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Until The Sea Subsides (standard:fantasy, 2510 words)
Author: Brian CrossAdded: Feb 06 2009Views/Reads: 1993/1203Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
An author takes a break on the Suffolk coast with the intention of completing a novel, only to discover a past he never knew he had.

Until The Sea Subsides 

I'd travelled to Aldeburgh full of purpose and conviction. My new novel
would be my most successful yet. I had the foundations laid, the 
framework constructed and three monts would be sufficient for me to 
complete my first draft. 

Except that three months later I hadn't progressed beyond the first
chapter. Call it writer's block if you like, but I wasn't short of 
ideas – I had too many of them and I couldn't decide the best direction 
for my plot or my characters. 

I was living in the heart of tranquility and yet I needed something to
stop my mind spinning themes I didn't require. 

So I switched my computer to standby and gazed out at the sea. It seemed
little more than a grey mist amidst the hail rattling the panes. The 
spring had been unusually stormy but I wasn't inhibited by the 
conditions in the least. I really needed a distraction to allow my 
strangely lively mind to settle. I donned an anorak and headed into the 
elements, bound for the Aldeburgh bookshop. 

I'd no idea what I was looking for until my eyes captured a tatty,
yellowing book laying flat, looking neglected in an alcove. 

It was the cover that drew my attention, although badly faded it
pictured a fishing village overwhelmed by an onrushing tide. 

Vessles lay submerged with only their masts above the water, debris
riding on the tide while a woman in black stood alone on the cliff, 
looking down on the scene, her long hair fanned by the wind. It was a 
side view, her face was hidden but nonetheless I was intrigued enough 
to examine the pages. “Until The Sea Subsides,” the cover read. I 
flipped through it tentatively fearing it might disintegrate, yet 
despite its age it was surprisingly sturdy and intact. 

And there is a strength in the woman on the cover; she could have been
grieving, it seems she is, but her posture seemed to exude unusual 
power. Perhaps this observation enticed me, perhaps not. 

But I took the book to the counter and saw the shopkeeper frown, ‘Are
you sure you found this here?' 

I thought what a stupid question, why else would I have handed it to
him? ‘Yes,' I nodded. 

‘How strange,' he continued, examining it as though it were a novelty.
‘No price, no stamp – where did you find it?' 

I pointed to the corner alcove, becoming irritated now. He must have
noticed, ‘It's rather old but frankly wouldn't have interested me, I 
can't understand why we took it. Take it free of charge my friend.' He 
slipped it into a bag and prepared for his next customer. I could tell 
he wasn't impressed with my taste but taste is down to the individual. 
I didn't give a damn about that. 

I took it home, brewed some tea and began to read; the story soon drew
me in. It was written by someone called Francesca Read, but with some 
historical context because around the turn of the century the seas 
encroached here, destroying a village, burying it beneath salt and 

Antonia, the heroine had not been local, she was well-bred and from
Suffolk's rural gentry. But she was the black sheep of the family, an 
untamed spirit, a twenty year old with a zest for life. She'd been 
horse riding the ridges between the marshes when she'd almost 
decapitated Sam Tye as he emerged through some rushes carrying his haul 
of fish. 

Sam had been indignant, had shouted and swore at Antonia whereby she
leapt from her horse and confronted him. 

Antonia was six feet tall and athletic. My own books feature powerful
women so I was hooked – but not so hooked that I wasn't aware of the 
aroma which had infiltrated the room – a strong smell of seaweed some 

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