Return to Rhonan: Chapters 43 & 44

Every Monday and Thursday brings two more free chapters of my exciting historical paranormal romance novel, Return to Rhonan (that’s four chapters each week). Set mainly in the Scottish Highlands, the reader will find much to enjoy on this mysterious well researched journey.

Don’t worry if you miss any chapters, since you will find links to other posted chapters here:

All Available Chapters!

Return to Rhonan: Chapters 43 & 44

Copyright © 2012 Katy Walters
All rights reserved

Chapter 43

Jessie’s heart lightened as she pushed the boat out into deeper water.  Clambering in, she grabbed the oars.  The lights from the hotel looked inviting; she needed a shower, clean clothes, a comfortable armchair and wine. She could see the glow from the two windows of her suite.  In her rush to save Murial, she’d left the lights on and the balcony doors open.

 Daisy splashed in front of her, as Jessie began to row to the quay. Even as a puppy she liked to lead, definitely an alpha female, Jessie was her minion.  Musing on the contents of the tin, the parchment paper, the bright crimson ribbon, Jessie felt the boat rock slightly.  Frowning she looked around to see the water rippling, bubbles rising at the right side of the boat.  She saw Daisy turn her head and twist around; heard her whimpering her paws paddling rapidly back to Jessie.  The boat began to rock ominously, forcing Jessie to let go of the oars, and clutch the sides.  Seeing water slopping into the hull, slurping around the tin, she reached to save it, only to feel the boat almost capsize.

 She shrieked, as a scaled arm reached towards her over the side, a nightmare of a creature rose from the water stretching for her. It was her attacker from the studio, but now barely recognizable. Reptilian scales wrinkled across his face, the violet eyes narrowed with evil intent, jaws snapping with mucous-coated fangs.  A scream gurgling in her throat, Jessie searched frantically for a weapon; panicking she tried to pull an oar from its slot, but it would not yield.  The monster was now pulling at the boat, reaching for her, as she tugged again on the oar, Jessie could hear Daisy barking. Horrified, she saw the creature trying to climb over the side, its huge body reeking of mouldering eggs. Jerking away in horror and disgust, she feared the boat would capsize.  Struggling once more with the oar, she wrenched it free, managing to raise it shoulder high to lash out at her assailant.  Yet to no avail, the creature giving an insane cackle, caught it in mid-air and threw it into the water. 

Again, Jessie heard Daisy howling, surely she would raise the alarm surely someone would come.  Weeping, she wriggled away from the talons reaching for her, knocking over the tin of letters now floating in water at the bottom of the boat. Of God, they’d be ruined. Helplessly she cried out Douglas’s name. Why hadn’t she listened to him – why had she turned him away? Now she was going to die. She screamed out as the fiend too huge to clamber into the boat rose from the water, grotesque shoulders towering over her, hideous arms reaching for her. Moaning she saw the creature grinning, its vicious teeth now mere inches away from her face.

With an inhuman roar, it punched at the side of the frail craft, a mighty fist thrusting through flimsy wood.  Water churned in as her attacker tore at the broken panels. To her terror, it almost sank beneath her, leaving her in the scaled arms of an ogre from Hell. But, it did not seem to be intent on tearing her flesh; instead, it dived with her into the murky water, swimming through reeds and debris to the bottom of the lake. Helplessly Jess struggled for breath, clawing at water.

With breath escaping in a stream of bubbles, she knew she was going to die, prey to this monster.  Biting and kicking, she choked, swallowing muddy water. Desperate for air, she glimpsed a shape streaking towards her through the murk, red hair, like reeds streaming behind her, the face white, a full scarlet skirt billowing.  Even in her terror, she recognized Murial. How?  Why?  But, it was too late she was dying. The creature tightened its hold on her, as it reached out to knock away her rescuer. Through the reeds, she saw another shape hovering – Daisy – enraged, the black lipped smile gone to be replaced with a snarl, her head dipping, teeth ferociously sinking into the thick scaled skin of the creature’s shoulder. 

 Releasing Jessie momentarily, it turned its attention to Daisy now paddling swiftly to the surface, luring the creature away from Jessie.  Floating to the bottom of the lake, Jessie watched the last bit of her oxygen drifting in bubbles from her mouth. She glimpsed Murial’s skirt surround her, felt slim strong arms enfold her, long legs kicking, taking them to the surface and darkness. However, the monster returned, stroking powerful arms towards them, the violet eyes wide and malevolent in silted water. She saw Murial raise a short sword, whilst still holding onto her tightly with the other arm.  Their bodies colliding, the fiend gnashing teeth, wrestled with Murial. In the struggle, Jess felt herself falling once more into the mud. Her breath now gone, her body still, a vision of Douglas floated before her, his hair blue black in the sunshine, his hands so tender caressing, stroking back her hair, his arms lifting her, lips soft on her cheek as he carried her into darkness.

In his office, Douglas leapt to his feet as he heard a dog barking, a woman screaming.  Nat rushed to his door. ‘Come quickly someone’s drowning in the lake, there’s a bloody dog out there in trouble as well.’

‘Jessie?  It is Jessie, I know it – know it – oh Christ.’

Douglas caught up with Nathan. ‘I saw her walking with Daisy. I shouldn’t have left her alone.’  Running abreast, they reached the edge of the lake, to see water churning, a monstrous scaled creature fighting.  Douglas caught his breath as he saw what appeared to be a woman lashing out with a knife.  Surely not? It couldn’t be?  Long reeds of red hair flew above the spray, scarlet skirts ballooning.

He cried out to Nat.  ‘It’s Murial – can’t be – this is crazy.’ He stopped short as he glimpsed a white shape swimming towards them tugging at something white, it looked like another body submerged beneath the water.  ‘Oh Christ – no – no.  Nat quick.’     ‘

Nat shouted, ’What the hell is happening?’

Douglas bent to kick off his shoes, shouting, ‘It’s Jessie – Jessie’. Running towards the water, he felt the phobia rise almost paralyzing him.  Filling his chest with air, he screamed his way through the fear, as he jumped straight into the deep water of the quay striking out towards the dog and Jessie. As he neared the dog, he saw the body rise to the surface, saw the white features so still, the scarlet hair almost maroon in the moonless night. It was Jessie.  Now praying to a God he had so bitterly rejected, his arms thrashed the water as he swam towards her.

Chapter 44

Almost within reach of Jessie’s floating body, Douglas watched her turn face down into the water.  In a frenzied lunge, he reached her, swiftly flipping her over.  Nat now within yards of him shouted, ‘You take her in; I’ll get the bloody creature.’

 But, Douglas could see the creature breaking from Murial and speeding towards them.  ‘No, Nat get her and Daisy to the shore. ‘

Leaving him no option, Douglas turned swimming swiftly to the monster now churning the water towards him.  Taking a deep breath, he dived, his arms pumping, as he swam underwater. He would take the thing by surprise. He saw the heavy body on the surface above him. Forcing his way up, Douglas flung his arms around the scaly body dragging it below the surface of the water.   The creature turned with massive fangs to bite down into his throat, but Douglas was ready for him, punching him in the mouth.  Thrashing and rolling, they sank to the bottom of the lake, the mud writhing up, swirling around them.  Fighting to hold his breath, Douglas would not let go, he had to give Nat and Daisy time to get Jess to safety. Embroiled in the murky depths, punching, kicking and biting, he felt the creature’s rock rough hands tightening on his throat. As he tried to wrench the reptilian fingers away, they abruptly loosened. Relieved, surprised, he kicked himself free to be almost blinded by bubbles of blood. Peering through the gloom, he saw Murial  with skirts billowing, slashing through the creature’s legs with a gruesome sword.

 Choking, desperate for breath, Douglas kicked his way to the surface. Gasping, he looked around to see Nat hauling Jessie up to the bank along with Daisy.  As he peered into the depth’s he saw the white face of a woman, bright steel flashing in her hand,  her long scarlet hair wafting around her, saw the limp scaled arm of the creature now floating with open wounds trailing blood, the monstrous body still.   Douglas knew – knew that he was looking down into the face of Murial.   A sob rose in his chest.  They owed her their lives.  Striking out for the shore he knew, it was all true – true.  He felt a dreamlike calm, as he realized physical death was not final. Jess was right; she’d been right all along. At least, she was safe thank God. He would never doubt her again.  

As he climbed onto the bank, he saw Nathan holding Daisy bleeding from a jagged wound in her shoulder.  His eyes went to George bending over Jessie turning her on her side to help drain the water out of her lungs.  Looking up, George said, ‘She’s not breathing.’

God no, not after all this, she had to be alive.  Pushing his friend aside, Douglas said, ‘Get an ambulance, I’ll do CPR. ‘    He felt the terror rise, reliving his nightmare, his mind flashing to the still small form of his daughter, as the paramedics fought to save her.  It was happening again.

 The phobia rose up and swallowed him whole.  His knees buckled, his body folding in paralysis, move man – move.  Gritting his teeth, he looked up to see Dinah standing beside him, the tears streaming down her face. He said, ‘Look, you do the compressions, and I‘ll breathe for her.  Start now – come on.’

 With her face twisted in grief, Dinah pumped Jessie’s chest, stopping for Douglas to blow into her mouth.  Silently, with muscles clenched, he worked steadily urging Jessie to breathe. After some minutes, Dinah stopped, looking helplessly at him.  ‘She’s gone Doug’ – she’s gone.’

Douglas shook his head, growling.  ‘By God she hasn’t.’  He took over, pressing on Jessie’s chest, then breathing into her mouth.  As he pressed down again, he heard a crack and knew he’d broken her rib. 

 Dinah whispered, “She’s gone Douglas. Please stop; she’s gone.’  

 Douglas looked down at Jessie’s pale face, at the delicate splatter of freckles across the bridge of her nose; the green eyes closed as if in death; he gave a great cry, lifting her lifeless body into his arms, cradling her to his chest.  Kneeling on the grass, with tears streaming, he rocked her to and fro. He didn’t hear the sirens of the ambulance or see the flashing lights neither did he hear the ambulance men racing towards them. 

 The paramedic dressed in dark green overalls patted his shoulder, ‘Okay mate, we’ll take her now.’

Terrified, Douglas clenched his fists, feeling his nails dig into the palms of his hands as they brought out a defibrillator; with hope rising, he watched them cut open the white tank top releasing her breasts.  Looking down on her beauty, the pale skin, the toned muscles of chest and diaphragm, he cried aloud.  No, it couldn’t be, she couldn’t die. For God’s sake Jess fight – fight. Warning the crowd to stand back, the paramedics applied the paddles. Jessie’s body jerked in response, but there was no sign of a heartbeat on the monitor.  Again, they applied the paddles, but to Douglas’s despair, there was no reaction.

 As they began to shake their heads, Douglas shouted ‘Don’t stop, for Christ’s sake work man – work.’

Yet, even on the third try, Jessie did not respond.  The paramedics stood back their faces grim.

Now he screamed into the night, his hand reaching back into his  pocket. A demented prayer escaped his lips,  ‘Jess –come back to us – I believe Jessie – I believe – God help me, I believe in you – in Spirit. Don’t leave me alone.’

His heart leapt as he saw her eyelids move, then open, ‘Doug – my love.’

Dinah looked around, her face pale with relief, her feet soaking in wet trainers. Swiftly, the paramedics inserted an oxygen tube, hoisting her onto a trolley, and into the ambulance.  One of them turned to Douglas, shivering, his face ashen. ‘Don’t know what happened there mate, but whatever it was it worked – bloody miracle.’ 

 George caught Douglas’s arm.  ‘She’s alive man – alive. Thank God. We’ll take you to the hospital.’

 Douglas shook his head. ‘No – I’m going in the ambulance with her. She needs me. I don’t want her to be alone.’  He remembered her words, ‘I’ve always felt so alone.’  He would make damn sure that didn’t happen now, as she fought for her life. He muttered to an unknown god. ‘Thanks – I don’t know who the hell I’m talking to, but thanks.’ 


No part of this book may be stored, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 Katy Walters

All rights reserved

Other Chapters

Don’t worry if you miss any chapters, since you will find links to other posted chapters here:

All Available Chapters!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.