Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth Chapter One Excerpt



“I really must go and give that place the once over,” he said, casting his gaze towards the lonely island, which appeared to almost float on the water. Its real name, was Ynys y Niwl. However, in Nick’s mind, his anachronism fit perfectly well and ‘Fog Island,’ seemed to suit it much better than the old Welsh name, which for him was a bit of a mouthful. A constant mist seemed to float amongst the tree tops, making the place seem ever so inscrutable.  In company, if he was trying to be politically correct, he would refer to the rock as “Innis E. Newel,” disrespectfully pronouncing its ancient moniker, as if it were a bloke’s name. However, it served its purpose. The Welsh just wrote it off as, ‘another example of English ignorance,’ laughing at ‘the incomers’ pronunciation. Well it saved all that spitting and throat clearing, which made up much of the Old Welsh language. Nick took one last toke on his joint, then got back on his feet and stretched his back.

“Ooof!” He exclaimed as a couple of the vertebrae in his spine clicked back into place. “Oh yeah, that’s the way you do it,” he sighed, then chuckled as he broke wind. “Time to put Venezuela back in her boat house.”

When he’d originally discovered there was a vessel in the boathouse, Nick could hardly believe it. At first, he reckoned it was probably a derelict but on unlocking the access door, there, sitting sedately on the water, was ‘June.’ She was a beautiful old lady, once bedecked in polished wood from head to toe, this Grande D’am, simply spoke to him. “Cooool,” he’d remarked in amazement, as he gazed in wonder at her just floating there in the dark water. She needed a great deal of repairs. Her woodwork and the metal fitments, leather and enamel work, were all in serious need of some renovation but during the two years since his mothers’ death, ‘June,’ became the positive therapy he needed as he brought her back to life.

“You and me’s goin’ explorin’ tomorrah,” he informed the boat, as he lovingly stroked her refurbished bodywork. Then, he slowly cast his eyes back towards the letters on the stern of this gem and there it was, ‘Venezuela.’ He had changed her name, from ‘June,’ almost as a first act of ownership. ‘June’ sounded like a name from the thirties, authentic to her build but hardly inspiring. When he’d looked at the lines of this elegant, yet exotic creation for the first time, he’d simply commented, “No, you need something a little more imaginative!” His mind had slipped into overdrive, looking for that elusive, enigmatic, yet pleasingly suitable, alternative name. During those next few days, the name of the motor launch had many incarnations, none of them quite pictorial enough, until one day, he heard a song on the radio, being performed by a woman from Canada called Rita Connelly, whose song and title just felt right.

“Venezuela,” he’d said, “I like it!” It was a quirky enough name, one which maintained Nick’s vision of himself as an artistic man and it seemed to just trip off his tongue, as he’d repeated it, over and over again. “Venezuela.” He’d said for about the twentieth time. “Yeah, that’s it!” He’d emphatically intoned, an air of finality in his voice and then, as if to prove the point to himself. He’d said it again,


Even as the word was leaving his lips, he’d seen images of a warm azure blue ocean and an ice-cold beer, or two. “Venezuela! Yes, that suits you much better. You may have been built in the Thirties but you’re here now. ‘June’ was just altogether too ‘Famous Fivey’ for my liking …..” Smiling at these memories, the boat secured in her house, he casually made his way back down the gravel path towards the kitchen door. It was only a two-minute walk and to this day, he still couldn’t believe his luck. He was now the owner of a fantastic cottage, with a vintage motor launch thrown in to sweeten the deal.

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