For Ella Aldridge, a brilliant Classics student, life was supposed to be exciting. Thirty years on, she’s stuck in the suburbs in a boring job and a failing marriage. Even her daughter, the one she gave it all up for, seems distant.
But a sinister encounter on platform three is about to change everything. Under the watchful eye of a shadowy ticket inspector and his mysterious associate, Ella finds herself spiralling into a murky underworld where portentous signs appear from nowhere, thoughts are stored on memory sticks and speeding express trains may be more than they seem. As she begins to lose her grip on reality, Ella embarks on an extraordinary journey that touches everyone around her, forcing her to confront the biggest question of all.
By turns poignant, chilling and tinged with dark humour, The Unravelling is a novel full of heart and beauty, about the myth and magic of everyday life, and the sacrifices we make for what really matters.
Derek turned down a side street into the multistorey car park where he’d left his car. He paid for his ticket at the machine on the ground floor, opened the door of the stairway and clanked up the stairs. Shafts of light shone through small, square windows. Some landed on the concrete floor of the stairway like golden lozenges, others shone on the wall, lighting up the brickwork. An unusual image; he should have brought his camera. Derek continued to climb, eventually reaching the rusty metal door that led onto the roof. It opened with a creak and he was on top of the car park. The sun was out, its long rays stretching along the rooftop towards his car. The shadows were long too, transforming his Mini into a Cadillac. It was nice to be back in the open air and Derek took a few deep breaths. Below him he could hear the rumble of traffic like distant thunder, but up on the roof it was peaceful. No other cars, no other people. Hold on – there was someone else. A figure stood close to the edge, looking down. Surely he wasn’t going to jump? No, he looked too poised, standing tall and straight as if he was guarding the town. The sun caught the top of his head, giving him a halo of light, like an angel. Another chance of a photo – missed. There had been so many over the years. Funny how he always remembered the ones that got away. And what was the figure looking at? Derek wandered towards the edge, at the other end of the roof from the angel, and gazed out over Ketterstone. The tall towers of the shopping centre gleamed in the sunshine, dwarfing rows and rows of Victorian houses, some residential homes, some converted into shops. Beyond the shopping centre, the flume of a swimming pool poked towards the sky. Then a park – the green expanse of grass no bigger than a snooker table from this height. He looked down. Cars were moving slowly along the busy street. People walked past, showing him the tops of their tiny heads before disappearing again. Pigeons, like feathered dots, pecked in the gutter. As he watched, Derek was seized by a strange sort of vertigo. He’d experienced something similar as a boy. Instead of being repulsed by the pavement below, he felt drawn to it. He had an impulse to jump, to fall into the air. He wanted to dive down and feel that split second of total freedom – hear the rush of air in his ears, see the earth flying up towards him. ‘How long would it take?’ Derek swung round. The angel was standing beside him. Except he wasn’t an angel; he was a man with dark hair, green eyes and a black jacket. A car-park attendant, perhaps. ‘How long?’ He asked again. ‘Before you hit the ground?’ ‘I wasn’t planning to jump!’ Derek realised how defensive he sounded. ‘But not long, I guess. Hardly time to pray.’ He gave a nervous laugh. ‘Is that what you’d do?’ asked the man. Derek laughed again. ‘I don’t know what I’d do, and it doesn’t matter, because I won’t be jumping.’ He pointedly got his car key out of his pocket. ‘Tempting though, isn’t it?’ The man smiled snidely and Derek saw a flash of perfect teeth. ‘No,’ he said, walking purposefully towards his Mini, turning his back on the unnerving man. ‘It isn’t.’ ‘Got your ticket?’ So he was an attendant. Derek waved his prepaid ticket in the air, but he didn’t look round. He jumped into the car, started the engine and reversed out of the parking bay. Got your ticket? It felt as if the man was mocking him. As he turned to go down the ramp that led from the roof, Derek glanced in the mirror. The man was standing near the edge again, haloed in light, so much light that he couldn’t tell which way he was facing, whether he was looking towards his car, or the other way.
Thank you, Liz Treacher and Love Books Group Tours.
About the Author
Liz is a writer and a Creative Writing Tutor. She has already written two romantic comedies, set in 1920, called The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction. Her third novel, The Unravelling, published by Skelbo Press is a new departure into a darker, contemporary style. When not writing or teaching, Liz works as an art photographer and a love of images inspires her writing. She is married with two children and lives in the Scottish Highlands by the sea.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unravelling-Liz-Treacher-ebook/dp/B08CY78Q5K/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1DMBN4PXCBSLL&dchild=1&keywords=the+unravelling+liz+treacher&qid=1600765530&s=digital-text&sprefix=The+Unravelling%2Cdigital-text%2C425&sr=1-1