Title: The Edge of Memory
Genre: Upmarket Women's Fiction
Helena stood on the opposite bank, the hood of her coat pulled around her face as she lifted a finger to her lips and motioned towards the pedestrian bridge a few hundred feet up the river.
Beatrice darted towards the bridge; her mother met her halfway across and embraced her.
"I'm really sorry about this, honey," Helena said, "but you have to say goodbye to Patsy now." She held out a trembling hand.
"But, why, Mama?" Her voice was tiny as she handed over the doll.
Helena's shoulders shook. She knelt down beside her daughter. "Sometimes, when you really love someone, you have to say goodbye to them."
The tone of her mother's voice meant no more questions. Beatrice looked up at her mother puzzled, but whispered, "Goodbye, Patsy." She kissed the doll's cheek and then watched as Helena dropped it into the river. Beatrice's mouth gaped open but no sound came out as Patsy swept into the speeding current, her layered dress dragging her deeper into the murky water until she vanished from sight.
The noise of the children playing washed over the spot where the pair stood over the river. Helena snatched her daughter's hand and dragged her across the bridge and through a thicket of trees to the parked car.
Beatrice's head swam as she scrambled into the front seat and her mother closed the door behind her. Danger pulsed from Helena in noxious waves. Beatrice had never been so afraid of her mother.