The Distant Dead By Heather Young
On the book tour for ‘The Distant Dead’ by Heather Young, enjoy an extract from the thrilling story.
The boy was beautiful, too, with a face as delicate as a girl’s, and long-lashed brown eyes. He was his mother’s only child to live past the suckling years. Like her other babies he had been sickly and small, and even now he was slight, but unlike his brothers and sisters he had latched his translucent lips fast to her breast and would not let go. Now he was a singer of songs and a teller of stories, with a voice even the elders hushed to hear around the fire.
Tonight the elders would anoint the boy a man, together with two other boys born in the same season, but the boy didn’t feel like a man. He saw the arcing muscles of the other boys’ arms and the proud bones hardening in their faces, and believed himself to be a child. He heard them talk about the hunts they would join and knew himself to be afraid of the wild boar and the charging mastodon. He didn’t see how the elders listened when he read the stars, or how the other boys looked at him when they spoke, to see what he thought.
He saw only how far short of the other boys’ his stone fell when he threw it in the lake, and how far behind them he ran.
He had come to the cave because, in the last hours of his boyhood, he wanted to do something brave. So in the lazy part of the afternoon, while his mother slept on the dirt floor of their shelter, he ran through the grass to the foot of the cliff climbed until the eye in the rocks became a mouth. Now he took one last look at the bright curve of the world and walked inside.
You can buy ‘The Distant Dead’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.