As long as it takes

Quiet. The noise of the workers on Chamberlain Docks faintly resonated in the distance. The ferry from the Island of Hathfield Bay would be arriving in soon. The 11:15. It always left port on time and the crossing was always a precise 56 minutes. What would it be bringing? Who would be returning? It didn’t matter because all of that was behind the tall hedges obscured from view. You see, it wouldn’t do good for the residents of Harbour House to look at what went beyond the safe little world that had been created for them. No that wouldn’t do at all, according to DR WINSLOW. Harbour House was a place of rehabilitation. Maybe seeing what was beyond the hedges, fences and walls would do them some good? Maybe it would give them some hope of returning to normality, but they weren’t there to hope. They were there to get better. They were there to shed all kinds of ailments. 

One such resident was music teacher, VINCENT BAINES. 1105 was the number he was given and obsession was his reason for being confined to Harbour House. The air of the place was fresher than he had ever sampled deeper in the city and for that he was grateful. The noise of the birds chirping formed a pleasant little melody to accompany the blossoming rhododendrons. He had circulated the gardens three times when he came to a stop again. The door leading back into the facility slammed as a woman joined him. She looked a little surprised at first to see that she wasn’t alone but she smiled at Vincent and wandered to a bench and sat herself. She was slim of face and body. Her soft eyes were like clear blue pools of water. The way she had hunched nervously gave Vincent reason to deduce that she was new to the ways of HARBOUR HOUSE. She had been crying. She was still in clothes one would have worn outside. An intervention staged perhaps? Her family refusing to return for her until she was ‘normal.’ What was normal? No one was normal. Especially not in the city of Coldford. 

“It will take a while to settle in but you’ll get there,” Vincent decided to say to her. 

The girl looked up and smiled. “Thanks. I’ll be fine.” 

Vincent nodded. She wasn’t a drug addict. She wasn’t a victim of trauma. Something else had brought her to them. He checked himself though. Ever since he was a little boy he had been drawn to the vulnerable, to those who needed help. His obsession meant that he was in no position to help. His obsessions just made things worse. The girl just needed to be left alone. At least Harbour House was helping him with something. 


“How long do you have to stay here?” The girl asked just as Vincent was preparing to make another stroll of the gardens. 

Her face was soft. She was pleading to him. She wanted his help. He could help. He had to help. She needed him. What was her name? Should he ask? If they shared their names that connected them. That made them a pairing and when you know someone who needs help you should help, shouldn’t you? Her watery blue eyes were begging him. ‘Help me, please!” 

Vincent took a deep breath. “As long as it takes I suppose.”

The girl nodded. “I thought so.” 

Vincent pushed his spectacles further up his nose. “You’ll get the help you need here.” 

That much was true and that was all he would have to say on the matter. He had to leave it at that. If he thought about it more and started to question her as to what brought her there he would set himself back and Harbour House had been doing him good. 

The door was thrown open again. TAWNY, an a old show girl and fellow resident leaned out. She had a cigarette dangling from her lips. 

“C’mon honey!” She called to Vincent. “We’re going out to the roof.”

She giggled as the artist, DAVID FINN, also a resident, pushed beside her in the doorway. 

“I painted my walls with pudding and they think its shit!” He laughed. 

Vincent shook his head. “Very mature, David,” he replied but he was laughing too. 

He made his way to join his friends. He stopped at the girl on the bench. “You’ll be fine,” he said. 

The girl smiled in return. “You think so?” 

Vincent didn’t dare allow himself to ponder the question. 

A matron of the facility, Beverly, was making her way to the gardens. 

“I know that was pudding!” She barked at David, slapping his arm. 

David and Tawny fell to laughter. “Had you going though!” David teased. 

The three made their way to a quiet spot on the roof. Beverly called to the girl. 

“Emily?” She said. “I need you on the floor.” 

The girl nodded, took a deep breath and stood. Her family had left her there. They wouldn’t return until she was better but she wasn’t a resident. She was a nurse. Just like the residents she would be there as long as it took. 

Vincent thought he had his life together. A loving partner, a thriving career and all the blessings life can offer. When he accepts a wealthy new pupil his obsessions threaten to derail everything.

Celebrating 4 years! Read the hit novella that brought Mr Baines to Harbour House.

Those little mind worms can wriggle deep. But you have an public persona that you need to keep. They wriggle, the squirm and they embed. You can’t get those thoughts out of your head. There’s one place obsession can meet its cure. In Harbour House, that I can assure.

Coming May 02 2020. Pre order now.

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