I’ve got a large bit of my WIP that won’t be included in the manuscript because I’ve decided to begin at a different point, so I thought I’d post it here and see what readers thought. What a great way to test the waters! Very appropos because my hero and heroine live on a secluded island (imaginery) off the coast of England. So a few words (and I will post a bit more every two days) from Gemini Rising:
My dearest Rory,
In my darkest moments, I’ve always turned to you. Tonight is so very dark and you so far away. It’s hard to believe the sun will ever rise again. If it does, I won’t know. There are no windows in this inhospitable room. Gray tile floors mirror the mud-gray walls. In this bleak geography, I’m alone and terrified.
An hour ago, I rang. I needed to hear your voice. When your father recognized me, he said you were out for the evening. For politeness’ sake, he asked, “Shall I have him call?” But I could hear the lie behind the chill in his voice.
The most awful thing has happened. Perhaps, after another swig from the flask of Irish whiskey shared by a man from the County Cort, I can bring myself to write it down. Please don’t throw this letter away before you read it. It is an act of courage. By the time you receive this, it will all be over—one way or another. Bear with my ramblings.
You told me you couldn’t stand the sight of me. When you left, you gazed at everything as if you despised anything bearing the name Alastair. I loved you, Rory—love you still. I know you loved me once. In fact, you’re the only one, besides Alain, who has ever truly accepted me as I am. I’m sorry to bring up his name, but the doctors say he may not survive the night.
My hand shakes as I scribble black words on this pristine page. So I see my life—scrawlings on a virgin sheet, incomprehensible stick figures marching across the walls of some forgotten Pharoah’s tomb. Yet in the Book of Life, I find tiny scraps of paper stuck between the pages, marking memories.
I am begging for your understanding. Yet how do I begin?
If I could pick a day from the past that you might live with us, leaf to a solitary page describing the way we were. How do I choose one day from a lifetime? If I could give you a map of the past—something you could hold in your hand, trace black-and-white lines, the twists and turns of how it all came to be, you might someday arrive at a quiet place of forgiveness.
I now know the beginning, but I cannot start there. The truth is stranger than any of my far-flung stories and would challenge any normal man’s power to believe. I shall begin somewhere between the past and the time you came into my life.
Alastair Keep exists of and to itself. You can’t possibly imagine what it’s like to grow up in such isolation. My brother and I weren’t the only children on the island, but we were different, oddities from the very moment of birth. And we were the Children from the Castle—the future Lord and his sister. These facts set us apart. Mother, whom I have no doubt loved us desperately, lavished sporadic affection us between her lecturing tours. Father is a distant man by nature. Finally, he became an evil man.