Sampler: The Silence of the Stones by Rebecca Bryn
November 23, 2021
A journey of injustice, revenge, lies and madness, rune-casting, murder, arson, splashing paint about, and general mayhem.
Alana determines to escape her past and opportunity beckons when she’s left a run-down cottage in a West Wales village by an aunt she didn’t know existed, but her past is catching up on her, and someone is out to get her.
Strange runes painted on her door and carved onto ancient stones in a stone circle, hint at a dark undercurrent of tragedy and intrigue, and she is caught up in the village’s conspiracy of silence over a thirty-year-old crime.
An eccentric old woman who casts runes, an ambitious young female investigative journalist, a two-year-old girl, a good-looking male busker, and an ex-lover make unlikely bedfellows but combine to send Alana on a voyage of self-discovery that blows her world apart.
Can she discover the truth hidden in the stones in time to save those she loves?
Set in the fabulous Welsh countryside, the story takes you on a journey of injustice, revenge, lies and madness, rune-casting, murder, arson, splashing paint about, and general mayhem.
Sampler: The Silence of the Stones
‘Give me the torch a minute.’ Tony let the beam play across the walls and floor. ‘We should be careful what we touch. This is a crime scene.’ He stopped the beam at a pale oblong beneath what had been a telephone fixed to the wall. ‘I wonder what was here.’
‘Something the police have taken away.’
‘A book, maybe. It’s about the right size. Could be telephone numbers.’ He shrugged and shone the beam at the fire-blackened ceiling. ‘We can’t go upstairs without a ladder, and anyway, the floors may not be safe.’
‘Twenty-three and a blank.’
‘There should be twenty-four rune stones and a blank. Three aett’s and the wyrd stone. One’s missing.’
‘So, if it isn’t here, why not?’
Tony played the beam of light slowly and carefully across the floor. ‘I can’t see another. You think it could mean something, Alana?’
She gathered the stones together and thrust them into her pocket. ‘Let’s have a look in the living room.’
This room was smoke-damaged more than fire-damaged. The torch dimmed, leaving them in virtual darkness. ‘We’re disturbing evidence. We shouldn’t be in here. Let’s go.’
They picked their way over the debris and squeezed back through the gap between the board and the doorframe. Tony used the back of the crowbar to knock the boarding roughly back in place. Not that it wouldn’t be obvious from the pale footprints across the floor that two people had been inside.
Back at the cottage, she laid out the rune stones. Which one was missing? She fired up her laptop and found the page she’d bookmarked. Runes and divination. Tony’s breath was warm on her neck. Together they laid the signs out in the three Aett’s according to the web page.
Tony pointed. ‘That one. We don’t have that one.’
‘Sowilo.’ She scrolled to the description: Heindall’s Aett. ‘The watcher, keeper of the rainbow bridge to the heavens.’ Cold fingers crept down her spine. ‘Keeper of the icy bridge to the underworld. Fate, look. It’s a tenet of the Calvinist religion.’ She waved a hand at the window. ‘And our chapel is Calvinist.’
‘You’re clutching at straws, now.’ Tony squeezed her shoulder. ‘Sowilo is all about the sun. It sounds like a positive rune.’
He was trying to bolster her hope. Her mind went back to the first time she’d found the runes. ‘There are runes carved into the standing stones up on the moor. I stood in the centre of Cerrig o’ Tyr and imagined the ancients worshipping the sun god. I tried to imagine their fear at mid-winter, seeing the sun getting lower and lower each day. They made sacrifices to their sun god.’
‘That was thousands of years ago. We know the sun always rises.’
Some of the marks had been fresh. Bones had been found there. The private investigator had mentioned blood on the centre slab. ‘Oh, God. I know where she is. Rhiannon and Nerys have taken Saffy to Cerrig o’ Tyr.’
‘I’ll call the police.’
‘Get the car keys. I’ll ring them on the way.’ Please, God, they weren’t too late. She ran to the front door. ‘Hurry, Tony, please. It’s almost dawn.’
Tony pushed the accelerator to the floor and screeched out of the village towards the moorland. ‘If Nerys’s mind is playing tricks on her, and she thinks she has Bethan, she won’t hurt Saffy.’
‘If she thinks she has Bethan, why did she run? It’s Rhiannon who’s calling the shots, and she isn’t deluded enough to think Bethan is still two years old. And she’s killed already, I’m certain of it.’ She thumbed the number DC Flowers had put into her mobile. ‘I know where Saffy is. Rhiannon and Nerys have her. We’re on our way to Cerrig o’ Tyr. Please hurry. If I’m right, Saffy’s in real danger, and we’re running out of time.’
‘A unit will be sent to the location. Please wait for them to arrive.’
Wait? They were joking. Her eyes strained through the darkness, following the twists and turns in the narrow road as Tony threw Minnie round the bends. A dull pink behind the hills heralded a dawn that would come too soon. She tried to picture the orientation of the stone circle and the hills that framed it and where the sun would rise. If it rose behind the higher ground, dawn would come later and Saffy might stand a chance. If it rose over the sea, they could already be too late.
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