In today’s blog I thought I would return to my novel ‘Retribution’ and offer another excerpt from this book as I find I have not issued one in a while. In this scene I explore the relations between Lucy O’Neill and her brother David as they settle into their new home:
‘Wow!’ thought Lucy. ‘This place is incredible. All those huge paintings on the walls downstairs and along the corridor up here. I wonder who those people were in the portraits? They look so old-fashioned: they must have lived ages ago. Huh! They looked funny some of them. But the costumes the ladies wore were very pretty. Then there’s that brilliant staircase: I’ve never seen one like that before. It’s just so huge and the banister has that lion’s head at the bottom, which is something else! I just wish it didn’t look so frightening, that’s all.
The young girl jumped up suddenly from her prone position on the bed as the shock of her brother’s greeting hit home. “Davey! Don’t creep up on people like that: you gave me a fright!”
David, in turn, seemed to be taken aback by his sister’s rebuke. However, he was not annoyed with her, such was the strong regard which he held for the girl. This was a feeling which Lucy returned with interest. Truly, theirs was a good and trusting relationship. It was a bond of mutual affection which had been ever-present between them since they were very small.
“Sorry about that, Luce,” David apologized. “I didn’t realize you were off amongst the fairies again! What were you dreaming of this time? Something really off-the-wall, I bet!”
Lucy smiled knowingly at her brother. She did not feel slighted in the least by his words, as she knew he was only kidding around. That was one thing about David which his sister greatly appreciated: he never criticised her or made any sarcastic remarks towards her. Or, if he did, there was good cause for it. However, he never once had a go at her for the shyness in her character which was so unappealing to others.
“Oh, I wasn’t really dreaming of anything,” carried on Lucy in answer to David’s question. “I was just thinking what a great place this is. I mean it’s hard to believe this is our new home!”
“Well, believe it, sis: because we’re here to stay!”
While Lucy smiled warmly at her brother, he was employing himself in a different activity. Looking around the room, he made a curious discovery. “Why haven’t you unpacked your things yet, Luce? I mean the delivery van must have arrived over an hour ago, and yet you haven’t taken out any of your things yet.”
“Oh,” she returned in an absent-minded fashion from her sitting-up position on her bed. “I guess I must have been so caught up in the excitement of arriving here that I forgot all about it.”
David now looked at his sister with an expression of incredulity. “Huh! I just don’t get you sometimes. I mean, the first thing I did when I got into my room was to unpack. I couldn’t wait to get all my toys out and start playing with them and put all my clothes away. Now I feel I’m settled into this new house of ours. But you just lie there staring off into space, with all your stuff lying on the ground!”
“But that’s just me, Davey: you know that! Anyway, I don’t need to unpack all my stuff to feel that I belong here. I felt that as soon as we arrived here. I don’t know what it is about this place, but there’s a special feeling about this house…”
“Oh, sure there is,” agreed David. “It’s a cracking house, with plenty of space to explore. Speaking of which, I was wondering if you wanted to go exploring the woods. They look really…”
“No, Davey, I wasn’t meaning that the house was going to be fun to live in, although it will. It’s just that I have a weird feeling about this house, almost as if there’s someone looking over us.”
“Oh, come on, Luce! You’re not going to get all creepy on me, are you?”
“What do you mean?” asked Lucy in a flummoxed tone.
“Well,” David replied whilst jumping onto the foot of his sister’s bed. “You’re talking really strangely at the moment. What the hell do you mean that somebody is looking over us? What, is this an evil presence, like the wicked witch of the west in ‘The Wizard of Oz’?”
“Oh, I love that movie!”
“Yeah, so do I. Anyway, was it a malicious presence like that you were thinking of just now? Or was it a gentle, friendly guardian angel that was on your mind?”
Lucy couldn’t help but smile at David’s questioning attitude, which he did in a light-hearted tone. “And you call me weird?”
“All right!” acknowledged David, as he put up his hand. “We’re just as crazy as each other. Which is why we get on so well, eh, sis?”
David and Lucy burst out into a spurt of uncontrollable giggling, as they took the opportunity for some high-powered merriment. This they did with some zeal, which was an aspect of their closely-knit relationship they greatly enjoyed.
They had been so much caught up in their fun-loving antics that the subject of Lucy’s previous remarks concerning a presence within the household was not broached further. The feeling she had expressed to David about Oak Manor was not brought up again by her brother. For he had far more urgent things on his mind.
“Hey, Luce! How about what I was saying before about exploring the woods? What do you say we just drop everything and check out what living in the country is really all about?”
“Oh, but what about all my unpacking?” protested Lucy in a mocking way. It had, after all, been David who had criticised his sister for her laxity in this department. “What will Mum and Dad say if they find out my room is in such a mess?”
David looked askance at Lucy, as her words hit home. “Oh, who cares what they think? We’ve just arrived here, for heaven’s sake! Surely we don’t have to be worrying about keeping our rooms in perfect order right away? Let’s have some fun!”
So, with that, there was nothing but a charging along the hallway by the two children and a bounding down the majestic staircase. However, on this occasion, Lucy had no time for reflection with regard to the magnificent interior of her new home. She needed all her attention to keep pace with the fireball that was David as he careered out of the house in the direction of the mysterious woods.