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“Hello, my name’s Helene Young. I’m reading from my story Wings of Fear.
Her footprints laid an even path across the smooth expanse of beach, swept clean by the night’s high tide. White sand, right up to the line of pig face and dune grass, was unblemished.
The moon, bright against the dark western sky was just disappearing behind Saddle Mountain. Its perfect roundness signalled the highest of the month’s tide, its presence in the sky at dawn a sign that summer was close. A scattering of stars glinted against a backdrop of deepest blue.
As she ran onto the wet sand the cool of the water dropped the air temperature a degree and a light breeze wafted over her, raising a rash of goose bumps despite the heat.
Morgan extended her stride, revelling in the morning and its promise. Back to work after a month’s holiday, back to the joy of being airborne, back to the buzz of piloting an aircraft, each machine as individual as the people who flew it.
Her passion for flying was lodged deep in her soul. It gave her a view of the world that made all of life’s troubles seem insignificant.
In the air, she was Captain Morgan Pentland, a senior pilot in the Border Watch fleet of Dash 8 aircraft. High in the vast blue, it didn’t matter where she came from or who her parents were. Nobody cared whether she came from old money, new money or no money.
Up there they were a tight knit crew, the guardians who kept Australia’s vast coastline under constant surveillance. Her mouth curved in a satisfied smile. Got to love them when you live that closely with them.
She slowed to a standstill, picking up a smooth piece of driftwood for the bounding dog.
‘Go, Sam, go.’ She flung the piece of wood out to sea. The dog hit the tiny swell running, leaving white foam in his wake as he
swam to retrieve the bobbing wood.
Morgan’s thoughts were still drifting. Flying had saved her, had defined her, had given her purpose, maybe this was as good as life got. Relationships seemed to be a touch more problematic…
Sam distracted her, dropping the stick at her feet. ‘Well done, good boy. No don’t shake now. No . . .’ She squealed as the water sprayed from Sam’s thick fur covering her in cool drops.
‘Ok, big buddy, you can have a run this time.’ The stick landed fifty meters along the beach, bouncing as it sprayed fine sand into the air. Morgan squinted, shading her eyes against the prickling glare of the sun still low on the morning horizon.
‘What’s that . . . ? What the hell . . . ?’ Fear spurred her on as she ran along the water’s edge after the dog, her heart thudding against her rib cage.
‘Sam, stop. Sam,’ she yelled. ‘Stop.’
ABOUT HELENE YOUNG:
Helene Young lives by a beach north of Cairns. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her flying Dash 8 aircraft around regional Australia – an office with the best view in the world!
She writes contemporary suspense novels with feisty, confident heroines who (not surprisingly) work in the aviation industry. Her stories are set in the top end of Australia – a wild and wonderful, larger-than-life environment just begging to be showcased in stories filled with intrigue. Her novels, Wings of Fear and Shattered Sky, are published by Hachette Australia. Her third book Burning Lies will be released in 2012.
“I was fortunate to be chosen for a Long Lines programme at Varuna in October 2009. Working in Eleanor Dark’s studio was a wonderful experience and my second novel Shattered Sky benefited enormously from my discussions with Peter Bishop and the other writers who shared that week with me.” Helene Young
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