Today’s prompt brought to mind a scene from my recently published novel ‘ State Of Denial’, (perhaps because I’m now writing the next book in the trilogy), so I thought I would use an extract in reply to Sue’s prompt today. I hope it intrigues the reader!
The path kept going through the base of the valley and curved round the head of the lake as the river flowed into it. ‘From here the path becomes rougher,’ Hassan said, as the flat land began to slope upwards and smooth gravel was replaced by broken rocks and protruding roots. They trooped on. The open meadow of the valley was replaced by forest along the side of the lake. Danny cast a glance over his shoulder at the small dwellings in the distance, wondering if he would ever return. They kept going for forty-five minutes before Danny called a halt and was allowed a rest. Hassan reckoned they had travelled two kilometres already but progress would be slower from this point onwards. As the sun rose further into the sky and the temperature once again began to climb, the towering trees provided welcome shade. Lucas drifted into a light sleep though his eyes kept opening with each jolt or bump along their route. Around them a varying symphony of nature accompanied their journey. A constant melody of bird calls echoed from the branches above them and occasionally the sound of a bigger mammal reverberated through the foliage. Deer had flourished in the wilderness along with bears, wildcats, wolves and foxes. Hassan reassured them that they would be safe from any predators unless they stumbled into their territory by mistake. As the day grew warmer Danny began to sweat, drops gathering on his eyebrows and trickling down his face and neck. With both hands on the stretcher he was unable to wipe his brow clear. Eilidh noticed and gently dabbed his head with her handkerchief. Soon his hands were wet with his own sweat causing the stretcher pole to slip from his grasp and requiring him to muster an even firmer grip.
Another hour later they stopped again, having reached the far end of the lake. Danny’s shoulders and back ached. He found a boulder to sit on. Hassan remained on his feet, scanning the horizon around them through binoculars. What he was expecting to see, Danny couldn’t imagine. Despite the constant buzz of nature around them, they had not seen anything other than the odd bird or insect flying around in the forest. There was a peaceful calm now that they had emerged from the forest again. There were no cities this far north so the sky remained clear of any drones, the intercity rail shuttle veered east at The Fort, never venturing this far north, and no roads had ever been built in this corner of the country. Water lapped against the shore gently in the background. Lucas stirred as the stretcher was put down and sat up. Eilidh fed him a selection of vegetables: carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber; a few pieces of apple and some cheese and pork – foods low in carbohydrates that wouldn’t raise his blood sugar levels radically. Lucas asked Danny about the City: what was it like? Did they really have screens where you could watch people acting out stories? Could you buy things on a TouchScreen and minutes later a drone would deliver them to your door? What toys did children have there? Danny tried to answer the flurry of questions as best he could. He tried to emphasise the positive things about living in a city. He avoided mentioning what Lucas would be losing: the wildlife, nature and open spaces that the wilderness had in abundance. Eilidh sat watching them, staring at her son, letting their final moments together sink into her memory.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ‘A spellbinding sequel…Get lost in the pages…through passages that may have you holding your breath.’
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ‘A great read…Well paced and full of drama. A great sequel.’
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ‘an easy series to get drawn into. Well written, the plot flows effortlessly…A gripping sci-fi’
‘STATE OF DENIAL’ OUT NOW in PAPERBACK and on AMAZON KINDLE: