Kerry Fisher shares an extract from her latest release, The Island Escape.
Can one woman’s marriage survive her best friend’s divorce?
It’s time to get back to where it all began…
Octavia Sheldon thought she’d have a different life. One where she travelled the world with an exotic husband and free-spirited children in tow. But things didn’t turn out quite like that. Married to safe, reliable Jonathan, her life now consists of packed lunches, school runs and more loads of dirty washing than she ever thought possible. She’s not unhappy. It’s just that she can barely recognise herself any longer.
So as Octavia watches her best friend’s marriage break up, it starts her thinking. What if life could be different? What if she could escape and get back to the person she used to be? Escape back to the island where she spent her summers? And what if the man she used to love was there waiting for her…?
With a final shuffle of her papers, she picked up the boiler suit and said, ‘Right. Let’s take you down to a cell to get changed.’
The shocking racket from the two women, plus my own incredulity clouded my ability to think. Were they actually going to lock me up and make me strip?
‘Couldn’t I keep my blouse? Can’t I just sit in here until all this gets sorted out? I promise I won’t go anywhere.’
I think I was expecting her to make an exception because I wasn’t slurring my words, didn’t have any tattoos and had had a shower in the last twenty-four hours.
She shook her head and opened a heavy grey door. ‘Your shirt’s considered evidence because it’s got blood on the cuff. There’s no point in arguing, we have to remove it, by force if necessary.’
I did that eyes wide open thing, trying to get my tears under control, but they were splashing down my cheeks then soaking into my blouse as I shuffled along after her, just another Surrey miscreant to be dealt with before tea break.
Every cell door had a pair of shoes outside it. All too soon, it was my turn to feel the cold concrete beneath my feet. My patent boots looked out of place amongst the trainers and stilettos. Pikestaff stood back to let me enter, then followed me in.
I still couldn’t believe that Scott hadn’t turned up to tell them he’d overreacted. Pikestaff pushed her straggly blonde hair off her face. ‘Your shirt.’
I stripped off my blouse and thrust it at her without meeting her eye.
She put the boiler suit down on the mattress. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to put this on?’
‘Quite sure, thank you.’ I squared my shoulders, trying to ignore the fact that I was standing in front of someone I didn’t know in a bra with more lace than substance. Judging by the disdain on her face, Pikestaff was more of a walking boots and headscarf sort of woman.
The silent stand-off fanned a tiny spark of rebellion inside me. She had no idea about my life, none at all. Let her pass judgment about what sort of woman I was. Let the whole world.
Something shifted slightly in her face. I recognised the signs of a last-ditch effort. ‘Come on. Put it on. You don’t want to be walking down these corridors to be interviewed in your bra. There’s CCTV everywhere.’
Was I really going to be escorted through the police station with a mere whisper of black lace to protect my modesty? I imagined a crowd of officers pointing at the CCTV monitor and making jokes. To my frustration, my nerve buckled. I shook out the silly plastic boiler suit and stepped into it. As I zipped up the front, resignation overwhelmed me. I didn’t look at Pikestaff in case I found smug satisfaction on her face.
As she left, the door reverberated shut like a scene from a budget police drama. I tried to distract myself by thinking about people facing a lifetime in jail for their beliefs and what it would be like to wake up in a tiny cell every day for years. Instead I became obsessed with whether I could get out of there before I needed to use the vile metal loo in the corner. I racked my brains to remember when I’d last had a drink. A glass of wine before dinner, about eight o’clock.
Kerry Fisher is also the author of The School Gate Survival Guide. She studied at Bath University and speaks fluent Italian, Spanish and French. She trained as a journalist at City University, then went on to write travel guidebooks for Thomas Cook. After landing her dream job working on women’s magazines, she discovered that she wasn’t able to write about real people in case their families got upset. The Writers’ Program at the University of California helped her move from fact into fiction. She now lives in Surrey with her husband and two children.