Friday 23 January 2015

Guest Author Katrina Cope. Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain. Book One of the Sanctum Series


Katrina Cope lives on the Gold Coast of Australia. This is her second visit to the Scribbler. In an earlier post Katrina shared how she created her characters. It is archived on the side panel. The following was taken from her website. Her links are listed below.
I grew up in a small country town with plenty of time to express my creativity. This was fueled with a large amount of time spent traveling to different areas of the world, coming in contact with many different personalities and cultures.
The last eight years has been spent running a small business with my husband and raising three young boys and writing in any spare time.
After finishing my first book, it came to light just how much I love writing and I now write a great deal more. My boys are growing up, approaching the teenage years quickly, allowing me more time to write and asking for the next book.
Copyright is held by the author. Used by permission.
Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain. Book One of the Sanctum Series.
- Chapter One -
The Stranger of Hope
It was a dark cold night. White clouds of fog filled the streets making it hard to see, even with the lights shining brightly from the windows and streetlights. Barely visible through the fog was the harsh straight line of the grey buildings. Rising from the road level to the front doors of the many apartments were the staircases both large and small, coarsely jutting out towards the road. This was typically characteristic of the streets of the city of Bowdon. The railings of the stairs were heavy with dripping dew from the chilliness of the misty night. Through the stillness came the sound of a rusty cough that seemed to be coming from the front wall of one of the apartments. A moment later, another cough was heard and this time it was apparent that it had come from the direction of a large pile of newspapers, in between the rubbish bins on the footpath. After further observation of that pile, the paper appeared to come to life as whatever lay beneath decided to change its pose, to a seemingly more comfortable position.
Jayden ruffled his own newspaper in an attempt to get warm. It was the atmosphere of these sorts of nights that had become familiar to Jayden. It now seemed like forever since he had slept in a warm bed under a permanent roof. The life he used to have about six months ago was now regrettably more like a dream that tormented him, reminding him of how things could have been in his life and what he believed would never again be a reality.
The flicker of a larger light caught the corner of his hazel eyes, as he lifted his head of messy, dirty brown hair above the newspapers. In doing this, he was able to watch as a tall, sandy haired man stepped out onto the street from his apartment. A blonde, friendly-faced woman accompanied him. She gave off a soft laugh as she smiled, as though she had found something rather amusing in what he had said to her. She reached back into the apartment to grab something she seemed to have forgotten. When she pulled her hand back out to the street, there was a young boy attached and he appeared to be about nine years old. The boy was well dressed in warm clothing and looked contented and relaxed in their company.

Watching the young family leaving their home reminded Jayden of when his own family had been together. There were times that Jayden could recall being happy like this young boy, although he also had many other memories, which were more like nightmares. He recalled how his dad after having too many drinks would quite often become enraged and bad tempered over the most trivial incidents or shortcomings. He would end up ranting in loud abuse, which was often followed by physically assaulting his family. Jayden remembered so many times when it was his mother who would be at the receiving end of this abuse, but if he happened to be in the wrong place at these times or if he tried to protect her, his dad would then turn on him. Jayden had to concoct every reason under the sun to explain the bruises and marks all over his body. The most difficult stories to invent were the ones he saved for when he had suffered from broken bones and had to be admitted to hospital.
His dad was not always like this. There was a time when he was a very loving dad, who went to work in the morning like most other dads and then came home to spend quality time with his family. All this changed, however, when the large company that he worked for collapsed. This occurred when the country went into a recession, which was likened to the Great Depression. Workers were all being put off, including Jayden's dad. Some of the people handled it quite well as everyone is different. ‘But not my dad,’ Jayden thought. Initially, it was just a matter of watching what the family spent and making sure that they were not spending unnecessarily, but then there still wasn’t enough money to pay the mortgage payments on their house. The Bank wanted to foreclose and sell the house only for the amount that his parents owed, even though it was worth a lot more. It broke his dad’s heart when the family ended up losing their home, so he started drinking and that was where it all changed.
‘I wonder where my parents are now,’ Jayden thought, but shuddered when the violent past again flicked back into his memory. ‘Oh well! Come to think of it, I really don’t want to find out.’ The reason he didn’t know where they were was because one night when it all got too much, Jayden ran away and had no alternative but to live on the streets. Even though this was most undesirable and a very hard life to live, he did not want to return to the horrors of the past. ‘I do wish I could find an easier way to live than this,’ he commented to himself.
He looked back across the street to the young family in time to see them drive away in their little sedan. ‘I wonder where they are going tonight!’
There was another cough from the pile of newspapers down the road. He watched the person underneath trying desperately to pull the newspapers together, in an effort to trap some warm air. A shiver ran down his spine because he could feel the air getting colder as the night set in, so he too started to adjust the papers around him for extra warmth. When he was satisfied that he had achieved the best possible outcome, even though he was still extremely uncomfortable and cold, he settled down in the hope that sleep would soon come. He watched the lights in the apartments flicker on and off in the different rooms. Trying to ignore his own harsh surroundings, he set his mind on more pleasant thoughts of the nice circumstances he imagined the people would be experiencing in those warm apartments. Slowly, after what must have been at least an hour, he felt sleep starting to take its hold and he drifted into unconsciousness.
Click! Scrape! Click! Scrape! Click! Scrape! Slowly Jayden’s mind started to register that he was waking up and there was movement nearby even though his eyes did not want to open. Click! Scrape! Click! Scrape! It stopped! After a short pause, he heard a loud “Arghh!” and then the rustling of newspapers. Something had disturbed the man down the road. That did it! Jayden’s eyes were now wide open and he looked down the street at the other homeless man to see what was happening. He noticed a man standing over him, holding what looked to be a cane that he used to jab him in the ribs. The man from underneath the papers let out a loud curse after his rude awakening, only to hear the man with the cane say, “Oh sorry! I was looking for someone in particular and couldn’t see your face. Here is some money for your next meal and for causing you this trouble. My apologies!” After he handed him the money he walked away.

Click! Scrape! Click! Scrape! Jayden watched the man as he searched every dark spot he could find, as though he was specifically looking for something. He appeared to have a slight limp but still seemed to get around quite well. The man had Jayden puzzled. It was usual for someone to come out on the streets searching in every dark corner, especially looking for someone in particular among the homeless. Not only that, the man was alone. Jayden didn’t know whether he should hide further away, or stay, but the idea of the man possibly giving him money for food enticed him to stay.
The thought of money for food reminded his stomach that it had been a long time since he had eaten a proper meal and it gave out a really big groan. The groan must have been heard because immediately the stranger looked across at him and changed his direction over towards him. Click! Scrape! Jayden waited patiently as the stranger approached. He acted as though he was still asleep at first, in the hope that the stranger might think he had been troubled as well and hopefully give him money too. After what seemed a long thirty seconds, the man was finally at Jayden’s side. “Son! Son!” Jayden opened his eyes and looked at the man. He was wearing a business suit and his hair was slightly long, dark brown with flecks of grey. “How old are you, son?” Well that was not what he was expecting; that was for sure, but thinking again about money for food, Jayden answered him, “Eleven.”
He watched as a cloud of concern washed across the man’s face. “Wow!” he said. “You are too young to be out here all alone. Where are your parents?”
“I don’t know and I really don’t care! Life here is much safer than being at home with my family.”
“That sounds dreadful. Are you sure that it was really that bad?” the man asked.
Without any hesitation Jayden answered, “I am very sure. After at least ten trips to the hospital with serious injuries in two months and not enough good stories to explain how I got hurt, I am definitely sure.”
“What is your name?”
“My name is Avando, Jayden, and I am looking for some young people like you, in the hope that I can make a difference in their lives.”
From experience he knew that most people shun the homeless as though they are scum and are only homeless because they deserve to be there.
“How do you expect you’d be able to help and why would you even want to help?” Jayden asked with suspicion.
“Well you see, I have done very well through business over the years and I have no one to share in my good fortune. So, I am looking for young people, like you, who I can hopefully provide with all the necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter and a better way of life.”
“There must be a catch!” Jayden said warily, knowing even at his age that nothing this good comes along without a catch. It could be considered though, that he was a lot more mature than a normal eleven year old because of all his recent life experiences.
“Well, there is one catch,” said the mystery man with the larger sized bumpy nose.
I'm anxious to find out more about the generous older man in this story. Thank you Katrina for sharing the beginning of your story, Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain. Following are Katrina's links and where you can obtain copies of her novels.  
Drop by the Scribbler next week for the 4Q Interview with none other than published author Lockie Young of Albert County, New Brunswick. Lockie has been featured on the Scribbler several times and it is always a treat to have this talented author as a guest. You will want to hear about Lockie's latest accomplishments and a chance to read one of his poems.

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