an added bonus as my own modest 2nd floor apartment is a quarter of the size and still costs an arm and a leg.  She must be very wealthy.  I’m starting to think this is an ideal retirement plan for me.  A beautiful lady who has money.  I’m finding myself daydreaming when I should be working, her hair is so black and shiny, she wears it long and natural, her skin is alabaster and her dark eyes sparkle.  She has the voice of an angel and a trim, tidy figure.  I’m smitten, cupids’ arrow has found a target, straight into my heart.

My work is starting to take a back seat for the first time in over a decade.  I made a bad mistake today and called someone by the wrong name.  I never do this.  My thoughts keep returning to Daisy.  Yesterday was such a good evening.  I timed it just right and Daisy was in the lift when I joined her. 

‘Going down?’  I enquired with an amused expression.  Daisy laughed, a sweet, musical sound.  As we got out, she suddenly looked worried and started going through her handbag.  Her keys (yes, they are for the penthouse) fell on the floor and I quickly picked them up and offered them to her.

‘Everything ok’?  I asked.

‘Erm, no, I seem to have forgotten to pick up my purse and I was going to get something to eat’, She gave me a shy smile and my heart melted.  It was easy from there to offer to buy her some dinner and we soon found ourselves in my favourite Italian, eating spaghetti and drinking ice cold orange juice.  I was thrilled to find out that, like myself, Daisy doesn’t drink caffeine or alcohol but she prefers sparkling water.  We chatted for four hours and it passed in a moment.  She is so interested in everything about me and so interesting in her views of the world.  We touched on every subject under the sun and around midnight, I noticed we were the only people left in the restaurant.  I apologised to, the owner, and gathered up our coats.  We walked back to our apartments in companionable silence, her delicate hand in mine. 

‘Listen’, she said, stopping suddenly.  The moon shone and the trees in the nearby gardens rustled softly, I turned and looked at her quizzically and then I heard it, the hooting call of an owl in the nearby trees.  A magical sound, a magical moment, I gently pulled her towards me and kissed her soft lips.  When I got out of the lift, I gently took her hand  in mine, she followed me and spent the night with me. The magic continued into the night.   The next morning, I watched her from my apartment door, as she caught the lift back up to her penthouse.

We soon fell into a pattern.  I would work during the day, persuading the lost and lonely to part with their cash for empty promises and, let’s be honest here, lies.  I would make sure everything from my working life was hidden and tidy before Daisy arrived and we would spend beautiful evenings together and passionate exciting nights.

She never invited me into her world but then I never really invited her into mine either.  We were just Daisy and Danny.  A perfect pair of lovebirds together.

The subject of money was only ever mentioned once during that heady month we had together.  We were watching TV, entwined together on the sofa, the windows were wide open and the late August night blew a gentle, warm breeze on our bare skin.  The alarm on my laptop beeped and I realised I had forgotten to disable it.  All of my ‘work’ went through the laptop, nothing was ever on my phone or other devices.  It was my office desk.  Daisy looked at me enquiringly.

‘Oh, it’s just work’.  I said lazily, ‘I will sort it out tomorrow’.

‘What do you do’? Daisy turned in my arms and looked into my face.’ I expect it’s something important’. She gave me her shy smile.

‘I’m in finance, that’s how I can work from home all day, I talk to people about their money and they pay me for the privilege’, I nearly laughed out loud at my own description.

Daisy seemed content with this answer and snuggled back into my embrace.


Strokrotka’s story

The next day and darling Mark’s situation had deteriorated overnight.  His bank accounts had been impounded. His house is closed to him and his cars are taken away!  He is living in his friend’s house, ‘sofa surfing’ they call it in America, he told me.  He had to explain this to me and I am horrified that a man such as he has to resort to living on the charity of his friends.   His Aunty was accusing him of spending some of his parent’s money!  American rules are so different from those in the UK.  He didn’t even have the money to pay his internet bill and telephone so he would lose his access at the end of the week.  I was heartbroken at the thought of not being able to hear his voice and read his romantic comments.  He is my true love and he feels the same as I.  We are meant to be together.  He is a proud man and would never ask me for money so I asked him how much I could send to help him.  He is a gentleman and, at first, refused my offer of help.  He was overwhelmed by my generosity and said he could hardly type he was so moved that tears were in his eyes.  I sent him all my savings; £500.  I didn’t want him to worry about me, so I said this was just pocket money to me, even though it was all I had in the world.  He was so grateful and says it will only be weeks before he can pay me back. He is such a lovely man.



Daniels story

The day began and was an ordinary day.  Daisy went home. This was now a routine.  I couldn’t work while Daisy was there and she seemed happy to go and have her own time in her own apartment.   I went online, sent a few texts and chat messages, doesn’t pay to ignore people for too long.  I had a bit of a break through and money was put in my account. £500, not a lot but thank you, it will definitely be useful.   I ate toast and drank orange juice for breakfast then I went to the park for a bit of fresh air.  This is when life surprised me.  I saw Daisy there.  She was walking across the park towards the building.  I didn’t know where she had been.  I called her but she didn’t hear me and by the time I had caught up she was in the lift and gone. 

I sent a text to Daisy and she said she would bring some supper later as she was busy.  She arrived just after 6 with a gorgeous feast of pasta and sauce with salad and garlic bread, sparkling water and freshly squeezed orange juice to drink and a lemon posset for dessert.  Delicious.  We went to bed and I slept like a baby.

Daisy’s story

My name is Daisy and, for the last month, I have been living a lie.  I met a man in the lift and he liked me.  I demurely dropped my keys and our hands met when he handed them back to me.  I saw his eyes brighten and knew he was mine if I wanted.  Yes, I did want.  Yes, he was exactly what I needed.   He’s a wealthy man, living in a swish apartment block in the centre of the city, not as plush as ‘my’ penthouse but a good address that still costs a lot of money.  Money that I desperately need.  He is an old man, at least 58 I thought then but, as I got to know him, I found out he is older than that.  A pensioner no less.  His thinning, grey hair and rounded belly appalled me but his well stuffed wallet drew me to him. 


Stokrotka’s story

I do have a plan now, hopefully I will have the money Mark needs very soon and he will be able to get his trust fund back, his cars, his house and his life.  He says that as soon as he is sorted out, he will come and fetch me and we will go and live together in his mansion.  It has 8 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms as well as an indoor swimming pool.  I joked that it sounded like a lot of toilets to clean but he sent a laughing face and wrote that he has two maids, a gardener and a chauffeur so I will never need to clean.  Imagine never having to clean rooms and bathrooms ever again.  It’s a fairytale come true and I will make it happen.

My plan required me to be cunning like a fox while appearing as shy as a doe deer.  It requires me to use my charm and appearance to improve my situation.  I will do this for my love.  I will do it for myself.  No longer will I be the little Polish girl, today I will become Mata Hari.  Firstly, I will make myself attractive, I will style my hair, wear my best clothes and smile.  Always smiles and flattery.  I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Dear General Mark, soon we will be together, soon I will have enough money to help you get your life back and I will become a part of it.

Oh no, September brings more bad news!  Mark has been sent to prison!  He is in debtors’ jail and needs money now.  I explained in my email that I nearly have the money to help him but he will have to be patient.  I feel awful knowing how he is suffering and beg him to hold on until I can send it to him. 


Daisy’s story

The sleeping pills were easy to get from my doctor.  I just told him how anxious I was about money, this was not a lie, and he gave me a prescription.  I went to the chemist and quickly hurried across the park, back to work.  The small bottle hidden in my pocket.  That evening it was easy to slip them into the crystal container full of orange juice. After I had a quick shower to wash away the day, I tidied away, making sure to wash up and put away the dishes, glasses and cutlery, he soon became tired, dropping into a deep sleep the minute we got into bed. 

‘Daniel?’  I said softly, He didn’t stir.  Quickly I climbed out of bed and hurried across to his laptop.  My son worked in the IT industry and I had learned a lot about hardware and software before he had left home but most of the information on this laptop was protected by passwords.  Very annoying and I didn’t have time to waste so I decided to wipe the hard drive clean.  This would definitely give me time to carry out my plan.  Next, I picked up Daniel’s phone, I would need it to transfer some money from his bank account into one I had opened a few days earlier on my phone.  It was in Daniel’s name but only I had the details.  I made sure I put everything back exactly as I found it, except for his phone, that went into my pocket, by the time he realised what I had done, it would be too late.  I left a note on the pillow, hoping this would stop him from searching for me for a few days,  then, silently, in the middle of the night, I left the apartment leaving Daniel snoring and fast asleep.

Daniel’s story

I woke late with the sun already streaming into the room, so unusual for me but I felt refreshed and ready for the day.  Daisy had already left and the note on my pillow read: 

‘My life was empty before you, wait for me, we will be together soon.’

How sweet, I thought.  The clock showed the time as 13.34.  I look at it in disbelief.  How could I have slept so long?  It’s afternoon!  I poured myself the end of last night’s left over orange juice from the small, cold jug in the fridge door, where I had put it the night before, ready for this morning and washed it out.  Then I tried to catch up with the day.  I turn on the laptop.  Nothing happens.  Black screen?  Oh no, not today, several of my chickens were due to come to roost today. I needed to be online as soon as possible.  I needed to access my lists, my emails and my what’s app.  Where was my phone?  I searched everywhere, under the bed, down the sides of the sofa.  I don’t know where it could be.  I sat down on the sofa, confused and suddenly very tired. 

Detective Inspector Marlin’s report

On the 23rd November, I entered apartment 202 Thame View, registered to a Mr Daniel Clark at the request of the building concierge who had not seen this tenant for several weeks and the rental had not been paid. The body identified by dental records as Mr Clark was reclined on the couch in the living area.  He had clearly been dead for some time.  This was later confirmed by the pathologist as between 6 weeks and 2 months.  He body was in night attire and a glass was found containing traces of sleeping tablets and orange juice on the table to his left.  The cause of death was found to be an overdose of barbiturates.  A note was discovered in the bedroom that said ‘My life was empty before you, wait for me, we will be together soon’.

Investigations later revealed that Mr Clark had been seen dating a Ms Daisy Bird, a casual cleaner in the employ of the resident of apartment 501. Ms Bird had phoned her employer on 17th September saying she was ill, subsequently her daughter had rung to say Ms Bird had experienced a heart attack and died a few days later. 

I can find no evidence that the death of Mr Clark was of a suspicious nature and I believe that Mr Clark took his own life while grieving for his friend, Ms Bird.

Some anomalies were recorded.  We were unable to find Mr Clark’s mobile phone and his laptop appeared to have been wiped clean.  The inquest concluded that Mr Clark had found the messages and photos of Ms Bird too painful to keep.  We were unable to find a death record for Ms Bird and the address given to her employer was a HMO with inadequate record keeping however, the landlord confirmed that a person matching the given description had lived there until early September this year and had phoned to cancel the contract as she was in hospital and was planning on living with her daughter when she felt better.

The inquest concluded that Mr Clarks’ death was suicide.

Stokrotka’s story

The General has stopped writing; I expect it’s because he is in prison and doesn’t have internet access easily.  I have the address of his beautiful house in America because he sent me photos of his pool and the lovely rooms.  I was clever and did a reverse search and found the address.  I will go in person, find him and help him as soon as I can.  As soon as I have the money sorted out.  I am coming my love.

Daisy’s story

It has taken me two weeks, and I know time might be running out, to totally empty Daniel’s bank accounts into accounts of my own.  He had so many!  He had so much money!  More than I thought, much, much more.  Thank goodness for mobile phone banking.  I’ve moved about a lot.  I’ve lived in hotels and B&Bs.  Always saying I was on holiday or visiting friends in the area. Now I am ready.  Hello to the rest of my life. I’m sorry about Daniel.  It must be hard to wake up and find your money gone and no idea of how to get it back but I think that banks are insured for this?  I have been reading the papers. Looking for anything that might be about a woman suspected of stealing from an old man but so far, nothing.   Maybe he was too ashamed to report it to the police.  I think I have covered my escape well.  Daisy is no longer.  I have made sure of that by ringing my old employer and pretending to be my own daughter.  Very clever of me, especially as I have two sons and no daughter.  I’m free now, free of debt, free of worry.  I can go wherever I please.


Stokrotka’s story

My birth name is Stokrotka’s Cyez.  My auntie said I would be bullied and called a foreigner at an English school, so when I moved to England, I lost my Polish accent and started to use the English translation of my name, Daisy Bird.   

I was delighted with how easy it was to carry out my plan.  Men are so trusting when you have a pretty face and they love flattery.  I had everything arranged and I had just finished my cleaning job in the penthouse suite for the day.  Mrs Jansen was pleased with my work and complimented me on how clean and tidy the rooms were as I removed my overall and sensible shoes and hung them in the cleaning cupboard for tomorrow. I had made sure I would finish on time and I hurried to the lift just as the doors were closing.  A quick splash of perfume and a brush through my hair, a deep breath to calm myself and I was ready.  The doors opened on the 2nd floor and the man got into the lift.  I gave him a shy smile.  I had been preparing for this moment since our first meeting a few days ago when the plan came to me and I knew I could do this.    I really couldn’t afford to get this wrong.  My whole future relied on it.  I ‘accidently’ dropped the keys that Mrs Jansen had given me to the penthouse suite and Daniel assumed that was where I lived.  Time is short, this needed to work. I knew that a rich man would not be interested in a cleaner.  He needed to believe I had money and status of my own.   I was going to save my wonderful General.  I needed money, this man had money and he was too old to spend it all.  I would help both him and myself.

My passport, birth certificate and all my official documents are in my birth name.  My flight to America is in my birth name. Daniel will not be able to find me or his money. I am so excited to finally be going to meet my General, I have his address and I’m on the plane. There will be obstacles to overcome but I have money, money opens doors and I will find him, sort out his financial problems, employ good lawyers that will get his fortune back and he will be grateful and love me forever.   A few hours and we will be together and I have enough money now to help him regain his fortune.  Actually, I have enough money of my own now but I will happily give it all away to live with my love.  There’s only one small problem.  I’ve not heard from the general in weeks. I hope he is well; I hope he hasn’t given up hope.  I am coming my love.   I am his Stokrotka.  I am free as a bird.  I am his Little Dove.

Lin Guest, January 2024

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