Something very exciting today!
James Dawson, author of the awesome Hollow Pike, which was published earlier this year, has dug around in his archives and has uncovered some deleted gems that you won't find in the book any more. The past few days, these gems have been set free upon the world, and today, it's my turn to set one free. First off, a word from James...
I really like this tender moment between Lis and her brother-in-law. I think I removed it because it slowed down the action slightly and was a bit ‘emo’ (even for me)! It also offers a chilling reminder of how quickly pop-culture references get old! Cheryl!!!
And now for the juicy bit!!
Lis walked all the way down the hill from Kitty's; she needed the fresh air to cleanse her muddy mind of the day’s events. Police stations, diaries, what next? Still wary of the intruder, she'd stuck with Jack most of the way and then remained on the brightly lit pavements all the way back to The Cube.
Eventually she dragged her feet up the wooden stairs and let herself in the front door. The central heating was on toasty full blast and a welcoming orange glow shone from the lounge.
‘We're in here, babe!’ her sister called out.
She found Sarah and Max curled up on the sofa, cradling a bowl of crisps and watching X Factor. They looked so happy, enjoying their perfect family night in front of the TV.
‘You gonna watch the result with us love? You should see what Cheryl's wearing! It looks like a wicker basket!’
Lis smiled sadly. At some point over the last ten weeks, she'd stopped belonging to these people. She no longer fit in. With everything spinning around in her head, she just couldn't sit down and enjoy mindless TV with her family. She had too much to think about and impossible things to plan.
‘No, I'm gonna have a bath and read for a bit,’ she replied, her feet shuffling up the stairs.
She'd only just flopped on her bed when there was a gentle knock on her door.
‘Can I come in pet?’ Max asked.
Max, a kind of BFG, ducked under the door frame and sat on the end of her bed.
‘Did Sarah send you?’
‘Nope. I said I was checking on Logan. You seemed a bit glum, pet, is everything hunky dory?’
Lis nodded a brave nod. ‘Yeah, I'm fine.’
Max tucked her hair behind her ear. She hated when he did that;she felt that she had big ears. But she left the hair alone.
‘Can I tell you a story?’ he asked.
‘I'm a bit big for bedtime stories.’
‘Who told you that?’
Smiling, Lis gestured for him to begin.
‘You were only four when I first met your sister. Your mum was still with your dad, but he was a real waste of space, always vanishing for days on end …’
Lis had heard the extended club remix of this story of her scoundrel dad from her mum since she'd been old enough to listen, this wasn't news to her.
Max continued. “So Sarah was the one who ended up looking after you. Now, I thought I was one of those blokes who never wanted kids. I thought they were a real pain in the arse! But then I met you. You were just the cutest thing I'd ever seen. You wouldn't bloody leave me alone for a minute! I was like your own personal climbing frame. After that I knew I was gonna look after you and Sarah for the long haul – I wasn’t going anywhere. Bottom line, you taught me how to be a dad, Lis. And ... and it breaks my heart to see you acting so strangely.’
In exactly the same way she would have done eleven years ago, she threw herself around Max's neck, burying her face in his shoulder. The floodgates opened and the tears poured out. She couldn't talk to him, wouldn’t talk to him, but he held her until she fell asleep.
Hollow Pike is out now in paperback with purple edges! So cool! You can buy the book here!
Thanks James for such an awsome piece, and Louise at Orion for organising the tour!