Prologue from Emma’s debut novel ‘Dogged’

Nancy stands on the step. Her shoulders have been aching all night. Years of scrubbing quarry tiles up at the Dartmouth are taking their toll. She rolls her shoulders forward and twists her head to peer over towards her back. A lump has started to form under her overall. “Wot now? If it ay one thing it’s summat else.” As she watches the lump starts to bulge, move and rupture the skin. She hears Mr Maddox’s voice.

“If God’d uv meant uz to fly, e’d uv givun uz wings.”

The voice is accompanied by the sound of a trickle of whisky being poured into a glass.

Her emerging wing – just the one – unfurls itself in a grand gesture and then flails against her back. It is large and black. It is oily, tarry, nicotine-stained, and the feathers are stuck together. It hangs like wet washing in a back yard on a windless day. “Sort of bost,” says Nancy. “Shit,” she thinks, as Marilyn comes out onto her step and waves. Nancy tries to wave back without showing her new wing.

“Is that….?” says Marilyn screwing up her orange lips into the shape of a cat’s arse.

“No!” says Nancy, cutting her off in mid question. “It ay!” The conversation is ended.

“Bloody dreamin agen,” she thinks as she awakes.

‘Dogged’ is available online from Ignite Books, or it can be ordered from your local book shop.

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