Today I’m sharing another extract from my novel, ‘The Double Act’; there is a romance in it, there is a love story, but the subtitle is ‘Don’t think ‘The Double Act’ is a romance, this may be a love story… but the other side of love is dark love…’
Easthope is a quiet, slightly old-fashioned seaside town; nothing ever seems to happen, and Genet McCauley and her friends lead lives almost unchanged since they left school. Genet, married to mercurial Lance and running their small hotel, sometimes feels trapped and often feels bored, but she loves Lance and in most ways is content. Their friends call them the great double act; Genet without Lance? Lance without Genet? Impossible!
But then the McCauleys take on new tenants in a bungalow they own; is it a coincidence that as the enigmatic Dr Herrick and his disabled wife arrive in the small town, a series of acts of vandalism and arson is committed? At first they are, small, petty events, which seem to centre on the group of friends; however, before long they escalate to violence and attempted murder.
When the Herricks come to Easthope, Genet’s life and that of those closest to her, changes for ever.
Genet is going to visit Dora a jeweller; she knows but Dora doesn’t know she knows that Lance and Dora are lovers. However, Dora has been very kind to Genet who feels compelled to visit her again:
Dora was sitting on the low white painted wall on the opposite side of the road.
“Hello! Enjoying the sun?” Genet exclaimed with false heartiness to hide her nerves.
Dora lifted the cloud of golden hair from her face, her face like a white mask, frozen with horror. Genet sat down and hugged her.
“What on earth’s the matter, Dora?”
A policeman appeared from the cottage door, calling her gently to come in and shepherded the two women into the cottage.
There was graffiti sprayed in black across the front but Genet could not make out what it said. The room inside was a mess. Cases were overturned and smashed, their contents flung wide as if tossed by a whirlwind. The pictures had been wrenched from the walls, splintered glass everywhere.
The spray paint messages were more than mindless. ‘Hahaha!’ ’Moo! Moo!’ ‘Dora the loser!’
“Can you take Dora and make her a cup of tea?” one of the several police officers asked Genet. “Any idea who it could’ve been, Dora?”
Dora shook her head silently as Genet led her through to the kitchen, their feet crunching on glass, smashed wood and crushed jewellery. The kitchen was untouched and Genet sat Dora down as she had sat her down when she was last here.
“I have got an idea who did it, actually,” said Dora quietly to Genet as she put a cup of tea in front of her.
“Good grief! You must tell the police.”
“You remember that picture you liked, the one of the crystal? The one I sold to a friend of mine? Well, he and I were more than just friends. It’s all over now but I wonder if it’s his wife…”
“Oh surely not,” Genet sat heavily in a kitchen chair. This was mad.
“She was a boring little thing, apparently, but devoted to him, stiflingly so. All she wanted was a nice pretty house and children and to spend all her time doing the housework and baking. Lance, that’s my friend, Lance is a free spirit, he wanted life and fun and laughter…”
Genet muttered something.
Dora continued. “Perhaps she isn’t such a mouse, perhaps she’s warning me off. She doesn’t have to, it’s all over, finished, I ended it…”
Whatever Genet was going to say was cut off by the arrival of a dark-haired woman and Dora sprang up and fell into her arms and burst into tears.
“I’d better go,” and Genet fled, leaving her name with the policemen.
She virtually ran back down towards Opal Harbour and didn’t notice Lance turn their car into the car park beside the cottage. He got out and stood in the road, watching her hurrying down the lane.
Here is a link to my story; if you haven’t read it you can find out who is really responsible for the graffiti: