"And above all watch with glittering eyes the world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." - Roald Dahl

27 February 2014




This is a very big deal. I am revealing - for the very first time - a piece of my full-length novel. It is the first book in a series which is aimed at the older teen and upwards. It is set in contemporary Cape Town and takes the characters into a strange new world, where the reader gets to witness the coming of age of all of these characters. The story incorporates elements of fantasy, adventure, mystery, suspense and, my favourite, magic.

I am still in the process of getting this novel ‘out there’ and will keep you all posted on the progress.

This snippet is at a critical point during the first chapter and the event described below is the catalyst for the entire series.



It was a cold Friday morning, being the middle of July. It wasn’t raining – yet. Afton was the first up at 5:30am, as was the norm. She went through her usual routine. While getting the breakfasts and lunches ready in the kitchen, she turned on the TV in the lounge to the morning news. She couldn’t see the TV from where she was, but she could hear the latest bulletins being read. At that time of the morning, though, they were still broadcasting news from the day before, with the newest news only on from six a.m.

“Good morning, Sleepy,” she said as she heard familiar footsteps walk up behind her. She turned round with a smile to greet her husband.

No one was there.

For a second it felt as if her heart had skipped a beat and her palms instantly started sweating. She could have sworn she had heard footsteps right behind her. She stood frozen for a few moments, the butter knife clutched tightly in her right hand.

“Gill?” she called out.

“Yes?” he called back, still in their bedroom. Goosebumps immediately covered her entire body.

“Nothing,” she replied.

He was still in the bedroom. She must have imagined it she told herself. It wouldn’t be one of the children. They waited until the very last microsecond before getting up to get ready for school. She slowly turned back to the bread board, and applied margarine to another slice of bread.

But she could not shake the sinister feeling that had taken hold of her. Something did not feel right. Just to be sure, she’d check on the children, she told herself.

Jasper was still in bed, but awake. As a rule he only got up after having snoozed his alarm three times.

“Good morning. I’m awake,” he automatically said, as his mother popped her head around his door. This was a regular occurrence.

“Good morning. Just checking,” she replied, and went over to Piper’s room.

To her surprise, Piper’s bed was already made. Piper enjoyed going for morning runs, but never in winter and never without letting at least one of her parents know. Afton walked down to the bathroom. Perhaps she was already in the shower. Lately, since the cold weather, the mornings had turned into shower-wars between the siblings.

She opened the door and stuck her head inside. No one was in the bathroom.

She went to the master bedroom, where Gillion was just on his way out.

“Good morning,” he smiled and kissed her forehead, then immediately asked what was wrong.

“Did Piper go for a run this morning?” she asked, praying that he would say ‘yes.’

“She didn’t say anything to me. Why?” he asked, with rapidly growing concern. Afton sprinted back down the passage without responding, calling out their daughter’s name frantically.

She burst back into Jasper’s bedroom. He was just getting up.

“What’s going –” He didn’t get to finish his sentence.

“Where’s Piper?” asked Afton, breathlessly, just barely getting the words out.

“Is she not in her room?” asked Jasper innocently.

“No, she’s not in her room!” she shouted in response, and then ran back to her daughter’s room, with her husband and son close on her trail.

She looked underneath the bed, Gillion flung open the wardrobes, and Jasper ran to the window, which was still shut. There was no sign of Piper.

Gillion then ran to the front and back doors. They had the habit of leaving both sets of keys in the doors at night as an extra precaution. They were still there. The doors were still locked from the inside.

“Was the alarm still activated this morning when you got up?” he asked his wife.

“Yes it was, but –” She stopped mid-sentence. A chill ran down her spine.

“But what?” Gillion asked impatiently.

“I thought I heard footsteps in the house this morning.”

For a few seconds the remainder of the Cameron family stared at each other in fear. Could this actually be happening to them? Had their daughter become a statistic? They all scattered once more, each one making a concerted effort to find her both inside or outside the house, no matter how improbable. But there was no sign of her anywhere. Breathlessly they all converged on the kitchen once more.

In a pained voice, Gillion eventually stated what was becoming glaringly obvious.

“Piper’s been taken.”

Thanks for reading!

Carmen x

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