All sorts of things trigger a thought which develops into a scene, which ends up as an episode and becomes a book. Loving Judah is about a bereaved couple – the death of the husband’s son, Judah, causes a rift between him and his wife, Aislin who was Judah’s step-mother. It should have brought them together, but this tragedy drags them apart. However, the original inspiration was the story which was across all the media, about a famous person who had been held up as a model for all, an example of honour, dignity, sincerity, who had betrayed not just his family and personal friends and associated, but all those who had admired him and looked up to him. He was disgraced. In Loving Judah, Aislin meets Bavol who was also disgraced – but on a much smaller and more local scale.
The book is the story of the fragmentation of Aislin’s marriage, and her relationship with Bavol. There seemed so much talk in the story I needed some action! I hope this scene does appear realistic in the context of the whole story – Aislin is kidnapped by Bavol’s jealous brother, Pal, and is taken out onto the moors because he wants to ‘talk to her’ – although she fears he intends much worse:
She staggered and limped beside Pal; he’d picked up a stick and held it like a club as they walked slowly back up the road. It was made up of setts like the old parts of town at home. They were miles from anywhere, there was no glimmer of a light, no sign of habitation.
The boot of the car still yawned open, Aislin was going to have to climb back in. She stopped and unzipped her sodden fleece, struggling to unlatch it at the bottom.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“It’s soaking wet,” she replied and turned slightly away from him as if to try to see where it was caught.
She undid the zip and pulled it off. Suddenly she lashed out with her foot and caught him on the knee, he staggered and she kicked again and connected hard against his balls. He groaned and she punched viciously at his face, and his moustache and teeth mashed against her knuckles. She threw her fleece over him and tumbled him into the boot and slammed the lid down. It caught him across the ankle and he screamed and when she slammed it down again she trapped him inside as she had been.
She had to escape because Pal intended to kill her. There was no logic in his arguments, no reason to what he said. He believed Bavol loved her and he wanted to take her away from him, that was all.
Thank God he’d left the keys in the ignition! She was shaking violently with cold and shock and the engine kept dying, and all the while Pal shouted and kicked. The car choked into life but as she put it into gear, her bare wet foot slipped on the clutch and they stalled. She started again, the engine roaring as she revved too hard then they jerked forward and as she set off she tried to find the headlights, found the wipers first and then the lights came up, full beam. She crunched into second, accelerating up the bumpy road. There was a crash behind her and Pal’s cursing was clear, he’d kicked his way through into the back of the car.
Aislin stepped on the brake and tried to find the door handle but an arm snaked round her throat and she was throttled against the head rest. She thrashed around trying to hit him but he grasped her wrist and she slammed her foot down and they shot forward into the darkness. Pal was screaming at her to stop but she was almost passing out, strangled by his forearm.
They glanced off a wall and then were bouncing madly downhill as they left the road. She was nearly unconscious, stars flashing before her eyes as she struggled to escape. There was a huge crash as they hit something big and hard and Pal rose up behind her with the force of the impact and the windscreen shattered.
The car stalled and she found the door release and tumbled out and fell face first into heather and the smell of peat was clean and good. She scrambled to her knees and the stink of petrol hit her. She had to run, had to get away, the car was going to catch on fire. It was raining in sheets but that wouldn’t stop the car blowing up, she’d seen it in a dozen films.
Pal was still inside and she called his name but he was silent. Was he dead, smashed through the windscreen?
He was lying across the front seats, his head in the passenger’s footwell. Not another dead boy, not another dead boy!
She wrenched the nearside door open and grasped him under the arms; he was face down and she pulled and tugged at his inert body. He wasn’t tall but he was very heavy. There was a crackle and a huge flash and the sky lit up.
Oh God the car’s on fire! But it was lightning.
She heaved him again and he slid out and she had a disturbing image of something giving birth and the new-born slithering into the world. She dragged him across the heather and then there was nothing beneath her feet and she was tumbling and landed heavily on stone with Pal on top of her.
“Pal, are you alright?” she cried stupidly.
“You bitch!” and he lunged at her.
She pushed him back and jumped up and began to run. They were back among the trees, and Aislin was blindly following a cobbled path. Judah was urging her on as Pal grunted and lumbered after her.
Suddenly the path wasn’t there and she fell into soaking bracken. There were heaps of mossy stones like fallen masonry. She could barely see in the dark and the slashing rain but there were lumps of granite beneath her bare hands. She skittered across on all fours, having some space in her terror to worry that she would slip and break her ankle.
She jumped down a stone wall and was inside a ruined building and there was water racing nearby.
She screamed and dodged away but she was trapped. There was a collapsed doorway and she clambered over the fallen lintel, shrieking now, yelling desperately.
She stopped just in time from dropping into a raging torrent of a mountain stream and turned to face Pal. He was going to push her in but with a surge of courage she ran straight at him and he was taken by surprise, his reactions slowed by whatever hurt he’d sustained in the crash. They rolled on the floor in a crazy embrace, she trying to cling onto him, he trying to get her over the edge. She flailed around and her hand connected with a slimy branch and she brought it down on his head. He cried out and she rolled away and he tumbled into the stream.
© Lois Elsden 2017
If you want to find out how Aislin ended up in this situation, and whether she escaped from it, here is a link to Loving Judah: