Bella is missing

Today I’m sharing a short extract from my novel, ‘Lucky Portbradden’. It’s the story of a year in the life of the Portbraddon family and in this short chapter Alex receives some unwelcome news. His wife, has left him for his cousin, Antoine taking their children.  Alex has gone to Ireland to escape upset.

Maybe it was the excess of whiskey maybe it was the sun shimmering on the sea but Alex seemed to be glistening, luminous. He felt immensely powerful and strong and as he stood in the street outside the little bar smoking a cigar he seemed almost omnipotent. He could win Alison back from his arch-enemy, he could return his daughters to their rightful place within his embrace and he would write his best novel, the Mann Booker prize winner… He and Alison would have a son… the smell of peat smoke mingled with the sea in an almost tangible way in his heightened awareness.
They would call their son Domitian…  Ismène had said it…  Ismène … how he would love to get close to her…
It took him a moment to realise his phone was ringing and to his annoyance it was Antoine. How dare he intrude! Unless – unless something had happened.
“Yes.” he spoke curtly, spitting out the word as if even speaking to Antoine left a foul taste in his mouth.
“Alex, I don’t know how to say this… I have to tell you that Bella has gone missing.”
Alex was speechless. Of all the things Antoine could have said he never would have imagined this. He was so shocked he missed what Antoine was saying… police… boys on bikes… neighbours…
“Missing? Bella is missing? What do you mean?  How can she be missing?” he staggered and lurched against a car. “Antoine you are dead.”
A message tone beeped and he fumbled with his phone cutting Antoine off. The message was from Noah “Dad wherever you are come home urgent.” No sooner had he read it than his phone rang again and it was his son.
“What is it?” Alex shouted, startling two men emerging from the bar. They called out asking if he was all right and he assured them he was, talking over Noah. He caught the word ‘Bella.’ “I haven’t got time to talk, I’m coming home!” and he rang off and staggered down the street towards his rented apartment overlooking the bay. He would grab his passport find a taxi and go straight to Shannon Airport.

© Lois Elsden 2018

If you’re intrigued about how this came to pass and want to find out whether the missing is child is found, whether Alex wins back his wife, and whether the Potrbraddon clan can ever get over this falling out, here is a link to my book:

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