Yesterday I shared an excerpt from my novel ‘Raddy and Syl’ in which Thomas Radwinter, explores and confronts his own past, as well as undertaking a couple of other commissions. He hesitantly embarks on a trail to find the truth about the lives of his parents, Edward ‘Raddy’ Radwinter, and Sylvia Magick. He’s been given some photos which he has never seen before, and in the excerpt I’m sharing today, he is looking first at a photo of their wedding day:
I looked at the wedding photo now; Sylvia was stunning, her arm through her new husband’s, a small bouquet in her hands. She wasn’t at all like the woman I remember.
She was slim and blond and her shy smile was like John’s; he’s a real Radwinter but he has his mother’s smile. The only other photo I’d seen was of Sylvia as a little child with white blond hair and a strong and determined expression.
Here on her wedding day her face was open and joyful. She was wearing a short white dress and pointy, high-heeled shoes. She was not as tall as Raddy, but inclined her head towards him.
I couldn’t help but think of her mother Grace on her wedding day… such a different look on her face, eyes downcast, no smile, almost a look of dread – or despair.
Raddy was smiling too but somehow he looked different from the boy in the other photo. Once again I scanned and enlarged the picture and looked at it on my laptop. It was obvious that Raddy was as happy as Syl was; he had his head leaning towards her and his hand was over hers that linked through his arm.
However something had changed, there was something different about him. I couldn’t work out what it was and thought maybe I was just being fanciful.
There was a mark on the photo making a line across his forehead but when I looked at the actual photo again it occurred to me that there was a mark on his real forehead, not just the picture.
Thomas finds another photo, taken several years later which includes a picture of his brothers Marcus and Paul:
The last two pictures of Raddy must have been in the early sixties because there was a skinny little kid with a gap toothed grin, Marcus, and a chubby toddler, Paul.
They were in a garden with an elderly couple in deckchairs, both shading their eyes as they looked towards the camera. There were two women who appeared to be jiving, one of them might be Sylvia, and they were both laughing, heads back, faces to the sky, holding hands to dance.
Raddy was standing with a drink in his hand, his shirt open to the waist. He was holding a bottle and the other arm was flung wide as if he was trying to embrace the day. He was laughing but to me his expression looked wild and strange. Maybe it was just an unfortunate capture on the photo, but whereas the women were laughing normally, perhaps a little drunkenly, Raddy looked almost hysterical, I can’t think of another word to describe it.
The mark I’d noticed before on his forehead was still there, obviously a scar which he hadn’t had at eighteen.
How did Raddy get that scar? Why did Sylvia become a drunk? Who were the elderly couple? If you’d like to find the answers, and also read about Thomas’s search for a vanished woman, and the mystery of a sinister Moroccan, Badruddin, then here is a link to my book: