Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tuesday Tease - Message in a Bottle by Kath Middleton

In this week's Tuesday Tease we feature an excerpt from Kath Middleton's second novel 'Message in a Bottle'. Coincidentally this also the next book in my TBR list:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Message in a Bottle
by Kath Middleton
She curled up on the sofa and nodded off. When she woke the night was well advanced. She sat up and went to the table to pour herself another glass of red. She cupped it between her hands as she stood looking over the moonlit road, wondering what time it was but not caring enough to find out. As she sipped the wine she thought about her life now. It seemed pointless. She envisaged day after day rolling by as the last couple had, tedious in themselves and fading into a grey future. What did she have left to live for? She gulped back the contents of the glass and refilled it.

Liz felt like a castaway on an island. This was a peninsula here so it might as well be an island. Oh, she could just go home certainly, but the isolation, the sense of solitariness, was within her. She carried her own bitter loneliness wherever she went. Emptying the last of the bottle’s contents into her glass, she took it with her into the kitchen where she ripped a page from the shopping list pad. She drank the wine back and grabbed a pen.

"HELP! I have just been widowed, aged 28, and my life is over." She looked at it and added her name and email address then folded the note and wrapped it in a small polythene sandwich bag. She retrieved the empty bottle from the sitting room, pushed the plastic wrapped message inside and screwed the top back on.

Without pausing to put on her coat, Liz rushed out of the kitchen door and down the cut-off lane to the beach. She teetered across the dark sand and tide-washed pebbles and, through a curtain of tears, she yelled, "My life is over! I'm dead! I've got nothing to live for!" Pulling her arm back she hurled the green bottle as far into the moon-kissed waves as she could then fell to her knees, sobbing.

Liz knelt in the foam, her knees soaked, her heart in shreds, until her teeth chattered and her body ached with cold. She felt she wanted to throw herself forward and embrace the black waves; to lie there forever and forget. Reluctantly she drew herself upright and staggered and dripped her way in the darkness back to the bungalow. Her thinking was awry and she began to wonder why she'd thrown the message into the waves. Who did she expect would find it? If it survived, if it came ashore somewhere, if anyone even read it, would they contact her? Did it, as she now wondered, sound like the ravings of a mad woman? Who'd reply to that?

She stripped off her dripping clothes, ran a hot bath and soaked the chill out of her bones. She was so tired, so dizzy with alcohol and grief, that she dozed in the warm water, jerking suddenly awake, unsure of where she was. Eventually, as the water cooled, she dragged herself out of the bath, rubbed herself dry and shuffled into the bedroom where she crawled between the sheets and fell into a heavy sleep.


About the Author:

I'm a retired geology graduate with a certificate in archaeology. When I'm in a hole, I don't stop digging!

I began my writing with drabbles (100-word stories) and contributed a number to Jonathan Hill's second drabble collection, Beyond 100 Drabbles. It wasn't long before I moved up a size to contribute short stories to anthologies. Shortly afterwards, I progressed to writing longer pieces and my first solo work, Ravenfold, was published to much acclaim. Several more books are already in the pipeline. I like to put my characters in difficult situations and watch them work their way out. I believe in the indomitable nature of the human spirit (and chickens).

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