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The Sands
Alan Monte

The Sands

Fiction

Voters Rating 75 / 1000

75

Synopsis

Mark Butler is a man with no past. His mother refuses to reveal his father's identity or anything about her past. Mark's future dosent look bright either. His marriage in ruins and his whisky-distribution business is on the verge of collapse. Just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, his mother is killed in a bizarre car accident on a deserted road in the Scottish Highlands. Something tells him this is no accident.

 

On the brink of breakdown while clearing his mother’s cottage, Mark finds a vintage briefcase containing a series of love letters from the mid 1970s. In the lining of the case, hidden, is a police report relating to a mysterious disappearance of the same time.

 

Curious, Mark begins to investigate. As the past unfolds he begins to understand why his mother has been so guarded and just how far a goverment will go to to protect its dark secrets. Sometimes less said is best said...

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Extract

The antique furnishings matched the period of the Victorian cottage perfectly - white walls with dark oak beams that ran across the ceiling. His mother had been a perfectionist, so when she began renovating the cottage he knew she would do it justice. In exactly one month it would be sold, cleared of everything. He would have nothing left; his mother was the last person in the world he could trust and rely upon and now she was gone. Nothing else mattered: the business, his ex-wife, they could all go to hell - and probably would if there was any justice. Which, obviously, there wasn’t.


He slumped down into the armchair, the logs of the open fire crackling away next to him. Whisky in one hand, meaningless insurance paperwork in the other. He wasn’t driving back tonight; the blizzard raging outside had put paid to that. Scotland, and in particular the Highlands, was a bastard of a place to live in the winter. He would simply drink himself into oblivion on whisky, which was a nice thought, probably the only nice thought he could still conjure.


It was just as his eyes were closing and as the whisky glass was loosening from his hand that it caught his eye. He hadn’t seen it before. There couldn’t have been a nook or cranny of the cottage that he didn’t know intimately. For months, he had been there at least two days a week helping his mother with one thing or another: renovation work, wiring, this and that. Which was probably why he must have seen the old battered suitcase pushed under the study desk on the other side of the room dozens of times. It had just never seemed significant. Not until now, anyway. He placed his whisky on the floor by the fireplace and walked across the room, the cherry oak floorboards creaked in concert with his drunken swaying.

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