Yesterday I suggested that I might post the first page of my next novel on here today. Obviously I changed my mind but a writer friend of mine, Janet, had already seen the comment and said she was looking forwards to it. I tell you … be very careful what you put into writing! Now I feel obligated to do it. So … this is the first page of The Sleeping Field. It is straight off the press, unedited, warts and all. If you want to comment please do.
The Sleeping Field
They’d found her.
Marrakech Madder turned away, pulling the collar of her faded Barbour jacket tighter around her throat, attempting to trap out the chill of the early morning air and the feeling of helplessness that surrounded her. She slid her hand into her pocket and her fingers touched the child’s glove nestling there. She scooped it into the palm of her hand, squeezing the pink, woolly fabric one last time. The child wouldn’t need it now.
The police had thought that they would find her alive. She knew they wouldn’t. She knew that they would find her twisted and broken, like a rag doll that had been cast by a fractious child, lying in a crude, heathen grave. It was little comfort to know that she was right.
She pulled her hand from her pocket and pressed the glove against her rigid face. It smelt of chocolate and fabric conditioner. She closed her eyes, imprisoning tears behind her dark lashes. In God’s name, why? What was it that made one man kill another man’s child?
D.I Bart shuffled towards her up the slight incline of the ploughed field, the orange earth sticking to the back of his black trousers like rust on a drain pipe. Below him, beneath the gnarled oak, men in white coats erected screens – not fast enough for one of the police officers, as he turned away and threw up. It was a young team. Most of them probably had children of their own, children they protected with their very lives.
As DI Bart approached, his breath came in short, hard rasps, like a lover at the point of ejaculation. Did men like DI Bart make love or had the job soured his heart and he could no longer touch flesh – dead or alive?
He came to a halt in front of her. ‘We’ve found her, Mari. They’ll have to perform a bloody miracle before we can let the parents see the body.’
She slid her gaze into his rheumy eyes as he rocked back and forth on his heels, banging his gloveless hands together in an attempt to get the feeling back into them.
She nodded. Why couldn’t he say, before we let the parents see her or the child? Why, the body?
‘I know this takes its toll on you, Mari, but without your help she would still be missing. It’s bad enough finding the poor kid dead, but for the poor kid to be dead and not found, that would be worse.’
She nodded again, unable to speak, aware of the overwhelming tiredness creeping into her bones. She felt half dead.
DI Bart took her by the elbow. ‘Let’s get you home.’
She forced a slight movement with her mouth and nodded. Home sounded good. At least she had that to look forward to. What was there to look forward to for the parents of little Rosie Tucker? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Marrakech turned her head to take a last look at the murder site. It would be a while yet before the body could be moved. The night was drawing in and it broke her heart to think that Rosie would spend another night lying in the bottom of a cold, dark ditch. As she turned back and walked towards the road with DI Bart, she knew, categorically, one thing. This was the last time she would do this.
Take care my lovelies x
Have a lovely weekend all.