This is where Skelter was born and continues to grow. I had a good tidy up ready to get stuck in once again to the latest novel Skelter’s Falklands. I have the outline plot and the first draft of chapters 1 – 6. Here is a taster. Still needs work, obviously but it is a start.
They walked in single file – eight of them, weapons at the ready, across camouflaged combats, as they picked their way over the seaweed-covered rocks along the shore line. In the watery late afternoon sun, towering black cliffs glistened wet from the light drizzle. One man in line lost his footing, boot skidding on the algae. The soldier crashed into the water at the edge of the inlet, much to the amusement of his companions. Bladderwrack and kelp swishing in the swirling water ensured that no one noticed the large, flat, seaweed-blanketed rock move, as his boot struck it. A seventeen feet by three slab, displaced by at least three inches.
The spluttering soldier clambered out of the water, cursing, only to slip again with a grunt as his backside slammed onto the rock. Laughter erupted once more, before two comrades helped the man to his feet. Despite the ordeal the soldier still had a firm grip on his rifle. Cold and wet, but uninjured, the man fell back into line, clutching his weapon and his wounded pride. The patrol continued into the drizzling mist.
Twenty yards offshore, a smooth, round head broke the choppy surface, swivelled three hundred and sixty degrees and settled to face the spot where the soldier had slipped. As the only witness to what happened next, what the seal made of what she saw in the moonlight, is anyone’s guess. Something moved in the seaweed bed, the bladderwrack shuffled. Like a trailer from the 1950s B Movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, an alien form rose to a height of around three feet. It resembled a moss-covered hobbit. Another similar form popped up two feet behind it. The seal watched transfixed as seventeen feet of seaweed-clad rock, detached from the shore and slid out into the choppy waters, powered by a pair of hobbits, paddling in perfect unison.
‘That was close, H.’ The strong Devon dialect came from the creature in the rear.
‘You’re not kidding, Trigger, that boy’s boot missed me by inches. Just shows how good this camouflage is. God bless you Hubert,’ said Skelter.
‘Later – paddle.’ Lance corporal Mark Skelter ‘H’ to his mates, dug his blade into the sea. Trooper Melvin Trigg followed with a practised skill, gained in the Bristol Channel, over the last seventeen of his twenty-three years. The Klepper gathered momentum, nosing towards the little bald head bobbing in waves. No doubt she had encountered canoes before, but more likely rainbow coloured fibreglass kayaks rather than collapsible canvas war vessels swathed in synthetic camouflage.
Skelter smiled at the big, brown-eyed mammal, through his khaki green dreadlocks and cam cream. The seal slipped beneath the surface as they closed in, on the way to open water. Drizzle and darkness were perfect for the mission and coupled with the swell helped to make the canoe virtually invisible. They were running against the tide, but there was less than five miles to target. Skelter calculated they had time to plant the demolition charges, get well clear and find a lying up position, well before daylight. They had covered eleven miles the previous night, paddling steadily for an hour then resting for five minutes, by which time, the cold encouraged them to get going again.
Up ahead, Skelter could make out vehicle headlights on the right shoreline, three hundred metres away. He tracked them as they moved ahead until they faded almost to nothing, at which point they swung across the front of his vision. Two white pinpoints gliding over the bridge spanning the narrows. Skelter stopped paddling. A pat on his back confirmed that Trigger had seen the target. He glanced back and gave his number two the thumbs up.