Continuing from last week’s snippet from Beginnings where you got to meet Jess, Marshall and little Ruby, here’s another little glimpse into the book.
I’d like to introduce you to Erica Murray…
The cemetery was quiet but the Secret Garden was silent. The birds still sang but their song was softer. The chatter of the magpies was in the distance and the road noise was just a memory. The cemetery was in the middle of the city, but Erica could easily have been stood in the countryside. Lost, forgotten among the trees, shrubs and long grass. The volunteers had lovingly turned the space into a garden. The grass was kept long, for the wildlife, but a path had been mown through it. Erica walked through, searching the darkness between the close tree trunks for movement.
Trees lined the edge of the long grass and beyond them was another wall and a gate leading onto a small Victorian chapel. Erica followed the winding mown path round to the left as it diverted, one way leading further into the garden, the other towards the chapel. Erica stayed in the garden, around the trunk of a large yew tree and there, against the far brick wall, sat on a bench, was her grandmother.
Minerva Warner was eighty-nine but didn’t look a day over sixty. She didn’t act a day over twenty. Her long skirt brushed against the short grass upon which the bench sat. Her fingers tapped against the arm of the bench, her face held up, eyes closed, a smile on her lips.
‘Hi, Gran.’ Erica stood in front of her grandmother and waited. Minerva opened her watery blue eyes and gazed up at her granddaughter.
‘Erica. You found me.’
‘It was easy, really.’ Erica sat next to Minerva as her grandmother patted the bench beside her. ‘Have you been speaking to Granddad?’
Minerva gave a single nod.
‘He asked after you.’
‘What did you tell him?’
Her grandmother turned and looked her in the eye. Erica never had been able to withstand that for long.
‘You didn’t get the job.’
‘How did you…?’ Erica shook her head. Her grandmother always knew these things, Erica didn’t know why she even questioned it anymore.
‘He told me. He told me to be kind to you, because the bastards had screwed you over. Again.’
‘Yeah. Pretty much.’ She looked up into the garden, through the long grass to the yew tree. ‘Why did you leave the home, Gran?’
Minerva waved away the question.
‘Why do I do anything? Because I wanted to. What do you want to do?’
Erica’s gaze fell to her feet.
‘I don’t know. Hey!’ She looked back up to her grandmother who was gazing at her with a sparkle in her eye. ‘Don’t change the subject. What are you doing here?’
‘I needed to talk to them.’
‘Them?’ Erica knew who she was talking about. She held the sigh in.
‘You’re in need of guidance.’
‘You didn’t know that when you left the home.’
‘No. I was in need of guidance then.’
Erica shifted so she faced her grandmother.
‘Why did you need guidance?’
Minerva didn’t respond. She looked up at the yew tree.
‘They told me that you shouldn’t worry about your job. Because something big is coming. Something good.’ She held up a finger. ‘But big. It’ll be scary, but you’re more than strong enough.’ She faced her granddaughter and smiled. ‘Your life is about to change, Erica.’