After almost two months away from writing my novel, I’ve found it difficult re-establishing a writing routine, so I decided to hold myself to account to write for 10 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what I write, as long as I write. Here are the first six days’ work for your enjoyment. Let me know which you enjoy, and whether you’d like to see any of them expand into a short story or novel.
The leaf dripped with morning dew. Balancing in Tilly’s eye line was a magnificent dragonfly. Golden light flooded across the hills, and the dragonfly rose into the air to greet it. Gossamer wings shimmered, the dragonfly steadying herself on the hastening breeze, and Tilly reached out her hand. Tiny feet touched her skin and Tilly’s world turned upside down.
She stood on a mountain top, her hair blown this way and that by a warm wind that wove around her body like a snake. Beneath her feet, there was darkness so black and solid that she almost stepped out into the abyss. Above her, the wind parted the clouds, and out of the bright blue firmament shone a light so bright that Tilly took to her knee and shielded her eyes.
Her head filled with the warm, honey light and the darkness fell away. Peter’s infidelity and her mother’s spite and venom were gone, swallowed by the cavernous mouth.
She stood alone in a field outside her village, a wooden gate before her, and beyond the gate, the path continued, beneath arches of cream scented roses to a point of vibrating, pulsing light.
Tilly spread her arms out beside her, and a new, turquoise winged dragonfly flew down the path, beneath the flowers, into the arms of the goddess.
Jess held onto the letter with her fingertips for what seemed an hour before letting go and dropping it into the post box outside the pharmacy in town. Her heart beat in her ears, and her legs wobbled beneath her. She pulled up her hood against the fast falling rain drops.
Across the road, Mari called to her from the doorway of the coffee shop.
Relief flooded over Jess like a warm blanket. The sweet, bitter fragrances of coffee and vanilla flooded her senses. She dropped into a chair by the open fire.
“Get that coat off and I’ll get your coffee,” said Mari, “Penny will be here in a bit. You posted the letter then?”
Jess twiddled a stray damp curl against her face, waiting for her large skinny latte. Mari and Penny were her best friends, but how could she explain the importance of the letter she’d posted without sounding mad?
Annie zipped up her hooded anorak and stepped into her Wellington boots. Her flash light was powered up and her wicker basket empty and eager. Though it was Lammas eve, the Welsh rain hammered down on the hills and fields. The blessing was, it wasn’t cold rain. There was a hint of a tropical storm in the air.
The track down to the river was overhung with ferns and hawthorn. Stinging nettles jostled with thistles in the strengthening breeze, buffeting against Annie’s legs. Head down, she hurried towards the stands of hazel.
In the light of her torch, the glossy white fruit shone beneath the dripping wet, lime green leaves. Still clasped in their fluffy holders, Annie picked them in clusters, sending showers of raindrops cascading onto her coat with every tug. She found a tree stump to balance her torch on, so in its beam, she used two hands to collect her harvest.
For the past two years, she’d watched the hazel nuts growing on her trees and then disappearing overnight. She smiled to herself on this occasion, pleased she was at least able to share the trees abundance with the squirrels.
After six hours of driving in heavy traffic, Charlie turned her little blue car off the motorway, and the heavens opened. Rain like stair rods threatened to pierce her windscreen, but on she drove, up hills with ninety degree bends, and down again. Traffic thinned the deeper she drove into the heart of Wales. All she could think of was her little cottage with the jasmine beside the front door, and a week of peace, just her and the countryside.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love Steve. Her heart panged every time she thought of a fortnight without him, but the Jethcoe project was important, she knew that. Even working late in the office most evenings, he wasn’t close to finishing, he’d said, so it made sense to leave him in London, and enjoy her holiday on her own.
The cottage was a gift from her Auntie Elaine, who’d used it as a writing retreat, but now preferred to spend half her year in Malta and the other half in her villa in Spain, and Charlie loved to spend time there whenever she could. She’d considered renting it out for about ten seconds, immediately hating the idea of strangers in what was her home.
The sign for the village was almost obliterated by the pounding raindrops merging on the windscreen. Charlie slowed down before turning off the main street, up towards the woodland and her cottage on a rough stone track. She barrowed stones from her ‘quarry’ to fill the holes each year, but the rain was biting deep into the surface making her drive a bumpy one.
Turning into her yard, she slammed on her brakes. There was a light upstairs, and one in the kitchen.
Rain soaked her hair as she crept from the barn, her bill hook balanced in her hand. She blinked it away, her heart dancing to a crazy beat, and flung open the kitchen door.
Snuggled naked on the duvet in front of the open fire, Charlie recalled the scene she’d witnessed in the kitchen; every surface glowed with the light from a tea light in a jar, the scent of josticks pervaded the air and Steve stood naked except for her bread apron, stirring supper on the Arga.
How could she be lonely or bored when there was so much to do? Doris shook her head, attempting to dismiss the ache in her heart that threatened tears. Self-pity didn’t get the harvest in or the wood chopped. It was time for action, not wallowing in ‘what ifs’.
The rain on the roof of the wood barn was like a never ending barrage of gun fire, not the perfect day to pick and store vegetables, but with rain forecast for the rest of the week, today was the best day to begin.
With the advice of her friends bouncing around in her head, Carys continued along the bumpy track. Although the gardens were private, being part of the National Gardens Scheme made them open to the public, so this first date was definitely in a ‘public place’, but whether there would be any members of the public at such a remote location on a drizzly, August day, she couldn’t be sure. Being new to the area, Henry hadn’t any better ideas of where to meet, so a walk around a soggy garden, hopefully followed by a hot drink to stave off pneumonia, was the best scenario she’d been able to come up with.
On she drove, fine mizzle coating her windscreen and dampening her spirits. A hand painted sign confirmed she was still driving on the correct path, turning up towards the skyline and the outline of a house and trees on a hill. A lady clad head to toe in waterproofs opened the gate for her and beckoned her to park in front of the house. There was no sign of any other cars. Carys glanced at her watch. It was ten past eleven. She was late, yet there was no sign of Henry. She checked her phone in her bag. No messages. She zipped it into her waterproof coat and climbed out of the car.
Melissa was a wonderful host. The garden tour, including a visit to the ‘cave’ and the ‘temple’ was relaxing and fun, despite the weather, and the home made Welsh cakes and fresh coffee, were welcome to stave off the chill. The sculptures she’d seen throughout the gardens inspired her, and excited her, confirming her love of everything upcycled and reused to be a healthy state of mind. She’d a list of plants to seek out when she got home, and half a dozen envelopes full of seeds to plant in her own garden.
Climbing into her car after bidding her host farewell, Carys’ phone vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at the screen and giggled to herself a little. Once through the gate and a final wave to Melissa, Carys allowed herself permission to laugh as hard as she wanted. She wouldn’t be meeting Henry, ever. He’d approached the road to the garden, but been worried the rough track might damage his car, so had driven home before messaging. What need had she, a woman who lived alone in a remote longhouse, surrounded by twenty acres of land, for a man who wouldn’t get his car dirty, let alone his hands?
They are all first draft, so be kind, but it fascinated me how some days, I struggled to write fast enough to get the words on paper, and yet other days, I could barely string a sentence together!
I’m happy to say that I’ve picked up my WIP again, and The Able Witch is coming together, the fifth book in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit series. Book four, The Eloquent Witch, is written but I’m waiting to complete the series with book six, before publishing. If you haven’t begun the series yet, you can buy The Naked Witch, the first book in the Lizzie Martin series, here, for less than the price of a skinny latte https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV
for my friends across the pond.
Don’t forget to comment on the writing!