Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 37

“Merlyn!” She was being gently lifted and the hair brushed from her face. She opened her eyes to find David bending over her. His face, lit by the dying flames, was filled with unmistakeable fear.

“Merlyn, don’t leave me,” he whispered, his voice cracking.

“I’m not hurt,” she whispered. “At least, I don’t think so, just a little stunned.”

“Thank heaven.”

He helped her carefully to her feet. She was bruised and filthy and her left wrist ached where it had hit the stones. She rubbed it gingerly. It was painful, but she could move it and could not feel the crunch of broken bones.

“Taid!” She strained to see the Daughter Of Conwy. Flames were still burning, but lower now, as if the explosion had ripped the heart out of them. There was a strange stillness as if no-one on the quay could quite believe what had happened. “Taid!”

In the dying light she could just make out figures slumped near the burned-out boat.

“Stay here,” David said. “I’ll go.”

“No,” she replied grimly. “I’m coming with you.”

For a moment he seemed about to protest, but the next he had taken hold of her good hand and was hurrying with her to the edge of the quay.

“Are you the doctor?” a man demanded. He was crouched next to a shadow hunched on the ground, moaning faintly.

“No,” David replied. “Though I’ve some experience in treating injuries.”

“We need a doctor.” The man, Merlyn could now see, was holding one arm awkwardly, his sleeve ripped to shreds. “Doctor Osian on the high street, he’s the most likely.”

“The doctor’s been sent for,” David reassured him. “I checked. He should be here in a few minutes.”

“Are there many injured?” Merlyn demanded.

“Mostly cuts and bruises and some burns. I can’t tell how many – it’s so dark and it happened so quickly. At least no-one was still on the boats.”

He gestured towards the edge of the quay.

“The most badly injured are over there. At least one of them was unconscious.”

Merlyn didn’t stop to listen any further. She ran towards the boats.

“Taid!” she called, fear making her voice thin.

“He’ll be here somewhere.” David caught up with her. “Don’t worry, we’ll find him.”

They searched in the darkness while trying to give as much reassurance as they could to the injured men around them. But there was no sign of Taid.

As the doctor finally arrived, followed by volunteers with stretchers to ferry the worst of the wounded to safety, Merlyn came to a halt. She swallowed hard.

“Maybe he went back on to the boat,” she said. “Maybe we’ll never find him!”

“Look.” David grasped her arm. “Look, Merlyn. Over there.”

Out from the swirl of mist and smoke, etched black against the crimson glow behind them, two men staggered, supporting the unmistakeable figure of Owain between them.

“Thank heaven!” As Merlyn reached him she was brought to a halt at his sharp intake of breath. “Taid, you’re hurt. Your hands!”

“Tut, child, just a touch of burning and a bang on the head.”

A fit of coughing overcame him for a moment, but then he gently shook off his helpers and stood up straight.

“At least I’m walking, which is more than can be said of many. Heaven knows what was on that boat moored next to the Daughter Of Conwy. It should have been wool they were carrying!”

“I’ve never seen wool that could make an explosion like that,” one of the men who had been helping said. His face was black with soot, while his jacket was scorched and ripped almost to shreds.

“Me, neither,” David said slowly. “That was more like the blasting power my railway workers have been using.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Owain replied. “But I never yet heard of any seaman in Trefriw daft enough to carry such a thing willingly.”

“Well, there’s nothing we can do about it tonight.” David caught the older man’s arm to steady him as he staggered. “They’re setting up a makeshift hospital in the town hall. The important thing is to get you there, Owain, and get those hands seen to. There will be plenty of time later to deal with whoever did this.”

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 tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.