Category Archives: Downstream

Downstream by Maressa Mortimer #DOWNSTREAM

Once again, I’m happy to host Maressa Mortimer, who is sharing an excerpt from her latest book, Downstream.



Radio signals have been picked up that might reveal the location of Downstream. Macia longs to find her mother there and tries to persuade her friends Gax and Cecilia to join her in the search. But is it a dangerous mistake or a mission from God? Many difficulties await them and they will need to trust God as they encounter darkness and danger, reaching out with the Light.



Chapter One Part 3

Life has changed for the girls. What they wear, read, say, and do is a world apart from the controlled society of Elabi. Macia rubs her arm, “My arm says it’s going to be wet later,” she grins, sure that the healed break can predict the weather. “I better go for a run now, before we have to help in the shelter.” She smooths out one of her nails, and continues slowly, “I hope Gax will know more soon.” She swallows, “It’s made me struggle to sleep at night, and I have had to write my imaginary diary again,” she laughs as she gets up to get ready for her run.
Caecilia goes up to her room, not wanting to stay in the shared
lounge by herself. She lowers herself on her bed, thinking. “Dearest friend,” she whispers, thinking of Macia and her diary, “maybe I should have a dearest friend as well, as my head is spinning. I wanted to forget Elabi, but it’s there and my parents and my family,” she wipes tears away that have suddenly splashed on her cheeks. She can’t remember ever crying in Elabi, but since arriving in Mataiox nearly a year ago, she has changed. Even Macia, who has not even been a year, has changed. “Anyway, dearest friend,” Caecilia forces her mind back to the diary in her head, “I am confused. I would love to leave it all behind, but the mention of Elabi has stirred something in me. I should pray about it, but I don’t know how to, as I can’t work out what I want.”
Working in the Shelter is a good diversion, both girls agree. The Shelter provides sleeping spaces and meals for homeless people. “That’s the sad side of Mataiox,” Caecilia says to Macia as they’re stirring large pots and pans, filled with wholesome food. “It’s free,
or less controlled, but it comes with many problems. Sometimes I wonder if the freedom is worth it for many people, until we’re back at the Meeting House, then I am glad!”
“I like the freedom,” Macia says, “freedom to wear what you want,” and she looks down at her new jeans, and grins at Caecilia, “Well, I like them,” she says, lifting her chin, “They are comfortable and everyone wears them.” Caecilia shrugs but Macia carries on, “And there are other freedoms I like. It might come at a price, but in Elabi, there is a price too. Think of Downstream, and beyond the hills. Here, people can change, like some of the people visiting the Shelter. They might visit the Shelter for a while, but some of them do get back on their feet.” She stirs a little slower, “Maybe not many, and definitely not all, but there is a way back from their struggles. People are around to help the homeless people. Downstream is final and the hills are often final.”
Gax is waiting for the girls as they finish cleaning up the kitchen.
The Shelter is quiet now, leftover food is boxed up and put away, and most of the staff has gone home. Gax watches the girls, and as Caecilia smiles at him, he says, “I talked to Linu today, after my morning Ethics class.” Both girls stop what they’re doing and Gax shrugs. “There isn’t much more I can tell you, but maybe we could go for a quick walk along the beach?”
Macia is glad of her new jeans when they get out of Gax’s car. The wind is sharp and she tugs her coat tighter. Caecilia shivers, but keeps her smile in place. She clutches her new handbag, hoping Gax will notice. It’s similar to the bag his sister has. Gax smiles at her, causing a warm glow inside her and the three walk onto the soft sand, Gax in the middle.
Macia is the first to break the uneasy silence by taking a deep breath through her nose. “I love the smell of the sea,” she says, “it reminds me of my paddleboarding lessons.” Her mind wanders back, thinking of the woman who helped her and even provided the board that brought her to freedom. It always fills her heart with gratitude as well as worry for the woman’s safety.
Caecilia nods, “It reminds me of my father’s lighthouse,” she says softly, hugging her large bag a little tighter, forcing her voice to stay light.
Gax smiles at her. “That lighthouse is special,” he grins, “it was the first thing I saw, getting into Elabi, and in a way the last thing as well.” He looks away. “Linu says the chatter isn’t from Elabi itself.” The girls nod, as Gax had shared that part already. “She tried to get more information, and says the main word she managed to unscramble was,” he hesitates, “…was Requipacem.”
Both girls gasp and Caecilia takes a step away from Gax whilst Macia stares out over sea. Requipacem. The word indicating the ending of someone’s life in Elabi. Macia keeps her back towards Gax, but manages to ask, “Why would that be part of a radio conversation?” Gax looks at his shoes, not wanting to look at the girls. “Linu thinks
the chatter isn’t from Elabi or from beyond the hills. She isn’t sure where exactly it is from, although she has managed to narrow it down. We think… we think it might be from Downstream.”
Macia spins round, opens her mouth, closes it and turns back to watch the gentle waves hugging the yellow sand, leaving darker lines. She doesn’t move as Caecilia asks, “Does she know whereabouts Downstream is in that case? And would it matter at all?”
Macia spins round at that. “I agree. What difference would it make? People go Downstream for Requipacem, I’m sure. There is nothing down there. There can’t be anything.” She chews her nail, “There has never been anyone returning, otherwise, if they could they would. She would.” She gives a small gasp as the last couple of words escape her mouth. She blinks, sniffs then continues, her voice no longer fierce.
“She would have returned for us, if there was a way back. Once my little brother had gone, she would have returned, I’m sure.”
Caecilia touches Macia’s arm with her fingertips. “She wouldn’t have been received well, and she would have known that. Maybe she could have found a way back, but it wouldn’t have been worth it. Your father wouldn’t have received her back with open arms, would he? And the city leaders wouldn’t have accepted her back either, as every parent of sick and imperfect children would have followed her example.”
Macia gives a small sob and whispers, “What if she stayed there then? What if she is alive and living Downstream? Maybe she is still there.”

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About Maressa

DownstreamMaressa grew up in the Netherlands, and moved to England soon after finishing teaching training college. Married to Pastor Richard Mortimer they live in a Cotswold village with there four children. She is a homeschool mum, enjoying the time spent with family, travelling, reading and turning life into stories, she wants to use her stories to show practical Christian’s living in a fallen world.

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