Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour post for The Five Things by Beth Merwood. I’m excited to be taking part in the tour and for today’s post, I have an extract to share with you. As always, a huge thank you to Beth and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part.
I really hope you enjoy today’s exclusive extract. This chapter appears as any normal typical childhood would, and in the context of the book we know that something is going to happen very shortly to these characters. The scene seems very innocent and so I can’t help but wonder what happens next! Of course we’ll have to read the book to find out, but for now, here is today’s extract!
Exclusive excerpt from The Five Things by Beth Merwood
The Five Things is set in 1969 in rural England. The following excerpt is from an early scene and finds the key characters in their favourite place, playing a game during the carefree days of the school summer holiday. Soon a terrible event will interrupt their world.
Tommy had us lying on our backs in the grass at the far side of the upper field. It was really just a game of hide and seek that he’d slightly embellished.
“Count to a hundred,” he said, and we heard him running off.
We had to lie on our backs so that he knew we would keep our eyes shut. The sun was blazing down, and I put my arm over my face because it was so bright it seemed it could burn right through my eyelids.
Anna, Naomi, Sam, and I were all there.
Sam was moaning. “I’m so hot.”
“Thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six…” Anna counted.
“I feel weird,” I said.
Naomi never said very much. She was joining in the game, though, so that was something.
“Fifty-one, fifty, forty-eight,” Anna said.
“Fif-ifty-fi-i-ive, fiiiiiifteeee-siiiiix, fty-svn,” said Sam. He was saying the numbers slowly, or quickly, or in a funny voice to make it more interesting.
Anna started to giggle. It’s hard to stop giggling when you’re lying on your back, and soon we were all giggling, and no one was counting. Sam stood up.
“Give it a bit longer, then we’ll go and search,” he said.”
We waited. He lay down again. I was trying to look at him through gaps in my fingers without being blinded.
“One hundred!” Naomi said. We weren’t sure if she was guessing or if she’d continued counting the whole time.
We got up and headed to the wood to hunt for Tommy. Anna said we had to split up. I was sent on the normal path, while Sam was to go to the left of the path and Anna to the right of the path. Naomi was to walk round the outside of the wood looking in. I had the easiest route, but I was finding it hard to adjust my eyes after coming out of the sunlight, and I felt dizzy. It seemed so dark, but it was lovely and cool. A piece
of ivy, hanging down, brushed my bare shoulder and made me jump. Then, as I climbed over the fallen tree, I thought I spotted something moving. I sat on the trunk for a while, watching and listening. All I could hear was the sound of the others in the undergrowth, the swishing sounds as they thrashed their way through. I went on. Eventually, I thought I’d been in the wood long enough and came out the other side without finding Tommy. I headed back to where we’d been sitting. As I walked round, I saw Tommy and Naomi lounging on the grass in full view. Tommy put his finger to his lips to silence me. I strode over.
“You’re supposed to be hiding,” I whispered loudly.
He whispered back, “I waited until I saw you all come into the wood, and then I came back here.”
“Tommy, that’s cheating!” I told him. Naomi probably knew he would do something like that.
“Well, the others won’t be too pleased, they’re searching high and low for you.”
“Shhhhh…” he said.
The others were anything but pleased when they finally returned. In fact, they told Naomi and me we were as much to blame because we hadn’t called off the hunt. Sam had torn his T-shirt, and both Sam and Anna had been scratched by brambles and stung by nettles.
“You’re in for it this time, squirt,” Sam said.
“Little brothers can be very annoying,” Naomi confirmed.”
The Five Things – Beth Merwood
For nine-year-old Wendy, the summer of 1969 will never be forgotten.
Local kids have always told stories about the eerie wood on the outskirts of the village, and Wendy knows for sure that some of them are true. Now the school holidays have started and she’s going to the wood again with Anna and Sam, but they soon become convinced that someone is trying to frighten them off.
When a terrible event rocks the coastal community, the young friends can’t help thinking there must be a connection between the incident, the tales they’ve heard, and the strange happenings they’ve begun to witness. As glimpses of a darker world threaten their carefree existence, they feel compelled to search out the underlying truth.
Beth Merwood is from the south of England. The Five Things is her debut novel.
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