The following is an edited extract from my new novel, ‘State Of Denial‘, which is published tomorrow and is available to buy now on Amazon (see the links below).
Harbinger noun: ‘A person or thing that foreshadows or foretells the coming of someone or something.’
The sun reached its zenith in the clear blue sky. It was not a time to be outside, especially doing any sort of labour. Danny lay down his tools, ready to resume harvesting his crop later in the afternoon when the midday heat had subsided. He walked over to the small porch that he had built onto the front of his home, which was covered by a corrugated tin roof, providing shade from the sun. He used a crude metal cup to scoop water from a wooden bucket and poured it over his head and shoulders, allowing it to dampen his dirt-covered clothes. He took another cupful and drank it down in one deep, grateful swallow. The water was warm after sitting out all morning.
He sat down on the wooden stool he had made and leaned back against the sturdy wall of his hut. He watched the calming, still landscape for a moment. The village was quiet as everyone had moved indoors, avoiding the midday heat by having a well-earned meal or rest. The sounds and smells that surrounded him were still novel to him after forty years of living in the city. Birds of various kinds sang in different voices, somewhere distant a stag bellowed and a welcome breeze rustled the leaves on the forest of trees that ran along each side of the valley slopes.
Danny’s eyelids drooped now as the combination of the heat and morning exertion led to the inevitable daily siesta.
In the wild meadow in front of his hut, Isla and Hanlen ran through the grass and the yellow and white flowers that grew up to their heads. They were older now, growing into playful, exuberant children. Their skin was olive and tanned, like their mother’s, bronzed by a lifetime spent outdoors with the wilderness as their playground. Their laughter floated over the meadow to the hut where Danny stood watching them, leaning against the wooden post that supported the porch roof. As he stood there, arms circled his waist. He looked round into the wide hazel eyes of Rosa, who smiled up at him. He kissed the top of her head, breathing in her comforting scent.
‘Elysium,’ he said to her.
‘Hmm?’ she replied.
‘Nothing,’ he held her closer. ‘This is the place I’ve always wanted to be, right here, like this.’
They stood holding each other, watching their children chasing butterflies through the sunlit haze, motes of dust dancing around them.
‘Elysium.’ He shouted it this time, louder and harsher. ‘Elysium. Elysium.’
Danny jerked awake, half-toppling from the stool.
‘I see them. I see them.’ The shouts came from the rough path that ran past his hut down to the village. ‘Come on, they’re here, they’re back.’
NEW NOVEL ‘STATE OF DENIAL’ RELEASED ON FRIDAY
My second novel is released on Friday and you can now order the paperback or Amazon Kindle version by following the links: