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The Lost Sister: A gripping emotional page turner with a breathtaking twist
Tracy Buchanan

‘It brought you here,’ Idris said. ‘That can only be a good thing.’

‘Wine? Beer?’ Donna asked, a shy look on her face.

‘I don’t suppose you have any gin?’ I asked her.

Donna frowned. ‘No, I’m afraid not.’

Caden laughed. ‘There will be soon though, now you’ve mentioned it. Donna can’t let anyone go without. She’s our angel.’

‘She sure is,’ Idris said, walking over and putting his hand on Donna’s shoulder.

Donna peered up at him, a child-like look of awe on her face.

I looked between them both, trying my best not to raise an eyebrow.

‘How long have you been here?’ I asked Donna.

‘Just a few days,’ she replied.

‘Long enough to make a difference,’ Idris said.

Oceane smiled. ‘Mum’s a supercook.’

I looked between Donna and Oceane in surprise. ‘Oceane’s your daughter?’

Donna nodded and my eyes widened in surprise. I had no idea Donna had an older daughter … and they seemed so different. Or were they? Donna had come to live here, hadn’t she? And she’d called her daughter Oceane.

I was suddenly seeing her in a very different light.

‘Will wine do?’ she asked me.

I shrugged. ‘Sure.’

Donna stood and pulled a half-empty bottle of white wine from a cooler box, sloshing some of it into a small ceramic bowl. I took the bowl, feeling its weight and coolness.

‘Interesting drinking device,’ I said.

‘Maggie made it,’ Donna replied, gesturing to the woman by the cave with her back to us.

‘What’s she doing?’ I asked.

Idris looked towards Maggie. ‘She’s in the current at the moment. Got into it quicker than most.’

‘What is this current?’ I asked. ‘Oceane mentioned it to me.’

‘You’ll see,’ Idris said mysteriously.

‘I’m Anita,’ the yoga teacher said, touching her hand to her chest. ‘I think you might know that already? I saw you in one of my classes once.’

‘Yep,’ I said, taking a sip of wine. ‘I learnt a valuable lesson, that lesson being I’m very unbendy.’

Everyone laughed.

‘Easily remedied,’ Anita said, waving her hand about. ‘We’ll sort it during the sunrise salute tomorrow morning.’

‘Oh, I won’t be here in the morning,’ I said. ‘Just a fleeting visit.’

Everyone exchanged knowing looks. Some sizzling chicken from the fire was passed my way. I took it without question, suddenly ravenous.

‘As you know, I’m Caden,’ the boy with the guitar said. ‘Guitarist, song scribe, lover,’ he added, wiggling his eyebrows at Oceane who laughed in response.

‘I believe you know Donna,’ Idris said, gesturing to her. ‘And her son Tom.’

‘Yes,’ I said, smiling at Donna. She returned my smile, turning another chicken wing in the fire.

‘And Julien,’ Idris said, gesturing to the man sitting quietly on the rock with the dog. Julien examined my face then he nodded at me. I nodded back. Already I could tell there was something about him, a calmness that was slightly uncomfortable. ‘That’s everyone. So far, anyway,’ Idris said with a contented smile.

‘Tell us about your next novel,’ Anita asked.

‘Never ask an author that!’ Oceane said.

I smiled at her. ‘Oceane’s right. It strikes the fear of God into us.’

‘You’re kidding,’ Anita said. ‘I thought you’d want to talk about writing?’

‘I adore talking about writing,’ I said. ‘But I feel talking about a new idea might jinx it.’

‘I get it actually,’ Julien said in a cut-glass accent. ‘When I start a new piece of furniture, I’d rather wait until it’s finished before telling someone about it. Just in case it flops spectacularly.’

‘It’s fear,’ Idris said.

Everyone turned to him, going very quiet. It was as if, when he spoke, everything else was wiped away.

‘Fear that people won’t like what you’ve created,’ he continued, sitting down cross-legged on the sand across from me. He was looking right into my eyes. I held his gaze. ‘That fear plagues artists like all of us. It’s the main reason we can’t get into the current,’ he continued. ‘We’re constantly thinking of this person and that person and a dozen people, a hundred, a thousand people who might hate what we’re working on. Numbers, when we should be looking beyond numbers.’

‘What’s so dreadful about numbers?’ I asked.

‘They cloud the judgement,’ Donna said.

I looked at her. ‘But they’re essential to everyday living. We use them to tell the time, to take measurements, count money …’

Donna smiled. ‘I don’t use them to take measurements when I’m cooking. I use my instincts.’

‘And we have no money kept here, no clocks either. In fact, watches aren’t allowed,’ Julien said, peering at my watch. I looked down at the watch that had once belonged to my mother.

‘We wake with the sun and sleep when we’re tired,’ Anita added.

‘Or don’t sleep if we’re in the current,’ Caden said.
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