Thursday, 27 January 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 1 - Zoe) cont...

I am not happy with this next section of chapter one (the prose is not great), but then I have to remind myself this is just the draft.  Still lots to do once it is all complete.  So here goes. 
I also have to make one comment ..... I never realised how much research has to go into one little book!  From architecture to vehicle design and medical terms ... wow.  So if my research is incorrect, and somebody has the correct info I need - your advice is greatly welcomed.

‘Zoe,’ puffed Simon holding his sides and gasping for breath.  He had sprinted all the way from the harbour to the little cottage perched on the hill and was battling to catch his breath.
‘What’ shouted Zoe exasperated? Her heart had begun to hammer and her previous foreboding almost overwhelmed her. She stood up quickly and the dog whimpered softly as if in sympathy.  ‘What, for heaven sake?’
‘Your dad,’ gasped Simon, ‘he .. he .. the ambulance has taken him to St Edwards Hospital.’
Zoe’s hands flew to her face, the blood draining from her cheeks making her look even paler than before and incredibly fragile.  Her legs felt week and she was angry with herself for dreaming about a different life.  A life where she didn’t have to look after her father, ensuring that he ate a good meal every evening, wore clean clothes and matching socks.  He was her father, her only living relative she could not live without him.
‘What happened,’ she demanded.
‘He was lifting the fish crates out the boat when he suddenly collapsed,’ explained Simon.  ‘I.. I’m so sorry Zoe, I told him I would do the crates but he insisted. You know how stubborn he is.’
‘Yes, yes,’ stammered Zoe. ‘I know.’
The young man standing nearby muttered a quick apology and feeling uncomfortable slowly lead his reluctant dog back down to the beach.
‘Who was that?’ queried Simon jealously.
‘Who?’ asked Zoe confused.
‘The man and the dog,’ muttered Simon.
‘Some visitor, I don’t know,’ shouted Zoe getting angry with Simon.  ‘I need to get to the hospital.  My father needs me.’
‘I’ll drive you, we can take the truck?’ queried Simon, indicating the old Chevrolet pickup truck parked in the garage next to the cottage.
The truck was her Dad’s pride and joy.  If he wasn’t sitting smoking on the veranda he was in the garage polishing his truck or tinkering in the engine.   It was a classic 1953 half-ton short-box pickup truck which according to her father was perfect to drag the boat in and out of the water and transport the crates of fish.   Not that the truck was ever used for this as he preferred the short one mile walk to the harbour each morning.  The truck spent most of its time in the garage except when they decided to take a short trip to their favourite picnic spot further down the coast to the place he had met her mother.  He was very protective about his truck and did not like anyone driving it.
‘No, that’s fine, I will drive myself,’ she said a bit shortly. ‘Thank you.  I am sure my father would prefer if you finished up at the harbour.  He would not want the catch to go to waste.’
Simon agreed reluctantly and slowly returned down the hill towards the harbour, looking back over his shoulder every so often.  She was far too stubborn to accept any assistance.   He sighed to himself wondering again what he would have to do to actually get her to notice him.  She treated him like a brother who was only there to assist her father with the family business.  He had asked her on a date once and had been shot down unceremoniously, in fact she had laughed at him as if he had been joking.  It would take him awhile to get up the courage to ask her again.  She was extremely beautiful and the girls were jealous of her and the boys in the village called her a snob, as none of them were apparently worthy of her attention.  Simon believed differently, behind her tough exterior was a soft caring girl.  He hoped her father would be alright.
Without giving Simon a second thought, Zoe turned quickly and returned to the little house to retrieve the truck keys.   This small two bedroom cottage had been converted from an old granite barn, tucked away behind a low wooden fence, on a hill overlooking the secluded beach adjacent to the small village harbour.  The small garden in the front contained a great variety of rare and exotic plants which Zoe tendered to daily.  She had a natural green thumb and everything she planted flourished to create this wonderful, wild and colourful garden.  Her father had built the small veranda extending along the front of the cottage.  This had been her home since she was born.
The familiar scent of lavender and thyme hanging in the kitchen calmed her wildly beating heart.  The open plan kitchen and living area had black slate flooring with wood burning stove and stone fireplace.  The low beamed ceiling created a warm homey feeling inside.  A heavy, simply jointed wooden table stood in the centre of the kitchen and the truck keys lay in the small bowl in the centre.  A bowl she had made for her father for Fathers Day many years ago.  Her father insisted on putting his keys inside as he believed everything should have a place so they would not get lost.  With shaking hands, she quickly snatched up the keys and her bag and went out to the garage.
The truck started first time and she quickly reversed out the narrow driveway onto the small dirt road at the back of the cottage.  Winding her way carefully along the little lane she turned right onto the small country road heading out of town towards the nearest local hospital.  She had to think positively, her father was not that old and was fit and healthy.  He did have the occasional pipe, but he had cut down during the past couple of years.  He was not one to get sick and if he did he never moaned or complained.  He was strong and he was going to be alright.  He had to be.
Twenty minutes later she pulled the truck into the hospital parking area.  She found a parking close to the main doors, left the truck and hurried into the main entrance.  She quickly approached the nurse sitting behind the reception desk.
‘Morning, my father was brought in by ambulance, can you tell me where I can find him,’ Zoe queried shakily.

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