For the past few days, I have shut myself in the office with that timeless excuse, I simply cannot put this book down!
Seriously, for the first time in a long time, I am really committed to finishing this book. Where I can generally put my writing aside to do all the normal, everyday jobs, I suddenly can’t do it. This book has to come first…
I cannot stop until I can no longer hold a pen, and I even eat at my desk. I hope this won’t just be a flash in the pan as the word count is rising!
The basement door was easy to overlook, it looked like a cupboard. It opened easily, revealing a dark hole leading down into the bowels of the earth. I looked for a light switch, my hand searching where my eyes could not but found nothing.
As we made our way down the stairs in the dark, I used the torchlight on my phone to see the way. I found the light switch at the bottom of the stairs.
The air in the basement smelled old and musty, with the faint odour of tobacco. We were in a large room, set out like an office with an old desk and overflowing bookcases. An even older leather armchair sat in the corner surrounded by a neat stack of cardboard boxes.
Laurie must have read my mind, saying exactly what I was thinking. ‘Phew, thank God there’s no freezer, nowhere to hide a body…’
My next thought I kept to myself, maybe the body had been cut up and was in all those boxes.
A loud noise made me jump and Laurie shriek, and that was when the light went out.
‘What was that? Snow, where are you?’
‘I’m here, Laurie. Stand still while I switch on my phone light. I don’t suppose you remember seeing any torches when we were here before?’
The limited light from my phone isolated us as we stood at the bottom of the stairs. I strained my eyes, trying to see the further corners of the room. It looked as it did moments ago, but it didn’t feel the same. Weird rustling sounds, creaking and what sounded like whispering came at me from all the corners of the room.
Laurie must have heard it too, for she turned away from me. ‘I’ll go look for a torch, shall I?’ And shot up the stairs like an athlete.
I wanted to follow her, but something kept my feet rooted to the floor.
The whispering came closer and seemed much louder. Something brushed against my face and the image of a bat flew across my mind. This was unlikely, as there didn’t seem to be any access to the outside, something bats had to have.
I shone the light around the room again and as it reached the leather armchair in the corner, the light flickered and went out but not before I thought I saw someone sitting there.
I barely had the time to consider this when something shoved me.
I felt hands on my lower back, strong enough to cause me to stumble.
Instantly, my arms thrashed around, expecting to contact whoever touched me, but found no one.
‘Laurie, is that you?’
The room was silent, the creaks and the whispering stopped as if waiting for someone or something to answer my question.
I tried to move, to make my way up the stairs but my feet refused to move.
I felt the hands on my back again, a growing chill spreading from the site of contact. ‘Who are you?’
When the voice began to speak, the whispering grew louder, creating a tornado of sound, circling around me.
‘You don’t want or need to know who I am, MR Snow. Get out of my house!’
When the shove came, it sent me flying across the room and I found myself in the leather armchair, pinned down by the hands that sent me there.
As I sat there, stunned and very disorientated, I tried to make sense of what had just happened. A flickering light appeared, bobbing up and down. Now what, I wondered. My rational mind not quite accepting any of this.
‘Snow, where are you? I found a torch, it’s a bit feeble but better than nothing.’ As she shone the light around the room, she found me sprawled in the armchair.
‘What are you doing? Don’t tell me you wanted to take it easy, what are you like?’
A small laugh escaped from my mouth as I thought about trying to explain what I thought had just happened.
I did my best to describe what happened to me in the basement. Laurie listened, but I wasn’t sure she believed everything I said. One thing we did agree on, we were trying to help a lonely and confused woman, not get involved with ghost hunting.
That’s what I think, but is it really? ( all opinions gratefully welcome!)
I seem to have a lot in common with the house I live in these days.
Like me, it is starting to crumble. Cracks appear almost as I watch, making me wonder if there is a time limit on buildings. I mean, how much longer can it stand. I hope it lasts a little longer than I do!
I have never liked this house much, it’s nearly two hundred years old and quaintly called a cottage. God knows why, as it has large rooms with very high ceilings.
Ten years ago, after the worst luck in our history, this house was a much-needed lifeline when we desperately needed one. We grabbed it with both hands, collectively, of course.
After the ancient and dilapidated static caravan, this house seemed like a mansion. We thought we could be happy here, even without central heating and on a very busy main road.
After the postage stamp of a garden at the caravan, I was in seventh heaven when we moved here. A communal garden shared with three other families; our given space was a long section of overgrown wilderness that begged me to roll up my sleeves.
Despite my efforts, this garden has always beaten me. I swear everything can grow faster than I can think. Over the years, it has gradually reduced me to the bare minimum of control.
I have tried to turn my brain off to avoid thinking about the futility of it all. As they say, it is what it is, and there’s not much we can do about any of it…
The past twelve months have quite literally been a nightmare with all those hospital trips; the uncertainty and the long periods of waiting have played havoc with our lives.
So many things have suffered along with our family. It has been a time of indescribable worry when we have had to make do, try to cope with the basics and ignore the pile of jobs that seem to lurk in every room (and garden)
Of course, the most neglected job (and I still call it that even though I love every aspect of it,) is my writing. It hasn’t been entirely abandoned, although to be fair, most of it has been going on inside my head.
As Anita’s health slowly improves, although not entirely resolved yet, I have found a few odd moments to scribble away at my WIP (Ghost of a Chance, book four in my DI Snow series) to the glorious word count of 20,573 words. I am reasonably happy with my progress, although in retrospect, the story is just the bare bones at the moment.
My first draft tends to be just a glorified outline, as I have learned to depend on my characters teaching me about their lives. As you can imagine, this usually results in a very messy first draft, as so much is added as I go along. It’s probably not how you should write a story of any consequence, but it seems to work for me these days.
A retired detective turns private investigator to solve a case the police dismiss. Injured on the job, Snow is forced into retirement, but not ready to stop solving cases. He witnesses a serious mistake which triggers a strong desire to help the victim, a helpless old woman.
An officer resents Snow’s interference and determines to stop him somehow. But other forces are at work here, frustrating all efforts to save the victim.
Can Snow control these forces that are at work against him, or must he suffer defeat again?
We are looking forward to a year of peace and quiet, time to recharge our batteries and catch up on all those neglected things. We also hope that this year will be so much better than the last one!
I thought I had better update my progress today before my muse and/or madness put an end to my struggles.
I think I mentioned last week that there was a serious problem with the plot of my work in progress, Ghost of a Chance. Despite all the patience in the world and several brainstorming sessions, I don’t think I am getting anywhere. Fast.
In fact, the more I study it, I keep finding other problems too. Of course, none of this is supposed to be happening before the end is written, but probably better now than later. At the close of play yesterday (I am joking by the way) there seems to be three muddles. The major one, where a crucial moment seems to have happened far too late in the story, and second, I seem to have written the same conversation in at least three chapters. Added to this list is a character I seem to have forgotten all about.
I almost concluded that the bin was the best place for it, but luckily, my stubborn streak wouldn’t let me do it.
On a more positive note, I have managed to isolate one particular chapter, and if it can be sorted out, will point the way to a satisfactory outcome.
So, this is my target for this afternoon… and unbelievably, I am looking forward to it!