Freends ’gree best separate.
(Relatives agree best when they don’t live too near each other.)
Perched atop a patient cob on the western braes of Pittenweem, Sorcha McIntyre wasn’t prepared for what the familiar expanse of water — or the brackish smell of brine, fish and seaweed and the sweet chanting that carried on the wind — did to her senses. It was as if the combination whipped her heart from her breast and cast it adrift upon the pounding waves.
She inhaled deeply, and it took her a moment to register the serious regard of the man who’d ridden beside her all day. Ignoring his scrutiny, Sorcha pressed a hand to her ribs and raised her eyes to the louring sky, where hulking grey clouds were pushed along by icy, seabitten gusts.
‘That be Pittenweem,’ she said, indicating the small township spread out before them. ‘Home.’ The word was both reassuring and bitter.
The man made a gruff noise of acknowledgement. He would wait until she was ready to draw their journey to a close; a journey that had begun that morning, but in reality had started months ago.
Waves that matched the oorlich palette of the sky thundered against the crescent-shaped shore and its stone-walled harbour, sending curtains of wash over the ruined pier, drenching the men who scrambled along it in their hob-nailed boots. As she’d suspected, not even the lure of Hogmanay kept them from work.
Errant beams of afternoon sunlight pierced the thick canopy of clouds, spears of defiance that cast a holy light upon the scene. Sorcha could almost believe that God Himself was welcoming her back.
Just as the thought rose, the sunlight was doused as if it was a figment of her overwrought imagination.
Maybe the Almighty wasn’t welcoming her after all, but sending her a warning. God knew, she’d left the town of St Andrew’s with enough of those ringing in her ears.
‘I never want to see you again, you hear? Don’t ever come back.’
Keen to read more books about women in history and win great prizes?
Find out more and WIN a $500 Visa gift card and Herstory book pack at harpercollins.com.au/herstory.