It appears I’ve taken a hiatus. . . No excuses. I have been working. Finished the third novel in the series that has expanded to quartet length. Maybe a quintet. There’s a reason I have too many chairs in my home; my characters have made themselves at home. The revision is coming along, and Senga continues to surprise me. My revised title to the first novel is The Riven Country of Senga Munro.
Winter clings, with colder than normal temperatures for this time of year and a good snow blanket. Weather discussion can sound tedious, but in Wyoming, where too dry is a matter of fire or life, I make no apologies. Below, please find an excerpt, the setting based on Ballyfin images in Ireland.
They stood before the great house, awake with it alone, save for another single, faint light gleaming from a far window on the opposite wing. Senga had left a similar one for their return; “A candle in the window,” she reminded him.
“Which way?” he asked, as he surveyed the shadowy directions.
“Toward the lake?”
“As you wish,” and they set off.
He was glad for the torch—called flashlight by Senga. She carried the blanket while he lit their way. A well-marked path led to a boat house, where two flat-bottomed boats waited, moored to a dock. He grinned at the sight, remembering summers with his brother. How long had it been since he’d been on the water? If you have to think about it, old son, it has been too long.
“Let’s take one out, shall we?”
“In this darkness? Really?”
“Our eyes are adjusting. Haven’t yours? Oh, Senga, let’s,” and he proceeded to inspect the placement of the oars—not paddles, he noticed. Yes, it was exactly ordained, he thought, and as he shone the light into the boat, he heard Senga sigh and toss the blanket in.
“I suppose they have life jackets somewhere, um, in case the lake has its own Loch Ness monster or something,” she suggested, “. . . as if those would save you,” she mumbled.
He chuckled and illuminated the wall beside the door through which they had entered. Several life jackets hung from hooks and Senga stepped over to take two. “Okay. You up for this?” she asked as she held one out for him, then shrugged into hers.
“I am. Climb in and get settled. There is nothing like being on water to put things in perspective, my dear.” Hoping he was correct and not simply offering empty platitudes and false courage, he fastened his jacket. His heart still ached. For Senga, for Danica and her mother.
When Senga was seated, he shone light on the ropes, set down the torch and quickly untied the boat. He grabbed the torch and handed it to Senga as he climbed in, then, he pushed against the dock and they drifted out of the shed.
They were soon floating beneath a dark sky, made brilliant with stars, as soft lapping of water lulled and night noises intrigued from the nearby wood. The near-invisible silhouette of the stately house stood by, steady as a guardian presence, and Sebastian guessed the night manager had followed their objective—by their jouncing light—to note they were on the water. He took comfort in this. For the moment, his over-wrought nerves welcomed the task at hand, to simply, if not easily, use all his strength to move oars through dark water, with no particular destination in mind; only the moving through would do for now, with Senga, facing him; a rough, dark beauty.