Beneath the Distant Star by Lisa Shambrook (Surviving Hope #3)

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LISA SHAMBROOK The Surviving Hope Series Beneath the Rainbow: Freya’s Story Beneath the Old Oak: Meg’s Story

Short Fiction Collection A Symphony of Dragons

Multi-author Anthologies A Winter’s Romance Tales by the Tree

Contributor A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Introduction and short story, “The Tale of Mrs. Cratchit”

Cover painting by Lisa Shambrook

Beneath the Distant Star: Jasmine’s Story Copyright © 2018 Lisa Shambrook All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published by H2O an imprint of BHC Press Library of Congress Control Number: 2018930851 ISBN: 978-1-947727-43-4 (Softcover) ISBN: 978-1-948540-07-0 (Ebook) Visit the publisher:




asmine was ten-years-old when her world collapsed. It was quiet and nobody noticed. ◆◆◆◆◆ Jasmine roughly wiped away tears with balled fists and pulled her hood tight around her face. Her words spat into the frigid mid-March air. “And for my fifteenth birthday maybe we could destroy rainbows!” She uncurled her fingers long enough to heave a sigh, then dug her nails into her cold palms. Behind her, bedroom curtains flapped excitedly in the wind, trying to escape the house as she’d done, but they were tethered and she was not. She twisted and her eyes moved to the matching rear window. She tried not to sneer, but her lip curled anyway. Pale lilac curtains hung, neat and tidy, and either side of pretty lace nets. She gazed back at her window. The lace nets were torn and discarded on the floor under her bed, somewhere, and they could stay there for all she cared. Jasmine leaned back and stared at the swirling froth of cloud. Her mood matched the sky. She lowered herself to the rigid flat roof, ignoring the discomfort and the seeping damp that began to penetrate her grey jeans, and watched the ever changing sky.



Tears slid down into her ears. She closed her eyes and slipped back to the rainbow that had disrupted her tenth birthday. ◆◆◆◆◆ Jasmine stood at the top of the beach watching her mother wade into the icy sea. She shivered and pulled the zip of her jacket higher, and the biting wind curled around her face. Rays of late sunshine fought through the clouds and freezing rain glistened like diamonds on the arms of her anorak. Jasmine clenched her arms across her chest as her mother turned, ankle deep in ebbing waves, and stared blindly back across the empty sand, searching for a fading rainbow. Her ten-year-old daughter sighed deeply and sank down onto the damp, wooden bench. Her birthday dinner had been forgotten in a flash as the sun had flared in the sky and her mother had driven past the chip shop in a crazy urge to reach the beach as quickly as she could. Dad would be wondering where they’d got to. She stared, her knees knocking in the bitter chill and her feet dancing on the promenade. She shook her head and watched a solitary dog walker hurry past with barely a glance. She watched the dog, a big black Labrador, lumber down the path and come to a halt as the man gripping its lead paused. She followed his gaze out to her mother down by the white waves. He stopped and stared at the lady dressed in a raincoat and boots, as she splashed about in frustration, the sea cavorting at her feet. He cast a glance back at Jasmine, who offered a watery smile. For a moment she thought he was going to say something, she half wished he would, but instead he shook his head, whistled at his dog, and walked on. Jasmine watched them as they walked away. She turned back to the beach. She didn’t think she could bear another cold hour staring at the ocean, but her mother thought otherwise and now stood, silent and bereft, waves lapping around her expensive leather boots. Jasmine watched her mother’s shoulders sag in resignation. From her perch up on the bench, the tears that coursed down her mother’s face were etched in her mind. She could hear her mother’s quick, jerking breaths and sobs. They echoed through her head despite the silence that surrounded her, and then she



realised her own hunched shoulders trembled, her cheeks were wet and the sobs were her own. ◆◆◆◆◆ Violent howls whipped up in Jasmine’s throat as she opened her eyes and sat up, staring at the remnants of the old oak across the field. “Why do you still need her, when you’ve got me?” Her wail faded, like the tail end of a rainbow whipped away by the gale, her lament rising up into the sky as anger coursed through her body. She twisted to her knees and thrust her hands at the sky, throwing back her head to howl like an abandoned wolf.




az!” a small voice carried from her open window and Jasmine quickly wiped her eyes, rubbing hard and sniffing deeply. She didn’t want Thomas to see a blubbering mess. No one would ever see her as a blubbering mess. She hurriedly tried to pull her thoughts together. It wouldn’t do for her cousin to find her crying, least of all over her dead sister. She couldn’t remember Freya at all, but that didn’t stop her from feeling like competition, and how do you fight a ghost? Jasmine had no idea. He scrambled out of her bedroom window. “What are you doing out here? It’s too cold and wet!” “I’m fine,” she responded, hugging her knees to her chest. “It’s not that bad, it’s March, not January!” “It is! And it’s going to rain again.” Thomas shook his head. “And it’s too cold!” “How did you know I was up here?” she asked. “Aunty Rachel said you were in your room, but you’re not in it, exactly. It’s freezing in your room!” Jasmine grinned. “And it’s your birthday, why are you out here?”



Jasmine’s grin faded and a flushed smoulder spread across her features instead. “Well, at least someone remembered.” “C’mon, we’ve got presents. Dad’s waiting for you downstairs. He’s waiting for us both. Aunty Rachel’s probably yelling up the stairs at us now!” Jasmine’s face darkened further at the mention of her mother. “So, at least she’ll know what day it is now.” Thomas raised his eyes heavenward. “Yes, she knows! C’mon, it’s freezing out here!” Jasmine shook her head, but rose from the roof anyway. “And look, you’re wet, look at your jeans. And your face is red and—what is that across your face?” demanded Thomas. “Mascara,” replied Jasmine. “It’s raining, feel that?” She exposed the flat of her palm to the rain. “Made my make-up run…” “Why do girls wear that stuff?” “Because we want to, is that okay with you, little Tommy?” Thomas ducked away from her swipe at his head. “Carys doesn’t.” “Carys is seven.” Thomas shrugged. “And I’m fifteen, today.” Jasmine’s voice caught as she followed her cousin. ◆◆◆◆◆ Her voice was still lost amid emotion as they climbed back into Jasmine’s bedroom and Thomas yanked the window closed behind them. She pulled off her hoody, dumping it on her bed and pulled a long, dark red jumper over her head. They hurried downstairs and Jasmine plastered a scowl on her face. She expected to be told off, but was met by Jen at the bottom of the stairs, who held a finger to her lips. Curious, Jasmine followed Thomas and his mother back into the lounge. She stood for a moment, for at least ten seconds, before barging past her aunt and bounding back up the stairs to her bedroom. Thomas charged up the stairs behind her, slipping through the door before she slammed it shut.



He stood by the door as she threw herself onto her bed. “What’s wrong now?” he asked. Her voice erupted, muffled by the duvet. “Don’t you want to go and listen to the story? Be a good boy and go and listen to Aunty Rachel’s story! Mnnnngg!” Jasmine screeched into the bedclothes. “I’m twelve, I don’t need to listen to stories,” he said, “What’s wrong with her reading to Carys and Danny?” Jasmine emerged, turning over and hugging her pillow to her chest. “It’s not that she’s reading to them, it’s what she’s reading to them!” “The making faces book?” Thomas shook his head. “But they like it.” “So did Freya!” “So did you…” Jasmine yanked the pillow up and over her face. “Mnnggggaahhhh!” she shrieked. “You did,” he insisted. “We all did.” “But not anymore!” she cried. “Sometimes things have to finish, sometimes things have to end!” Thomas didn’t say anything. Jasmine threw the pillow across the room and it landed at his feet. She sat up and her eyes flashed. “Do you still read your picture books?” Thomas shook his head. “Not really, well, maybe sometimes…” “Well, Mum still does!” Jasmine thumped the bed. “She goes into Freya’s room and reads Freya’s books, looks at Freya’s clothes, tries on her fairy wings! Freya died when she was seven, years ago, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her room.” Thomas flinched as his cousin threw a cuddly owl onto the floor. He bent to pick it up. “She does all of that, and more, including forgetting my birthdays because she’s too busy chasing rainbows! Too busy trying to find Freya.” Jasmine looked wild. “I think she hates me because I’m alive and Freya’s not!” Thomas was used to Jasmine’s tempers and threw



the owl back at her. She caught it and thrust it back into the air. Thomas snatched it before it hit the wall and dropped it on the bed. Jasmine growled. Thomas reached into his back pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of folded card. He tried to straighten it as he held it out. She took it and smoothed down the edges, smiling as she opened his handmade birthday card. “I knew it was your birthday.” He moved to sit next to her. “I wrote Happy Birthday in cloud writing, because I know how much you like watching the clouds.” Jasmine hugged her cousin, trying to stop the tears that welled behind her eyes. She buried her face in his windswept, copper hair and swallowed the lump in her throat before she let him go. “Thank you, Tommy, this makes my birthday special. You make it special, even if no one else does.”




he front door slammed. Jasmine’s eyes lit up and Thomas relaxed. “Dad’s home!” she squealed and slipped off the bed. Thomas ducked out of the way as she elbowed past and raced down the stairs two, or maybe three, at a time! Uncle Pete danced into her path and grabbed her arms twirling her round in a mock waltz, and for once she allowed his interruption and even grinned up at him. Then she approached her father. He waited, still in uniform, his hands behind his back. “Have you got anything for me?” The smile still lit up her face. He grinned back and glanced over at his wife. After her small nod of acquiescence he spoke. “But, I haven’t had time to wrap anything…” “I don’t need wrapping paper!” Jasmine was ready to burst. “See what everyone else has first.” Her father shimmied backwards as Jasmine tried to skip round behind him to see what was hidden. “Oh no, you don’t! You have guests!” Jasmine bit her lip and restrained herself. “Do you want ours?” Carys had jumped off the sofa and now stood beside Jasmine, a soft smile on her elfin features.



Jasmine glanced at her mother and noted the tender expression on her face as she gazed at Carys. Jasmine bit back her annoyance, turned and smiled sweetly at the eager little girl. “Thanks, Carys,” she said as she accepted the pink, glittery parcel. She took a seat and unwrapped the present. The smile she’d feigned slipped into one of surprise and delight as she extracted a thin black case. “Oh, thank you! These are great!” She opened the makeup palette and stared at the array of colours, all plums, and browns and deep, dark colours. Carys grabbed back the wrapping paper and thrust in her hand. “And these!” She pulled out three eyeliner pencils in a narrow velvet case. Jasmine took them, as Carys sang along quoting the names of the colours written on the pencils, “Peacock blue, emerald green and perfect plum…” “They’re lovely!” Jasmine enthused. “Thought you’d like them,” said Uncle Pete winking at Jen, “even if you only use them to write all over your arms!” Jasmine laughed. “I love them, and I love the colours.” “So what else are you getting?” asked Thomas. She swung towards her dad. “Only kidding,” she said as she picked up two envelopes from the mantelpiece. “I’ll open Grandma and Granddad’s, and Gran’s cards first.” She ripped open envelopes and retrieved cards and cash. “And this from Aunty Anna,” said Uncle Pete as Jasmine happily pocketed the notes from her grandparents. “She told us what to get and we picked it up, well, Jen did!” Jasmine tore open a pale blue packet and smiled at a small jewellery kit, complete with delicate silver chains, wire and beads. “So sweet!” said Jasmine. “How about one from your dad and I?” asked Mum. Jasmine grinned at her dad and moved towards him, aiming to grab whatever he hid behind his back. This time he shook his head as he stepped back. “Not this one, not yet!” He nodded towards his wife.



Jasmine turned and looked at her mum; it was the first time since escaping the house that she’d made eye contact with her mother. Mum smiled and Jasmine’s stance softened a little. Mum reached down and held out a small package, wrapped in crinkly black paper and a silver ribbon. Jasmine took it and pulled the ribbon loose then un-wrapped the box. Her lips narrowed and she rolled her eyes as she gazed at the little black box, which originated from the jewellers her mother worked at. “What sort of discount did you get on this then, Mum?” she asked through a tight mouth. “End of line, or did you think of me when you saw it?” Mum smiled, but Jasmine noticed her body stiffen. “I, I thought of you.” Jasmine opened the jewellery box. Inside, nestled in black velvet, sat tiny diamond studs, little shooting stars. Jasmine fought her emotions. “They’re beautiful,” she said impassively. Her mother didn’t know her at all. They would have suited Freya, if she’d ever made it to fifteen, but not Jasmine. “Are you going to wear them?” asked Mum. “Now?” Her mother nodded. “Maybe later.” Jasmine watched her mother’s face. There was a hint of a crumple, and Jasmine watched as her mother’s eyes trailed away to the fireplace behind her for just a moment then her eyes dropped to her hands folded within her lap. Jasmine turned to the mantelpiece a second time and silently placed the jewellery box on the shelf in front of a photo in a brushed silver frame. Her sister’s twinkling eyes stared out at her. “So Dad, what have you got hiding behind your back?” She approached her dad with a mock prowl. “I’ve been found out, Guv!” He laughed and thrust a shopping bag out in front of him. “Told you not to bother wrapping!” said Jasmine.



“Wasn’t going to, Guv,” he replied shrugging his shoulders. “So, c’mon then, are these the ones?” Jasmine reached greedily into the thick paper bag and giggled as her fingers touched plastic. She withdrew the large box and laughed out loud. “Well done, Dad!” “I had a little help, from the guys at work. You didn’t want it wrapped, but they thought otherwise!” She sat down with the box on her lap thickly wrapped in blue and white police tape. “Police Line, Do Not Cross!” She chuckled, emphasising each word, and began to tear at the tape. “Since when would that stop me?” Dad and Uncle Pete laughed. “I thought about duct tape, but…” “That would have ruined the box!” Jasmine cried, finally pulling the last piece of tape away and dumping it in a tangled pile on the floor. Her grin filled her face as she opened the shoe box. “Exactly what I wanted, Dad!” She grabbed a boot and held it at arm’s length, examining it. “And the right size.” “Mum got the size right. I just picked them up…” “Thanks Mum.” Jasmine didn’t take her eyes off the boots. “Dr Martens in burgundy red. I’ve wanted these forever! I love them already!” She pulled off her old boots and slipped her feet into her brand new boots. She wiggled her toes and pulled the laces tight, quickly tying them up. Jasmine stood up and stared down at her feet, rocking back and forth on her heels and toes. “I love them!” “We wanted to get something special,” began Mum, “Something you really, really wanted this year.” She glanced at her mother and smiled. “Thanks Mum.” She felt a flash of guilt for her earlier behaviour and moved to envelop her mum in a quick hug. “And the earrings are sweet too.” Mum nodded and hugged her back. She held her for a fraction too long and Jasmine squirmed out of her mother’s arms. She moved



to her father and relaxed into his easy embrace, her head resting against his shoulder and his warm breath ruffling her dark hair. “You’ll have to wear them in, work them a bit…” said Uncle Pete, “Like my bike boots, and I’ve got just the thing! It’s your birthday and I brought another treat with us…” Jasmine turned to her uncle. “Something else?” “Yep, the bike’s outside, fancy a ride?” Jasmine wasn’t sure her grin could get any wider. “You’re kidding?” She stole a look at her mother, then Aunty Jen. Dad released her. “Go on, enjoy it, it’s your day!” he said. “It is!” She laughed, stomping across the floor to Uncle Pete. “I’ll get my jacket!” Moments later she was zipped up in her leather jacket, her hands enclosed in Jen’s bike gloves and wearing Jen’s helmet. The motorbike growled beneath them and Uncle Pete twisted the throttle. Jasmine didn’t even look back as Pete moved out onto the road. Her mother’s last words echoed, “Please make sure you hold on tight to Uncle Pete,” and Jasmine let go of her uncle to hold onto the bar behind her instead. Her body rocked back as they swung out onto the main road and she tightened her thighs. The bike swerved around the roundabout and she leaned with her uncle, and then they were off, threading through the traffic until they reached the back roads. Jasmine sighed and stared out across the countryside enjoying the sensation as they moved as one with the motorcycle. Trees and fields and hedgerows full of daffodils whizzed by and Jasmine emptied her mind, letting the speed and movement thrill her. Her thoughts soon returned to her birthday, and for a moment she dwelt on the earrings. Little stars, little distant stars. The photograph on the mantle pierced her reflections. The picture of her sister caught within a moment of magic, bright green eyes, pixie smile, and hint of lilac fairy wings. Jasmine blinked and concentrated on the ride. Freya had never had this, never had the thrill of moving along the roads like



this, fast, and furious…and she wriggled her toes in her brand new boots, and she’d never had those either!




t was dark, the field beyond the house lay in night’s shadow and the moon had yet to reach her window. Jasmine stared out across the landscape, and her head tilted as her eyes moved to gaze at the stars. They glinted at her from far above and her thoughts raced. Jasmine swung her legs side to side and the cold night air raised goose bumps across her flesh. Her fingers gripped the window frame and she shifted her rear, the sill wasn’t the most comfortable place to sit, or balance. She stared up into the depths of Orion, scanning his belt and fixing her gaze on a cluster of stars. She strained to see further, wondering what lived up there, high up within the constellations and galaxies. Wondering if she stared hard enough, would she discover heaven, would she discover anything? The chill got the better of her and she grabbed the frame tight as she scrambled back inside. She shivered as she closed the window. She pressed her forehead to the window pane, her breath steamed up the glass until the stars were obscured and the field lay in fog. Jasmine slumped down onto her bed. She crossed her feet, and a smile spread across her face as she stared at her new boots. She flexed her ankles and admired her feet, decked in burgundy leather, buckles



and laces. They felt heavy on the bed, but she didn’t want to take them off. Instead she flicked on her lamp, grabbed her notebook and pen and began to write. Words flowed, spewing wildly across the page as they slipped out of her mind. She was compelled to write. It didn’t matter what she wrote, she just put pen to paper and released her words. Sometimes they made sense, sometimes they didn’t, sometimes, like today, her emotions flooded the page, and her journal filled with anger, and joy, and pain, and delight, and fear, and…sometimes, confusion. She wrote of the joy of new boots, a motorcycle ride that thrilled her and her father’s workmates wrapping up the shoebox. She smiled as her pen scratched the page. The earrings preoccupied her and anger flushed through her words. She couldn’t understand why her mother would buy something so suited to Freya rather than the daughter who lived and breathed. Her writing became hurried and sarcasm flowed across the paper as she vented her resentment. It ended in a full stop that threatened to stab a hole in the book. She read back the last paragraph and her mouth moved with the words. “If only she could see me…” she whispered, and then shook her head. “I’m not Freya…” She glanced at the little black jewellery box Dad had insisted she take upstairs, and frowned. She chewed violently on the end of her biro and gazed at the box. She threw down her pen and cast her notebook aside as she slid off the bed, grabbing the gift box with renewed annoyance. She flipped open the lid and plucked out an earring. They were pretty, beautiful even, and she actually liked them, which only served to aggravate her more. She held it up to the light and watched the diamond sparkle as light danced on each facet. They weren’t cheap. The jeweller’s Mum worked at was classy and exclusive, not chain store rubbish. They were white gold, delicate and… “Just not me,” she whispered, “and I’ll show you why…” She replaced the stud and clicked the lid shut. Her feet thumped, and she reminded herself of the time. She knew it was close to midnight and her parents had gone to bed just half an hour earlier.



She slipped off her boots and opened her door. Smothered voices still came from her parents’ room, and she padded down to the bathroom. She clicked on the light and shut the door whilst she still stood outside then doubled back to the spare bedroom. To Jasmine it was the spare bedroom, and it served as such. Her grandparents had stayed there and the old single bed had been replaced by a double bed. Everything else, though, spoke of one person. Freya’s lilac curtains still hung against the window, now very pale and faded. Her sister’s cuddly toys still sat, cradled in baskets, on the floor and much of Freya’s childhood still resided in the room. Photographs of her sister dominated the wall, as did nursery school paintings and projects. Framed, above the bed, was the oddest picture, in Jasmine’s opinion. It was a finger painting of two girls, both with bright green eyes, one with blond hair and the other with brown. Jasmine stepped into the room and closed the door with wellpractised silence. The moon had finally made it and peeped in through the window. Jasmine stared at the painting for a moment instinctively touching her hair. Freya had brown hair and hers had been blond when she was a little girl. It had darkened over the years to match Freya’s brown. When she was thirteen, Jasmine had bought a packet of hair dye. She’d cut her hair with the kitchen scissors, chopped it into a rough bob and dyed it black, jet black. Her mother had cried and Jasmine had kept it black ever since. Now, as she gazed around the room, it hung in ebony curtains about her face, dip-dyed red at the ends. There was only one thing she still shared with Freya—green eyes. Jasmine moved to the dressing table and picked up a jewellery box covered in glittering fairy wings and rainbows. She sat on the edge of the bed and gently released the clip on the front of the box. She held the key at the back still as she opened it to prevent its music from breaking the silence, and scanned the contents. The box held small memorabilia. A baby tooth, plastic necklaces, a silver bracelet, fairy hair grips and slides, and there, right where she remembered, a silver locket.



Most of the jewellery was rainbow themed, but stars held court too. Jasmine had never seen these necklaces and pendants outside of the jewellery box. Her mother would take them out to show her, and she could try on a bracelet for ten minutes, but that was it. There were stories attached to most pieces. “Bought the shell necklace on holiday,” “Grandma gave her that one for Christmas,” “We got her that star necklace for her seventh birthday,” “Look at this rainbow hair slide, it was her favourite! She wore it everywhere!” Jasmine knew all of the stories. Jasmine moved the plastic beads aside and placed the new black earring box inside. The shooting star studs almost perfectly matched the little silver star necklace, and that was where they belonged, in the fairy wing jewellery box, waiting for Freya. She began to close the lid, but paused. The locket, the silver locket inscribed with a little star stared at her. She tried to close the box but the locket called to her. “It’s not mine…” she murmured, “The stars aren’t mine. The stars will never be mine.” But she couldn’t close the lid without lifting out the locket first. She placed it in her lap and shut the box. She stared at the locket. She knew its story as well as she knew all the tales behind each trinket, but she couldn’t bring herself to pick it up. “It’s not mine, but it is.” The silver locket did belong to Jasmine, a gift from Uncle Pete and Aunty Jen at their wedding. Jasmine was their only flower girl, and the locket was inscribed with a silver star and held a photo of Freya inside. Again, it wasn’t a cheap trinket. It was a real antique, bought especially so that Freya could be at the wedding with Jasmine. Jasmine had seen the wedding pictures and she knew her threeyear-old self had worn the locket. One of her mother’s favourite photographs of the day was a close up of Jasmine tugging at it and grinning in delight with confetti in her hair. That photograph of Jasmine sat on the mantel piece downstairs beside Freya’s hint of fairy wing picture.



She opened the locket. It belonged to her, but Mum had insisted on keeping it in Freya’s jewellery box. Jasmine shook her head, “I’m only taking what’s already mine.” She wanted to remove the photo of her sister, but for some reason she couldn’t. She shut the locket and closed her fingers around it. She couldn’t understand why she suddenly felt like crying, but the warm metal throbbed inside her hand and tears tingled behind her eyes. She jumped to her feet, gently opened the door and moved back to the bathroom. Her parents’ voices had risen. She hurriedly switched off the bathroom light and paused by her parents’ door. Her mother’s voice was tearful and high. “…but she hates me!” Jasmine froze, unable to move even if she’d wanted to. “She hates me.” “She doesn’t hate you.” Her father’s voice filtered through. “She does, did you see the way she looked at me, or rather didn’t look at me!” “There was so much happening and she was excited by my present, our present…” “There you go! That says it all, your present, the boots were from you!” “You chose them, you ordered them!” his voice rose a pitch. “They were from both of us.” “But she thinks they were just from you…” her voice trailed off and Jasmine heard small sniffs. “She thinks all I got were the earrings, cheap.” “I thought the earrings were cute.” “They are, but she hates them too!” Her dad sighed. “She doesn’t hate you.” “Then why does she get into so much trouble? I don’t think I can bear another phone call from school!” “She’s a teenager…” Their voices lowered and Jasmine strained to hear beyond murmurs. “…she doesn’t love me like she loves you…or Pete! I hate it when she goes out on that bike!”



“I know you do, but Pete’s safe.” “I know that.” She gave a wry laugh, “I mean, remember Old Thomas! But she’s only a child.” “You have to let her be…” “I can’t, when Freya died…” “That was so long ago—fourteen years…” “I’ll never forget!” “I don’t expect you to. I won’t either, but…” “She’s not Freya…” Jasmine heard no more of the conversation. She slipped into her room and allowed her own stinging tears their freedom. She was not Freya.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lisa began weaving intricate stories inside her imagination from a young age, but these days her words find themselves bursting forth in the forms of flash fiction, short stories, and novels. She was born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, and living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She works with the senses, description and colour, and her readers will easily visualise the narrative. A wife and mother, Lisa draws inspiration from family life, faith, memory, and imagination. Lisa lives in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore. Visit the author at: