Extract: Silent Child by Sarah A Denzil

Today on the blog is author who is new to me, Sarah A. Denzil who is a British suspense writer from Derbyshire. In her alternative life—AKA YA author Sarah Dalton—she writes speculative fiction for teenagers, including The Blemished, Mary Hades and White Hart.

Sarah lives in Yorkshire with her partner, enjoying the scenic countryside and rather unpredictable weather.

Sarah has kindly given me an extract from her latest release Silent Child to share with everyone.

About The Book

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered.

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again… 

… until Aiden returns.

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken.

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?

 It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

 This dark and disturbing psychological novel will appeal to fans of The Widow and The Butterfly Garden.

Now for the extract

Water poured across the bridge, almost ankle deep. I didn’t know if it was rainwater or water that had come from the river, or a combination of both. The only thing I knew was that I had to hurry up. But as I took the last step down off the bridge, a wave of river water hit the bridge hard and chunks of stone dislodged, crumbling beneath my feet. It sent me off balance and I stumbled forward, dropping my phone into the river. My breath left my body as the freezing cold water hit me side-on, almost knocking me straight into the churning waters. I took a long sidestep like a crab, feeling the current trying to drag me along with it.

But the riverbank was soft and muddy, which allowed me to ram the heel of my wellie deep into the earth. The suction gave enough of a foothold to propel myself forward, clawing my way up the river bed towards the road. My left boot came clean off.

With my sock dangling from my foot I climbed my way up to the road, gasping for air as the rain pounded from above. When I was away from the bridge, I turned around and watched my boot slip under the water. I tried to find my breath, soaked down to my bra. That could have been me, and then who would be there to take Aiden home? No, I wouldn’t be bringing Aiden home, not with the river like this. I’d have to stay with him at the school. What an idiot I’d been. I’d ignored my dad’s warnings about water. A hard lump formed in my throat as I turned my back on the river. One misstep and I would have fallen into the same water as the stones, my phone, and my Wellington boot. One mistake and I would have been floating beneath the current where the water is calm, with my hair gliding out around me, an ethereal water-nymph who would never breathe again.

Another dead young woman. A statistic in a tragic flooding incident. A selfish woman who left her six-year-old motherless after lying to her father. I shook my head and made my way up Acker Lane like I had just told Dad. The road followed the direction of the river for a mile, before turning left onto the school road. The school road carried on for another half a mile before coming to the carpark of Bishoptown school. I noticed that the water had pooled in the car park, where it was halfway up the tyres of some of the cars. There was little chance of all these people making it home for the night. I turned my attention back to the school—it was my school, too, where I’d carved my name into the floorboards in the assembly hall to impress Jamie Glover; a boy who would later break my heart by kissing Fiona Cater on the rugby pitch in secondary school. By this time, of course, it was my son’s school. It was his time to make memories and carve his name into wood using the sharp point of a compass. 

It was a small Victorian building, built like a modest church, with steep gables and old-fashioned leaded windows. There was more than a hint of Gothic about it.

Dragging my soaked sock, I ran to the entrance and let myself in, almost tripping over someone in the doorway. When I straightened up I realised that it was Mrs. Fitzwilliam, the same woman who had been headteacher when I was a child. When she saw me, her face paled, and her gaze moved from my eyes to somewhere above my head. There was something about the change in her countenance that made my stomach drop to my sodden feet.

“What is it?” I asked.

A dribble of rain water trickled down the wall behind Mrs. Fitzwilliam. We’d called her Mrs. Fitz when I was a child. She had always been firm but fair. We were a little afraid of her red hair, but it was almost completely grey now, and her stern expression was softer as she finally met my gaze. The tears in her eyes forced my heart to resume into its tattoo against my ribs. I clutched hold of my chest, trying to calm myself while my heart seemed to have been restarted with defibrillators.

“Ms Price… Emma… I’m so sorry.”

I took a step forward and she took a step back. Her expression told me that mine was wild. She put both hands up in front of her as if in surrender.

“We’ve called the police and they’ll be here soon.”

“Tell me what happened,” I demanded.

“Aiden slipped away. Miss Perry was with the children in classroom four. She was performing a headcount. We had collected all the children from year two in that classroom because the roof leak wasn’t as bad. But somehow Aiden left the classroom. We’ve searched the premises and we believe he has left the school.”

Silent Child is out today

 

Silent Child Final.jpg

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