Excerpt No 10, ‘They Take our Children, Book One, The Truth Revealed.’

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PROLOGUE
I became interested in UFOs a few years ago after seeing strange flying objects in the sky above my home town of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I discussed my sightings with a police officer friend, and he warned me that I would not be taken seriously if I reported it to the authorities. I was astonished when he also confided in me that he had been abducted by aliens, but was too afraid to talk openly of his experience.

I decided to do some research on the issue. I talked with more abductees, attended UFO conferences, read many books on the subject and trawled the Internet for more information. I was surprised how much I found. I had no idea where my investigations would lead, but I was totally unprepared for what I uncovered.
Sifting the genuine stories from the fake accounts was challenging. Unfortunately, this subject is often trivialised and ridiculed, and I know that some will believe ALL the accounts are phony, no matter how much compelling testimony and physical evidence can be found.

I was drawn to a series of accounts that followed the same theme. Balls of light were seen in the sky, followed by abduction to a strange place, where physical examinations were made on the abductees by alien beings. Some abductees mention a breeding programme of some kind between aliens and human beings. How can so many similar stories, from individuals around the world, be false?

The idea of a book began to take shape. I wanted to expose the facts that I had discovered, but my police officer friend had warned me that nobody would listen. So I wrote a fictional account, using details from my research. You can read the serialised excerpts from the story here.
Fact or fiction?
Urban myth or government cover-up?
You decide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This 10th excerpt is from a science fiction novel about alien abduction. If you would like to read the novel from the beginning, please see the previous excerpts in, ‘They Take our Children.’

The complete eBook series is available on Amazon stores worldwide priced at $0.99 US dollars or equivalent, or £0.99p in UK.

Please go to an Amazon online store to purchase this novel if you can’t wait to read the rest.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Chapter Ten: Gavin, Helen

 

Gavin was fascinated, but he’d been with his father-in-law all morning at the old man’s house and time was getting on. They were no nearer finding Courtney and he was getting more concerned about Helen. The more he read about the first episode of her illness, the more he worried about her present state of health. Gavin was impatient to be with his wife, to find his daughter and saw George’s plan to sift further through the contents of the old suitcase, as a waste of time.

‘This is all well and good, George,’ he shuffled some papers together. ‘But I can’t see where we’re going with it.’

‘There’s a lot to take in, son,’ George agreed. ‘Maybe we should call it a day and see how Mary’s doing with our Helen.’

George gathered the scattered contents of the suitcase, carefully placing them in the correct files. He retrieved the discs from the DVD player and placed them on top of the pile before closing the lid.

‘Here, I’ll take it back upstairs for you,’ Gavin offered, reaching for the handle.

‘No, lad, leave it be,’ George told him. ‘We’ll come back later when you’re ready.’

Gavin couldn’t imagine that he would ever be ready to read through the whole suitcase full of files that the old man had collected, but smiled, to humour him. Gavin had more important things on his mind.

The two men set out in the pouring rain to Gavin and Helen’s home. Only a few people were about. Some asked if Courtney was home yet. It was a close-knit neighbourhood and everyone seemed concerned about the missing teenager. Gavin shook his head at them, not wanting to enter into conversation, being impatient to get home. He wanted to see if Janine and Terry had left, wanted to believe they would find Courtney waiting for them at their house. He wanted to see Helen, to look into her eyes and not see the vacant stare he’d seen there a few hours before. He wanted everything to be all right, he wanted everything to be back to normal, but somehow he knew that he was asking too much.

Gavin realised that what he had glimpsed in George’s suitcase was the tip of the iceberg. Clearly, there was a much deeper mystery surrounding Helen’s past, but he was equally clear in his own mind that it would have nothing to do with flying saucers or little green men. He was not the kind of person to be interested in anything other than plain facts and substantial hard evidence. He told himself that all George had, was a mountain of paper documentation about coincidences, strange sightings and possible mass hysteria brought about by the media coverage. Nothing else that he read in the documents had suggested a link with Helen and the other girls who became ill. He’d known about mass hysteria, he could understand the causes and the effects. He could not understand paranormal investigators, found it difficult to deal with what George described and tried to put it out of his mind. Gavin preferred to think in terms that he could understand. Labelling Helen’s illness as hysteria suited his rational mind and gave him something normal to cling to.

The house was quiet as they let themselves in. An appetising aroma of bacon grilling, reminded them how hungry they were. Mary was in the kitchen and she reached into the fridge to get more bacon when she saw them come in.

‘Where’s Helen?’ Gavin asked, moving to the stairs.

‘Leave her to sleep, the doctor gave her a sedative, she’ll be out for a couple more hours yet.’ Mary fussed with the grill, arranging the slices of bacon on the wire rack.

‘Did he say she’d be all right?’ George asked, getting the kettle and filling it from the tap.

‘He said it was to be expected. Stress and all that, with our Courtney running off, you know.’ She looked at Gavin’s worried expression. ‘She’ll be fine after a few hours’ sleep, you’ll see.’ She tried to reassure him.

‘I’ve just shown him those medical reports, so that’s why he’s a bit concerned.’ George told her, sheepishly.

‘That blasted suitcase full of junk!’ Mary turned on him. ‘No wonder he looks so scared!’ She laid a hand on Gavin’s arm. ‘Now you take no notice of his little fixation, it’s all in the past.’ She moved back to the cooker. ‘No good will come of raking over cold ashes. You mark my word! What’s done is done and can’t be undone and there’s no need bringing it all up again. What’s happened with our Courtney is nothing to do with all that nonsense.’ She banged about, setting the table with plates and bread and cutlery as she ranted and the two men stood back watching her display of temper.

‘Don’t be too sure, Mary,’ George said quietly when she’d calmed. ‘It might have everything to do with what happened back then, just as the disappearance of our Sam and Chris did, but you wouldn’t listen that time either, would you?’ He sat at the table and watched his wife bang down the plate full of sliced bread.

‘Don’t you dare start all that again,’ Mary whispered harshly. ‘Our Janine and Terry are in the living room, I don’t want you bringing up all that nonsense again.’

‘It’s not nonsense!’ George spoke through clenched teeth, but lowered his tone as he continued. ‘Our Janine knows the truth, she just won’t face it.’ George poured out two mugs of tea from the pot Mary placed on the table. ‘I can’t blame her for sticking her head in the sand, though.’

Gavin watched the two sparring partners, wondering at their words. He understood only half what they were talking about, but the small hairs at the back of his neck began to prickle. He knew with a kind of sixth sense that he was at the beginning of a roller-coaster ride. One that had started with the opening of the suitcase and he knew he would have to ride it out if he wanted to get to the bottom of Helen’s secret. ‘How could the disappearance of Sam and Chris have anything to do with this?’ Gavin asked, careful to keep his voice low.

‘Now look what you’ve done!’ Mary hissed. ‘Don’t you start, Gavin, it’s bad enough having one nutcase in the family and I don’t mean our Helen!’ She gave a knowing look at her husband.

‘You didn’t complain when I brought in that Mr Robertshaw and you have to admit he did the trick.’ George hissed back at her.

‘Trick! Well that was the right word. He was nothing more than a conjurer, a stage hypnotist.’ Mary stuck out her chin defying George to argue with her.

‘That was the way he earned a living I grant you,’ George nodded agreement, ‘but he didn’t ask for a penny from us did he?’ He challenged her.

‘Wouldn’t have got it if he had! All that mumbo jumbo,’ she shook her head, her nose in the air. ‘Couldn’t understand a word! Then there was all that secrecy! We would have had no idea what went on in those sessions if he hadn’t passed away and left you those tapes.’ She sniffed. ‘Not that there was anything on them to understand, they were full of the same mumbo jumbo. Honestly, that child’s imagination.’

‘It was not imagination, woman, it was real enough to her.’ George insisted.

‘It was him putting ideas into her head, that’s what it was.’

‘Hey, you two,’ Gavin had heard enough of their sniping. ‘Whatever he said or did, Helen did get well. Does it matter who is right or wrong?’ he asked them.

‘I’m just saying it’s the wrong time to bring all that palaver up again.’ Mary shrugged.

‘And I’m saying it is time to look at it again, for our Courtney’s sake.’ George was not giving in.

‘Well maybe we should wait until she’s back safe and sound before we get into this any deeper.’ Gavin suggested, not really wanting to hear their opinions, but curious now to learn more from the contents of the suitcase, especially as George seemed to think Courtney was involved.

 *

Terry took Janine home sometime in the afternoon, promising to call if they heard anything from Courtney. Mary and George stayed with Gavin, keeping him company in his lonely vigil. Helen slept on, obviously finding escape in her drugged slumber. They took turns through the evening to check on her and to make sure she slept comfortably. Every time the telephone rang all three jumped to answer it. Every time, it was a concerned friend asking for news.

Helen’s parents tried to persuade Gavin to get some sleep, but he could only doze in the chair. George and Mary huddled on the sofa, holding hands. For all their harsh words, they remained close, comforting each other through another long night of stress. Together they waited for the telephone to ring, or for the knock on the door. All three dozed intermittently and talked quietly in their wakeful moments. They retired to bed in the early hours, deciding that if Helen was going to sleep until morning, they should try to get some rest too.

 *

Helen woke as the others went quietly to their beds. She heard George and Mary moving around in the spare room and Gavin whispered a quiet, ‘goodnight,’ to them as he closed the door to Courtney’s room. She lay still, grateful for the peace and quiet of the large empty bed. Her sleep had been dreamless and she felt refreshed, though not inclined to get up. Her mind was too full and she needed time to sort through her emotions. She let her thoughts drift, from Courtney to Gavin, to her parents, to Janine and back to Courtney.

She would never forgive herself. Courtney should not have heard what she called her. It was not the child’s fault. Helen knew she should have been more careful all those years ago. Then Courtney would never have been born. Just as Sam and Chris should never have been born.

Helen lie in the quiet, peaceful darkness and allowed herself to remember. She could only do this because of one man. Mr Robertshaw persuaded her all those years ago, that she could think about her ordeal. Thinking about it would not make it happen again, talking about it would not make it happen again. She knew it would happen again, though. Maybe not to her or Janine, but it would happen to others. Many more girls and boys would know the fear, and feel the pain and try to block it out. Most would come through it unscathed, just as Janine thought she had done, but then in future years it would come back when they least expected it. Come back to take their precious children.

Had Courtney been taken? She shuddered under the quilt thinking of her child, the child she gave birth to, being with them. She knew Courtney didn’t really belong to her. She was not flesh of her flesh, at least not in the real sense of the words. She was Gavin’s though and that made a difference. She tried to love the daughter of her husband, she was an easy child to love, but every time she looked into her eyes she saw her own fear, her own pain and the gap between them widened.

Gavin did not understand. He could not be expected to understand. He believed there was nothing wrong with the child. He even deluded himself that she looked like her mother and couldn’t understand why Helen found that amusing. She smiled in the darkness of her bedroom. Didn’t any of them see how different she was? With Gavin’s red curls and hazel eyes, her own dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes, how did they manage to produce a child so fair? She was almost albino white, her skin nearly transparent, with platinum blond hair. Courtney’s eyes were the palest blue, almost colourless. The midwife feared the baby was blind, she’d never seen eyes so pale in a newborn before. The family joked about fairy changeling blood in their gene banks, especially since Sam and Chris had been born with the same delicate looks. Helen stopped trying to make them see. Of course, the children looked different, they were different.

Helen forced herself to remember. She needed to know if she did still remember. She owed it to Courtney to try to explain, if her daughter ever returned home. Courtney needed to know where she came from and would need to be prepared. Sam and Chris had no idea and she shuddered as she thought about how frightened the little boys would have been. She wondered where they were now and what kind of lives they were living. She knew they lived. She also knew that Janine believed they were alive. Helen tried to speak with her sister soon after the boys went missing and again just before Courtney was born. Janine would not discus any possibility other than the police theories. They could have been murdered, or offered for sale to childless couples, or kidnapped for some devious perverted reason. Janine believed some misguided people trafficking in the lucrative business of overseas adoption had taken them. It came close to the truth, but Janine refused point blank to listen to Helen’s version.

When Helen first became pregnant at thirty-three-years old, she went into denial, not even going to see the doctor until her fifth month. She was devastated, after avoiding pregnancy for so long, she had to face the reality of what happened to her when she was fourteen-years-old and she almost couldn’t bear it. Gavin’s enthusiasm carried her through the pregnancy. He was ecstatic and couldn’t wait for the child to be born. His excitement was contagious and she even found herself hoping for a little boy with red curly hair and a cheeky grin. She knew it would never happen though, and in her more sober moods, she faced the truth. Her child, Gavin’s child, would be born at exactly nine months, would have perfect features, perfect skin, perfect white hair and the palest blue eyes full of wisdom, ages old.

Helen continued to work in the small primary school just outside Edinburgh. She loved her work. The children she taught had filled a void in her and she was more than a little apprehensive at leaving them. The void was soon to be filled by a child of her own. Like it or not, Helen had to face the fact that she was going to be responsible for the child in her womb. She would have to face the knowledge every day that the child was only on loan to her. She knew beyond a shadow of doubt that, they, would be back to reclaim what was theirs.

They moved back to Yorkshire a few weeks before the birth. Gavin had been offered a post at the University in Leeds and it seemed a good time for Helen to return to her roots and her family. Helen’s parents were overjoyed. They fussed over their daughter and helped decorate the small semidetached house the couple bought just round the corner from their home in Wakefield, insisting Helen did nothing. Even Janine and Terry helped, though it must have been difficult for them with Helen so close to having a child. It had been only a year and a half since their two boys were taken. Janine put on a sunny smile for Helen. She seemed to be genuinely looking forward to the birth.

The labour, when it came, was long and hard and as she struggled to bring the child into the world, Helen screamed, kicked out and thrashed on the labour bed. The midwife threatened to sedate her, appalled at her behaviour. Helen refused to let Gavin anywhere near and he had to be content to stand in a corner of the room. She didn’t know what her reaction would be when she saw the baby. She was frightened she would hate it on sight and hoped to hide that hate from her husband. She was unprepared for the rush of emotion as the midwife placed the pale child in her arms at the end of her struggle.

Courtney, wrapped in a green hospital sheet, still wet from the birth fluids, was very quiet. Her mouth made little suckling movements, her eyes remained tight closed. The soft down on her head was sticky and dark with blood and she was the most beautiful baby. Tears sprang to Helen’s eyes as the wealth of love overwhelmed her. Far from hating this baby, Helen adored her and felt fiercely protective of her. Even when the baby opened her eyes and gazed at Helen with those knowing pale-blue irises, Helen smiled into those eyes with tears of devotion trickling down her cheeks.

When Gavin was finally allowed to greet his daughter, the look on his face was full of wonder. He told Helen much later that he would never forget the look on her face. He told her that she had never been more beautiful than she was that day. Her face full of love as it gazed down at their child.

The first few weeks were difficult, quite apart from the sleepless nights and the unfamiliar routine of feeds and changes, Helen struggled most with her emotions. There was no denying she loved the baby, but she feared every minute of the day, that her love was wasted. She knew Courtney was only on loan to her, though Gavin had no idea, she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. Gavin was the kind of man who laughed at anything supernatural, anything that could not be borne out by hard evidence, so she knew he would treat her story with scorn. She knew that he would listen politely, just as her mother and father had when Mr Robertshaw helped her explain to them. Then Gavin would have told her not to be so dramatic and would insist that there was a reasonable explanation for most things and he would set about finding one. The nightmares of her youth would remain just that to Gavin, simply bad dreams. She wished they could be so simply explained, so simply true.

Her father had been shocked, her mother tut-tutted and remained tight-lipped throughout the difficult explanations. When Mr Robertshaw left soon after, her mother launched into a tirade of verbal abuse, aimed mainly at her father for bringing such a man into the house. Needless to say, Helen knew her mother didn’t believe a word of her story and tried to rationalise it by saying the man had put words into Helen’s mouth, dramatising the nightmares she had suffered, by trying to give them some credence of being real. Her father had stayed quiet, glancing at Helen, his face an impenetrable mask. Helen could not tell whether he believed her, and felt abandoned. Mr Robertshaw had prepared her for their rejection of the truth, explaining that her parents would find her story hard to believe. She had thought she was ready to tell them, but she wished with all her heart she had kept quiet.

She could still see the look on their faces as she described the horrors, helped by Mr Robertshaw when she reached a difficult part. She didn’t want to see that same look on Gavin’s face. She didn’t want his pity and his scorn. She didn’t want to look into his face and see doubt, fear and rejection. She loved her husband, he was the rock in the stormy, troubled waters of her life and she knew she would not survive without his complete love and belief in her. So she kept the terrible secret of Courtney’s destiny and paid dearly for shouldering the burden alone.

Looking back she could see how the rest of the family tried to help her. Her mother said she must have been suffering baby blues. Janine suggested she go back to work, offering to look after Courtney for them. Helen grasped this lifeline. She needed to escape from the reality that smothered her. She soon found a position in a local primary school and life moved on.

Helen continued to care for her child, making sure she wanted for nothing. She fed and cleaned her, saw to her needs, but Gavin showered the child with the love and affection she needed more. Helen did love her, more each day as she grew up, but was afraid of where that love would lead her. Helen could see her own future pain, in the haunted eyes of her sister. She never wanted to feel the pain her sister felt. She didn’t want to feel the aching void left by the disappearance of her child, so she distanced herself from the love she felt. She drew a veil over the feelings that enveloped her when she looked at her uncannily beautiful child. Helen saw that Courtney found in others what she could not find in her own mother. Gavin doted on her, Janine and Terry spoilt her and both her grandparents idolised her. Helen withdrew from Courtney in the mistaken belief that she was protecting herself from further harm.

Now Courtney was gone and Helen felt the pain more keenly because it had been tempered by guilt. The guilt of knowing she should have shown her feelings more. She should have seen Courtney for what she was, a beautiful, talented girl and not what she believed her to be. Now Courtney knew exactly what Helen thought. Hot tears of remorse ran down Helen’s cheeks as she remembered the stricken look on her daughter’s face. She promised herself that if, or when, Courtney returned, she would tell her the whole truth. First she would tell her how sorry she was, how bitterly she regretted her treatment of Courtney, but mostly she would tell her how much she loved her. Then she would try to explain. The child should know. It was time she was told. Helen tried to remember. She wanted to put the whole story into words that her child could understand.

Clearing her mind as Mr Robertshaw had taught her, Helen focused on the inside of her own eyelids, concentrating on the shifting patterns there, letting her mind empty of the thoughts concerning Courtney, Gavin, her parents and her sister. Gradually, she swept them all to the far reaches of her consciousness. When she was satisfied that her mind was receptive, she took herself back to the Christmas when the nightmare began. Breathing steadily, controlling every breath, she allowed herself to remember.

TO BE CONTINUED…………

This 10th excerpt is from a science fiction novel about alien abduction. If you would like to read the novel from the beginning, please see the previous excerpts in, ‘They Take our Children.’

The complete eBook series is available on Amazon stores worldwide. Please go to an Amazon online store to purchase this novel if you can’t wait to read the rest.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

Marketing experiment proves to be a runaway success story!

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Any self published author must have heard about the maze of square holes. If you haven’t, you are about to learn of it here. Marketing self published books is like confronting the maze full of bottomless square holes, square one has a sign declaring, ‘Invest in me and I’ll invest in you!’ Square two says something like, ‘Do it my way for instant fame and fortune!’ Square three promises, ‘Give me your money and I’ll sell your books!’ You get the picture? In reality, each hole is simply waiting to swallow up your hard-earned cash and spit out zilch in the way of sales results. What’s a poor struggling author to do?

Well, this author turned away from the maze and looked at ways to market my work without spending a great deal of money. I first invested in some good editing software and polished my work until my eyes bled! I republished every single book, once I had made sure that they were as good as I could possibly make them in terms of a cracking great read, with little to no errors. I made a website and filled it with samples of my work, pictures and links, blogs and excerpts of upcoming work. You can see it here if you are interested. www.pearlagardner.co.uk  Then I joined Facebook and spent a little on advertising, joined Twitter and tweeted my life away, began blogging and started to get a small following on all these sites, but no real sales!

I joined Goodreads and did a free giveaway of The Scent of Bluebells. This resulted in a few ‘friends’ and some sales after the giveaway ended, but the royalties from these sales didn’t cover the cost of sending out two free paperbacks! Should I go back to the maze and square one? Not yet!

I tried free promotions to lift the ranking of my books in Amazon, believing that a higher ranking will get more exposure, and a free book will surely bring more reviews. The Scent of Bluebells got more than 1500 downloads in the first 2 days of a free promotion. That’s 1500 sales I didn’t get any royalty payment for! It barely rose in the rankings, got no reviews from that process that I know of, and the book sank into oblivion days after the promotion ended. A very similar scenario followed when I put the same book on the Kindle countdown promo. I DID get a few sales, but again, it dropped away to insignificance very quickly.

So I contemplated the maze again and stared at the first square hole for hours. Should I take the plunge? NO WAY! I can do this, I told myself. I just have to think outside the box! (Or outside the square hole.)

I looked at the results of the Kindle countdown deal. People seemed to want to buy the books if they were at rock bottom prices. I wouldn’t earn as much per sale, but I wasn’t earning much anyway, so what did I have to lose? I took a deep breath, crossed all my digits and lowered every one of my published books to .99c or .99p and then I waited, trembling and peering through my fingers every time I dared to look at the sales figures. It was a slow and painful first month, but sales were happening. I couldn’t deny that my books were selling. It was there on the screen, and the line on the graph was rising!

Two months later, The Scent of Bluebells is averaging 50 sales a day in the UK, has risen in the rankings on Amazon.co.uk to the top 500 overall, and around the top 20 in 3 sub categories. Whoop whoop!!!! (I’m jumping around in my chair now!)

The other works are all selling slowly but surely, but they ARE selling! I guess I can’t pay off the mortgage yet, but I can start saving for a nice little holiday! Maybe a writers retreat where there are no mentions of the maze of square holes. Maybe I’ll see you there?

Happy reading
x
Pearl A Gardner

Excerpt No 9, ‘They Take our Children, Book One, The Truth Revealed.’

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PROLOGUE
I became interested in UFOs a few years ago after seeing strange flying objects in the sky above my home town of Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I discussed my sightings with a police officer friend, and he warned me that I would not be taken seriously if I reported it to the authorities. I was astonished when he also confided in me that he had been abducted by aliens, but was too afraid to talk openly of his experience.

I decided to do some research on the issue. I talked with more abductees, attended UFO conferences, read many books on the subject and trawled the Internet for more information. I was surprised how much I found. I had no idea where my investigations would lead, but I was totally unprepared for what I uncovered.
Sifting the genuine stories from the fake accounts was challenging. Unfortunately, this subject is often trivialised and ridiculed, and I know that some will believe ALL the accounts are phony, no matter how much compelling testimony and physical evidence can be found.

I was drawn to a series of accounts that followed the same theme. Balls of light were seen in the sky, followed by abduction to a strange place, where physical examinations were made on the abductees by alien beings. Some abductees mention a breeding programme of some kind between aliens and human beings. How can so many similar stories, from individuals around the world, be false?

The idea of a book began to take shape. I wanted to expose the facts that I had discovered, but my police officer friend had warned me that nobody would listen. So I wrote a fictional account, using details from my research. You can read excerpts from the the story here.
Fact or fiction?
Urban myth or government cover-up?
You decide.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This 9th excerpt is from a science fiction novel about alien abduction. If you would like to read the novel from the beginning, please see the previous excerpts in, ‘They Take our Children.’

The complete eBook series is available on Amazon stores worldwide.

Please go to an Amazon online store to purchase this novel if you can’t wait to read the rest.

 

Chapter Nine: (In the past, Helen)

Helen had floated in the mist. She didn’t feel uncomfortable, being neither hot nor cold, nor wet, nor dry. Surrounded by vapour, she was suspended in time, beyond all sensation of physical self. She was only slightly aware on a mental level, of her surroundings. She felt pangs of anxiety. Quivers of unease tickled her mind. Smoky blurred images of a past life intruded occasionally, tugging at her, trying to prise her from her secluded tranquillity. She resisted, preferring the calm sea of mist, preferring the comfort of this non-world to the frightening reality she was dimly aware of that existed beyond the veil.
She was aware of others that occupied the place she drifted in. Other unsettled souls vibrated with her in the mist. She felt their presence and was comforted by them, not knowing who they were, but feeling them to be kindred spirits. They jostled together, instinctively aware of each other. Sometimes they sought each other out, minds mingling, clinging supportively to each other. Mostly they drifted alone, aimless, adrift in the mist.
None of them remembered who they were. Helen only knew what she was now, an amorphous being, without solid form, mingling with others of her kind. They existed in a reality that had nothing to do with the other world, the world they caught glimpses of on the edges of the mist. They were remnants, discarded pieces of unwanted and unneeded beings. They were surplus to the requirements of the ones who took them, at least for the moment.
Helen had been shown glimpses of their purpose, a small insight that did nothing to lessen her fear, or her confusion. The other souls sharing her existence also knew. They shared and meshed their emotions constantly. The strange beings that controlled their lives had plans. Great schemes were in motion, which would alter all their futures and the future of hundreds of others who did not share in the privilege of knowing. It was a future that would begin somewhere out of the mist, beyond the safety of the vapour in which they drifted.
The fragmented images from other minds sometimes mixed with Helen’s own mental pictures. A confusion of memories filled her mind. She shared the recollections of fractured lives, and of happier times. No words could be spoken without mouths. There were no faces to be recognised, none to be seen without eyes. It was not in a physical way that they came to know each other, but instinctively, intuitively. The group became aware of each other in the most intimate of ways and they knew the minds of their fellow prisoners, the very essence of them. They became one being, one entity in the haze.
The blurred images and faint mutterings from Helen’s past life were at first, a nuisance and an annoying intrusion into her sanctum. She ignored them, pushing away the tendrils of reality that reached out to her through the veil. Gradually, the images became clear and the mutters became intelligible words. Their persistence was compelling and eventually she found she could no longer ignore them. Gradually, she began to respond. She learned that the intrusion would go away sooner after a small acknowledgement from her, leaving her to wander the mist in peace with her friends, her allies.
The others were also having trouble with intrusions from their previous lives and the mist became a cacophony of unintelligible babble, as these past lives determinedly clawed back their own. One by one, the souls in the mist left. With each departure, the level of confusion dropped, as the babbling lessened, but the feeling of isolation among the survivors grew as their numbers fell.
Helen felt the pull of her family constantly. Eventually, it became a strain she grew tired of fighting against. She wanted to return, especially as the comforting presence of the others diminished continually. Only her fear kept her firmly in the mist for longer. She knew that once she returned, they would claim her and her life would continue on the path that had been marked for her. Once she set foot on the path, her future was sealed. Heartbreak lay ahead if she allowed that to happen.
She finally discovered an inner strength that sanctioned her to think independently. She made a decision. She decided not to allow the great plan to affect her and deciding made her stronger. She had choices and she would make them. The first choice she made was to leave the misty place. Resigning herself to fate, she listened to the calling of her family.
She ventured towards them, reaching out of the mist, feeling herself grow weary and heavy, struggling to form words from a consciousness devoid of language. She was repeatedly forced away from the family who pulled at her. She made the effort to escape the fog many times, but each time she was pulled back to the enveloping mist, to rejoin her decreasing number of comrades.
Then a strange voice reached out to her, one that she found irresistible. It trickled through her senses, undermining her fear, filling her with strength and hope. It wove into her consciousness, tied anchoring knots to her soul and began to pull. The voice called out to her, tugging gently, bringing her back. She allowed herself to be brought out of the mist. Leaving its cloying security made her fearful, but the voice compelled her to keep moving forward.
Helen looked out at her parents, wondering how she got home. They were so pleased to see her, fussing and touching her. She tried to speak, but only jumbled sounds came out, her thoughts were fragmented.
The strange man introduced himself as Mr Robertshaw. His was the voice that brought her home. She stared at him, an odd-looking man with a deep intensity to his eyes. He saw into her soul, he knew where she had been. She knew he knew. Her parents still fussed, they were unaware of this man’s intrusion of her soul. They were oblivious of the creeping unease Helen felt in his presence.
She barely understood the noise they made. The buzz of conversation sounded alien to her ears, it was loud and painful, but some deep recess of her mind recognised the words. She was unable to speak coherently. The meanings of her thoughts got lost between brain and spoken word. She allowed the fussing, but shrank from the invasive attentions of Mr Robertshaw. She was relieved when he spoke to her parents, telling them she would need quiet and rest. Her relief was short-lived as she heard him making arrangements with her father to return.

Strange as the place was where she had been, it felt even stranger to be home. She was pathetically weak and it was an effort to stand. Walking was a disorientating experience, as her limbs felt like encumbrances. Her head was a heavy load to carry. Eating was a joy, the taste and textures of food a delight. She felt her body taking in the nutrition and growing stronger daily. Words came gradually. She listened to her family speaking, taking in the rhythm and feel of the sounds. The sounds they made connected to her thoughts, becoming meaningful at last. She could speak, but she couldn’t find words to explain what she’d lived through. They didn’t ask too many questions. Helen was grateful because she didn’t have answers, only more questions and she knew they couldn’t answer them for her.
When Mr Robertshaw returned, a few days later, Helen felt stronger and more in control of her senses, or so she thought.
He set up his recording machine on the low coffee table, much to the interest of her mother. He asked for complete privacy and Helen watched with dismay as her mother left them alone. She gave herself a mental shake, this was only a man, he had no power to hurt her, she only had to call out and her mother would come to her aid immediately. She took a deep steadying breath. This was not so bad, he only wanted to talk, like the doctors and counsellors yesterday and the day before. They all had questions for her, but she had no answers. She kept repeating, ‘I’m fine,’ ‘I’m okay,’ hoping they would be satisfied and leave her alone.
When Mr Robertshaw began to speak, his voice was like liquid, flowing through her consciousness. She tried to resist the heaviness that crept over her, but was helpless, as she felt her very thoughts being manipulated.
His words forged pathways through her clouded, fragmented memory and forced her to look in the dark shadows of her mind. His penetrating, mellifluous voice lifted the veils of security, revealing the awful truth buried deep in her brain. The pictures crowded her head, filling her with horror and revulsion. The bile rose in her throat, gagging her as she realised the full extent of her experience.
When the contents of her stomach emptied onto Mr Robertshaw’s scuffed black shoes, he stopped talking. Instead, he stared, open-mouthed at her reaction to the memories he had made her look at. Helen stared back, breathing heavily, wiping the traces of vomit from her mouth with the back of her trembling hand.
Mary came rushing in when she heard the explosive sound, concern for her daughter and disapproval of Mr Robertshaw clear on her scowling face. After making sure Helen was none the worse for being sick, she went to get a bucket and cloth and began to clear up the mess, tut-tutting at the man and making it abundantly clear that in her opinion, he was not to be trusted. ‘It’s all very well for George to invite you to our home, Mr Robertshaw, but I don’t like leaving you alone with Helen and just see what it has led to!’
‘Mrs Andrews, I must apologise for not informing you of the consequences of the first few regressions.’ Mr Robertshaw watched Helen’s mother as she mopped up the mess. ‘You must understand, your daughter has some particularly unpleasant memories to expose.’ His intense gaze never left Helen’s face.
‘What memories? She’s never left the house for months, the only thing we need to know is that she’s going to be all right from now on.’ Mary wrung out the cleaning cloth fiercely, in the bucket of disinfectant. Getting to her feet, she lifted the bucket, stretched to her full height of five foot four and turned to face the diminutive man. ‘All this palaver! Huh! The doctor is very pleased with her progress, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I can’t see what good you’re doing, coming here and making her sick like this!’
‘I do understand how you feel, Mrs Andrews.’ His voice became fluid, placating, almost wheedling. ‘Helen does seem well, physically,’ he emphasised, ‘but you must understand, those night terrors were pretty spectacular, eh, Helen?’ He looked for support to the frightened girl, who stared back at him with eyes like saucers, too shocked by her recent excursion into her subconscious to reply.
‘Well all I can see is a frightened girl who doesn’t need all this hocus-pocus.’ Mary leaned to put a reassuring hand on the girl’s shoulder.
‘All this ‘hocus-pocus’ as you call it, will cleanse your daughter’s mind, Mrs Andrews,’ his silky tones wove their spell, ‘please allow me to continue, she will benefit, believe me.’
Mary seemed to hesitate, clearly unwilling to leave Helen in the same room as this man.
‘I’ll be okay now, Mum.’ Helen found her voice. She had heard the words, cleanse her mind and hoped Mr Robertshaw meant them literally. If he could rid her of the awful pictures that she knew were real, despite his words, night terrors, it would be worth a few more emptied stomachs. ‘You’d better leave the bucket though,’ she said to her mother as an afterthought.
Mary huffed, sighed and relented, setting the bucket by Helen’s side.
‘I’m right next door if you need me.’ She looked directly at Helen, searching her face for signs of distress.
‘I’m fine, Mum, honest.’ Helen managed a weak smile that worked wonders on her mother.
Alone again with this ferret of a man, Helen steeled herself against his insidious voice.
‘Relax, Helen,’ he smiled at her, showing uneven, tobacco stained teeth. ‘This won’t work unless you let me help you.’
‘What are you going to do?’ She was more than apprehensive, this time she knew where his voice could take her.
‘What you saw in your mind, what you remembered, is real. It happened to you and you have to live with it.’
‘No! You’re wrong!’ She didn’t want to listen and put her hands over her ears, childishly. ‘It was a nightmare,’ she insisted.
‘That would be too easy, Helen.’ He kept his voice low, soothing and oily. ‘You know different, you know how real it was.’ He leaned to the tape recorder and switched it back on. ‘Listen to me, listen to my voice and concentrate only on my words… ’
Helen closed her eyes, trying to shut out the droning, impelling noise, but felt herself relax despite her opposition. This time she was wary, she knew what lay beyond the shadows and approached them carefully as the voice led her back into the mist.

To be continued……………………
If you can’t wait to read the rest, They Take our Children, Book one, The Truth Revealed and They Take our children, Book Two, Taking Control, are now available as kindle eBooks in all Amazon stores.

Thank you for taking an interest in my work.

Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

It's Penguin Shooting Day by Pearl A. Gardner

It’s Penguin Shooting Day

by Pearl A. Gardner

Giveaway ends June 10, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Released in paperback 2nd May 2014.

Be one of the first to read the paperback edition of this amazing true life story of hope and inspiration. The Goodreads giveaway starts at midnight 3rd May. Click the link above to enter the draw for one of 2 copies available. Winners will be drawn and notified by the end of 10th June 2014.

Reviews on Amazon for the kindle version:-
‘This is based on a true story and it is very emotional and very touching.
It is very well written and makes you feel the pain and the joys of those actually involved.’

‘This is a book about family and the feelings of love and responsibility that start when your child is born and never diminish. I enjoyed it from start to finish.’

The story
The phone call that parents dread came on the 29th June 2008 at 11am.
Natalie’s voice shook when she told us, ‘Mum, Simon’s had a car crash, he’s in a coma.’

Compounding this awful news was the fact that my family lived at the other side of the world in Australia. Within hours I boarded my flight to be with them and started a diary of Simon’s journey back to us.

From Simon’s point of view, he wakes in a bizarre place full of strangers and doesn’t know why he is there. His yesterday is ten years ago and the only memories he has between then and now are hazy fragments.

Amazingly, his emotions are still intact, even though his memories don’t support them. He has no recollection of his wedding day, or of his daughter’s birth, but the love he feels for his wife and child are overwhelming in their intensity.

So we use Simon’s emotional strength and Natalie’s inspirational positive attitude to help him through the first traumatic weeks and try to set the foundations of a future we can only begin to imagine how to build.

Update for marketing experiment price promotion.

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All my eBook publications have been available for $0.99 or £0.99, (or equivalent to US dollars in your country), for six weeks now. I’m amazed by the response. Compared to the previous 6 weeks sales, the promotional sales have more than doubled in quantity, and the line on the graph is still rising! All without any additional marketing.

My ratings on Amazon are also rising, and reviews are beginning to come in too, so it’s all good news.

My overall profit has decreased slightly due to the difference in the level of Royalties paid on the lower price, but I am confidant that this will improve over time. I was never in this game to make a load of money. Sales numbers and people reading and enjoying my work have always been my number one goal.

The good news for my readers and fans is that the price promotion will continue for the foreseeable future.

I’m currently working to get the all my eBook publications into Smashwords so they will be available to an even wider audience. So even if you don’t have an Amazon Kindle, you can soon enjoy my work on other devices of your choosing.

Happy reading
X
Pearl