The Mysterious Disappearance of Marsha Boden
Hello friend and welcome back.
Thank you for following the serialization of my novel. What do you think has happened to Marsha? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
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On any other day in different circumstances, Lucy would have liked nothing more than to browse around the beautiful bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, famous for its literary festival held every year (except during the pandemic) since 1988. She had always hankered after going to the festival but Brian, her previous boyfriend, had no interest in books and instead of going on her own or with a friend, she had passed up on the idea. Now, as she cautiously walked back to her car, passing artisan bakeries, antique shops, and bookstores that she was dying to explore, she vowed that as soon as she was able to, she would book an Airbnb and spend a couple of days immersing herself in the next festival and even book tickets for speakers at the event. It was about time she explored the cultural side of life instead of having a boring existence of work, work, and more work. She needed to expand her horizons and she was about to do that in a big way. If only she could shake off the bad feelings she had about Billie and Alex wanting to harm her or, worse still, kill her. Or was she being paranoid? She thought she and Billie had something special between them but after overhearing them talking back at Sam Greene’s industrial unit earlier, she was shocked to realise that wasn’t the case.
It was late afternoon by the time she pulled up outside Bryn Farmhouse, a solid Welsh homestead on the edge of a narrow, muddy road with barns and outbuildings across the road. There was an overpowering stench of cow dung when she got out of her car.
“Have you had a long journey?” Mrs Jones asked, showing her to her room, which was very old-fashioned.
“No, not really,” Lucy responded absent-mindedly. The room was spotlessly clean and although it was dusk, Lucy fell in love with the view from the window. Soft, rolling fields dotted with sheep and in the far distance, the outline of the Cathedral was silhouetted against the autumn sky. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
“Now, you come down when you’re ready”, Mrs Jones instructed in her lovely, sing-song Welsh accent. “I’ll go down and put the kettle on and you can have a nice cup of tea with a slice of my homemade bara brith, fresh out of the oven.” She had a huge smile on her rotund, rosy-cheeked face and it was clear that this lady loved to feed people.
Lucy could have hugged the jolly stranger in front of her; this thoughtful farmer’s wife was the kind of person she needed in her life right now. Someone to care for her in her fragile state. When Mrs Jones left her alone to ‘freshen up’ she felt safe in the warmth of this lovely Welsh home. She was still fighting her demons and was working hard to get mentally stronger. She had managed to get an appointment with a private counsellor in St. David’s and was heading there first thing in the morning. She had downloaded a rather expensive meditation app on her phone and was doing everything she could to stop herself from getting sucked deeper into the black hole that threatened to engulf her.
The following morning, after a delicious evening meal of homemade cawl, a traditional Welsh stew, accompanied by a large slab of cheese and homemade bread slathered with butter made on the farm, Lucy awoke feeling refreshed and much stronger. She showered and dressed, pulling on a pair of jeans and a thick woolly jumper and she even took time to put on some make-up. She brushed her hair and checked her reflection in the Victorian-style mirror on the antique dressing table, noticing how much weight she had lost. Brushing some powdered blusher onto her cheeks, she decided that she would look after herself from this moment on. She would not allow herself to be controlled anymore.
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