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Respite excerpt 1

Chapter 1 : Next move?

By Pauline FountainPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
[ Image : Pauline Fountain ]

Format : Novelette

Respite (Working Title)

Chapter 1 : Next move?


He was sitting on the jetty. The seat was made of weathered wood with white paint cracked; flaking from exposure to the brittle summer sun.

Looking back across Encounter Bay to the township of Victor Harbor, he experienced a sense of sublime beatitude.

Finally, ‘home.’

A much longed for cold wind buffeting his ears in a gusting rhythm; stinging and watering his eyes. 

The sun would soon set. The clouds were changing. Once angry; lashing with lightening, thunder and drenching squalls.

The clouds had changed to golden rimmed with heavy pink bellies.

The lights of the jetty glowed yellow. Now deserted; he had the Horse-Drawn Tram mat to himself. Avoiding the odd clump of rain soaked manure.  

The rubber lightened his step, and he thought of the Clydesdale’s journey on the causeway to and from Granite Island.  

Tourists arrived at weekends to ride the Clydesdale’s Tram to this strange sparse land mass of orange, lichen tinged, granite boulders.

The surface secured his path beneath, compared to the bitumen smeared over the wooden jetty sleepers. The covering was eroded, fissured and undulating. 

At some places the cracks had grown to gashes, revealing the sea below; lapping and swirling against the pylons.

Stopping, he looked left to the Bluff. A walk for tomorrow? 

He looked right, remembering the last time he had visited Port Elliot with his family on a day trip from Adelaide. 

He blocked his memories. Shut down. A walk for Saturday? No.

And Sunday? Maybe rest.


Norfolk pines lined the foreshore.  

The pines stood like sentinels, along the Esplanade. As he approached, he saw the outer branches swaying in the wind. 

They stood like sentinels, proclaiming the end of the sea; the end of the sand.

The trees were planted to honour men from the district. Long ago dead from World War I. 

The bark was twisted and curling, with sap still bleeding from removed lower branches. 

He paused, mindful with great esteem, at the monument to the fallen.


Walking back to the Anchorage Hotel he felt wonderment as the sea continued; relentless.

Lodgings from a gentler era; he leaned back into the wicker chair, now covered by a dry blanket. 

After a brief shower in the ancient shared facilities, he left the hotel; noting there was no one on the foreshore. Perhaps not surprising in a South Australian winter.  

The sunset stopped him in his tracks.

In contrast to the earlier colour interplay, the sea and sky were a steely grey. The sea; surface rippling with wind swirls.


Crossing the road to Ocean Street, hunched against the wind, in a dry coat; he went from the Anchorage Hotel to the ATM. It was 5.30 pm. 

Browsing in the windows of the fish and chip shops, and delicatessens. The shopkeepers were reading newspapers or books, preparing for a long night with few customers.

One fish and chip shop was run by an old Scottish couple. They sat outside at a shabby table, arguing and smoking. 

The Pizza shop had mothers with their children seated in the main window; a bedlam of munching pizza and flailing arms.

He wandered inside. The light was bright and the noise as expected. He ordered Spaghetti Napolitana and orange juice. 

The woman took his order with a sigh and a sneer, acknowledging that the dreary evening trade had begun. She had worked there for 8 years and could no longer hide her scorn. 

She jabbed the cash register with her finger. Pink polished chipped away and worn. Forefinger, thick and yellowed. Age, work and tobacco.

Outside, the table rocked and wobbled as he hungrily ate the meal. With the final sip of his orange juice, it was early evening. Sky black, no longer a steely grey.

Satisfied, he pulled his coat tight. An attempt at protection from the biting wind.


He returned to his lodging from a gentler era. He brewed his coffee and rested in front of the small bar heater in his room.

Phone on video. Click switch to talk to camera.

Terror. Dissociation beckoned.

‘My name is no longer Jayden Lenton.

So, what’s next, Elisabeth?’


What is Dissociation?

‘Dissociation can occur in response to traumatic events, and/or in response to prolonged exposure to trauma. Dissociation can affect memory, sense of identity, the way the world is perceived and the connection to the physical body.’


If you suffer from Dissociation, this a usful tool:


I began this Novelette many years ago in Adelaide (I moved from Brisbane to Adelaide from 1990 to 1995.)

To quieten a yet undiagnosed mental illness, I would go on solo winter walking and writing retreats to Victor Harbor.

I studied the Novelette genre and have learned much since joining Vocal+.

I have many drafts, yet it remains unfinished.

My dreams?

To return to Victor Harbor and complete my Novelette with my now discovered authentic voice. To return to Victor Harbor and take photos.

I strive when writing to imbed the visual image to complement the wriiten word.

Finally, to complete and publish this work.


A few resources I have found helpful.


Some brief information about word length and fiction. This is general information provided by the source below:

  • Microfiction: 100 words,
  • Flash Fiction: 300 to 1500 words
  • Short Story: 1500 to 10,000 words
  • Novelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words
  • Novella: 30,000 to 50,000 words
  • Novel: 50,000 to 110,000 words


I have found this most useful as a first step. Even though the topic is Novella.

There is an embedded link glitch ab0ve and it won’t display as a webpage.


Now to a Novelette:

Also free:


Pauline Fountain. © 2024. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the author.


About the Creator

Pauline Fountain

Writing and photography provide a creative outlet to reflect with meaning on my life.

My mental health? Bipolar 1 (Rapid Cycling), Complex PTSD and Functional Neurological Disorder.

My son’s gentle wisdom furnishes me with the gift of hope.

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Comments (3)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    Gosh that felt so real! I tend to dissociate a lot but I don't have multiple personalities. At least I don't think I don't, lol. Keeping my fingers crossed for you to complete your Novellette!

  • Jay Kantor2 months ago

    Hi Pf ~ Good "Move" ~ I actually went to a site showing Australian Lingo: Such as you saying an unfamiliar term to me re; my articles. There are so many references/and local sites I'm not familiar with that you refer to. As said, it's so lovely that we have a platform with vm that allows us to interact globally....very nice that you add photos for the 'walk-through' experience. So glad you got a giggle out of 'Sacred Vows'...true story; or is it? You may get a giggle out of "Peep Show" it is a 'true' story. Tickets on sale on my scroll; discounts may apply, "Probably." btw; I try to keep my comments as private as possible. Please ask me to delete and I will do so.

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Captivating!! Informative and enlightening!!!💕❤️❤️

Pauline FountainWritten by Pauline Fountain

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