Sample: Local Voices Chapter 2
Annie closed her eyes and let the warm water wash over her rinsing away the sulphurous smell, and with it the stain of those vile women’s words and the fear and anxiety they provoked. She sucked in a mouthful of water and spat. Witch? That time-old accusation had served to disqualify if not eliminate so many women and girls. She’d written an essay on it at school. Wise-women. Those with knowledge or power. Those who were special. Those who were different. The doers of inexplicable deeds. The magicians. The foreigners. The gays. The pretty ones. The ugly ones. The clairvoyants. The unbelievers. The misfits.
Not that she belonged to any of the categories. Rather, she had the media to thank for her special status. They’d singled her out as figurehead of the women’s London Whatever movement which had organised a massive demonstration in London against violence. The thought of it had her swelling with pride. Those women had managed to do so much in such a short time. It had been an undeniable demonstration of power and ability.
As for her, notoriety had led to further articles and photo shoots. She’d tried to shift others into the spotlight, her friends and co-conspirators, Leonor, Riya, Ella, even her girlfriend, Kevin. When that failed, she refused to comply, but people insisted like greedy animals or well-meaning supporters. Everyone wanted to interview her, seeking her opinion about this or that. Imaginations were fired up and fanciful tales told. So much so, she rarely recognised herself in their portrayals. The Annie Wight that brandished her fist on television and media alike, each time cunningly disguised by her friend Jewel, a renowned transformation artist, was sometimes larger than life, but more often than not much less than she was.
She studied her face in the bathroom mirror. A bruise was forming under her left eye, making her look tougher than she felt, as if she were taken to brawling. Her hair had begun to grow and stood unruly on her head. Raking her fingers through it made little difference. She was struck by the penetrating gaze and the fervent determination of the slender girl that stared back at her. She looked wild. Dangerous. Not a witch, but a wild woman, a woman of power. Giddy at the thought, she hastened to dismiss the heady feeling coursing through her veins. Other people’s visions were getting to her head.