Chapter 1: Midsummer
The sea air hit Cass first as she got out of her car. The salty smell of childhood hit her. She was transported for a moment back to camping trips, laughter and cremated sausages. Cass gasped back the tears.
The midsummer night’s air was buffeting her as she walked closer to the edge of the cliff. She took off her heels and let the wild grasses scratch at her ankles.
The cliff’s edge was illuminated by moonlight. She could not see the waves below but their roar reassured Cass the tide was in.
She let the open bottle of vodka slip out of her fingers to the floor, spilling its contents onto sea-bleached earth. She sat down next to the alcoholic puddle. She let the contents of her bag scatter out as she rummaged through them. She instinctively pushed the empty packets of Valium back into the bag. Lighting her last cigarette, she wondered if she would miss this old friend. She thought it ironic how many times she had been lectured about non-smokers being finally in control of their lives. As Cass finished, she flicked the still light butt over the edge and watched it fall. She wondered if it had got to the bottom before it extinguished.
She sprang to her feet. Catapulting her heels into the depths, Cass disrobed. All the trappings of her life flew off on the sea breeze like gulls. She did not care where they went. Briefly Cassandra Janus stood there in the moonlight like a Pre- Raphaelite goddess and then she was gone.