The storm had gathered pace over the last few hours and the villagers of Ballygally watched in awe as the waves crashed onto the beach The Spanish galleon was clearly in trouble. The huge ship was being tossed about like a toy and drifting ever nearer to the shore. The sails lie in tatters and the poor souls on board were in serious peril. The North Antrim coast had seen nothing like it on that September day in 1588.
One of the watchers was a young girl. Her long red hair in tangled ringlets down her back, her scarf having little effect to control it in the wild wind. Her blue eyes, at odds with her red hair, were serious and worried that someone might finally fall overboard into the raging sea. Her father stood beside her, a tall imposing figure with black hair and blue eyes. As a fisherman he had seen many storms in the forty five years of his life, but none as ferocious as this. His wife had stayed indoors, not wishing to brave the elements, but he knew that she would be the first to help any survivor if the ship faltered on the beach.
Mary, Fiona and her mother would be preparing food and a fire and blankets as it was clear there were going to be casualties from the ship. They would be the first to help out if things went wrong. Which some minutes later they did… they saw two souls fall from the great ship as it finally floundered and went down. The villagers watched in horror as the two men were washed towards the shore… They finally arrived, gasping and spluttering. The waves were unforgiving – high swells and the winds just seemed to get stronger. The Girona was the pride of the Spanish fleet known as the Armada, having set out for Plymouth from A Coruna in north west Spain with 1300 souls on board. In charge was Duke Medina Sidonia, not a seaman by trade but a Spanish grandee, Don Alonso de Guzman El Bueno, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia. King Felipe had insisted on his appointment to the post as he was a favourite at the Spanish court. This was now of no consequence to the poor souls on board. They were all at risk of drowning.
The first four chapters will be critiqued by the Irish Writers Centre in January and February 2019.
Meanwhile, you can get a flavour of the next book, “The Battle for Brough Bay” due out on Lulu just as soon as I can get it into Lulu. www.dunnethead.co.uk