The finished book
This is a working title. Unedited. Comments welcome. Thank you for reading :-)
Beyond Midnight - working title
The black Porsche careered wildly down the Sicilian Madonie Mountain road. Don Roberto, head of one of Italy’s distinguished Mafia clans, gripped the wheel, fighting to keep control. Beads of sweat erupted on his forehead running down into his eyes obscuring his vision.
That dreaded voice was in his head again, hounding him, generating such excruciating pain he felt his head was about to explode. A physically strong man he struggled to manoeuvre the car round the hair-pin bend, cursing as it slid sideways down the treacherous road. The sea glittered below. Almost home, almost home. Come on, come on concentrate you old fool. His thoughts raced as fast as the car. Just another couple of kilometers then I’m down this damned mountain. You won’t get away with this Hyacinth. The pain intensified. It blinded him but he knew the road well enough to start pumping the brakes. You bloody bitch. I need to slow down.
He was approaching the dangerous unguarded bend that curved round the mountain side. Briefly his vision cleared. A deer stood frozen in the middle of the road staring at him. Instinctively he swung the car to miss her, the tyres screeched and he lost control.
The Porsche launched from the road like a rocket, briefly suspended in mid-air then plummeted downwards. As it bounced and rolled down the mountain the pain in Don Roberto’s head exploded: he lost consciousness.
When he came too he couldn’t recall what had happened. He was trapped in the car, the pain continued to sear through his brain, yet his body felt numb. He focused on his hands, then his legs: no blood, except for a few scratches and yet he couldn’t move. He felt the heat of the day, it was scorching hot, he looked out of the car windscreen and saw an eagle hovering silently above. Oh to be free! Using what little strength he could muster he reached into the glove compartment for his mobile phone. It was still intact.
He sent for help. The pain in his head attacked again, worse than ever this time. He passed out cold.
Rescuers found him in a critical condition. Care and time were of the essence to cut him from the wreckage of his car before he could be airlifted to hospital. The biggest concern was the sparks from the cutting equipment setting light to the petrol fumes.
In her home in the Scottish Highlands, Dr Hyacinth Dickinson came out of her meditation smiling. She stood up and walked across her bedroom to gaze out onto the Cairngorm Mountains. Her gaze lifted from the high peaks into the clear blue sky. Mission accomplished. She sighed contentedly. Now I can make plans to set sail for Cannes. Then maybe go onto Sicily. Her musical laugh echoed through the house as she ran downstairs into the kitchen. Time to scry.
Hyacinth cupped the crystal bowl in both hands and gazed into the spring water. Mediterranean Blue eyes reflected back at her, then widened as the water swirled and separated into images. She could see a helicopter crash. Go away. Please leave me alone. I’m so sorry Steph.
‘What are you doing?’ Dorothy said as she dashed into the room. ‘I heard the sound of breaking glass.’
‘I saw the helicopter crash, and saw Steph’s body lying in the snow all limp and broken. It was my fault, Dorothy.’
‘Don’t cry. Come on, let me give you a hug.’ Dorothy cradled Hyacinth until she stopped sobbing. ‘She chose to go with you, remember. You didn’t force her.’
‘Yes, but I didn’t give her much choice.’ She was sobbing again.
‘Hyacinth, you’ll have to stop this. It’s been nearly two years since the crash, and you seem to be getting worse, not better. I think you may need counseling, or something.’
‘Counseling? You must be joking! Just give me some more of your medicine. That will help. I have some in the drawer.’ Hyacinth pointed to her solid oak bureau that stood in the corner of her kitchen.
Dorothy opened the drawer. ‘What’s this?’ She shook a bottle of tablets at Hyacinth.
‘Where did you get them?’ Dorothy was stunned. She had been like a mother, and confidante to Hyacinth since she was a teenager, both her parents lived in South Africa, and Dorothy had been matron at the boarding school Hyacinth had attended. ‘I’m waiting.’
‘Which hospital? You’ve never been out of the house since you arrived here.’
‘When I was locum at St. Gregory’s.’
‘They gave them to you?’
‘Please don’t tell me you stole them.’
‘Borrowed. I borrowed them.’
‘Hyacinth, you know I’m always here for you, but you are so stupid sometimes. Do you really want the police sniffing around again?’
‘You’re right, but I feel so guilty, not only about the helicopter crash, but for lying to the police in the first place.’
‘So you have a conscience after all.’ Dorothy crossed to the aga to put the kettle on to boil. Her bones creaked, as she bent to pick up the broken crystal that lay in front of her.
Hyacinth jumped up and grabbed Dorothy’s arm thinking she was going to fall. ‘I’ll do that, are you ok?’ Hyacinth knew Dorothy’s body was letting her down. She didn’t complain much, the sound of her joints rubbing together said it all. ‘I’ll pay for your hip replacement, just say the word.’
‘I’m fine. Don’t need any operation, thanks. Just a bit of old age, and the winter weather here in the Scottish Highlands. I’m sure the winters are getting worse.’ She struggled on. ‘I have to keep moving, or I’ll cease up altogether.’
‘What would I do without you? You are an angel.’
‘So are you, with black wings.’ Dorothy chuckled as she made tea for them both. ‘Here, I’ve added a drop of whisky as a pick me up. It’ll do us both good.’ She handed Hyacinth a mug with a purple letter H printed on it.
The sound of bagpipes filtered through from the lounge.
‘Hadn’t you better answer it?’
‘No. It’ll be the hospital again. They’ll be wondering when I’m returning to work.’
‘I think now’s the time. You’ve been here six months now, you can’t hide here forever.’
‘I love this place. It’s so peaceful.’ She looked out of the window at the view of the Cairngorms. ‘And, I can walk around the grounds without being bothered by people.’
‘Yes, but you are so good at your job, you should be thinking about the patients, and not yourself.’ Dorothy rested her mug on the table, and spread her hands. ‘Use your expertise.’ She tapped her fingers on the table. ‘Phone the hospital, and tell them you will be back next week, and get rid of them tablets.’ Dorothy struggled to her feet and shifted the empty mugs. ‘I’ll stay with you until you go back.’
‘Thank you. I’ll throw the tablets in the bin, tomorrow.’
‘Make sure you do. I have all the medication you need, don’t get addicted to anti-depressants, or you’ll never be rid of them.’
‘Yes, mother.’ Hyacinth smiled at Dorothy as she disposed of the broken glass into a recycle bin.
Hyacinth picked up her Blackberry and called St. Gregory’s. ‘I’ll be back next week. I’ll work for two weeks as a locum, and then I will be away for two months’ She said.
Copyright Ellen Dean ©