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The opening paragraphs to the New Romance

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The tide was going out. There was that faint smell = of seaweed and dead fish in the air. Sand had blown onto the porch in = the night and was gritty beneath Emily’s thin house shoes. The old man = on the promenade seemed to have forgotten to continue to walk = forward.

The horizon was invisible. Emily squinted to try to see = through the glare and penetrate the haze. It was an otherwise = bright morning but for some reason there was this sea mist so light that = it really was just a haze. It hid everything except the grey shapes of = the giant container ships that seemed to steal ghost like across the = indistinct horizon. Imperious. Silent. Mysterious. =46rom the shoreline = in front of her guesthouse the haze seemed to thicken as the distance = increased until all the eye could see was the pale blue sky far above = where you knew the horizon should actually be. There was a slight chill = in the air and Emily shivered slightly.

She turned back toward the French doors. Jack was = still picking up glass shards from the floor, the result of the door = slamming in the wind last night.

It looked as though at least half of the small = squares had shattered. Emily looked at the damage and shook her head. = One more expense. Glass repairs were not cheap these days but of course = had to be done.

Jack had turned up at the reception desk a few days = previously. She had one tiny room left right at the top of the building, = built by her late father as a loft conversion. More of a large cupboard = space she often thought, and the easiest access was via the fire escape = attached to the building. Jack had taken the room enthusiastically = declaring it perfect for his needs.

He wasn’t on holidays she could see that, but nor = was he a business type. He had a quality carryall bag and his clothes = were clean and he looked, well=E2=80=A6 well kept. A little older than = Emily herself she would have guessed, somewhere in his thirties. = She had looked for an accent but there was nothing she could pin down. A = trace of somewhere though, but she couldn’t catch where. One of those = International accents.

Robert Chalmers @R_A_Chalmers


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