THE THIEF OF BROKEN TOYS – extract, and last chance

March 7th, 2010 • Posted in Book News |

This is your last chance to order the limited edition hardback version of my new novella The Thief of Broken ToysYou can go here for ordering details.

And hopefully to whet your appetite, here is a very short extract:

We rise from the sad house with the crying man and submit to the breeze, now carrying the growing chill of dusk.  The sun is setting behind the opposite valley ridge, silhouetting the sparse trees growing up there in defiance of the storms that sweep this coast.  They throw long shadow out across the valley, and if the confusion of buildings and water was not so extreme, they might even be visible down there.  But street lights are flickering on to kill the shadows, and windows throughout the village are illuminated from within.

Up to the ridge and along from the village, and a fox gambols on the slope of bracken and ferns leading to the sheer cliffs.  Several shapes play around it, but they’re too quick and shy to manifest properly.  The wild welcomes the dusk, as it has since the advent of humanity.  People have taken the day for themselves, putting limits on it, sectioning it, adjusting it for their own means and ends.  But night time, an absence, still belongs to the land.

Yet there are those who walk the night.  People who tread carefully, but relish the freedom inherent on the dark winds.  Their minds are often closer to the nature of things, or the Nature in things, and they understand more than most that the wild is a cycle like everything else.  There are the aeons, and the ages, the years and the seasons, but there is also day and night, and there lies the truest of Nature’s distinctions.

The cliff path is deserted tonight, swept of fallen leaves by the sea breeze.  The hawthorn trees on either side are mostly leafless now, and the ferns are fading to brown, readying to die back and give way to new growth in several month’s time.  Some life hibernates over seasons, and some hides for much shorter periods.

Below, down through the thick ferns and gorse, clinging to the edge of the cliff like a huge barnacle, we see the old stone structure.  Forever, it has been a forgotten remnant of the village’s past.  Perhaps a lookout post for fishermen, or a refuge of some sort.  Maybe it is even a folly, built by a rich villager of yesteryear to a love that might or might not have been his.  There is little vandalism here, none of the casual paint sprayed exhortations of youths, or the intentional removal of blocks to tumble over the cliff, whose sheer edge is only a few short steps away.  It could be that kids don’t know about it, or maybe there are other reasons.  Perhaps animals use it for a shelter sometimes, but today…

There’s a spread of things outside the small building’s seaward opening, and from inside … is that a light?  Faint, a feeble glow like the echo of the sun’s setting beams, to most it would not even be visible.

And here we are: sitting in the doorway is a man, where perhaps he wasn’t before.

He’s an old man.  He’s smoking a pipe, and its intermittent glow gives him a lighthouse face.  Something sways in his hand as he works his fingers.  He stretches, and feels the bones in his shoulder grate together.  The first sign of age, many other aches and pain have developed since them, but they are still the worst.  At least his fingers can still flex, and his hands still grip, and at least his sight is still sharp.

The shape in his hand is an old beanie doll, and tonight he will give it a new leg.

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