Below please read the introduction to my new Novel -
Jane had never been normal. A few days after she passed her seventh birthday she went for a walk in the few hours of sunshine the Scottish summer had allowed. She put on her best summer dress, a red and pink smock; it was decorated with the flowers she always wanted to see in the garden, but never did. She sat on an old tree stump at the foot of what passed for a Garden outside the tumbledown house on the West Coast of Scotland. While she was there she listened to the wind whisper and the sea in the distance taunt the trees that one day it would come for them. She heard shy stars hiding from the sun, and the moon laughing at them all, although secretly she was sad. She heard the grass gossip and the trees shake their heads at the ever passing youth of the flowers who laughed and flirted with the bees that tickled them. Then she started to talk to the trees and the flowers and the grass and the wind. She tried to talk to the Sea but he was too far away and could not hear her over his own boastfulness. Then she spoke to the birds. Just a few swifts and swallows that happened to be larking around in the trees beyond where she sat, she talked to them, or rather at them, but they didn’t talk back. So she got cross and asked them why. Then they replied that they didn’t think she would understand, but she did. There was moss on her knees and grass in her hair. She giggled and laughed as they circled her, showing off when they wanted to, swooping and diving at the ground at tremendous speeds before pulling up and shooting away. She told them she wished she could be a bird and they told her she could be, but she didn’t know how.
She told her father, or rather the man who owned the house where she chose to live and he said, ‘nonsense.’
The very next day. She was walking home from the bus from school, an old rickety thing that would leave her on the main rickety road that ran past their farm. As she walked up the slope to the seven bedroom stead a fox padded along beside her. He was a beautiful orange that reminded her of the colour of the straw fields when the sky was red and his eyes were very very black. His tail when it turned was the white of cream being poured. They spoke about the weather and the fields and the hunt and she marvelled at the life and said she wished she could be a fox, even for a day and the fox said, ‘why not?’
She told her father, who drew himself up to his full height and sneered at Jane and called her silly. ‘Nonsense.’ He said.
The next day Jane met a snake, the snake said he was an adder but he wouldn’t bite her, because he wasn’t that kind of adder. He was the friendly sort, a metre long with black and red diamonds that glistened with fire. He wound his way around her arm and rested his head on her shoulder. They walked through the woods near where she lived and he showed her the holes that spirits lie in, the trees that move, and where Fox goes when he tires from playing with hounds. She padded through the woods in her bare feet and didn’t care; she tore up her best summer dress on twigs and stones but didn’t mind. At the end of her walk through the woods she returned to the bright world blinking. She told her father who said, well, the same thing he always said.
And then he scolded her. He told her there was no such thing as a talking Fox, or birds or adders, that she was a bad girl for ruining her best summer dress and that she would have no supper that night or any night she saw or spoke to the animals. On this he was very strict.
Jane saw the Fox the next day and when the Fox said hello she turned and ran away, for who would trust themselves over a parent. Don’t parents always have our best interests at heart? The Fox decided he had better keep an eye on the little girl as she had a habit of getting herself into trouble.