The following is the beginning of a story I wrote for the Isle of Jura whisky competition. Sadly, I didn’t win – but I’m still happy to say their whisky is wonderful.
He wedged his boot hard against the door. Hale rattled the wood like buckshot. He slumped back against the door, wiping the mist from his glasses, feeling the numb ache in his fingers and the roar of blood in his ears. The walls of the cottage were three-feet thick. It was like stepping into a vacuum.
The weather could change here in a matter of hours. Last night they’d sat among the gorse and thistles, high above the cottage, and stared at a sky as black as felt, dotted with shimmering stars. Adam had closed his eyes and sucked the salty tang of the Atlantic deep into his lungs. Somewhere out there in the darkness he’d heard the sea lapping at the shore and sucking pebbles rattling into the depths. Today the sea was raging; boiling over the rocks and spitting gobs of creamy foam far into the headland.
Adam kicked off his boots and set the logs down by the fire. Emma cracked two eggs into the pan. They hissed and spat in the boiling oil. He crept up to Emma, clasping his arms round her waist. He pressed his ice-cold cheek against her face and she pulled away.
‘It’s freezing!’ Adam said.
Emma scraped at the pan, sliding the fish slice beneath the egg-white.
‘You kept moaning you wanted weather to paint,’ she said.
‘I know, but it’s bitter. I can’t feel my hands.’
Emma spooned the eggs onto rafts of hot, buttered toast.
‘Oh, you wanted palm trees and swimming pools?’
She stared into the darkness outside. ‘Now I see where you went wrong.’
They sat down to their meal. There was a loud, heavy knock on the door. Adam looked at her.
‘Who’s that at this time?’
‘How the hell should I know?’