Robert and Caroline Fanshaw juggle the demands of work and marriage. He is a barrister, she is a finance executive in a multi-national company. Caroline is an ambitious woman who attracts attention, welcome and unwelcome, from alpha males and females as she claws her way to the top.
Wednesday, 2 October 2013
The Sound of Mura
Regina Heart had used the shell of Castle Dunlaggin to build the main centre for her animist religion. The castle was on a remote island, and to get to Regina's castle you had to take your chances with a small ferry, The Sound of Mura, that only ran when the weather was flat calm. The reason for my journey there was a legal matter. I certainly wasn't intending to participate in the programme.
heard the boat before he saw it. He thought it must be some small fishing boat
with an outboard motor, but then, as the high pitched whine increased, a
flat-bottomed launch surged out of the mist. The captain of the vessel,
standing at the back holding the tiller, cut the engine and the Sound of Mura drifted up to the jetty.
Three women stood up in the boat and lurched to the side to clamber up on the
jetty, assisted by the captain. When they were on the jetty, the captain looked
at his watch.
then. That’s when the boat leaves. If you’re not here I go without you.”
said Robert. “I thought the boat left at ten o’clock. That’s what it says on
last winter. We changed it to fit better with the ferry over from the mainland.”
The boatman busied himself securing the vessel to the jetty.
anywhere to shelter – get a cup of coffee maybe?” asked Robert.
as well come with us,” said one of the long haired girls. Robert was used to
looking down slightly when he talked to women, but it was not necessary in this
case. All three were taller than him. “We’re going to the hotel for our daily
fix.” Robert looked puzzled. He’d not expected to encounter drug addicts in
such a remote spot.
so worried. They do really good coffee. And more important, there’s a cigarette
machine. I’m Georgina, by the way. And this is Joni. And Greta: she’s from
Poland. We do assignments for the same agency.”
brisk walking with the long-striding women and Robert was back at the hotel in
Blackwaterside. The man behind the bar was obviously expecting the women.
please,” said Georgina, “but put in an extra shot all round. Coffee for this
nodded at Robert. “I thought you were a wee bit early for the boat. It’s not a
day for sight-seeing.” Robert nodded back. He knew in theory that Scotland was
a mountainous country but in three visits he had only ever had the merest
glimpse of hillside through rain or mist.
joined the women in the smoking shelter whilst the coffee was prepared. He
asked them how long they had been at Dunlaggin Castle.
three weeks,” said Joni. “Twenty eight days is the preferred stay – you have to
go though one complete lunar cycle. It’s my second visit. It’s great because I
lose loads of weight which is so hard in London.”
know Regina ran a weight loss programme,” said Robert.
doesn’t. It’s just that the food is simple. There’s no alcohol – except once a
month at full moon. We drink loads of herbal tea and the pounds just fall off,
which is handy in our line of work.” Of course, thought Robert, models.
not interested in Regina’s animist philosophy?”
“I am,” said
Joni, directing a plume of smoke away from Robert. “I’m not sure about those
two. They seem more interested in practice than theory.” They all three
giggled. They moved back into the warmth of the hotel to drink their coffee and
spent the next twenty minutes establishing that Robert’s social circle and
their own did not overlap at any point.
“Is that a
watch?” asked Robert. “Only I’m worried about missing the boat.”
Georgina, waving an electronic bracelet on her right wrist. “No, it’s not a
watch. You have to wear it if you’re following the programme. You explain it,
Greta. I get embarrassed.”
up close to Robert and pulled back her sleeve.
“This is an
Orgatron. It measures the female sexual response. It’s an aid to women
following the programme because some women aren’t so sure if they’ve had an
orgasm or not, and others have them at the drop of a hat. See the red area on
the dial? That lights up if I have an orgasm and it sends a signal to Regina’s
computer. And the yellow, that’s the zone we have to stay in until the full
moon. It starts to flash if you get close to orgasm, it helps you learn
control. Regina will explain it much better. It’s a means to an end. The idea
is to connect with the spirit through the power of the female orgasm.”
Extract from Shameless Exposure by Robert Fanshaw, published soon by Steam eReads.