Authors note to the reader: In chapter four, a young teenage human—Einion Morgan Alban—laments his own disability and the constraints on his life. He is the young humana (a young human) that the forest Sprite, Helia Eradica, is searching for. Einions pent-up frustrations cannot be contained and his life is about to change.
He pulled himself up to a seated position, stretched his legs to the floor, and stood up gingerly. His knee felt fine—much better. “That’s good,” he thought.
A few days before, the inside of his knee had filled with blood, and he’d been unable to walk. He had no clotting factor in his blood to staunch bleeding, but the injectable coagulant fluid had its usual effect. The blood and fluids had slowly retreated from his joint, the intense pain and swelling had faded, and coolness had replaced the heat of his knee’s skin and tissue. It was a common occurrence. He suffered from internal bleeding within a joint every couple of weeks—he’d had them more frequently as a child. In the last year, the bleeding had been more manageable. Instead of always having to visit the hospital, he could inject his own coagulant from a repository of medication stored in the fridge.
“Haemophilia—hae-mo-phil-ia,” he mouthed to the curly-haired youth, who spoke back at him from the wall-mounted mirror. The slight cut on his chin, a pinprick from shaving that morning, had finally stopped seeping, dammed by a substantial dried clot. He didn’t dare touch it.
He picked up the book he’d been reading and headed out of his bedroom. The blazer of his school uniform hung in the partially open cupboard; he closed the door firmly. He made his way through the house towards the noisy activity of his family.
“Did you call Ceris?” his mother, Ivéte, asked him, just outside the kitchen door. She had been waiting for him.
“I did. I told her that I had a bleed in my knee. I’ll probably go around to see her on Sunday.”
“She asked me to remind you to call her. I’m just passing on the message.”
“Okay, thanks,” he responded. Ivéte must have seen his flicker of annoyance. He had called his friend, and they’d talked for a while about music, Manx radio, and her harp recital. They liked each other—but that was all.
“Don’t forget that we have an appointment in Liverpool next week.”
“Okay.” He’d forgotten.
“It’s bleeding again,” she added, pointing to his chin.
Einion nodded and pulled out a tissue from his trouser pocket. She was right. Their briefest of conversation had been sufficient to start it bleeding again. The medication was limited in supply for use at home, and there were still too many days when his blood would not clot. It was one of those days.
That was his life: a continual vacillation from being physically able to not being able and back again. It fitfully and unpredictably interrupted his schooling. For a few days he was fit and able, seemingly normal on the outside, and then he’d bleed somewhere inside his body. Those were the periods when he often couldn’t walk, and he had to remain at home.
About The Book
Author: Nicholas Bates
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Magical Realism
AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil. Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds. Book One of the OCEANLIGHT series.
NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors. He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.