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About the Author

M. M. Bowden was born in Swansea, Wales, and now resides


in Somerset, England, where she teaches English, inspiring
others to pursue their creative talents and instilling a love of
reading in the next generation. This, her first novel, has been a
life-long dream, allowing her the opportunity of sharing her
imagination with others.

Dedication
For my parents, who have showed me that love can be
everlasting and for my own loving husband and sons who
inspire me every day.

M. M. Bowden

TOGETHER TO
THE END

Copyright M. M. Bowden (2014)


The right of M. M. Bowden to be identified as author of this
work has been asserted by her in accordance with section 77
and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
publishers.
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to
this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil
claims for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the
British Library.
ISBN 978 1 78455 553 5 (paperback)
978 1 78455 555 9 (hardback)
www.austinmacauley.com
First Published (2015)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London
E14 5LB

Printed and bound in Great Britain

One

The End. A strange place to begin I know, however, after


the heart-breaking path that has led me here, I am still
struggling to believe where I am now standing, so if I dont
start here, I dont think Ill ever be able to start at all.
Standing here, in the early morning sunshine, listening
to the tuneful birdsong drifting down from the bare
branches of a nearby old oak tree, I watch as the dew drop
tears slowly trickle down the drooping blades of grass; I
have to watch carefully, focusing on the hues of silver and
blue as they glisten in their watery descent, not because of
the beauty of the spectacle, nor because I am embarrassed
that my own tears are mingling with the fresh morning
scene, but because if I dont, I will see, and Im not sure if
my heart is ready to yet believe.
I feel a hand slowly intertwine with my own. Looking
down, I see my own feelings reflected in the eyes of a small
child; such knowing eyes at such a young age. I find that I
cannot look into the eyes for long, feeling as if I might
drown in their emotional depths. That, and that they remind
me...
Lord, times tide may wash footprints from the shore,
but not our love, nor the influence of our lives upon
others...
Hearing these words spoken aloud, I feel my calm
resolve washing away in a tide of emotion. Footprints fade,
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smoothed over by the ever-coming waves, but what about


memories? How long will this moment imprint itself on my
memory? Eternally? Or will the true meaning, the pure
emotion, natures beauty, gradually dissolve?
In my confusion of feeling, I look up, coming face-toface with the reality long awaited. Before me, my life
stands, smiles mingling with tears. Feeling my heart
pounding, struggling to withstand the emotion of the
moment, I let fall the flower from my hand; almost black,
the roses petals seem a mixture of blood and poison, life
and death. As I watch the flower fall upon the freshly
turned soil, I mutter a prayer, before turning to embrace my
destiny.

Two

Imagine a pair of eyes, silky chocolate, full of warmth and


kindness, that no matter what mood you are in, you cant
help being infused with joy at the sight of them; a smile so
bright, with dimples so cute, that you can feel warmth of
feeling seeping through your body; a laugh so infectious
that bubbles of giggling gas would soon erupt out of you;
thats what Rachel was like.
Rachel, my childhood friend, my one true love, the girl
of my dreams and as it turns out, the girl who haunts my
nightmares.
I would love to tell you that it was love at first sight, or
that we met in some hugely romantic way, but this is real
life, not a perfect fairytale, as the upset and turbulence
which followed was evidence to.

Three
20th December 1993

Boys are pigs! And that is not a metaphor,


(we did those in school before the
holidays the sun is an orange, the moon
is a torch and all of that rubbish!), it is a
fact! They arent humans, they are
animals. In fact, I think that that is an
insult to some of the cleverer animals,
such as dogs, horses and dolphins. Its
probably even an insult to pigs, because
boys are STUPID!
I just wanted to be alone, without
people checking every five minutes if Im
OK, or watching me carefully, expecting
me every moment to burst into tears and
seeming shocked if I even managed to
raise a brief smile. What? Am I never to
feel happy again? Not that I m feeling all
that cheerful, but sometimes I wish I
could just vanish, disappear someplace
else and forget everything, forget who I
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am and slip into someone elses easy life.


But it seems that I am not meant to be
alone, not anywhere, not even on the
swings by myself down the park.
I was dreaming that I lived some place
exotic, where the bright blue sky is only
invaded by white fluffy clouds once in a
while, and they never produce rain, or the
sadness which sometimes comes with that
weather; golden sands, crystal clear water
and palm trees the place that I
frequently find myself drifting off to
lately. I was riding a beautiful black
stallion, bare-backed, along the velvety
soft sand, when all of a sudden I felt a
force hit me from behind and before I
could do anything to stop myself, I was
falling towards the sand, falling back to
reality, and landed face down in a
puddle of mud. Why do all of my dreams
have to turn to nightmares? Why do I
always end up getting hurt?
From behind me I could hear laughter
boys laughter. As I picked myself up and
turned to see who was enjoying my
humiliation, I got splattered in the face
with a handful of mud it was that
hideous Tom Scott and his bunch of bum
chums, all laughing hysterically at me.
Pigs!
5

Why do they always pick on me?


Because Im a sad, lonely loser, thats why.
At least thats what they were shouting at
me in between their hysterical laughter. I
just felt like crying, but I wasnt going to
give them the satisfaction Mum taught
me that. Instead, I slowly picked myself up
and tried to wipe myself down, praying
that maybe it would rain to help wash
some of the mud off, and to hide the tears
that despite my best efforts I could feel
stinging behind my eyes. No, I thought, I
am not going to cry, so I just stared at
them, wishing that I was strong enough to
get revenge, but Im not that strong.
Thats when I noticed him. He was new
I hadnt seen him before. He was just
stood there staring, not laughing like the
others, but looking kind of sad. Stupidly I
thought he was different maybe he was
the Clark Kent to my Lois Lane, who would
heroically save me from yet another
humiliation. Not surprisingly, I was
wrong.
Tom spotted that he wasnt enjoying the
game as much as everybody else, so he
dared him to throw a mud pie. I should
have moved, but I was still thinking that
he might smack a mud pie straight into

Toms ugly mug for me. Who was I trying


to kid?
And whats more, Dads now grounded
me for coming in in such a mess. I didnt
mean to make more work for him!
I hate boys! Even the grown up ones!