Today I have the pleasure to introduce you An Act Of Silence by Colette McBeth, take a look at the original plot...
These are the facts I collect.
My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.
Mariela is dead.
Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning
Linda Moscow loves her son; it's her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she's not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?
She's done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.
Sounds interesting? I am sure that after reading the excerpt you will not be able to stand without reading the full book! Enjoy! ;)
It’s her house. My subconscious is playing tricks, has lured me here knowing that if I was in full control of my faculties this is the last place I would have chosen. The vision of it rearing up in
front of me, half lit by a stuttering streetlight, produces a violence in my gut. Why here? Why not a friend’s house, or Palab’s? Anywhere.
A deep phlegmy laugh crackles through the night air. Someone’s been smoking too many Marlboro reds. But there’s no one else around. It is my laugh. And suddenly I know what’s so funny. The truth, that’s what. This is the place. The only place. Who else was I going to turn to? She knows who I am, underneath the bullshit and the expensive suits and the fame. That’s what everyone else wants, my so-called friends, my manager, the women. She loves me despite it. Another truth, they’re coming thick and fast tonight. Maybe that’s why I avoid her.She can see right through me.
She’s my mother.
I have to tell her. That’s why I have come here. I need her to look at me and see beyond the state I’m in and know, absolutely, no shadow of a fucking doubt, that despite everything I am still her son. I’m her boy, not faultless, far from it, but good at my heart.
I am not a murderer.
I need to hear her say the words: I believe you.
If I don’t have that, what else is left?
I let myself in. The blue numbers on the oven say 5.01. I want to wake her but then I always was a selfish bastard so I fight the urge, sit on my hands and let her sleep. As it happens, I don’t have very long to wait until her footsteps creak on the stairs. A warmth spreads through my veins, travels the length of me from my big toe to my fingertips and up through my head. It is hope. She is my hope and she’s here in the kitchen, flicking on the light. She hasn’t seen me, so I keep it casual and say, Milk, one sugar, please.
You’d think it is a fairly harmless request, but it doesn’t go down well.
She emits a scream. I hadn’t entertained the possibility that my presence might give her a fright, it certainly wasn’t my intention. I should have thought it through, planned my arrival more carefully, but my cognitive abilities aren’t functioning at their peak right now, and I can’t turn back the clock.
We are where we are.
Her first words take a while to come out because after she recovers from the initial shock she spends a good while staring at me with a look of abject horror. It produces a sweat that beads on my forehead and chin and slides like worms down my back. I know I’m not looking my best but, to be fair, neither is she. Her hair would put Medusa to shame and her dressing gown, well, that should have been retired years ago. So I’m on the verge of saying, Shall we call it quits, when she beats me to it.
‘What have you done?’
I rerun her question in my head. What have you done? I heard it right first time. Why would she assume, before anything else, that I had done something wrong?
Because she always does.
My eyes tear up. The hope that had been kicking out so much heat fizzles to nothing.
I’m a grown man, universally acknowledged to be a success – though granted this current shitstorm isn’t my golden moment – but I need her trust, her love. Belief. I still need her.
She sees my tears. I wipe them away, embarrassed.
‘Oh, Gabriel,’ she says and holds me in a squeeze. ‘Tell me. There’s nothing that can’t be fixed.’
The hope ignites again.
I tell her about Mariela, as best I can; the details are a little sketchy even in my mind. I wasn’t exactly sober on the night and thirty sleepless hours have not improved my recall.
As I’m recounting the story and trying to gloss over the sex bit (there are things no mother needs to know about their son) it occurs to me that I can’t turn up at the police station in my current frame of mind. How can I sit in a room for hours and answer question after question? Christ, I don’t have any answers, none of it is straight in my head. I need a bit of space. Time to straighten myself out and collect my thoughts.
I ask her if I can borrow her car because this, it seems to me, is the obvious solution. She mutters something about needing it for a trip to Scotland. I ask for a bit of money too. It’s not like she won’t get it back. I have plenty, but walking to the cashpoint right now could be problematic. Someone would recognise me and, even if they didn’t, the police could trace my whereabouts.
That wouldn’t be good for either of us.
I wait for her response. I’d settle for a simple nod of her head. Something. Now is not the time for the silent treatment.
In the absence of a reply, I up the ante. ‘Someone is trying to frame me. You’re my mother. You know I couldn’t have done this . . .’
Say you believe me.
She closes her eyes as if she’s trying to summon sleep and the anger swells inside me.
Her eyes are open again, staring at something on my neck.
I run my finger over the area in question. It’s a scratch, more of a gouge. Mariela and her nails. She wanted it rough. Don’t they all.
‘Oh that. I did it on a branch.’
She stares at it too long and I know what’s happening, her dedication to root out the worst in me is currently fastening itself to this cut on my neck.
‘Don’t do that,’ I beg. I sound pathetic. Can’t help it. She’s making my insides shrivel. I need her to hold me, kiss my head, tell me not to worry, It’s a mistake, I know you couldn’t have done it. I search her face for love but instead I read disappointment, disbelief, distrust.
‘If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.’
The word goes off like a siren.
‘You said, if I haven’t done anything wrong.’
‘You think I could have done this?’
My own mother doesn’t believe me. She sees right through to my soul and finds only dark, putrid matter inside. The hope is snuffed out. She was it. It all comes down to her. Always has. Her trust. She won’t give it. Can’t. I look to her for answers but all I find are more words: disdain, disapproval, disgust.
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