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Authors: Freda Lightfoot

Wishing Water

BOOK: Wishing Water
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Wishing Water

 

Freda Lightfoot

Originally published 1995 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH

 

Copyright © 1995 and 2010 by Freda Lightfoot.

All rights reserved.

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. Nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. All characters and events in this publication, other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

ISBN 978-0956607324

 

Published by
Freda Lightfoot 2010

 

 
‘paints a vivid picture of life on the fells during the war. Enhanced by fine historical detail and strong characterisation it is an endearing story...’
Westmorland Gazette
on Luckpenny Land

 

‘The new series will be greeted with joy by the thousands of women who enjoy her books.’
Evening Mail, Barrow-in-Furness
on Champion Street Market

 

‘Kitty Little is a charming novel encompassing the provincial theatre of the early 20th century, the horrors of warfare and timeless affairs of the heart.’

The West Briton

 

‘Another heartwarming tale from a master story-teller.’
Lancashire Evening Post
on For All Our Tomorrows.

 

‘a compelling and fascinating tale’
Middlesborough Evening Gazette
on The Favourite Child
(In the top 20 of the Sunday Times hardback bestsellers
)

 

‘She piles horror on horror - rape, torture, sexual humiliation, incest, suicide - but she keeps you reading!’ Jay Dixon on House of Angels.

 

‘This is a book I couldn’t put down . . . a great read!’

South Wales Evening Post
on The Girl From Poorhouse Lane

 

‘a fascinating, richly detailed setting with a dramatic plot brimming with enough scandal, passion, and danger for a Jackie Collins’ novel.’

Booklist on Hostage Queen

 

‘An inspiring novel about accepting change and bravely facing the future.’

The Daily Telegraph
on Ruby McBride

Wishing Water (Third in the Luckpenny Series)

Lissa Turner seems to have everything a girl could ever hope for: she’s pretty and intelligent, has warm and devoted parents and a beautiful home in the Lake District. But despite her good fortune, Lissa is not happy. For her real mother abandoned Lissa while she was still a baby, and her feelings of confusion and vulnerability have persisted. As soon as she is old enough she takes up a job in Carreckwater, a lively village in the heart of Lakeland. She makes many friends but is wary of close relationships. Secretly Lissa wants nothing more than to be loved and cherished, but her lack of faith in herself launches her into a disastrous marriage with sinister consequences...

 

Chapter One

1951

Lissa Turner kilted her thin cotton skirts and slid from the sheep-cropped turf into the icy waters of Allenbeck, squealing with delight as it foamed against her bare legs. She swivelled her head round to look up at the boy, still standing on dry land, very nearly over-toppling herself in the process.

‘Come in, it’s wonderful.’
 

She wriggled her toes, the stones grinding and slipping beneath her feet, and tried another step. Above her head a lapwing climbed on lazily beating wings, finishing in a dizzying display of joy in the May sky. Not always so blue in these Lakeland hills, it came as no surprise to Lissa to find it sun-filled and blue. For today was a special day.

Today she was to see her mother.

All around them grew alder and silver birch, pale slender stems crowding the edge of the small gushing stream, eager perhaps to cool their own feet in the exhilarating flow from the rocky depths of the high mountains. Over the low hump of Gimmer bridge, built a century or more ago with painstaking care and not a scrap of mortar, as was the way in this part of Westmorland, she could see right along the rough track to the stile where the road divided. If she took one twisting path she would come to Broombank, her home, and where Meg and Tam lived. The other climbed up over Larkrigg Fell to the place she should live, Larkrigg Hall. The place where her mother would be preparing a special tea this very afternoon for their first meeting in years. Four years to be exact, not since just after the war when Lissa had been only seven and too young to understand anything.

But she understood now. In Lissa’s pansy eyes was more knowledge than she admitted to, certainly more than was considered good for her. Her stomach tightened into a knot of excitement. Lissa meant to enjoy this day, to wring from it every drop of pleasure she could.

‘What if you fall in?’ grumbled the boy, pausing in the act of unlacing one boot as he wondered if he would get the blame, if she did.

Lissa gave a gurgle of laughter. ‘Then I’d get wet.’ The idea at once took root and she wanted nothing more than to feel the icy water flowing and stinging over every part of her young flesh. Something tickled her toes and she wriggled them, seeing darting slivers of dark shadows race away.

‘Oh, look, there are millions of minnows here,’ she cried.

‘Don’t talk soft. Millions, my foot,’ he scoffed.

‘There are.’
 

‘Catch some then, clever clogs. Bet you can’t’

‘I can.’ Lissa lifted the jam jar that had been hanging on a string about her neck and, still holding her dress with one hand, dipped it with the other into the gushing waters. The tiny fish fled. Not one was to be seen. The water that gushed into the jar was quite empty of life. ‘Oh.’ She sighed her disappointment.

‘You’re ignorant, Lissa Turner. All girls are ignorant. Can’t catch fish to save your life.’
 

She stopped caring about the sharp stones and swivelled about to splash him with a spray of the foaming water. ‘Yes I can!’

‘Here, give over,’ he protested and taking up a flat stone, tossed it carelessly into the beck, missing her bare feet by inches. The water splashed in great wet globs over her clean print frock and up into her face, making her gasp at its coldness.

‘Oh, you rat!’ But the imp of mischief in her could not resist retaliation, so she dipped her hands in the cold water and scooped up great washes of it. Though she aimed at the boy, laughing on the shore, she soaked herself more than him.

‘Nick, we could go for a swim. A real one. Why don’t we?’ She was breathless suddenly with the unexpectedness of her idea, eyes shining with excitement. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? The perfect way to celebrate a special day.

‘We can’t go for a swim.’ The boy sounded contemptuous, as if she was wrong in the head. ‘You know we’re not allowed to go alone up to the tarn.’
 

‘Oh, phooey.’
 

‘And our Daniel can’t swim yet.’
 

‘I can too,’ came a piping voice from some yards away but neither of them took any notice of the smaller boy, knee-deep in water and mud, engrossed in his hunt for wild creatures.

‘Anyroad, Miss Clever-Clogs is going out to tea.’ The older boy spoke with lilting mockery in his tone. ‘With the witch up at the big house.’
 

‘She’s not a witch,’ Lissa hotly protested, uncertainty in her voice.’ She’s my grandmother so how can she be a witch?’
 

Nick put on his superior expression.’ If she is, how come you’ve never been to see her before then?’

Lissa desperately searched her mind for a reason. Not for the world would she admit the truth, that her grandmother would have nothing to do with her. Any story was better than that. ‘She’s not been well.’
 

The boy grunted his disbelief and Lissa wished she could stamp her foot at him but the water hampered her.

‘If you want to know, she’s been waiting for my mother to come home. She couldn’t get here for my birthday but she’ll be here today.’
 

‘Huh! Rather you than me. The old bat’s a witch I tell you,’ Nick insisted. ‘And you’d best come out of that beck, before our Meg catches you.’
 

Lissa had been thinking exactly the same thing but she hated to be told so. ‘I’ll please myself what I do, Nick Turner.’

‘You’re just a girl, and as a boy and your cousin I’m responsible for you, like I am for our Daniel here. Anyway, your hopeless at fishing.’

Lissa was incensed. Though she‘d gladly slipped down to the beck at Nick’s suggestion, bringing her jam jar to catch a few minnows, that was only because she hated to be confined, even for a minute, while the adults chattered on about the Festival of Britain Tea Party in the village hall, how good Betty Hutton had been in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ at the pictures last week, and other matters which were of no importance at all.

‘I’m three months older than you so how can you be responsible for me? Nor are you
really
my cousin, so there.’

The boy’s lip curled with superior mockery. ‘Huh, no one believes that old tale Aunty Meg tells about her finding you in a Liverpool orphanage.’

‘Believe what you like, it’s true.’ Lissa slapped more water at him. ‘I
do
know who my mother is though, so there. She’s flying all the way from Canada to see me. Today!’ The joy of it sang in her heart.

‘Meet your mother? Looking like that? Oh, aye, you will be popular.’

Lissa’s heart gave a little jump of fear. Oh, no, she couldn’t meet her looking a sight. Katherine was beautiful, everyone said so. For weeks Lissa had watched as the dress had been painstakingly stitched, anxiously waiting for the day when she could wear it. But, unable to resist Nick’s challenge, she’d ruined everything.

‘It’s all your fault,’ she cried, tears pricking the back of her eyes. ‘I can catch fish just as well as any boy.’

But Nick only laughed, quite without sympathy for her plight. She turned, meaning to get out of the stream, her movements as liquid and graceful as the swirling waters that washed about her white slender limbs, hair ribbons slipping loose in the wild tumble of glossy black curls. For all she was still a child, it was abundantly clear to anyone that Lissa Turner would grow into a beauty, one very much with a mind of her own.

‘Drat you.’ Lissa slapped at him again with the flat of her hand, then laughed out loud as he lost his footing, arms flailing round and round like a windmill in the wind, and almost in slow motion fell backwards into the water. Fortunately it was more wide than deep at this point and he was as much winded as wet. But for Nick, surprisingly angry.

‘Now you’ve done it,’ he shouted.

He looked so funny sitting there on the pebbles with his bony knees poking up out of the frothing water that Lissa laughed till the tears rolled down her cheeks. Then Nick joined in too while Daniel rolled on the grass and waved his feet in the air with delight.

BOOK: Wishing Water
7.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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