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Engle Byen


A Place to Call Home




DAVID GOLDON






Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Copyright © 2017 David Goldon

All characters and locales appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

All rights reserved.

Cover Image by www.SelfPubBookCovers.com/Viergacht



Contact: davidgolddon@gmail.com

www.davidgoldon.com




Dedication


I would like to dedicate, this, my very first story to my partner of seventeen years, Michael Young. He is my advisor, supporter, editor, proof reader and hand holder through my first writing journey. I love you. www.michaelyoungauthor.com


I would also like to thank Vicki Williams for the initial push to get me going and the continued support and guidance on this journey. www.vickiwilliamsauthor.com.au








Prologue


A heavy mist encased me, limiting the view of my surroundings. I don't feel the cold biting chill that should accompany this dark gloomy winter's day.


I make the same journey often, how often, I don’t know, time is just a word. Something piques my curiosity in this unchanging environment, something appears different.


My eyes scan the area near me and as far into the distance as I can see. I don't notice anything different. In the dead quiet of this place, I hear the crunching of gravel, footsteps. The crunching noise becomes louder and closer.


I see two figures dressed in black, a male and a female walking towards me. Gradually, through the mist, I make out the faces of the approaching couple; it’s mum and dad.


I give them a limp smile which isn’t acknowledged as they stand either side of me.


Standing in between them I wrap my arms around their waists, drawing them in closer to me. In unison, we lower our heads to view the cold grey marble headstone…




Chapter One


It was time for me to go.


I bought a large paper map, opened it up and laid it out on the table. Closing my eyes, I raised my index finger and moved it over the map until I eventually got a strong feeling and put my finger down, bang, on an unusually named town of Engel Byen, and here I am.

Actually, I decided to move to Engel Byen without much thought. My old life was becoming confused. For the first time in my life, I wanted to run away, I wanted to get away. Being a nurse means work is easy to come by and I knew I would find work wherever I ended up moving to.

Just like that, I packed up my old life and moved. Totally on a whim, which was quite uncharacteristic for me. I felt like a magnetic force was dragging me away from my previous existence before something bad happened.

Engel Byen is a coastal town, overrun by tourists in the summer months and as autumn sets in, they all leave and just the locals remain. This town is such a beautiful place to call home. Just about every second house in my court location is empty at the moment as we head into autumn. I live in a lovely, newly renovated Californian bungalow style house.

Being an organised person, all the boxes were quickly unpacked and the few sticks of furniture were neatly arranged in the appropriate rooms. Even though I've only been living in this house six months, I've already accumulated twelve goldfish which were donated a few at a time, from various co-workers, who, rather than flush the sick fish down the toilet, gave them to me. I seem to have a knack for restoring sick animals back to health. Maybe I should've been a vet.

I do love my new position at St Angelina’s hospital. Nursing is a rewarding career and looking after my patients is my top priority. Though the shift work can be a bit of a bummer, especially being new to the area, I’m eager to make some new friends.

I‘ve already met some of my neighbours, they’re a mixed bunch. There’s Gabriella who lives at No. 33, I have some suspicions about her.

There’s the lovely Muriel at No. 24 to my left. Coincidentally, she was a patient of mine and we’ve become close quite quickly, though I think it’s because she found someone (me) to look after her from time to time.

Ralph lives behind me. His yard backs onto mine and we often have a chat over the back fence. I swear I saw him having a peek at me a few days ago, through a hole in the old wooden fence, when I was getting a bit of the last of the autumn sun in the backyard. OK, I did give him a reason to be a peeping Tom; I was only wearing tiny football shorts. I like to keep trim and in shape and I look pretty good in the mirror, even if I do say so myself.



Chapter Two


There was an odd sound coming from outside my bedroom window as I gradually woke from a deep sleep; the sun was just beginning to rise and I heard the sound of crows calling out.

‘Oh bugger, the damn crows are rummaging through my garbage bin,’ I thought. I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and headed for the front door. It was deadlocked so I headed to the back door to find the keys, damn where are the keys?

I found them in the lock of the back door. I could still hear the crows calling but they seemed louder like they were on the other side of the back door. I unlocked the back door, threw it open; nope, no crows out there. With keys in hand, I made my way to the front door and walked outside but saw the garbage bin with the lid still closed, not a crow to be seen.

I made my way over to the garbage bin, my feet getting wet with morning dew as I crossed over the pavement. I inspected the lid, it was closed tight, no sign of crows anywhere. Maybe I heard their calls coming from a neighbour’s house?

“Good boy, it’s OK, who’s a good boy, I won’t hurt you,” I said to the big black dog that had suddenly appeared growling at me. I was trying to keep calm and not appear to be nervous even though I was shaking.

Animals and I have some type of affinity, they are never fearful of me nor me of them; they tend to be drawn to me, but not this dog! He just stayed there in front of me growling, kind of transfixed on me. Usually, Rottweilers are pretty scary looking but this one was a mean son of a...

“Cujo, stay, drop!” came a voice from behind me.

‘Cujo, what? Really? You’re kidding me! What a clichéd name for such a vicious dog like this one,’ I thought. ‘Calm down and pull yourself together Michael, situation under control.’

Cujo did exactly as the voice asked. “Sorry about that, mate.”

I turned around and saw the most beautiful looking man I had ever seen. He was about the same height as me, six foot; lean build, thick black hair and a bit of scruff on his chiselled face that would have been about two days in the making.

He walked right up close to me, so close he was invading my personal body space. I was mesmerised by his eyes, they were the most beautiful shade of dark brown; his lips were full and luscious. My heart was pounding fast and my body began shaking, but not out of fear this time, I was totally consumed and enchanted by this guy’s devilish good looks. Wearing a tight black polo top outlining his perfect pectorals and muscled biceps with a perfect amount of dark chest hair exposed around his neckline. If I could describe the perfect man, he was standing right here in front of me. Close. So close. Too close. I welcomed him into my personal space.

Next thing I recall, “You OK, mate? I’ll call an ambulance,” I heard him say as he picked me up off the wet, dew covered grass.

“No, I’m fine, I’m a nurse,” I managed to say as I steadied myself into standing position.

“How long was I out of it?” I enquired.

"About six minutes, I was about to give you mouth to mouth but realised you were breathing." ‘Damn,’ I thought.

“Jacob, nice to meet you, mate. I just moved into the area about six weeks ago, and this guy you have already met, his name is Cujo.”

‘You may be the most handsome man I have ever met but you suck at naming your dog,’ I thought.

“Michael. Likewise. Thanks for picking me up.”

“Cujo, home,” the handsome Jacob shouted at his big butch dog and off Cujo headed. I couldn’t quite see which yard he went into but it must have been close, he disappeared just as fast as he had appeared when he frightened the bejesus out of me.

“I haven’t seen you around, Michael. Are you new to the area?” Jacob asked quizzically.

“No. Well, I’ve been here for about six months, moved from interstate and just felt drawn to come to this area, and here I am. I work at St Angelina’s as a nurse and do shift work so I’m in and out a bit.”

A sly smile came over Jacobs’s handsome face. “I used to come here on holidays with my parents when I was younger; they owned the house that I live in now. They both passed away several years ago. I inherited the holiday house and let it sit empty for a while so now I’ll probably live in it for a bit. I’ll keep an eye out for you, Michael; we should get together and hang out a bit if you’re up for it.” Jacob said in a flirty way.

“Yeah, that will be great,” I said with a stammer. ‘How embarrassing,’ I thought, as I walked back up the three wet steps into my house. I went directly to the bathroom and looked in the mirror, I looked a mess. I had bed hair but at least my bright, ice blue eyes weren’t all crusty and I cut a decent figure in the tight t-shirt and tracky dacks that I threw on to go outside.

I recalled why I went outside in the first place, it was in search of the noisy crows. What is it they call a group of crows, ah yes, a murder.


Chapter Three


“Oh yeah, that’s it, go harder, even harder, I can take it, a bit to the left, a bit more, no, over to the right, almost, yeah, just there.” I gave out a painful sounding moan to my massage therapist.

As you age, I guess your body starts to fall apart; well that’s what’s been happening to me for the past six months. My twenty-nine-year-old shoulders are in constant pain but not enough to keep me from working at St Angelina’s.

“Oh yeah, that’s it, keep working on that spot,” I continued.

“Michael, you really should be having that x-ray I mentioned to you two sessions ago. Those slight lumps are still on your shoulder blades,” said Viktor.

Viktor looks like your typical Swedish backpacker type; young, a stylish quiff of blond hair, blue eyes, tanned and toned. He's in town on a twelve-month working holiday. I've been lucky enough to have him as my in-house masseur at the hospital. He is gorgeous, always flirting with me and that sexy Scandinavian accent melts me to the core. Even though we have only recently met, I feel as though I have known him all my life; there is a strange yet warm familiarity about him.

“Michael, your legs are like tree trunks,” he complimented me.

“That’s because I am 'Sagittarian' Viktor, you know, half man half horse.”

“Oh, I know which half is the horse.” Viktor giggled.

“Are you dating anyone yet, Michael? Because you know I am free and single and ready to mingle,” Viktor said in his gorgeous Scandinavian accent.

“Sorry, Viktor, professional boundaries and all.”

“Happy ending then, Michael?” We burst into hysterical laughter.


***


I could hear opera music blasting out as I walked up the stairs. “Come in, darling, come in,” the husky voice called out in a very theatrical tone.

"Oh, my darling Michael. Champagne dear? I have some on ice. Also, two gorgeous crystal flutes are just crying out in anticipation to be filled to overflowing with tiny bubbles." Gabriella swanned over to her already opened front door, wearing a bright copper coloured kaftan, which flowed as she floated seamlessly to the door and welcomed me in.

She air-kissed me on both cheeks and ruffled my hair while all her gold bangles jingled and jangled down her arms. As I walked in past her, she grabs my butt cheeks and gives a squeeze.

“Hmmm, firm and ripe darling, and so pert. Must be all that physical activity you do. I see you running most days in those tiny shorts, legs like tree trunks, too delicious for words.” I felt my face turn slightly red; the neighbours don’t miss anything around here.

Gabriella’s house is the same style as all the rest in our court, a Californian bungalow. Inside, her decorating style is perhaps quite eclectic and not to my taste at all. Her living room is filled with old movie posters adorning the walls, brightly coloured stain glass lamps are all over the place, metres of different types of fabrics are draped over chairs and the smell of sage fills the room.

“Sit, sit,” she beckons me flapping her wrinkly, large hands over in the direction of a three-seater lounge. I sit down and she swans her way into the kitchen. I haven’t been in her house before although we’ve chatted in the street a few times. It was on one of those occasions she told me she was a psycho, no psychic, and offered to give me a free reading. So today, here I am, hence the somewhat clichéd surroundings of someone who talks to the “other side”.

Gabriella emerged from the kitchen with a classic silver champagne bucket with a bottle of her finest champagne on ice.

“Oh darls, how did you know? My favourite champagne,” I cooed.

She winked and smiled at me, her heavy makeup cracking, almost falling off her face and revealing what looked like a five o'clock shadow. Nothing was subtle about Gabriella, she was quite tall, aged at least sixty years old, had short, scraggy, bleached blonde hair bordering on yellow; obviously a cheap dye job.

She returned to the kitchen and emerged with two beautiful looking amethyst crystal champagne flutes and sat them down on the coffee table. A very dignified slight ‘pop’ could be heard as she released the cork from the bottle and she proceeded to pour the gorgeous bubbles into the flutes.

“Bottoms up,” she cackled as the bubbles gently tickled my nose as I took a sip. “Now, what would you like, my darling Michael?” she whispered seductively.

“Oh, I do love salmon dip. Bet you don’t have that though, Gab.”

“Well, darling, if you look on the side table to your right.”

Well, blow me down, salmon dip, there it is. “Gabriella, how did you know?”

“It’s my job to know these things; I am a psychic extraordinaire after all. Now let’s get on with your reading, shall we?”

She reached for my hands, held them in hers. She looked deep into my eyes and I felt her bright blue eyes intensely staring right into, through and beyond my eyes; like into my soul or something. Looking into her eyes, I felt I could see something like the whole universe, Earth, seas and land. It was weird. Having champagne on an empty stomach was probably not a good idea.

She broke eye contact and began caressing my hands which creeped me out. Had she drugged the champagne? I didn’t know her that well. Shit, shit, shit! I’m going to wake up with one kidney missing!

She let go of my hands and those large talons of hers reached and grabbed the angel cards from the coffee table and offered them to me. “Shuffle, darling, shuffle.”

As I reached to take the cards from her they flew up into the air and all fell face down on the dirty carpet. Exactly how much champagne did I have?

"Ok, reading over, darling. I'm feeling quite tired now, you'd better go." And with that, she pretty much pushed me out the door.



Chapter Four


I could hear a drilling sound ... zzzzz, zzzzzz, zzzzzz, a very bright light shines in my face, my head hurts. ‘Where am I, what’s going on,’ I thought. Then, suddenly, I sprang up out of my sleep. Huh, what’s that noise? Drilling, where’s it coming from?

I realised I had nodded off whilst enjoying catching a few rays of this lovely warm and sunny autumn day. I slowly rose from my daybed and looked around the backyard. I took a few steps over to where the drilling noise was coming from and realised I was au naturale, so I quickly took a few steps backwards, grabbed my shorts and pulled them on. I stood still while beads of sweat dripped down my muscular chest, grabbed a towel and dried myself off.

The drilling noise stopped and as I stood motionless, expecting it to start again; it didn’t. “Oh fuck!!” I screamed out in shock as a head popped up from the other side of the back fence. It was Ralph.

“Sorry, Michael, did I scare you? I didn’t think you were home.”

‘Then, why are you looking over my back fence, dumb ass,’ I thought.

Ralph is about forty-five years old, quite handsome looking, I think he would have been a catch back in the day. He seems to spend his days gardening. His front yard is immaculately presented; I've often admired it as I pass on my daily run. Ralph mostly keeps to himself; usually, we just greet each other over the fence. He lives alone and owns his house. I don't know that much about him as we just have a general chat over the fence now and then.

“What are you up to over there, what’s all that drilling noise I can hear?” I asked him in a terse manner.

“Oh, just a bit of work in the garden, you know. You seen that Jacob guy?” he asked, quickly changing the subject.


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