I went to the Freecon Futurian Sci Fi convention last Sunday 7th Dec 2014. (I do love reading and writing fantasy as well as thrillers. After my next thriller is published, I'll be finishing off my latest fantasy.) Not as big a turn up as I had been told. But still it was an interesting day. I was asked to read one chapter of The Deadly Caress. I know it's not sci fi or fantasy or horror but I thought it would be good to do this.
Garry Dalrymple has to be commended for all his hard work behind the scenes for this convention.
Here's part of the chapter I read out. Please note: Amanda Blake is the main character. Dorian - her newly discovered step-brother, Brian - her newly discovered twin and Jean - her newly discovered natural mother.
Excerpt from Chapter Four of The Deadly Caress
Amanda zipped up her raspberry-colored dress, and then stepped into her sandals, her thoughts centered on Dorian’s argument with Jean last night.
She recalled her mother’s words before Dorian strode away. ‘I’m sorry. I was going to tell you.’
Still wounded by Jean’s confession that she hadn’t been able to tell Murray she’d had twins, Amanda pulled aside the silk drapes, and the weak morning sun streamed in.
More than half of last night, she’d mulled over how it must have been for Jean faced with that decision. How could she begin to understand when she’d never had children?
That she blamed herself for the loss of her own unborn child at the age of twenty had been more than enough guilt for her to carry. It had been a horrific way to wake up to what she was doing to her body and start eating properly again.
From her bedroom, she could see a path curving from the veranda, past a winding narrow garden of mauve irises and white lilies; and at the cliff face, steps that disappeared downwards to the beach. Near the steps grew two Cypress pines that clung precariously to the rocky cliff face and leaned towards the restless, churning, water.
Even after last night’s incident, and the conflicting emotions that had brought her here, she was glad she’d come and been given the chance to meet her twin. Being part of a family again made her feel whole. She opened the window and heard the ocean crashing angrily against the rocks and the wind wooing as it skidded past the house.
No matter what the weather brought, she was looking forward to spending time with Brian.
A glance at the clock told her it was seven-thirty. She picked up her earrings from the French provincial dresser, had pushed one hoop in her lobe when she heard a scream.
The woman screamed again. Amanda opened the door and hurried toward the sound, which seemed to be coming from a room at the far end of the hallway.
She stopped in the doorway to Jean’s room. Estella stood sobbing beside a writing bureau, her face buried in her hands. A broken cup lay at her feet. She looked up as Amanda entered.
‘She’s….’ Her voice trailed off.
Amanda couldn’t understand her, but she noticed the stricken woman staring towards the ensuite bathroom, its door half-open.
Heart hammering, she pushed the door open as far as it would go.
‘No,’ she gasped. ‘No.’
Jean was sprawled on the tiled floor, her eyes open, staring at nothing, her mouth agape as if wanting to say one last word. Her blue satin dressing gown had fallen open, revealing her negligee.
A sense of unreality gripped Amanda.
‘Is she?’ Amanda couldn’t say the word but she knew the answer to her question. There was no life left in her mother’s body.
A toothbrush lay beside Jean’s outstretched fingers. Amanda stared hard at them, wanting them to curl around the handle, to show some small sign of life.
Finally, she moved her gaze to the marble vanity. There lay the mundane necessities of the living—a half-drunk glass of water, an open bottle of mouthwash, toothpaste, an open bottle of pills, perfume, lipstick and a compact.
The blue dressing gown…
Was it still a dream…her dream? She opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. The sound of water cascading from the faucet echoed through her thoughts.
The scene swam out of focus. Her head felt light, and the room seemed suddenly darker. She could smell the soft scent of wildflowers and sandalwood as she felt herself sink to the floor.