Turnstone

Turnstone by Graham Hurley

Book: Turnstone by Graham Hurley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Graham Hurley
the yachts from Cowes Week were streaming out of the Medina River in bright sunshine, and he watched them as they raised sail and ran before the breeze under bulging spinnakers. All morning, weather forecasts had been warning of a sudden drop in barometric pressure over the eastern Atlantic, a portent of a major storm. Back in 1979, fifteen men had died on the Fastnet Race when hurricane-force winds tore into the fleet. No one wanted it to happen again. Least of all, Cathy Lamb.
    On the phone the other night she’d been more than generous with her time. They’d talked for more than an hour, Faraday trying to sort out the muddle of emotions the boy’s return had stirred, Cathy offering the kind of unvarnished home truths Faraday knew he needed to hear. There was no point wallowing in a past that had gone. J-J was a man now. Of course he had problems, of course it would be hard for him, but that was the way life took most people. He’d fled the nest. And the sooner Faraday grasped that simple truth, the sweeter life would be for all of them.
    Deep down, Faraday knew she was right. Calmer now, he spent the morning watching groups of waders. Their feeding was frenzied. They moved quickly from area to area, pausing to peck and worry at the rich soup of nutrients beneath the glistening mud flats, and as Faraday eased the binoculars from bird to bird he wondered whether they were aware of the weather that might be soon sweeping east.
    From Pennington, in mid-afternoon, Faraday drove north to a car park deep in the New Forest, and walked across the heath into the woodland. The woods were cool and dark after the blaze of sunshine. He sat beneath a beech tree, watching a redstart chasing flies, then smiled as the little bird darted into a holly bush, disturbed by the brief shadow of a sparrowhawk circling overhead. The forest was in full leaf and overhead the trees were beginning to stir, a constant muted rustling that spoke of deep unease.
    Faraday felt it on his nerve ends. All morning he’d done his best not to think about J-J, but here in the woods it was impossible not to let the last few days crowd in on him. A week in Caen had changed the boy beyond recognition. Time after time, Faraday had tried to revive the old rapport, the old easy ways, but to no avail. J-J had become evasive, hard-edged, calculating, wary. His vulnerability was as evident as ever but he wore this new persona like a baggy, off-the-peg coat bought for him by a stranger. It didn’t fit. It didn’t suit him. And sooner or later, Faraday knew that he’d have to take it back.
    In the meantime, though, Faraday had come to realise that there was no point worrying about what might happen next. Maybe the old relationship, the old rapport, would come back. Maybe it wouldn’t. Either way, it was probably beyond his control. Cathy Lamb had been right all along. The boy was twenty-two years old. Real life had consequences for us all. It was time to let his precious J-J work it out for himself.
    Faraday had supper alone in a pub in Lyndhurst. Driving back to Portsmouth, he turned on the radio to check on the weather. The isobars were tightening into a dizzy whorl off the west coast of Ireland and the Fastnet Race committee had issued an advisory notice requesting yachts to report in hourly. Should the weather worsen over the next twenty-four hours, some commentators were calling for the race to be abandoned completely.
    At home, J-J was back in bed. Faraday sat out in the darkness, listening to the eerie plaint of a distant curlew. It was low tide in the harbour and on the hot breath of the exposed mud flats came the tarry smells of driftwood and the tang of drying seaweed. Overhead, the moon was gauzy behind a thin layer of high cloud but the wind seemed to have died completely. Perhaps the storm has gone away, thought Faraday. Perhaps, like so much else, it was nothing more than make-believe.
    The next morning, Monday, he knew at a glance that the forecasters

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