Extract from Chapter One of The House Near Fallowfield now available on Amazon
| She began the days early remembering how as a girl she used to tramp the fields with her friends. She walked down the hill to the river, crossed a bridge and continued to a village on the other side. She wasn't alone. It was a Sunday morning and there were quite a few walkers, many with dogs. The green vegetation and smell of the damp filled her with nostalgia.
Another smell, of burning coal, very pungent, brought back memories of an English childhood. She felt happy and carefree. And then suddenly this turned into alarm.
Someone was following her.
She couldn't say when she had first noticed. The man was some distance away and could not really be perceived as an immediate threat but he stopped when she stopped, walked when she began walking and he never took his eyes off her.
She continued behind a small group of two men, three women and a pair of big dogs which ran to and fro, chasing playfully after each other. She felt safe and quickly reached the village. By now the lunchtime drinkers were in the pubs.
One pub caught her eye. The Old Cock. Obviously from a century gone by, low ceilings, timber beams. You could almost feel the ghosts around you, she thought. She ordered a gin and tonic from the barmaid, sat at a table and lit a cigarette from a packet, taking care to cover the name of the brand with her hand. She would soon have to buy English cigarettes.
She looked up and saw that the man had walked into the pub. Not young, maybe about her father's age, she imagined. Not English looking at all. She fancied he had seen her through the corner of his eye. She watched him as he went up to the bar and ordered a pint of beer. He sat down at a table at the far end of the lounge and lit a cigarette. She realised then that he was carrying a newspaper which he unfolded and began to read.
Was he following her? She decided to find out. Getting up quite quickly, she walked to the door. There was a bench in an alcove, on the outside, where she sat down and remained hidden from anyone leaving the pub.
A moment later he was outside, looking up and down the street. She crouched behind a beam, watching him. He hesitated a moment and then began walking quickly towards the nearest shops.
She went back into the pub. Her drink was still untouched so she sat down again at the table and smoked another cigarette reflecting on the situation.
He had been following her. Of that she was sure. The reason? No idea. Next problem was how to leave and return home without being followed.
There was a pay phone near the bar. She phoned a taxi.
Twenty minutes later she was home.
Extract from Chapter One of The House Near Fallowfield, set in the 1960s. Now available worldwide on Amazon.