EXTRACT FROM MY MANUSCRIPT
I am now working on three manuscripts… But I wanted to share an extract from the psychological thriller that I am working on…
Please feel free to comment, or email me with your thoughts and constructive criticism- I will take it on the chin, I value all your input as well read bloggers who have read more than your fair share of books, you are the perfect people to provide me with your feedback.
So here it is….
I can feel the adrenaline pounding through my veins, the sound of blood rushing loudly in my ears. My heart is pumping so fast and and with such force that it feels as if someone is trapped inside my chest cavity punching me from within, pummelling their fists against my ribs cage fighting to get out.
The adrenaline surges again forcing my breath out in ragged gasps that leave ghostly imprints in the atmosphere, they exist for seconds before they are no more, vanishing into the darkness. Then my next heavy intake of oxygen drags in freezing cold air as my lungs squeal in protest.
All my senses are in overdrive, every sound and sensation heightened and magnified, each cell in my body is tingling, every muscle poised on high alert, ready for whatever comes next.
I think I hear something. My ears strain to hear above the sound of my chattering teeth, clashing violently together, my whole body shaking from the cold and the fear that is seeping deep into my bones.
Terror floods my nervous system, constricting my throat. A whimper escapes my lips, my body betraying me, and in desperation I clamp my hand over my mouth in an attempt to stay silent.
I can’t be found. I crouch lower trying to disappear into the damp vegetation
Help me,God help me. I plead, to a god I have never believed in, not to allow me to die, not here, not tonight on rain and dog urine soaked undergrowth, on a bed of decomposing leaves, where the smell of rotting earth and putrid decay permeates my nostrils, making me retch.
This can’t be happening.
I’m asleep… This is a nightmare, wake up… My thoughts are racing, tumbling over themselves incoherent, urgent.
But I am awake. Swallowing hard, my thoughts take on a voice that only I can hear, calmly urging me to stay alert, to hold it together, to keep moving…
I hear a twig snap. Like a knife the sharp sound slices through the heavy, silent October night and reverberates through the trees above me.
A bird cries…
I hold my breath.
All the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, like me rigid with fear.
This is what it feels like to be terrorised.
This is what it feels like to be scared out of your tiny mind…
My brain locates the sound, its directly behind me, close.
React, Come on move…
My blood runs cold, sweat congregating in pools between my breasts and under my arms until I can feel them trickle in tiny rivulets down the length of my torso. I can now smell my own fear.
‘I told you not to run’, The voice is so close I can feel warm breath against the side of my face.
Another surge of adrenaline floods my nervous system. Fight or flight an instinct as old as time itself, but I am rooted to the spot, paralysed with fear.
The next sound that I hear is a single footstep cushioned by the forest floor as my tormentor steps back, followed by a rushing sound, the displacement of air as something moves towards me at speed, gaining momentum.
I am about to die.
I hear the dull thud that follows and feel the impact as it connects with the back of my skull.
Now pain, a searing, crippling pain that is carrying me away into a deep darkness.
8 MONTHS EARLIER
The inky blackness of night is reluctantly giving in to day, allowing dawn to creep in revealing angry, bruised clouds moving at speed across a sullen sky. A garish pink streak annoints the point on the horizon where the sky kisses the earth.
Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning.
Sarah stirs in her sleep as another violent gust of wind buffets the house, the curtains rise and billow into the room like a ghost, and somewhere in the house a door creaks. The rain is assaulting the glass of the window pane as if spraying it with a hail of bullets fired by an invisible gun.
The house is under attack. In more ways than one…
A silent, shadowy figure moves stealthily across the lawn and approaches the front of the house, silhouetted against the red bricks by the orange luminescence of the flickering streetlight, a long dark coat flaps violently in the wind and rain drips from the hood.
A cigarette is discarded its glowing tip arching through the air, before nose diving earthbound where it fizzles and dies.
An inconspicuous crisp,white envelope now lays on the laminate floor of the hallway, the sound of the storm having drowned out the ‘ bap’ of the metal flap dropping back into place, as the night visitors hand is retracted back through its cold opening.
All is as it was, but nothing will be the same again.
‘Peter Were going now i’ll stop by Waitrose and grab the bits for supper on the way home , if you can get hold of mum … I’m trying her now but she’s not picking up’.
‘As usual’, I mutter under my breath.
‘You need to arrange to collect the spare car seat from her before three ? Peter!! Can you hear me… I should be back by 7.30? Helloooooo!’
I am standing just inside the kitchen door, shouting towards the stairs hoping to rouse my husband, Late beyond belief I notice a pile of junk mail on the hall floor, my mobile clamped firmly between my ear and shoulder, as I wobble precariously on one foot trying to slip my shoe on the other.
Waiting for an answer I straighten up to locate my paperwork on the cluttered worktop, shuffling the papers together before stuffing them into my oversized black handbag already fit to burst with a bulging Filofax, tatty A4 notepad and purse.
I sigh in frustration as the dial tone clicks onto my mothers answer machine for the hum tenth time. She never answers her mobile phone, she only agreed to have one because we insisted on it for emergencies after dad died and she moved down south to be closer to us, but it’s usually switched off or on silent languishing in the bottom of a kitchen drawer. Giving up I press the red button to end the call and drop the phone into my jacket pocket.
I shout more urgently this time, exasperation raising my voice. Our bedrooms the opposite end of our house and if I were in a more patient mood I might allow for the possibility that with the kettle boiling and the TV blaring it’s unlikely he can hear me.
It’s early April, but winter is reluctant to relinquish its icy grip, and from where I’m standing I can hear the wind whistling through the house, rattling the sash Windows, the rain bouncing off the porch step, smattering the front door as it ricochets off the concrete.
It’s Monday and the house looks like a bombs gone off in it. Piles of laundry at the bottomof the stairs are waiting to be carried up and sorted, toys strewn across the hallway floor abandoned mid game at bedtime and the detritus from last nights hastily eaten supper litters the workspace next to the sink. Plates with the caked on remains of carbonara are piled precariously high next to a sink full of dirty crockery bobbing around in now cold, dirty brown water waiting to be washed.
I sigh resigning myself to the mess, overwhelmed with tiredness today , I haven’t got the time or energy to tackle it.
I’ve been up since dawn broke to reveal an oppressive leaden sky,the kind of day that never really shakes off the night. The morning has passed in a blur,emptying the washing machine, sorting out the boys, and drinking copious amounts of strong coffee which has done nothing to shake off my exhaustion, my head still feels foggy with sleep or the lack of it, and the usually simple task of preparing breakfast and getting the boys dressed have seemed monumental today, like I am wading through treacle .
If I had known it would be such an early start I wouldn’t have lingered over a second glass of wine or watched the film we had downloaded from Amazon Prime last night. But the sounds of wild weather had dragged me prematurely from the depths of my sleep, I had been lost in a dream the hot sun beating down on my exposed shoulders, the air filled with the gentle lullaby of the rolling waves and bird call. I was squinting in the bright sunlight, shielding my eyes with my hand, watching Peter play with the children in the shallows, splashing and laughing, the warm, clear water lapping over my feet, as a gentle warm breeze caressed my skin and lifted my hair from away my face. Then the laughter had turned to screams and all I could sense was panic,
coming to with a start, I had felt my husbands arm heavy with sleep snaked protectively around my waist, my skin felt clammy where the curves of his form fitting seamlessly with mine, my bottom tucked into his stomach, both our knees bent in unison and our feet entwined, like two pieces of a human jigsaw puzzle.
I had lain awake in the dark for a few minutes listening to his breathing deep and rhythmic …inhale:exhale, his chest rising and falling with each long, drawn out predictable breath, so deep and rhymic, a stark contrast to the violence of the storm thrashing outside. The quiet, calmness of his sleeping presence had almost lulled me back into my dream, I had wanted nothing more than to stay perfectly still,close my tired eyes and listen to the hypnotic thrum of the rain and relax back into sleep,closeted away from the realities of the world and cocooned in the intimacy of our warm bed. It wasn’t often that we woke to find just the two of us, alone , we usually had at least one small child spread eagled between us taking up all the space. I had wanted to savour every moment,luxuriating under the heavy weight of the goose down duvet for as long as I was allowed, but just as I started to drift off again I had heard the padding of small feet across the landing, followed by the handle of our bedroom door turning. Seconds later a bleary eyed Ben had arrived at my side of the bed just as the baby monitor on the bedside had crackled into life, its neon green light flashing urgently across the screen alerting me to Sams increasingly loud crying.
I check my watch its now 7.45, I dash through the soft carpeted hall negotiating the baby Annabell and numerous abandoned toys cars that have created a lethal assault course en route to the stairs. I’m about to shout again when my tall, solid husband finally appears, he is wearing grey tracksuit bottoms, his chest bare.
‘Yes ok,no worries, sorry babe I had the water running, didn’t hear you’, He explains Rubbing his eyes groggily with his fists ,the tell tale signs of late nights and adult responsibilities are now etched around his deep set brown eyes, he looks dishevelled, his once jet black hair, now peppered with grey still mussed up from sleep.
At thirty five he’s a little rougher around the edges than when I first met him, but it suits him, craggier, more man now than boy. It’s true that men improve with age and my husband is no exception. His angular jaw is just visible under his five o’clock shadow and it serves only to make him more handsome, despite my rush I pause to admire his still athletic physique, feeling my irritation drain away, before smiling and blowing him a kiss goodbye.
‘The kettles just boiled if you want coffee’, I say turning on my heel.
‘You look like you need it’ .
Giggling I scuttle into the kitchen while he pretends to chase me before doubling back to collect the mornings post.
Peter and I met in our second year at university through mutual friends and quickly became inseparable, we settled into a comfortable easy friendship and that’s how I thought it would stay until he finally admitted, after a few glasses of cheap house wine in the dimly lit student bar one night that he was completely in love with me. He looked so unsure of himself, so vulnerable, but he needn’t have worried my feelings had developed just as quickly and I had been secretly hoping he felt the same way. The strong foundation of friendship had blossomed into love, so organically, as if was meant to be and now nearly a decade later we are still best friends and very much in love .
If soul mates exist, he is mine.
We tell each other everything.