The following excerpt is from a novel, as yet unpublished, by a member of Waverley Writers of F.O.W.L. Maureen would appreciate feedback from readers of this Blog. Please add any comments in the ‘Comments’ section, or on Facebook.
THE ROCK by Maureen Mendelowitz
There is a rocky ledge that leans over the sea at Llandudno. It juts out on three sides, exposed to the changing shades of ocean and sky, the blues, the greys, the oranges and reds of sunset, and the pale violet hues of early dawn.
It is a hidden place. A steep flight of steps hewn from rock leads down from the road to a pristine crescent of white beach. At the far end a pile of huge boulders are piled and lean haphazardly, one against the other.
The rock is beyond the boulders. It is comfortable, flat and smooth. Below is nothing but the wide ocean – above, the wide skies. The sunrise sometimes bathes it in crimson hues, and sometimes it is fiery in the red flames of sunset. But in the dark of night its surface hardens in the glittering sparkle of stars and the moon etches its compact layers in a strong beam of white light.
The rock is difficult to find. There are only small spaces and narrow crevices to crawl through – a secret rock – hidden behind an ominous outcrop of huge boulders that signals the end of the beach and forbids anything beyond.
Daniel knew the rock. How?
Did he find it as a small boy exploring? Did his mother call out “Daniel! Daniel! Where are you?” and run along that small crowded beach, and look out to the waves panic-stricken, and desperately ask “Have you seen my child? A small boy? With dark curly hair?”, and sigh hugely and with great relief when that curly headed boy, small and skinny, appeared from the outcrop and ran towards his mother shouting “Mama, I’ve found a rock! A big flat rock!” Did she scoop him up in her arms, crying and laughing and reprimanding, “Daniel! Where were you? Don’t ever do that again! I thought you were lost forever!”, not listening to what he was saying, but smothering him with kisses? Is that when Daniel found the rock?
Perhaps he found it as a boy wanting to escape the turmoil of his home. Did he run from the fights, the arguments, the insults and the vicious temper of his dad, jump on a bus, arrive at Llandudno, pace along the beach, and crawl though the crevices to hide away, to bury his head in his knees and cry, to scream into the wind “I hate him! I hate him! I wish he was dead!”?
Or did he find it as a young man seeking solitude? Did he close his books in exhaustion and say “I’ve got to get out of here”, and leave the littered desk and medical tomes, and drive along that stretch of coast until he reached the little beach. Did he scramble though the crevices seeking to block out the smell of ether and the sick bodies at the hospital, the lectures, the interminable notes, the examinations, and wonder how much more he could take? Did he then come upon the flat wide rock, sit on its smooth surface, his back against a boulder and gaze out in wonder at the beauty and isolation of his find? Did he close his tired eyes and allow the songs of the sea and the soft breezes to envelop him and calm his crowded mind, to bring him quietude, to give him peace?
However it happened, it seemed to Maryssa that that the rock belonged to him, a hidden secret place in an inaccessible outcrop of boulders, a place that he had discovered, that only he would know.
It seemed as though it was also a porous rock, a rock that absorbed stains. There was no evidence of the drops of bright red blood on its smooth surface. The rock, the rain and the surf from the sea during high winds and severe storms, all helped to remove them.