Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 36


David Ross’s warm hand brushed Merlyn’s cheek lightly. His kiss was warm and very gentle, and he released her almost immediately, leaving her with a strong urge to let her arms slip around him and pull him back to her so that the moment might never end.

She did not, allowing her body to rest against his, feeling the warmth of his arms enfolding her as his face moved to fill her world once more . . .

“No!”

He stumbled as she pushed him back with an unexpected violence.

“Merlyn, I’m sorry. I suppose I thought . . .”

But she was not listening. He turned to follow her gaze as a glow of light from the quay shot upwards into tall flames.

“It’s the boat!” she cried. “It’s the boat, I know it is! And Taid –”

She was already running as fast as she could towards the fiery glow, with David following close behind her.

* * * *

David and Merlyn reached the quay to find a scene of chaos. Flames shot up, sending the mist swirling around the banks of the river, intermingled with figures silhouetted against fire rushing to and fro. Some carried buckets of water in a vain attempt to quell the flames, while others hurried to move out of danger boats moored alongside, whose own rigging was already spattered with shimmering cinders.

“It is the Daughter Of Conwy!” Merlyn cried in despair as they reached the edge of the crowd. The throng was far too dense for them to make their way through easily, but she could make out the funnel still standing amongst the lick of fire blackening its sides, the paddles etched like skeletons amongst the flames.

Desperately, she began to push her way forwards. The crowd jostled in front of her, too absorbed in the drama to notice her struggles, too deafened by the roar of the flames and the cries of those nearest the inferno.

“Stay with me!”

She turned towards the voice in her ear and found David Ross next to her. Between them, they pushed and struggled and shouted until those in front slowly parted. Abruptly there was nothing in front of them but a wall of burning air that stung Merlyn’s eyes and scorched her face.

Several boats were well and truly alight next to the Daughter Of Conwy, the wood of their hulls cracking in the heat, masts shooting flames as the rigging fell down in burning strands amongst the rescuers.

“There he is!”

In the orange glow she caught sight of Taid, down by the ship nearest the paddle steamer, next to a line of men passing buckets of water drawn from the river. It all seemed to have happened very quickly. Her grandfather was helping some of the seamen struggling to offload as much of their precious cargo as they could, seemingly oblivious to the danger around them.

“Taid!”

Relief surged though her as she began to run towards him. She had only taken a few paces when it felt as if the sun itself shot from the river. Everything around her seemed to shrivel, etched in brilliant reds and whites, while a scorching wind lifted her off her feet and flung her down on to the ground as the roar of the explosion battered her ears.

Then there was darkness.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.