Monday, 13 January 2020

Six Wicked Reasons by Joanne Spain

Extract from Six Wicked Reasons -

This was her world. These days, you couldn’t get next nor near Greenwich Village for the rent she was paying for this place. But when Clio had arrived, four years ago, at the tender age of twenty-one, her then-boyfriend had already secured the rent-controlled studio from a departing expat and Clio had clung onto it ever since.

At the time, the boyfriend had told her she’d never grow accustomed to New York. Clio was used to sleeping in the blackest of nights, a blanket of stars overhead, to a soundtrack of lapping waves and gulls. 

Bleecker Street was sirens and pneumatic drills and nightclub revellers and car horns.

In the end, it was the boyfriend who ran home. Clio stayed, working in various bars or restaurants, taking cleaning work and other jobs – any position that would pay her cash in hand.

She’d told herself she didn’t need much money once the essentials were covered.

Walking along the Hudson was free. The city’s art galleries and libraries regularly ran open-house nights. Shows could be seen for half price if you were happy to queue or knew somebody on the concession stand. Drinks flowed liberally if you found the right barman to screw.

It said a lot about her personality that she could see the positives. Most people who’d been done out of fifty-plus grand on their twenty-first birthday and endured what she had would have been bitter about their circumstances.

Clio zipped up her holdall and looked around the room one last time.

There was a definite nostalgic lump in her throat.

Here, in a small apartment in a big city, she’d found independence. She’d found peace. The space to be just Clio, and not Clíodhna Lattimer, youngest of the brood, daughter of Frazer and Kathleen, sister to. . . you know the ones.

But it hadn’t all been easy.

In fact, at a certain point, it had been spectacularly shit.

But even prisoners find it hard to leave their cells and face the outside world.

People ran out of empathy, somebody had once told her. They could listen to your pain for a while, but then their worlds moved on. Nobody stayed long in the company of a victim.

So, she would never let anybody know the full truth of what she’d endured.

Clio picked up the white rectangular envelope she’d left on the bed.
She’d taken the letter out of its original envelope. This one was plain, no name or address inscribed on its front.

The letter had started it all. It explained everything.

She’d promised herself she’d get rid of it. If anybody knew she had it, if they read it, they’d learn what she’d learned. But she couldn’t destroy it. She needed to keep reading the words, to remind herself why she was returning to Spanish Cove.

She tucked it into her handbag and grabbed her holdall and wheelie suitcase containing the sum of her worldly possessions.

‘Goodbye, home,’ she said, her voice caught on a sob, and left.

The screech of aeroplanes braking on the runway at JFK airport.

A long line of yellow cabs; a wide expanse of stone-grey buildings; glass-fronted terminals; a mass of travellers, the experienced and the wide-eyed.

Inside, in a tiny office, a twenty-five-year-old woman pretending not to give a damn but, truthfully, trembling like a little child.

‘It’s Clio. Clio, like the car, you know? Renault Clio? Not Cleo like the queen. But you pronounce it like that.’

‘It says here on your passport Cleed-na . . . Clee-odd-ha-na, ma’am.’

‘It’s Clíodhna. Clee-oh-na. This is exactly why I use Clio. For the love of Christ, is this going to take much longer? Can’t you hear the announcements? That’s my fucking plane they’re talking about.’

‘Ma’am, please refrain from using expletives.’

The large black security official’s eyes bored into Clio’s. She felt the heat burning red hot in her cheeks. She blinked first, lowered her gaze. This small interrogation office she’d been brought to, after being plucked out of the passport control line post-security, already felt like a prison cell. She wanted out.

‘You will be accompanied through the terminal to your flight. You will stay in the boarding lounge. You will be. . .’

Clio switched off at that point. She had no rights, no argument to make.

She’d overstayed her welcome in the greatest country in the world and now she was being chaperoned out of it. Make America.

Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain (Published by Quercus Publishing)
It's June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.  Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam's reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.  And, as tension builds, it's apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago.



No comments: