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Music from The Book

Excerpt from The Back Road

Ellie jumped as her mobile started to vibrate on the worktop next to her. Her breath caught, and her arm froze in mid‐air. She knew without looking who it would be.

 

Should she answer? Would it be worse to speak to him, or to ignore him? She didn’t want to speak to him ever again, but couldn’t predict what he would do if she started to avoid him altogether. Snapping out of her momentary paralysis, she wiped her hands nervously on a tea towel and picked up the phone.

‘Hello,’ she said softly.

 

‘Why are you crying, Ellie?’ He was here.

 

Ellie nearly dropped the phone as her eyes flew in panic to the huge bi-folding glass doors that lined one wall of the kitchen, leading out to the side of the house. But the combination of the stormy skies and the brightly lit room made it impossible to see into the murky depths of the garden beyond.

 

The voice continued. ‘I’m watching you. I love watching you cook. But don’t be sad. It’s going to be okay, I promise you.’

 

Ellie’s heart pounded but she tried not to let her voice waver. ‘I’m not crying, and I’m not sad. Where are you? Please - you shouldn’t be here. There’s nothing more to say. I’ve said it all before.’

 

There was a sigh of exasperation from the other end of the phone. ‘Why don’t you let me in, and we can talk? I’m right here. The voice was quiet and persuasive, but Ellie shivered in fear.