Thursday Sampler: Echoes by P J Roscoe

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Thursday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Echoes, an award-winning supernatural, historical thriller by P J Roscoe.

As one reviewer said: Echoes’ is definitely a powerful twist on an historic novel. Author PJ Roscoe has created an almost horrific tale, set in the present day that includes ghosts, hauntings, reincarnation, flashbacks to another time and a curse that binds and kills both in the past and the present.

The Story

Bronwen Mortimer moves to a secluded cottage on the outskirts of a lonely village near Shrewsbury, England, hoping to start a new life after suffering years of abuse; but the echoes of the land will not lie quietly and when she witnesses a murder, she must face her past and win, to have any hope of living in the present.

A supernatural, historical thriller, moving between present day and the 15th century, when Henry Tudor claimed the throne of England. There were many casualties of war, but some refuse to be forgotten. For fans of paranormal and Tudor era, this will have you desperately wanting to get to the next chapter! You will feel every emotion possible – mostly disappointment when it ends!

The Sampler

PJ Roscoe
PJ Roscoe

Bronwen fidgeted in her seat and tried to stretch her cramped legs as she tried to maneuver them over her large bags, but gave up as it became too much of an effort. The last thing she wanted was to get the attention of the driver.

She recalled the two hours on the train, where she had been crammed into a window seat; she was aware of the people standing along the aisle. Some were glaring at her and she’d quickly looked away, knowing they resented her and her three large bags that took up precious space in the overhead and on the table; her shoulder bag rested on her knees.

The train journey had been stressful. Her nerves were at full pelt, she’d sweat profusely, and was desperately trying to ignore the need to retch as the acid in her stomach erupted. Her breath stunk and when she thought no one was looking, she slipped a mint into her mouth, hoping it would help; it did. Soon afterwards, the crowded carriage began to thin and more people were able to sit down; she felt the atmosphere change as people relaxed into their seats.
She’d been determined whilst standing at the station to try very hard to enjoy the journey, to unwind with a magazine or have a go and do a crossword, even if she could never finish them. In fact, anything to dis- tract her from the increasing nervous bubbles that made her stomach flip over. The magazine and crosswords remained untouched as the pass- ing scenery got her full attention. Green, miles of it and hills and distant mountains; her chest felt heavy with emotion.
Now here she was in the back of a taxi, her luggage taking up the small space. She was beginning to wish she hadn’t been so finicky when the driver had suggested he put her bags in the boot. She sighed deeply; she just couldn’t help herself. Her desire to be Miss Independent didn’t always help her to make the right decisions.

Shrewsbury bustled with midday shoppers as the taxi slowly edged its way through the town. Bronwen shuffled her bottom to ease her cramp, but now her nerves had reached a breaking point; her excitement made every muscle in her body ache to hurry up and arrive at her destination.

She opened the window slightly, looked down at her cheap watch and grinned; only three hours ago she had been standing on a cold, damp station in Liverpool or Hell; both meant the same to her. Now she was in Heaven — well, Shropshire — and soon she could be completely free. She had made it! She was really here.
Breathing deeply, she closed her eyes and tried to stem her growing anticipation. She could smell the difference in the air already. This air was fresh compared to the city. Even here, with all the other cars and buses, it still smelt cleaner. “Now that’s amazing!” She muttered to herself.

Opening her eyes she realised they were heading out of the town and green fields swept for miles. She felt as giddy as a schoolgirl on a day trip. One of her favourites was a trip to Chester; a beautiful Roman city on the North Wales border. It had only taken an hour on the bus, which had, as always, been a nightmare. Children were jumping around, some were fighting, and others drew rude pictures on the back of the seats.

She had sat quietly looking out at the beauty, needing to take it all in so that she could take the memory home and use it. She hadn’t wanted to miss a thing, even when Rachel Lockwood had started pulling her hair every few minutes for a joke urged on by her gang of five, the bullies of her class. She’d remained silent as always, detaching herself from the mayhem.

As they’d walked along the river, she’d marvelled at its swans and ducks, the greedy pigeons that came close, expectantly waiting for food, before being chased away by the shouting boys trying to get attention. Not from her of course. No one ever tried to get her attention, but some of the other girls would allow a kiss or even a grope if given the right incentive. Her eyes had briefly glanced at the foolishness but had quickly turned back to the water. It was spanned by two bridges: one for cars and the other for pedestrians. The water was brown, fast in places, powerful and deep. She’d yearned to go out on a boat, to row as far as she could away from everyone; but the teachers wouldn’t allow it and she’d slowly followed the class towards the city.

She’d felt like skipping along the old Roman wall. The very idea that she was walking where Romans had walked was mind blowing. What had they been thinking or doing? She had made the mistake of voicing these questions. Mr Rawlings had looked surprised at first that she had asked. She could hardly have blamed him really as she never asked questions.

His hesitation though gave the boys in the group to give their own versions of what the Romans had been doing. She’d turned away from the lewd suggestions and demonstrations on the nearest girls who giggled and playfully pushed them away. Any explanation he had been about to give was lost as Mr Rawlings had had to go and find two boys that had sidled off for a sneaky cigarette. She hadn’t cared too much, her own imagination as to what life had been like over the years was sufficient, for now.

The museum she had found fascinating and the archaeology dotted everywhere had mesmerized her; digging for things people had perhaps so casually discarded or lost and to find them again after hundreds of years was something she could actually see her doing and enjoying. She had decided on that day that she would be an archaeologist. She would dig for all those things long forgotten, and those poor people sacrificed and dumped in bogs or buried in those stone bumpy things. After all, she had always loved history; other people’s history anyway.
The memory of that day had never left her. She’d fought back tears when it had been time to leave Chester and return to the bus. For a fleet- ing moment she had considered hiding, running away so she wouldn’t have to return home. But, she had returned home and Chester had become nothing more than a good memory. Archaeology had remained a good dream.

Today it was different. Today, she never had to leave and who knew what her future held? Maybe, archaeology could be on the cards again? Why not? Perhaps now was the right time to take chances? Maybe she could explore Shrewsbury, she had chosen the area for its history, per- haps there were history classes or taking a deep breath she stopped herself and smiled, ‘one thing at a time Bronwen’, she scolded herself.

The cottage was hers for at least a year, paid in full. She had a year to decide whether to stay, get a job, go to college; she had time and then, who knew? One thing she knew for sure, she would never go back to live in a city again, ever.
Her butterflies grew worse and she gently rubbed her tummy. Nothing had remained in her stomach for long lately with her nerves so on edge; she looked forward to a feast of whatever she fancied, because she could now.

The car had picked up speed as they headed out onto a dual car- riageway and it wasn’t long before the small turning for the village of Derwen appeared and they left the busy roads behind. The hedges on either side of the narrow lane were too high to catch any more than a fleeting glance at what lay on the other side, but it didn’t bother her too much; she had all the time in the world to explore her new surroundings. She could hardly wait.

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