First Excerpt from ‘On a Wintry Evening’

In this blog I would like to share with you an excerpt from my current novel ‘On a Wintry Evening.’ This follows on from my blog where I described what the book was about. In the following scene Orlando has rescued a girl from the snow and brought her inside his home. He and his wife Josephine are trying to settle the girl down, whilst at the the same endeavouring to find out something about her but she seems reluctant to say anything at first. This soon changes, however, and Orlando and Josephine discover they are getting more than they bargained for with this girl:

“What is your name, girl?” Josephine asked her which brought an admonishing look from Orlando.

“Remember what I said, dearest,” he scolded her.  “No questions tonight.  We must have her fully rested and then….”

“Annabel,” the girl uttered in a tone which was barely audible to Orlando.  “That is my name.  It is Annabel.”

Clearer this time.  It was almost as if the child had thrown off her shyness after finding herself in the company of two strangers, even if they were well-meaning strangers. 

“That is good,” smiled Josephine.  “It is good to meet you.  I am Josephine and this is my husband Orlando.  Now you must be tired after your ordeal.  What do you say about us getting you to bed so you can rest?”

There was a spare room in the cottage which was set aside for any visitor who may come calling.  This was hardly a visit of the most conventional kind, but Josephine decided they needed to make the best of the situation.  The child had to sleep and it would be for the best if she was at her ease and comfortable as soon as possible.

“But what about the others?” asked Annabel in despair.

“The others? What others?” Josephine looked up questioningly at Orlando who shook his head. It was clear the girl had divulged nothing to him about anyone else stuck outside when he had rescued her from the unruly elements.

“We can’t leave the others behind: that would be too cruel.  They need our help.”

Orlando stared at the girl in an open-mouthed way before a light seemed to come on in his mind shedding new illumination on the situation where previously there had only been darkness.  “Hold on, honey.  I’m going to take another peek outside to see if I can find your friends.  Okay?”

Annabel shrugged as if she didn’t think anything would come from this undertaking.  Her reaction seemed to puzzle Orlando and Josephine in about equal measures.

“Well, I think it’s worth a try,” suggested Josephine in an encouraging way but the girl appeared to take little solace from it.

“I’ll go and check,” said Orlando in a determined fashion.  He couldn’t for the life of him work out why the girl was so sceptical that he would find anything outside.  If he had found her then surely the other children were close by.  That’s if they were children.  Orlando had made the instant assumption that they were, but ‘the others’ could mean almost anything.  But then why would she be worried about grown ups? Surely they would be able to take care of themselves.

Orlando shook off these reflections as best he could as he marched over to the window and looked out.  “It’s still coming down in buckets that snow,” he called back to Josephine and the mysterious girl who had suddenly become a part of their lives whether they liked it or not.  “I can’t see much especially with that mist which has started to move in.  It’s got a strange tinge to it.  That’s odd.  It keeps changing colour.  It looked black or maybe grey to start with but then it turned a yellowish colour and now it’s green.  I better go outside to take a closer look.”

“No!” cried out Annabel with a shriek which made both Orlando and Josephine cup their ears.  “Don’t go out there.  It’s dangerous.”

Orlando moved back over to the child and aimed a sympathetic look at her.  Or at least he hoped that was the way she took it.  There was no knowing what she was thinking.  She seemed to be prone to bouts of irrationality.  Why was she so scared of a mist even if it was changing colour at a rate of knots?

“Oh, come on, honey.  There’s nothing dangerous out there.  It’s just a snowstorm.  A very violent snowstorm, I grant you, but just a snowstorm nonetheless…”

“Yes but darling,” responded Josephine in a way which indicated she had something important to tell him.  “You did say earlier on that there was something strange in the air, something unsettling as if it was heralding some sort of weird event…”

“Yes? And so?”

“So I think this could be the weird event.  This little girl appears out of nowhere and you bring her in from the snow thinking she is merely lost but then she starts talking about these ‘others.’  Don’t you think that bears investigation?”

“Well, of course I do.  That’s why I was going outside: to investigate, to get a closer look at what might be going on out there.”

“That wouldn’t be a very good idea,” pointed out Annabel as if she was suddenly mature beyond her years.  “If I were you I would stay where you are.”

Suddenly Orlando and Josephine looked aghast at each other.  The words which had just come out of the child’s mouth were not ones you would usually attribute to someone who can have hardly been more than eight or nine years old.  She had spoken as if she was in her twenties or thirties.  What did this signify? A weird event? Yes, definitely that, but what was it leading to? And what would happen when it arrived?

Categories:My Horror Updates

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