As September begins, I am excited to finally introduce my first YA novel, which is published at the end of this month. I wrote this story two years ago and have waited patiently for its arrival, hoping that the narrative will grab your interest and intrigue you enough to consider checking it out.
This segment is a few chapters in and after the two main characters, Drew and Siobhan, have come across a mysterious old country house. The two of them have had a feeling of ‘being watched’ ever since that peculiar night. Some weird blackbirds, which dwell in large numbers close to that disheveled house, have also been haunting their lives.
Sunday came and I went down to the Hub to meet Siobhan for lunch. She was already settled in and listening to music on her iPod when I sauntered in and plonked myself opposite her in one of the quaint wooden booths.
“Shall I order the usual?” she asked as she yanked one earphone out of her ear.
“Yes, two roasts please,” I said noticing the waiter looming over us.
“Great! I need a feast today.”
I smiled at Siobhan and then decided to breach the subject and get it out of the way before our dinner came.
“So why have you not mentioned going into that garden again? Bonita was fuming about that.”
I could see that I had caught her by surprise. She thought for a moment and then began.
“I was going to tell you. But then I decided it was better to keep it to myself.”
“Right,” I said, “but we always tell each other everything.”
She turned red a little and looked away.
“This was different. I didn’t know anyone had seen me and I just wanted to try and forget about it,” she gulped, in much the same way as I usually would gulp.
“You know it’s no good keeping these things bottled up,” I said.
“Well I tried to ring you. You were working for your mum that night. I had just been totally freaked out by that dead bird and my mind was whirling. I found myself cleaning my bike and going for a ride. Before I knew it I was slowing down and staring at that bloody house. Something told me I needed to check it out again. I heard some noises, like feint bird noises.”
“You rang me to go with you?” I said awkwardly.
“Yes. But by this time I was already outside. I just had a strange feeling and decided to take the track by the side of the property. I thought I might get a different picture.”
“You wanted to take pictures?”
“No. You know what I mean. I wanted to see it from a different perspective. And when I got half way down the track I could hear the cawing of birds getting louder. Through the fence I spotted a little shed and just in front of it there must have been about a hundred black birds all making strange noises and pecking away at something littered across the grass.”
I could see that she was uncomfortable discussing this and she lowered her voice as the waiter was walking over.
He presented us with some piled high plates of chicken, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, green beans, parsnips and carrots. It was really smelling good and momentarily distracted us from the story but soon he was gone and we were back to chatting about it, almost under a cover of mystery, like two detectives quietly sharing information about a big operation.
“What was it then? What were they eating?” I said, looking at my own food and salivating.
I just filled my mouth with lush roasted potatoes when she said, “Just lots of pieces of flesh. Pink flesh.”
I spat my food out again into the napkin. I could see that she was repulsed by the recollection.
“That is why you freaked out.”