He woke in a hospital bed. Pale blue walls, white ceiling. He could see the metal rails around the bed with the curtains hanging down. A small room, not a ward or even an annexe. His head hurt, and his leg. It was light and he last recalled being in the dark, in the night, in the tunnel, with the alien.
There was someone sitting beside the bed, but it was too much effort to move his head sideways to see who it was. He muttered at them and a face appeared in front of his. It took time to get his eyes to focus properly, to be able to see who it was.
Dark hair, a white dressing on her forehead. Rachel.
He smiled and she leaned over and kissed him on his forehead, holding his hand and smiling back at him.
'Hello, about time you rejoined us,' she said softly. 'How are you feeling?'
'Tired,' he replied truthfully, remembering that he had been up most of the night.
The door opened and someone familiar came in.
'Michael.' Straker walked over to the boy lying in the bed. 'The doctors' tell me that you are going to be fine. They have set your leg and you can go home as soon as you can use your crutches properly.'
He smiled at the child, lying there, small and innocent, under the white sheets. Rachel looked at her fiancé and handed him the small striped pebble that Michael had found in Ed's jacket.
He looked at it, 'Old red sandstone banded with dark grit; quite common in this area,' he told her, casually tossing the pebble into the air and catching it. Then grinned at her and slipped it back into his pocket before kissing her quickly.
'Mr Straker, what happened?' Michael wondered how he had got here, how anyone them had survived the incident.
'What do you remember?' Straker sat down next to his fiancée and held her hand.
'I remember the alien fired at you and you fell, then I don't know what happened.' Michael was puzzled. How had the three of them escaped?
'It's quite simple Michael. When I went over to you, I carelessly left Rachel's gun next to you on the floor. A stupid thing to do and very dangerous. Guns are not meant to be left anywhere a young child can get at them. I would be extremely angry with any of my men who did such a thing. Fortunately for Rachel and me you are neither stupid nor reckless. When the alien paralysed me, and started to drag me away, you picked up Rachel's gun and fired at it. A good shot by the way. You hit it in the chest and it died pretty quickly. However, the recoil threw you back against the wall and knocked you out. Our assault team were fairly close and once they had eliminated all the aliens in the castle they came searching for us. They flew the three us straight to hospital in their helicopter. There wasn't room for your parents, but they should be arriving any time now.' He smiled at the lad, and then continued in a deadly serious voice. 'You won't remember anything about this later, Michael; the doctor will be giving you something to make you forget all about the aliens, but before they do I must thank you for saving my life and, more importantly, for saving Rachel. Is there anything I can possibly do to repay you?'
Michael thought for a moment and then spoke. 'I want you to do something for my mum.' And he told the couple sat round his bedside about his concern for his mother and his fear of his stepfather.
Straker listened to him, smiled, then pulled out his phone. 'Alec, I need you to do a full G6 on the following couple; Mr and Mrs Nigel Carter….'
Mrs Carter, soon to be known as Ms King, drove her small Citroen C2 up to the entrance of the Harlington Straker Studios and stopped at the security barrier.
'Good morning. I'm the new assistant wardrobe mistress. Mr Straker appointed me last week. I have my security pass here.' She held up her ID. It was strange that a film company should be so insistent on security, but she didn't mind.
With her bully of a soon-to-be ex-husband now being investigated for serious tax evasion, and Michael settled happily at King's School,Canterbury after receiving an anonymous scholarship, she was now able to concentrate on developing her own career.
The future for both of them was looking wonderful.
A Personal Account
I started this story way, way back in December 2009, I think. I planned a shortish story about Scotland, and an area with which I was quite familiar.
It was a fairly basic and uncomplicated story to begin with. Alien attacks on a certain area of Kirkudbrightshire, (Kerr – coo- bri- shire) Ed and Rachel going up to investigate and getting caught up in the situation.
It got a little more complex when I introduced Michael.. in fact the story is still listed on my PC as 'Michael' and only changed its name later when I thought about putting the chess aspect in.
The hotel, the headland, the strontium mine (only one actually) do exist .. in a way although the mine isn't really as accessible as in the story! Oh and the Military shooting area also exists. I often wondered what it would be like to drive through it!
I enjoyed making Michael's father a pompous idiot, and his behaviour dictated the rest of the story.
The chess game was fun to do especially as I had already introduced the idea of Ed playing Chess (Rescued)
It was relatively easy to get Michael into the mine, and then have him rescued by Ed. It was fiddly trying to work out the logistics… where would the team from HQ be, when would they arrive, who is going out etc, and then the practicalities had to be worked out.
So Ed goes to find Michael. And phones don't work in the strontium mines.. good excuse to keep him incommunicado. I hope the description of the position of the mines was clear and you could understand.. I hate it when I cannot understand where something is simply because a writer hasn't painted a clear enough picture.
I absolutely LOVED the image of Ed standing in a circle of light as Sky 7 circled above him. If I could draw that, I certainly would! I can see it in my mind though!
I had to get Michael's leg splinted so that they could move him, which meant that the rescue team had to reach them. But, I needed to have Rachel and Ed and Michael alone and trapped in the mines, so that meant that the UFO had to be destroyed.. a good opportunity to kill off the support team!
So they are trapped, and have to go deeper into the mine to find an exit.. Plausible? I hope so! I liked putting in the bit about Ed being claustrophobic and struggling as the tunnel got narrower. I could never go into a mine tunnel!
Then they find the end of the tunnel..and the aliens.. and realise that the aliens are in the castle in the old smugglers' passages. This was where it could all fall to pieces!
I had to get Ed in the castle, the rescue team nearly there and Rachel and Michael in danger.
And Michael saves the day!
I deliberately tried to mislead the reader at the end, but hinting that it was Ed in the hospital, when in actual fact it was Michael.
And all's well that ends well.!
I particularly liked the conversation in Chapter 10 between Michael and Rachel, and the part at the end where Ed hands back the pebble that he caught earlier.
This is a fairly 'slow' story, even though the action takes place really within the space of a few hours. I was a little overly descriptive as well, but I indulged myself and let my imagination run wild on occasions, without going into detail (huge bath, four-poster bed, discarded pyjamas, Rachel looking deliciously tempting)
And one last thing. I mentioned every chess piece at some stage in the story.
Not one of my most intense, dramatic stories, but hopefully easy to read. And enjoyable. And that's all that really matters.
And then, having written it, I realised that I wanted to write the story of how Ed got the pearl necklace that Rachel wore.
So I wrote Legacy.