Almost a year ago, I introduced you to my book, The Lost Things. Some were interested enough to get monthly instalments of the story. That’s done now, so I’ve released the entire book on Amazon for you all.
While a tantalising chapter with a cliffhanger ending might do it for some, I have learnt that most prefer to hold the actual book and read at their own pace, maybe to check the ending makes the story worth reading or to know what the book is called as you read it, unlike the many forgotten titles of the Kindle books we all read.
At the end of this post, I’ve added the opening pages to tempt you into getting your hands on the whole thing. It’s a story that will touch your heart and maybe even change the way you see the people around you, or yourself. I really hope you step into the tale I’ve crafted for you, and find it’s worth reading.
It has been chokingly hot this past fortnight. People have been opening all the windows and doors in their houses searching for the tiniest of draughts, scuttling into the darkest corners and hiding their dogs indoors lest they pass out from the heat. Gardens are yellow, filled with shriveled plants.
Matthew marched on the spot while he was waiting. He liked the swish his new tracksuit made every time he moved. He thought back to the joggers doing funny things with their legs and arms before they set out and tried to copy them, holding his foot up and folding his leg. He was hopping when Judy caught up to him,
Recently I heard two people on different occasions redeem the idea of doing something the wrong way. A piano teacher called straying from the set music playing a ‘jazz note’. Artist Bob Ross said, ‘we don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.’
They were all there – her sons, her much younger daughter, the camera crew and the over-excited presenter. He reminded her of her old pal Drew, back in the day. As she slowly put one foot in front of the other the people around her timed their steps to be in line with her. With one son on each arm, she kept her eyes on the ground in front, unable to look up. The path up the hill was as uneven as it had been when she was a young, spritely girl. The only difference now was that she couldn’t remember where to set her feet.
Two women were standing at the top, smiling at her. She nodded as they introduced themselves but didn’t catch their names. The climb up to the refurbished cottage, her cottage, had been gruelling. After an hour of doing what once took ten minutes, Josie lowered herself onto a familiar looking stone outside the house. Only then did she let herself lift her gaze. The sea had not lost its deep, ever-changing swell. It was free of fishing vessels now. With no-one to man them and the bay declared ‘over-fished’ a few years ago, the waters had been left in peace. The few fields were untouched now, taken over with thistles, nettles and ragwort. Maybe they were enjoying the rest after being dug over and re-used every year for too many years. All but two buildings were grey stone ruins. Josie strained to see where the ceili house had been, and Aisling’s and Seamus’. They were just heaped stones now.
And there were the donkeys. They couldn’t be the same ones she’d left behind could they? She liked to think they were. Sure, everyone knew: things on the island could always astonish you. If she’d been able, she would have gone over and peeked into their battered panniers to see if there was anything in there. She swallowed familiar tears. Sure, without Seamus, how else would they be filled?
One of the women crouched down beside her with something in her hand. She placed it on Josie’s lap and stepped back,
“I believe this is yours?”
Josie placed her lined fingers on the envelope and looked at her strong, practised pen strokes. She pulled the letter out and started to read.
“What does it say mammy?”
A herring gull cried out over the rippling waters below them. The clouds drew back to let the uncertain sun kiss the heather-clad hills. Memories whispered around the ruined village. The abandoned curraghs knocked against each other beside the small harbour.
Everything was waiting for her reply.
Josie gave a shaky sigh and whispered,
“It says, ‘I’ll be back’.”
The camera whirred, the shutter clicked. This was history in the making, right in front of them;
The first and last island post woman had finally come home.
He looked up at his grubby shell oil calendar and noticed he’d only written in a tiny ‘me’ in the square for Friday this week. He didn’t want mum to feel she had to do do anything. Days were so much easier with nothing in the calendar.