Ever tossed coins into a “wishing well”? Who – or what – are you expecting to answer?
Sex, sport and alcohol are why Nick Blaketon escaped to university, but when pieces of his life start disappearing he locks on to studious Alice for stability. Drawn into her obsession with finding the shrine to a Celtic water deity, and drowning in sensual pleasure, Nick is in denial… until he sees a jewelled sword fade in his hand and knows that he, or some thing shadowing him, has held it, and bloodied it, long ago. To tell Alice will make her flee. To stay silent could kill her.
“…The transformative, menacing use of Nature is powerfully established… Excellent.”
“…The historical detail is immaculate, as is the authentic detail of modern student-life, the whole suffused with a rich pagan sexuality… Superbly gripping…”
‘Torc of Moonlight’ is the first in a trilogy of time-spanning thrillers set in English university cities pressing the North York Moors against the sea.
‘It all just got out of hand.’
Nick moved off, turning in front of the campus Law building. Murray followed.
‘Hodgson’s set the teams for the morning. We both made First. Do you think you’ll be fit enough?’
‘Of course I’m fit enough. A couple of bruises and you think I should keel over?’
‘For Christ’s sake, Nick. Don’t you ever look in a mirror when you shave? Your own mother would be hard pressed to recognise you. I’m surprised you speak as clearly as you do with that lip. How’s the rest of you?’
Bruised but unbowed, though Nick wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of saying so. He’d been surprised he’d slept so well, that he didn’t ache more. That could be down to the double dose of painkillers, or perhaps his body was just getting used to the punishment. Perhaps he was getting battle-hardened.
‘The stupid thing is,’ Murray continued, ‘you and Medavoy act like the best of buddies now.’
‘But that wasn’t what the kicking was for, was it?’
Murray lashed out at a loose stone on the edge of the roadway. It careened into the bushes. ‘No, it wasn’t. But we shouldn’t have got involved. None of us. It was none of our business.’
Ahead the bushes merged into thicker undergrowth and screening trees; beyond could be seen the first blocks of Taylor Court. Alice lived in Taylor Court. Nick wondered if he’d meant to come this way and decided he had.
‘Medavoy’s got First team wing.’ Murray kicked at another stone, more vehemently this time. It cracked through the shrubs and a blackbird skittered out of the cover, shrieking its alarm.
‘Have you a problem with that?’
‘Only in the fact that I feel I’ve been taken for a ride. You might have a problem with it, though. Medavoy didn’t join us in The Sanctuary after the practice. We thought he’d stuck with you. He hadn’t, had he? He was seen in The Haworth. With his arm around Louise.’
He pushed his hands deep into his jeans’ pockets and looked askance at Nick.
‘Christ, Nick! She’s going to turn up on the touchline tomorrow, isn’t she?’
‘I’ve no idea. And what’s more, Murray, I don’t give a damn.’ He drew up short, reaching out to grab Murray’s arm and pull him to a halt. ‘Look at that!’
At the edge of the shrubs leading to the covered gateway of Taylor Court sat a mottled green and brown amphibian nearly half the size of a rugby ball.
‘Good God,’ whispered Murray. ‘What the hell is it?’
‘Well, it’s a frog, you fool. It was so still I thought it was a coloured rock. Then it blinked. There, it’s blinked again. Did you see it that time?’
‘That is not a frog, Nick. My grandfather has frogs on his allotment. I know what a frog looks like, and I’m telling you, that is definitely no frog.’
Ignoring his complaining muscles, Nick slowly lowered himself on to his haunches.
‘Don’t start imitating the bloody thing!’
‘It’s looking at me. Do you see it angling its head?’
‘Of course it’s looking at you. It’s probably sizing you up for lunch. Any second its tongue is going to shoot out, lash around your throat and drag you inside its mouth. The bloody thing’s huge.’
‘Keep your voice down. You’ll frighten it away.’
Find the Book Here:
Amazon (universal): https://viewBook.at/TofMoonlight
Info & all retailers: https://www.lindaacaster.com/p/torc-of-moonlight-trilogy.html
Linda Acaster is a multi-genre author whose fascination with the ancient landscapes of northern England, especially the many holy, and not so holy, springs in her locality have proved fertile ground for her Torc of Moonlight trilogy. Her other fiction includes horror and historical. In another life she was a Native American re-enactor.