The Catalyst

The Catalyst by Angela Jardine Read Free Book Online

Book: The Catalyst by Angela Jardine Read Free Book Online
Authors: Angela Jardine
nothing to think about. There was only emptiness. She missed the solid reassurance of his presence and was left with the confusing feeling of being without a role. Now she had no one to care for, no one to consider but herself and she found herself just sitting, wondering what she had to do, only to remember that she could please herself what she did.
    Despite her need for personal freedom it had felt all wrong and her emotions warred constantly amongst themselves. Sometimes grief had the upper hand, at other times there was only guilt at her feelings of relief that he was no longer suffering; but the confusion as to who she was now was always there.
    Now, in the fading days of summer, with the memories of David’s death in the forefront of her mind, she felt ashamed of her moments of self-pity, knowing that at least she was not fighting for her life. Today especially, and for no obvious reason, she had been all turbulence and dissatisfaction, feeling like a bird whose cage door had been left open but who didn’t know what to do with the freedom offered.
    Had she been able to use any sort of reasoning mind she may well not have set foot outside the cottage. The sky was louring and certainly not conducive to enjoying the full beauty of the scenery but then she was walking because she must, not with the intent of enjoying her surroundings.
     
    As usual she walked quickly, striding up the steep hill that led out of the village towards the cliff-top hamlets and single farmsteads that stared out over the sea until she was soon leaving the narrow lane to walk down the green track that led along the cliffs. She found herself focussed on the sound of her breathing, watching the laces of her boots as she moved, her mind becoming lulled into peaceful suspension.
    Gradually she became aware of external things, the reassuring musky smell of the wet earth and the slow dripping of the wayside shrubs as Nature wove her usual healing spell around her. She felt her mood lift at last as she left the shelter of the cliff top bushes and started to walk along the path towards the rocky seashore.
    Suddenly the sea appeared in front of her and she was inexplicably seized by the spirit of the place, feeling the need to climb onto a rocky outcrop that stood high above the sea. She scrambled to the top of it just as the sun ripped the grey shroud of the clouds apart and she stood  illuminated in a shaft of sunlight. Lost in the magic of the moment she basked in the welcome warmth before hurriedly pulling off the protective armour of her heavy jumper.
    Without thinking what she was doing, she raised her arms, making the ancient and universal gesture of supplication to some unseen Deity. But Sunny was not asking for anything, her gesture was one of gratitude as she suddenly became aware that right now she was, after all, very thankful to be alive.
    It was at this precise moment that something prompted Jimmy Fisher to raise himself from his misery and look up to his left towards Pendew Point. Standing on the very edge of the rocks he saw a woman, her arms raised as if in … what? Devotion? Prayer? Just another loony hippy, he thought as he watched, trying to judge her motives.
    Even from a distance, he was aware that she seemed to gleam in the sunlight. Her skin was tanned, her slender figure was dressed in a tight white vest top and blue jeans and her hair glinted golden in the sun. She also seemed to be breathtakingly unaware of the risk she took by standing on the edge of a rock so high above the sea.
    Abruptly he lost all thought of himself, instantly forgetting his own problems. Instead he was all concern. What if she fell? What if she meant to fall? What should he do?
    A picture of rescue helicopters and lifeboats, of brisk, action men in fluorescent orange taking charge of the emergency rose in his mind. They would frown at him, may even curse at him for his lack of action and he would know he should have warned her, should have intervened

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