Copyright- all rights reserved. You are welcome to quote from this site with due acknowledgement and prior consent of the authors.




This blog will still be here but will no longer be active.

The Original "Getting Real"

The Original "Getting Real"
Please click on the picture to order this book.

Hilliard & Croft Books

Welcome to our blog!

Christina is represented by

Leo Media & Entertainment

We have many new projects currently underway and hope that you will enjoy our blog as well as our books and website:

Hilliard & Croft

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Counting House

This novel was the result of some decades of half-hearted re-working. I began it when I was 18, trying to recapture the experiences of childhood and, although this is not my childhood and all the characters are fictional, the intention was to capture the intensity of the feelings and notions of a child. Children fear, love and hate to extremes, as people in the raw. It took so long to write this book because, I think, we grow so far from that as we are forbidden by mores to express emotion or to think honestly.

Georgie, the central character of this story, is a particularly 'religious' child but not in the usual pious way. The story begins with a sense of mere childhood happenings, but by the end of chapter one something will happen to change her life completely and lead her into the understanding of the nature of good, evil and accident. I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely people who have bought my other books so in return, over the next few weeks, the book will appear in full on this blog...

Chapter 1

By day the churchyard was safe and free from ghosts but the lodge by the gate was a Maximum Red Alert Zone. It was old and dilapidated, waiting to be pulled down and the builders’ sign on the door warned trespassers to KEEP OUT. No one ever came or went and the grey net curtain in the upstairs window never moved.
I leaned my bike against a headstone and crept through the knee-high ferns, then throwing myself onto my belly to avoid being seen from the church, crawled like a commando through the builders’ gritty sand until I reached the window ledge. Brown paint had chipped away from the wood revealing traces of blue. It might have been a bright house once - a happy, children’s house - but now it held only ghosts and spiders weaving webs down the window pane.
I stood upright and on tiptoes pressed my face to the glass; torn newspapers littered the naked floorboards and a broken stool lay in pieces near the wall. Flakes of paint prickled the skin beneath my fingers as I raised myself onto the ledge and gazed at the candlestick on the hearth. This was the Holy Grail that would win me the prize of a bottle top tied to a string. It was a matter of honour: the glory of a medal and the treasure of James’ smile.
The door didn’t creak as it opened but a musty, dusty smell caught the back of my throat as I scurried into the room where the candlestick stood. Shaking, I dared myself to go forward and knelt to wrap my fingers around the cold metal.
Then I saw him.
I saw him and he was watching me. From the farthest corner of the room an ugly image in a wrought gold frame caught me in an evil stare. Dark demonic eyes bored through my body and followed me when I tried to move away. Drops of deep black blood dripped from his fingers where he held a splattered heart in an outstretched hand. Every muscle stiffened to a tight uneasy pain across my shoulders as I read the gold lettering at the bottom of the frame:
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus I place all my trust in Thee.
It wasn’t Jesus. It was Satan from the Children’s Bible.
“The devil is a master of disguises,” Auntie Philomena had said, “He comes like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We must always be on our guard.”
Clutching the candlestick, I flew through the hall leaving the front door wide open and a trail of sand trickling from me like blood. I jumped onto my bike ploughing tracks through the unmarked graves, and sped out of the churchyard, praying in each gasp of breath,
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save me from the devil. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, save me from the devil.”
But the devil had seen me and now he would follow me home.

“The devil is a roaring lion,” Auntie Philomena had said when she came to baby-sit.
She stood by the door and waited for us to undress.
“Come on! Come on!” She clapped her hands teacher-fashion and hurried us into bed, “That’s right. In you get and then we’ll say our prayers.”
“We say them in our heads,” Jessica said.
“The family that prays together stays together.”
Auntie Philomena stood in the lamplight with her right arm outstretched, her left hand pressed to her flat stomach. “In the name of the Father and of the Son….”
I hated it. It was embarrassing. Jessica wouldn’t say the words and I glared at her when Auntie Philomena closed her eyes.
“Angel of God my Guardian dear,” I said it louder and bared my teeth at my sister. “Ever this night be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide, AMEN.” I shouted the ‘amen’ as a definite full stop and Auntie Philomena opened her prayerful eyes. I closed mine and smiled piously.
“That’s better,” she sat down on the edge of Jessica’s bed, “always remember your night prayers. The devil is a roaring lion; you never know when he will strike. The greater the saint, the greater the temptations the devil throws in his way. Why should he bother to trap sinners when he already has their souls? But to watch a saint fall! That would be his triumph.”
Jessica sighed and rolled over, pushing her head beneath the blankets until all I could see was a mesh of golden curls.
“Like nits,” I said, “they only go on clean hair.”
“Like a roaring lion!” Auntie Philomena growled.
I thought of the devil’s horns in the Children’s Bible and fumbled beneath the pillow for my rosary beads, “If he comes in disguise, how do you know it’s the devil?”
“By his feet,” she said with infallible conviction, “he can’t disguise his feet! That’s why Our Lady always appears with her tiny feet showing beneath her dress. Now you go to sleep like good little girls while I check on Peter.”
She switched off the lamp and closed the door, shrouding the room in darkness. The devil, like a roaring lion, prowled under my bed. I trembled and tied the rosary beads round my hand.
“Jess,” I whispered, “I’m scared of the devil.”
“Don’t be daft,” she said, “go to sleep.”
If I were a sinner the devil wouldn’t want me. I hung out of bed and whispered through the darkness, “Bloody, bloody, buttocks and bosoms.”
He wouldn’t bother me now.

No comments: