Sunday, 23 January 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 1 - Zoe)

Today is Sunday 23rd January 2011, and as promised I am attaching a small excerpt from the start of my novel as a teaser.  No laughing now, please.

The freezing North Atlantic Ocean swirled around her pale legs, the black water rising rapidly.  Bright flashes of light pierced the sky beyond the cave entrance and the sound of angry thunder reverberated around the granite walls.  The single thought shouting in her brain was ‘they have found me’.  The tangy scent of the sea and bitter taste of betrayal overwhelmed her with sadness.  Quickly, without further thought she removed the gold ring from her finger and hung it from the chain around her neck.  Stepping carefully through the constantly rising water she made her way out of the cave to the edge of the rocky point.  Sitting down she closed her eyes against the black clouds and pounding surf, turned her head to the wind and began to sing.

Her eyes flew open in panic and she stared in confusion at the pale blue sky above her, the clouds drifting harmlessly across the open expanse. It was a beautiful hot summer day in Polperro.

She could not have been asleep. Not much time had passed since she had walked to her favourite spot in front of the small cottage and lay on the soft grass enjoying the heat of the sun. But the nightmare had felt real, her heart was still pounding and she had a deep sense of foreboding.

She closed her eyes again in an attempt to calm her nerves and slowly absorbed her surroundings; the smell of the salt air drifting from the sea, the shrill cries of the seagulls from the harbour, the burning sun shining red through her closed eyelids and the cool touch of the grass beneath her fingers. These were the pleasures that gave her peace, centred her troubled mind and stilled her cravings for understanding. She had experienced these nightmares or daymares as her father always said since she could remember. They were always similar and always left her troubled, no matter how much her father tried to reassure her that it was merely a product of her over imagination.

Suddenly, a wet tongue lapped at her face and she laughed in relief, rolling away from the excited dog now trying to climb onto her lap.

‘Puppy, you are too big to sit on my lap,’ she scolded lightly at the large Alsatian dog that was now trying to slobber her to death.

The dog snuffled in disagreement and continued to gaze at her in adoration, tongue lolling to one side.

‘Oh! I.. I am so sorry,’ stuttered the young man running up the hill towards them. ‘I don’t know what happened, she slipped out of her leash and came dashing towards you. She is not normally so forward. Oh look, she has covered you in mud.’

She laughed again, ‘Don’t worry, please – it will wash. She is truly a beautiful dog. ‘Aren’t you, big girl.’

She continued to ruffle the wet fur of the big dog sitting awkwardly on her lap. She loved animals; her father always despaired at the menagerie of animals she brought home. If there was an injured or hungry animal in a hundred mile radius, she would find them and bring them home. She would love to continue her studies to become a veterinary surgeon, but this was a dream that she kept quiet as her father, a fisherman in the village, could not afford the University fees. One day she will have saved enough money to complete her studies, but for now she was content to work as a care giver at the local clinic and look after her father.

‘What is her name?’ she queried softly.

‘Roxy,’ answered the young man, desperately trying to attach the leash to the dog’s collar. ‘I am so sorry about the mess.’

‘That’s ok, Roxy did not do it deliberately, did you girl?’

The dog seeming to understand chuffed softly and reluctantly allowed her master to pull her away, her brown sad eyes watching her dolefully.

‘Do you live in the area?’ she asked casually. ‘I don’t recognise Roxy here.’

The village consisted of a small, tight knit community where she had grown up. She knew all the people in the village and they all knew and loved her. It was like living in a large family even though it was only her and her father. She had never known her mother who had left suddenly just after she was born. She didn’t hold any anger towards her mother, as her father always talked lovingly about her. The stories he told about how they had met and how amazed he was that she had been at all interested in him. After all he was just a common, lowly fisherman. She always denied that her father, the great Alex Alexander, could ever be common or lowly. He was a robust, rugged man with distinguished greying hair and brown eyes. After a hard day’s work he loved to sit on the veranda, smoke his pipe and reminisce about her mother. Even after all these years he still adored her and had not taken another wife. He had told her many a time that she was the splitting image of her mother.

Before the man could answer, there was a shout from the beach below. ‘Zoe!’

Zoe looked down and saw Simon, her dad’s apprentice, rushing towards her. The young blond boy seemed agitated and dishevelled, and her heart seemed to miss a beat from sudden anxiety. Her previous sense of foreboding rushed back.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Margs - I am very very very impressed. Looking forward to reading the book when it is finished