Tag Archives: #newfiction

What Happens Next Monday?…….

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I’ll start this week’s blog with an apology….. technically there isn’t one. A blog that is.

My creative focus has been on finishing the first draft of Book Baby 5 and I’m almost but not quite there. Another three or four productive hours should finally see it complete- albeit a few weeks later than  originally planned.

Unusual for this stage in my creative process, it’s more or less all typed as well as written and it’s not naked!  Well, it has a bare bum as I’ve not finished the back cover for the paperback edition but it has a front cover.  🙂

I already revealed it’s title a while back – Shattered Hearts – so what is there left to reveal?

The cover and the release date……..

Watch this space and my author page next week…… all will be revealed.  😉

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

 

Shattered Hearts

 

 

 

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Salt And Sand In Her Heart (a short story)

 

 

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Closing her eyes, she stood gazing out over the waves, breathing in the tangy salty air.
Standing at the top of the sandy path, she could see a shimmer of heat rippling over the sand and knew that the walk down to the water’s edge was going to burn her soft bare feet. A flash of colour to her left caught her eye. It was a dragonfly, a sparkling teal green dragonfly. Smiling, she watched as it rested on one of the fence posts momentarily before darting off on its travels.
As quickly as she could, she crossed the soft Sahara hot sand, breathing a sigh of relief when her toes touched the harder packed damp sand closer to the water’s edge. Pausing for a moment, she recalled her first visit to Rehoboth Beach and smiled.
It had been the blistering hot summer of 1980 amid an at the time record breaking heatwave. A clear memory of arriving at their rental house for the week was of a nearby sign declaring that it was 98F and six thirty at night. Hot……damn hot. When her uncle had opened the side door of his VW bus, the heat had hit them all like a blast from an oven.
Their rental had been a stunning wooden house on the outskirts of town somewhere between Rehoboth and Dewey Beach. Its exact location long since lost to the memories of days gone by. Nights in that house had been hot as hell – no AC and beds as hard as boards. There hadn’t been much sleep on that trip for anyone.
Days, however, had been idyllic and were the days that had started her life long love affair with Rehoboth Beach. At only ten years old, she had loved the freedom of the beach and the ocean. Hours and days passed by building sandcastles, digging holes in the sand, gathering seashells and playing in the waves. Her pale white Scottish skin had swiftly taken on a healthy golden glow. The family’s picnic lunches had been supplemented by Thrasher’s French fries, carried so carefully back from the boardwalk.
Afternoons slipped by as she explored the beach, taking care not to stray too far from the family’s beach towel and umbrella oasis. Even back then she had enjoyed people watching as she wove her way between the other families, noting the different scents of their sun tan lotion and the different sand toys their kids played with. She had looked on enviously at the older kids playing in the waves on their boogie boards. Inwardly, she was desperate to join them but she couldn’t swim. Instead she had to settle for an ice cream from Kohr’s before they headed home for dinner and a much-needed shower.
Evenings meant a return trip into town to stroll along the boardwalk. After the daily scramble among them to round up enough quarters to feed the parking meter, she would finally be allowed to explore the shops on Rehoboth Avenue and along the boardwalk. Her favourites had always been the T-shirt stores where they printed whatever you wanted onto a shirt. They were shops that were a magical Aladdin’s cave to her ten-year-old self. The coloured hermit crabs in cages had fascinated her. Her meagre allowance was spent on pens and a snow globe with a dolphin inside.
One store, a shop on Rehoboth Avenue, caught her eye every night. It was a small jewellery store. Her attention had been captured by a tray of silver rings. There was one in particular that she had her eye on. It was smaller than the rest and was a delicate heart shape- half onyx; half mother-of-pearl. Nightly, she had begged her mother to buy the ring, pleading and promising that if she could borrow the money to pay for it, she would pay every cent back when they got home. On their final night in town, after a farewell pizza dinner at Grotto’s, her mother caved in and took her back to the jewellery store. The window had been rearranged and she recalled panicking when she couldn’t initially spot the ring. However, her mother spied it on display on the opposite side of the window before suggesting they enter the shop to try it on. The ring was a perfect fit for her middle finger. The perfect memento of the town that had captured her child’s heart.
Time and circumstance meant that thirty-four years passed before she was able to return to Rehoboth Beach. Over the years she had written essay after essay in school based of a now seemingly mythical beach. She’d drawn numerous pictures of beaches with dolphins playing in the waves. She’d almost driven her mother insane asking when they would go back to America. As she’d grown from child to teenager to woman to a wife and mother, she’d still dreamed of returning to the beach someday.
When that day finally came in 2004, the weather was a far cry from the blistering heatwave she remembered. A thunderstorm had blown in and the rain was lashing down as they’d run from her cousin’s beat up truck into Hooters for lunch. He had declared it was most definitely not a day for the beach! Not one to be thwarted, she’d stated plainly that she’d waited twenty-four years to walk on that sandy beach and a little rain wasn’t going to stop her. She’d also reminded him of the Scottish blood that flowed in her veins and of the fact that a little rain never deterred a Scot. He’d surrendered, knowing it was pointless to argue with her.
In the end, accompanied by her own two small children, she hadn’t stayed long on the beach – just long enough to run on the sand and paddle in the ocean. As the storm closed in again, she’d been granted a few brief moments to walk the boardwalk and relive her treasured childhood memories. To escape the mid-afternoon deluge, they’d sought sanctuary in Funland and whiled away the storm watching her young son and daughter play. As ever though, the quarters ran out and the meter ticked down until her precious “Rehoboth” time ran out.
Over the next few years, she’d returned annually with her children, savouring the moments on the sand and in the ocean. Making memories with her children was beyond precious. Every memory was filed away, stored carefully in her “memory bank” to be drawn out on cold miserable Scottish winter’s days. Her heart had swelled as her own children developed the same bonds that she felt with this tiny town some three thousand miles from home.
Now though, as she stood on the cool wet sand watching the waves, things were different. Her children were grown up and living their own lives. She’d finally seen her own literary dreams come true. Writing all those stories of the beach had finally paid off. Reaching into her pocket, she wrapped her fingers round the bunch of keys that she’d just collected from the realtor and smiled. She brought them out and stood looking at them lying in the palm of her hand. The keys to her new beach front apartment; the keys to her new dream home.
With a smile, she gazed at the ring on her pinkie, its band worn thin with time. She still wore the small onyx and mother-of-pearl heart shaped ring from all those years before.
Finally, in her heart, she knew she was home.

Silently Watching At The Buck Moon

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Blind fury surged through his veins as he pounded out some long, angry miles along the trails behind his village home. He could feel the blood burning through his lean body. By running hard and fast, he was trying to distract himself from the cries of the Rabbia Sanguigna. His changeling soul was screaming for blood.

It had been an infuriating day from the moment he’d opened his eyes. Breakfast has been beyond chaotic as the kids had been fractious, each squabbling with their siblings over nothing. The family cat depositing a live bird in the middle of the kitchen hadn’t helped matters. He’d left with his daughter’s shrieks of hysteria echoing through his mind.

A white pebble had sat on the wiper blade of the car when he’d left to go to work. He was being summoned. His intention was to end his evening run with a visit to the graveyard.

A long hot day in the office hadn’t helped. There were new members in his team and his boss had buddied him up with one of them. The guy was a “know-it-all” who knew nothing and talked crap all day. Despite his best efforts to calmly walk him through the correct processes, his colleague knew a better way to do everything. After lunch, he’d adopted his “fuck it” approach and left the guy to it. He’d emailed his boss to express his concerns over the less experienced team member’s attitude to following documented processes and his understanding of the importance of complying to regulation then left for the day.

Over the months, he’d noticed that it proved more challenging to control the urges associated with the Rabbia Sanguigna around the time of the full moon. For four or five days his already heightened senses were on edge and the least little thing sparked the urge for blood. The dark angel had tried to teach him how to control the desires and how to prepare for them to lessen the effects but, four months down the line, the blood from his mother had long since worn off and none of the techniques were working.

Up ahead, at the side of the road, he spotted a cyclist standing beside his bike studying the front wheel. His sensitised nasal passages caught a whiff of blood in the air.

“Hey, everything alright?” he asked as he approached. It looked as though the cyclist had crashed. Blood was trickling from cuts on his arm and thigh and he was holding his arm protectively over his ribs.

“Car clipped me,” explained the cyclist through gritted teeth. “Think I’ve broken my collar bone and some ribs. Bike’s wrecked. Wheel’s twisted.”

Glancing round, the runner noted there was no one in sight. His blossoming vampire urges seized control. In a split second, before either of them had had time to think, he stepped towards the injured cyclist, reached out as if to help him then sunk his teeth into the ripe throbbing vein in his neck.

The clean vibrant human blood flowed into his veins tasting divine. He drank deeply.

It hadn’t been his intention to drain him dry but, before he realised what he was doing, the cyclist crumpled at his feet. His eyes were open and glazed.

He’d killed him.

He’d made his first human kill.

His satiated blood ran cold. What had he done?

 

 

A crimson sunset was lighting up the sky as he ran up the steps into the quiet cemetery. His earlier blind fury had been replaced by blind panic and he prayed the angel was waiting by the tree.

“Care to explain yourself, Son of Perran!” she hissed in his ear as he walked towards their usual meeting point.

“Jesus!” he yelped. He hadn’t heard or felt her approach.

“Careless! Messy! Sloppy!” she berated him angrily. “Have you learned nothing from me? What were you thinking about? You never even attempted to cover your tracks!”

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled staring down at his feet.

“Too late for sorry!”

“I lost control. My blood’s been burning all day. I hunted last night but I was so thirsty. He was bleeding…” he faltered. “I didn’t mean to kill him. I meant to stop like you explained. Leave him alive.”

“But you didn’t!” raged the angel, her green eyes blazing with fury. “Fortunately for you I was nearby and smelled the blood. I’ve covered your track this time. Heed me well, Son of Perran, this is the only time!”

“I’m sorry,” he repeated quietly, feeling like a child being chastised by its mother.

“You will be,” she muttered, her voice a little calmer. “Think! Was the moon visible while you drank from him?”

“No idea.”

“Oh,” sighed the angel, her voice ringing with exasperation. “What have you started?”

“How’d you mean?”

“There is no going back for you now.”

“No going back where?”

“You may have just made your first human kill under the rising of the full moon. The Buck Moon at that, you fool!”

His dark brown eyes suddenly filled with fear, the runner stared at her.

“Sit,” instructed the angel, indicating their usual bench beside the tree.

Without complaint, he sat down and watched as she took a seat beside him, angling herself in such as a way as to prevent there being any damage to her majestic wings.

“The full moon always acts as a catalyst. It strengthens the effect of things. It speeds up the changes. It enhances the desires. It heightens the senses,” she began calmly. “Some full moons have different effects. That’s why I wanted to speak to you. To warn you about the dangers of tonight’s full moon. I knew you’d hunted last night. I thought there was time….”

“Time for what? What dangers?” he interrupted.

“The Buck Moon is powerful, Son of Perran. Have you drunk your mugwort today?”

A realisation dawned on the runner. He hadn’t taken his mugwort tea for three days.

“No,” he confessed. “And I might have missed a day or two.”

“Missed a day or two?” echoed the angel sharply. “Golden rule, Son of Perran. That was one of your golden rules!”

“Sorry.”

“Stop apologising,” she snapped. “It’s too late for apologies. If there’s been damage done, it’s too late to stop it.”

“Stop what?” His tone was sharper and more demanding than he’d intended.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, the angel said, “By making your first human kill under the light of a full moon, you have increased your body’s need and desire for human blood. Animal blood may no longer satiate your thirsts. You, Son of Perran, have made yourself a killer.”

With his head in his hands, the runner sat trembling. What had he done?

“That’s only part of it,” continued the angel. “The Buck Moon is so named as it’s the moon that marks the time when young male deer start to develop their antlers. For our kind, it’s the moon when wings are most likely to bud. I had been going to warn you to double up on the mugwort for the next few days but it’s too late for that now.”

“Fuck,” he muttered.

All of his worst nightmares were gathering in front of him and becoming a cold harsh reality.

“Now what do I do?” he asked when he was finally able to speak.

“For a start, double up on the mugwort for a week. If your wings are going to bud, you’ll feel it by the end of the week.”

“I can’t grow fucking wings!” he growled. “How will I explain them?”

“There may be a way to slow their growth,” she said slowly, “If they bud.”

“Great! More hocus pocus!”

“Quiet,” she cautioned sternly. “How you feed is now a more pressing issue.”

“Why?”

“Have you listened to a thing I’ve said?”

Gazing at him with almost motherly concern, the angel wanted to reach out to reassure her fledgling at the same time as she wanted to scream and yell at him for his stupidity. Her own anger was rising and she knew if she didn’t hunt soon, she’d lose her temper with him.

“Son of Perran, I’ll be blunt. Your impetuous meal tonight has ensured that you’ll need human blood at least once a week to survive. You might want to work out a plan on how you are going to find the source of your sustenance!”

“Once a week? I’ll need to kill once a week?”

“Not necessarily kill if you can master the art of restraint,” she said.

“I’ve really fucked this up, haven’t I?”

“Succinctly put,” she said getting to her feet. “Go home. Drink your mugwort then drink some more. Keep your temper in check. Meet me here one week from tonight.”

Before he could reply, she’d spread her majestic wings and vanished from sight.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

 

Book Baby 5…. want a little sneaky peek?

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In reality, Book Baby 5 looks like this…..

But, it also looks a  bit like this too……

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For those who missed the big title reveal back in May, it also has a name….

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It also has a front cover but I’m keeping that under wraps for just a little bit longer 😉

(Current thinking is to reveal it when I’ve set the publication date….but don’t tell anyone just yet!)

So where does this next instalment of the Silver Lake series take us?…..

Want a little taste of words yet to come?…..

Shh….don’t tell anyone….this is just between you and me 😉

Golden rays of dawn shimmered in the ripples of the still ocean. They danced a slow waltz as the gentle waves glided towards the beach. Gradually the pale golds turned to orange then to red as the sun rose over the horizon. Apart from the soft sounds of the waves lapping against the shore, the world was silent. Not even the tiny seabirds who usually danced with the waves were to be seen or heard.

Running his hand through his long blonde hair, Jake sighed. It felt good to taste salt in the air. It felt good to feel sand under his feet. It felt good to be home. His fingers tangled in the strands of his hair, knotted after a sleepless night on the band’s delayed flight out of LAX. Looking down, he realised that his hair was almost to his waist. Another indication that he’d been away from home too long. Mentally, he made a note to take a trip into town later to get his mane trimmed.

With his arms wrapped around his knees, Jake sat watching the sun make its way over the horizon, basking in its golden light. He was bone tired and couldn’t remember when he had last slept for more than a couple of hours at a time. The band’s flight had been scheduled to reach Philadelphia at ten o’clock the night before but a four-hour delay meant they hadn’t landed until almost two o’clock in the morning. There had been the usual carnage in the baggage hall but, by some miracle, all of their suitcases and guitar cases had made it safely across the country. Tired and grumpy, the sleep deprived musicians had piled into the waiting SUVs for the hundred mile drive down the Coastal Highway. After so long in each other’s company, each of them was keen to get back to JJL to collect their cars and trucks and say their “good nights”. With little more than a grunt of farewell, Jake had loaded his gear into the back of his truck. Praying that it would start at the first time of asking, he had hauled himself into the cab for the final leg of the journey home.

He’d pulled into the driveway at the beach house just after five, reached to retrieve his house keys from his battered leather book bag and found them missing. Leaving his gear in the truck, he’d crept round to the back of the house to try the back door, hoping that Lori had left it unlocked. No luck. Both the screen door and the back door were locked. Knowing it was too early to waken his sleeping family, he’d headed across the sun deck to try the patio doors. They too were locked.

Muttering to himself, he’d hauled off his ripped Converse hi-tops and socks, leaving them scattered on the deck and wandered down to the beach to watch the sun rise.

As the sky lit up before him, Jake reflected on the last few months. When he’d left Rehoboth in January, the beach had been covered in eight inches of snow. Now, in the third week in June, it looked as though it was going to be a beautiful summer’s day. This was the longest period of time that he’d spent away from home and, for the past ten weeks of the tour, his heart had been yearning for the sights and sounds of the ocean and the beach house.

Life over the past five years had become more and more demanding as Silver Lake had gone from strength to strength and Weigh Station had enjoyed a successful revival. Juggling musical commitments, recording sessions and tours for two of the planet’s biggest bands had been a logistical nightmare. He’d long since lost count of the number of shows he’d played, finding it harder and harder to remember where he was and who he was with. If it wasn’t for the journal he kept, Jake would have lost track of time and place entirely.

On the flight home, he’d been sitting between Grey and Jethro, having lost the coin toss to see who would take the middle seat. As Grey had slept soundly at the window, Jake had confided in the band’s manager that he didn’t want to even think about music until at least the fall. Understanding completely, the older man had nodded his silent agreement, noting how raw and hoarse Silver Lake’s vocalist’s voice was sounding.

Now, as he sat watching the sun rise, Jake was wondering if he would be able to sing again by fall even if he wanted to. Ghosts of a past duet with Tori from Molton were tormenting him. The last three shows had really put a strain on him and, by the end of Flyin’ High in Los Angeles, his voice was gone. A sign to take a much-needed rest perhaps he thought.

Lost in his thoughts, he sat enjoying the view and the tranquillity of the beach.

 

The familiar screech of the patio door to the sun room opening startled him back to the present. He listened closely wondering who was about to approach him.

“Daddy!”

To be continued…….

 

If you’ve missed the start of the Silver Lake series, there’s plenty of time to catch up. All three books are available worldwide, Here’s the links:

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

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It’s all about the date …… and a little itty bitty announcement

So, a year ago today I put pen to paper and began to write Book 4 in the Silver Lake series.

I blogged about it…. in fact, I had intended to blog about 8th May being the sixth anniversary of putting pen to paper blah blah blah blah but realised I did that last year.

Missed it?

Here you go, you can catch up here: –

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/2018/05/08/whats-in-a-date-quite-a-lot-actually/

In the year since I posted that blog, I’ve been busy…very busy. I finished the writing and editing for Book Baby 4 aka Ellen and successfully self- published it via Amazon’s KDP, albeit slightly later in the year than planned. I’ve worked steadily on Book Baby 5 and, a year down the line, its still not fully written but I am on track (just!) and the proofreading process has recently commenced. Cue my nerves being shot to hell even more so than usual! Yes, the old fear of letting people read what I write has returned with a vengeance.

So, having discovered that I’d already posted the blog I intended for this week I have been left with a bit of a dilemma….. how to mark this creative Silver Lake anniversary?

It feels wrong to let it slip by without doing or saying something.

I’m going to take a leap of faith here. (Those of you who know me personally will realise just how big a leap this is shortly.)

I’m very superstitious about not naming my Book Babies until their first draft is more or less complete. I may have their title in mind but I tend to keep it under wraps almost for as long as I can for fear of destroying the magic of the creative process.

However, Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series has proved to be a little different.

Its title came first before I’d even put pen to paper. That has never happened before!

So, to mark six years to the day of the evening I sat down in the sun with my notepad and pen and began this incredible creative journey, I’m going to share that title with you.

The cover reveal (yeah, that’s kind of almost done too) and the publication date (yeah, I have one of those in mind too and it is another date that is special to me) are a way off so please don’t get too excited here.

Drum roll please, Paul……..

The title of Book Baby 5 aka Book 4 in the Silver Lake series is………

title reveal 

Watch this space…….

 

 

If you’ve missed the start of the series, you can download the books or purchase paperback copies from Amazon

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

and if you missed Ellen –

Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

 

 

 

 

100 Word Story? Is it possible?…..

As an indie-author one of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is “How do you do it?” My standard answer is “One word at a time.”

However, how many words do you need to tell a story? How many to add a bit of intrigue? How many to add a hint of romance?

I decided to set myself the challenge to write a 100 word story.

Anyone who has read my books will understand that limiting the word count is perhaps not my forte! Ha Ha.

However, I was strict with myself here and rose to the challenge.

So, in a 100 words here’s  Cat’s Eyes.

 

Cats’s Eyes

 The cat watched the car approach. Recognised his owner in the passenger seat. As he licked his fluffy paws, he watched as the car stopped at the end of the driveway.  Squinting into the early evening sun, the cat saw the driver reach over to kiss his owner. Pausing to wash his long tail, the cat continued to watch the long, slow, passionate embrace. The car’s window was open but all he could hear was music. As he licked his bits, the car door opened. His owner stepped out. With a wave, the car drove off. Cat and owner smiled.

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On Butterfly Wings (short story)

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For the first time in weeks, she felt safe and secure. She felt calm as she sat on a thick carpet of dry pine needles. Deep in the heart of the small cluster of trees, she was hidden from prying eyes, protected from the world about her. No one knew she came there to think, to read and now to write, well, journal, to be more precise. She was finally alone for the first time in weeks.

She had discovered this small quiet sanctuary by chance. Or had something guided her towards it? How many times had she walked past that stand of trees without a second thought? Something had caught her attention though and, on a whim one sunny summer day, she had strayed from the path to take a closer look. The second she had stepped into the hidden clearing deep with the circle of pine trees, a tranquil silence had enveloped her. She immediately felt as if she belonged there. Was something from the past, from another lifetime, reaching out to tell her she was supposed to be there?

Over the months she had visited the small clearing regularly. After several idyllic afternoons spent hidden there, she realised that she wasn’t the only one spending time in the space. Someone had hung some wind chimes high up on one of the branches. Their gentle tinkling notes were soothing as she hid beneath them, sheltered from the outside world, recharging the batteries of her soul.

Now though, as she settled herself on the thick layer of dried pine needles, her heart and soul were troubled.  Time was running out. Sitting cross-legged, she stared down at the journal resting in her lap. It was slightly larger than a desk diary with a silvery pink cover decorated with multi-coloured butterflies. Its lined pages were blank. She had bought it on a whim over a year before, attracted by the bright butterflies. She never could resist a butterfly.

With a trembling hand, she opened the small, hardbacked journal at the first blank page and began to write. Time lost all meaning as she poured her hopes and fears into the pages. Now that she had opened the lid on the well of emotions that had been bubbling inside her since mid-winter, the words flooded the pages. Safe in the freedom of her journaling, she wrote about feelings and emotions that she had barely consciously acknowledged. She wrote about love. As her spidery writing covered page after page, the pain in her heart and her soul lessened. Her fears of rejection and of failure and of loss and regret gradually began to melt away. Seeing her own words written down in front of her for the first time, she recognised that she had never been the one at fault. Her only fault was to care too deeply about life and some of the people in it.

If she had known then what she knew now, would she have lived her life any differently?

Turning to the last blank page, she smiled to herself and silently acknowledged that she wouldn’t change a second of it. Reliving some of those memories had made her smile, something she had had little cause to do of late.

Staring at the final blank page, she paused. Over the course of the spring afternoon, she had filled the journal with her innermost thoughts. This last blank page was her final chance to have her say, to say how she really felt. The only opportunity left to write a long overdue letter. It was a chance to say goodbye.

Keeping her handwriting small, she swiftly filled the page with words written straight from the heart.

A warm red glowing light was swathing the clearing. It was the colours of sunset. Time was almost up.

Closing the journal over, its magnetic cover snapping into position, she let out a sigh. A little unsteadily, she got to her feet, brushed the pine needles from her jeans and slipped the journal and her green pen into her tote bag. Glancing round for one last time, she whispered, “Thank you.” then ducked down low as she stepped out of the sanctuary into the late afternoon sunshine.

The sun was low in the sky, almost touching the hills across the river to the north. It was casting streaks of red and gold across the virtually cloudless sky, promising a stunning sunset when the golden orb finally dipped below the horizon.

Slowly she made her way along the path then down onto the deserted stretch of beach. Breathing in the salty air, she smiled. Listening to the waves gently lapping ashore, she smiled. Feeling the damp sand under her unsteady feet, she smiled. Feeling the last of the sun’s warmth on her pale cheeks, she smiled.

It sapped the last of her strength but she made it to her favourite spot at the far end of the beach just as the sun began to disappear. The view was perfect. Unable to resist, she reached into her bag for her phone, ignoring all the alerts about missed calls and messages, and photographed one last spectacular sunset.

The bag fell open and, unseen, the butterfly journal dropped out onto the sand. The magnetic cover sprung open.

“There you are!” came an exasperated cry. “Where the hell have you been? Everyone is out looking for you!”

 

Long after the sun had set, a gentle breeze blew in from the west. It caught the pages of the journal flicking them over, setting her emotional confession free.

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