ShortBookandScribes #BlogTour #Extract from I, Witness by Niki Mackay @NikiMackayBooks @orionbooks
I’m so pleased to be able to share an extract from I, Witness by Niki Mackay with you today. My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the place on the tour.
They say I’m a murderer.
Six years ago, Kate Reynolds was found holding the body of her best friend; covered in blood, and clutching the knife that killed her.
I plead guilty.
Kate has been in prison ever since, but now her sentence is up. She is being released.
But the truth is, I didn’t do it.
There’s only one person who can help: Private Investigator Madison Attallee, the first officer on the scene all those years ago.
But uncovering the truth means catching a killer.
An incredibly gripping thriller with a twist you’ll never see coming. Fans of Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner, Strike’s The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, Close to Home by Cara Hunter and The Child by Fiona Barton will love I,Witness.
I am a terrible mother. I wasn’t even good at being pregnant.
I spent each trimester in a state of shock. I saw other mums to be, smugly patting their burgeoning bellies whilst I was horrified by every new swollen millimetre. It is an awful thing to be scared of your own children. When they arrived, they overwhelmed me, exhausted me. I was never sure I wanted them but there they were anyway. An accompaniment to a husband I desperately needed. Always more his achievement than mine. My gift to the man who had rescued me. The offering of life for the one he had saved. It’s all I had to give him.
The first nanny was a naturally maternal girl. Young and full of life, robust and energetic. I found her in our bed. I didn’t blame him. Poor James was sadder than I was. She was gone the next day. I could have replaced her. I could even have kept her. I didn’t resent either of them, not for the affair anyway.
It was the looks she gave me, half pity, half disgust. Her head in my husband’s lap was just an excuse. She was too present, too near. She noticed when the children touched me and I flinched. They ran to her instead of me, her arms were wide open waiting to gather them up in hugs and kisses. She saw my relief. She knew.
I am sitting, sweating. My back pressed to the wall, knees I am sitting, sweating. My back pressed to the wall, knees raised. Tense eyes, so like my own, are watching me, waiting.
I vomit. It’s uncontrollable. Hot acid spilling everywhere on my open legs, seeping through my nightgown into my already wet knickers. My bowels open, the smell is disgusting. I cough, heave, wretch. I’m losing consciousness. Soon I will choke. I can’t fight, I was never in with a chance. I’ll be found here, not dressed, drenched in my own bodily expulsions. The pills and vodka are on the table. Only one conclusion will be drawn. So obvious. I was almost born for suicide. All the signs were there after all. Someone like me: fragile, breakable, a victim.
I sentenced myself to this. I am drifting and then something brings me back. It’s my child’s hand on my shoulder, pulling me up, pinning me to the wall. I don’t flinch this time, I don’t have the strength. I meet clear, bright eyes. We lock, just for a moment. I see a face filled with curiosity. The mouth turns up at the corners. A smile that chills me and I am held there in time, inanimate, frozen. An intimate moment for all the wrong reasons. My eyes shut for the last time.
I hear singing. A lullaby I used to sing, when I had the energy, to the very person humming it now, watching while the life drains out of me. Lots of things are running through my mind. The outcomes of different choices, ones I hadn’t made.
I made the wrong ones. This is the price of my weakness, so very, very high. I think I am sick again. I think my body shakes, my back slides down, my head hits the ground, a cold slap against my cheek. I hear a voice say ‘Goodbye, Mummy’ and then everything is black.
Niki Mackay studied Performing Arts at the BRIT School, and it turned out she wasn’t very good at acting but quite liked writing scripts. She holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Drama, and won a full scholarship for her MA in Journalism.