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Excerpt of These Fragile Things by Jane Davis


Author Self-Published
January 2013
On Sale: January 6, 2013
Featuring: Elaine Jones; Graham Jones; Judy Jones
399 pages
ISBN: 1484896440
EAN: 9781484896440
Kindle: B00ASBIPKS
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Fiction, Contemporary

Also by Jane Davis:

I Stopped Time, January 2013
These Fragile Things, January 2013
Half-truths and White Lies, September 2008

Excerpt of These Fragile Things by Jane Davis

With growing unease, Elaine put the telephone receiver back in its cradle. Opening the front door, she stepped outside into the porch, absorbing the wail of sirens that passes for birdsong in a London suburb. It had only been a small white lie: something to put her husband's mind at rest.

"How's Judy?"

"Oh, you know. Buried in her homework."

Their daughter had been doing her homework – would have finished it by now – but for the small matter of the postage stamps. And stamps were one of the few things Elaine hated to run out of.

"Why don't you eat?" Graham had suggested. "I'm going to be stuck in this meeting for another hour."

She tried to put a smile in her voice. "Well, if you don't mind. Perhaps we will."

Judy should have been gone for ten minutes at the most instead of – what? A glance at her watch suggested – surely it couldn't be ten to six? She knew what time dinner would be on the table. What could be keeping the girl? The violet dusk had deepened to coal; the streetlights were encased in orange halos. Arms folded, Elaine walked to the end of the garden path, scanning the stretch of Strathdale Road. Judy wasn't allowed to use the alley after dark, not alone. Long and narrow, it was enclosed by high windowless walls on one side and playing fields on the other, the middle stretch unlit. Elaine's feet made the decision for her. They walked back into the house, infused with thyme from the Shepherd's Pie, stepped into her shoes. It only remained for her to grab her keys. She would meet her daughter coming in the opposite direction. Hurry her along.

Approaching the end of her road, Elaine tensed at the sound of raised voices in the near distance, the odd order shouted loud above the general background roar. "Come on! Over here!" Must be the school football team practising in the playing fields, she thought. Keen, at this time of the evening. The sound of crowds, even spectators like these, always made her slightly edgy.

Leaving the streetlight behind Elaine entered the alley, picking up her pace, imagining that when her feet slid it was leaf mulch rather than dog shit she was treading in. The shouts escalated: if this was football, it was no friendly match. Tension mutated to anxiety. Last summer the Brixton Riots had spilled onto nearby streets after the police had approached the Stop and Search campaign with hunger for over–time. And they'd got it: 5,000 rioters, buildings torched, looting, petrol bombs. Prior to that she had always considered that the perimeter of her home territory was encircled by a shimmering Ready Brek force–field. Perhaps it had been irresponsible to send a thirteen–year–old on an errand just as it was growing dark. But she and Graham had agreed: a gradual loosening of the reins; a little more responsibility; and then the rewards.

Through filtered streetlight, Elaine saw that her exit was blocked by haphazardly abandoned vehicles, more of a hindrance than the flimsy strip of plastic that hung limply across the alley.

"Excuse me!" she called out to a man who entered her narrow view, and whose fluorescent jacket hinted at officialdom.

Quick to confirm her assessment, his hand jerked into a stop sign. "Do you live here?"

"No, but..." Elaine strained to look past him, between the vehicles, their headlights employed as searchlights. Columns of grey swirls were highlighted, just as sunbeams highlight golden dust motes.

"Then you can't come through, Madam. The wall's come down."

Excerpt from These Fragile Things by Jane Davis
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