I was really thrilled the other day when a friend told me how much she had enjoyed my novel, ‘Farholm’; it was the first one I published as an e-book on Amazon, six years in 2012. It was a story I’d written quite a few years before, which shows now when you read it because of the lack of technology!
Here is an excerpt from the first chapter. The main character s going to Farholm Island for two weeks – not a holiday but a mission, a mission which is revealed as the story progresses. She has recently broken her ankle so is hobbling along from the ferry to her accommodation, a holiday cottage, with two island lads carrying her bags.
They were near the castle when they stopped at a pink cottage. One of the boys knocked on the door, the other sat on a post supporting a low chain link fence. The door opened, a hand came out giving the boy the key; Vicky, the pirate’s sister no doubt. Deke had no chance to rest because the boys set off, following a narrow recently tarmacked road between a hedge and the old stone walls of the castle.
And then the boys were waiting for her, watching her as she laboriously limped towards them.
“Open the door for me,” she commanded.
They trooped in without a word and deposited her bags in the middle of the large living room. Exhausted now, Deke followed but before she could find a couple of quid they had gone, the door shutting quietly behind them.
She hobbled to the nearest chair and collapsed into it, shutting her eyes and drifting, letting her heart rate return to normal. There was a hissing sound; perhaps Vicky had put the immersion heater on. The good sized room was sparely but sufficiently furnished with a settee and a couple of cottage chairs and above the fireplace a picture of Venice. Behind the settee by the window on the other side of the room, was a table and chairs and an open door opposite led into the kitchen. It sounded as if the shower was running now as the immersion hissed and hummed; she’d shower later but too weary to investigate now Deke hooked her backpack over. With trembling hands she opened it and pulled out the bottle of scotch.
She sat for a while staring at it. The hissing sound stopped, as the thermostat switched itself off, at least there would be plenty of hot water.
Deke unscrewed the whisky and took a good pull straight from the bottle. Cheers to anaesthesia, and she raised the bottle again.
One of the doors opened and a naked man stepped into the room. Whisky flooded down Deke’s chin. It was only the look of utter astonishment on his face that stopped her hurling the bottle at him and tried to escape.
“Who the hell are you?” he exclaimed angrily making no attempt to cover himself.
“Who the hell are you and what the hell are you doing here?” Deke was outraged.
“What am I doing here? What are you doing here, cheeky – ?”
“How dare you!” Deke interrupted him, struggling to her feet, with a single crutch. “Go and get dressed and get out!”
The man seemed only then aware of his natural state but was still unconcerned.
“Right I’ll get dressed and when I get back I want you gone!”
He marched across the room and into one of the other rooms, slamming the door behind him. It was only his swift angry stride which identified him, he was the guy on the boat, the one who had stripped off his vomit soaked jeans. What an exhibitionist! He had obviously been in the shower, that must have been the running water she’d heard.
She slumped back into the chair and took another gulp of whisky.
The man reappeared, in combat trousers and a black t-shirt. She was beginning to realise what had happened, beginning to see the funny side though she doubted he would. He was staying on the island too, and somehow had got the address of his accommodation wrong.
“Look, you’ve made a mistake,” Deke was so tired now, she didn’t need this. “I’ve rented this cottage for two weeks.”
“I’ve made a mistake? Your mistake – I’ve rented this place.”
“No mistake, I assure you. Wellihole Cottage, six hundred quid, my accommodation.”
“You’ve got the dates wrong then – I’m here until October 13th.”
“I assure you -”
“Just quit assuring me of anything. There’s been a cock up, you’ve made it,” he was quite threatening now.
Deke took another swig of scotch, then held the bottle out.
“Want one, John? Have a drink and then you can get lost. I’m here and I’m not shifting,” she was damned if she was going to be intimidated. “No? Well piss off then.”
He went back into the bedroom and returned with boots, socks and a jacket. He stared at her stone-faced as he pulled them on and tied the laces.
“Right, come on,” he said forcefully but less aggressively. “We’ll go down to the pub and get this sorted.”
“No thanks, I’ve got this,” and she held up the whisky.
“I’m not asking you to go for a bloody drink!” his anger fired again “The landlord holds the key – that’s where I got it – he’ll tell you you’ve made a mistake – with any luck he’ll have a room for you.”
He stood and picked up her bag.
“I’m not shifting, and you can put that bloody bag down!” Deke wanted to cry. Bugger, bugger, bugger. Why did her grief have to ambush her like this? Any tears and this guy would think he’d won. “Look put the bag down. I got the key from the woman in a cottage down the lane, Vicky, she cleans here – she’ll tell you.”
The man stared at her and then with a tightening of his mouth he dropped the bag.