Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Boat

From high on the hill the scene across the valley was one of rolling countryside. Fields of wheat and barley broken up by hedgerows of hawthorn and of hazel. Dry stone walls along the lanes butting up to houses at the outskirts of the village. Tall stands of pine on a hill on the other side of the great divide, a tarmac road skirting its edge and disappearing down behind the hill. Away down the slope to the left a meadow leading on to a copse of birch trees. In the corner a hump back bridge over a canal, the canal winding its way around a hummock and following a similar path to the stream. A fairly typical English country scene.

Down at the canal bridge just short of a willow whose fronds are touching the dank muddy water moors a laden narrowboat. A figure is standing on the bridge, head in hands.

Through the side hatch of the boat a pool of blood is forming on the floor, a man makes gurgling sounds as the lifeblood drains from the deep gash in the side of his neck. The figure on the bridge, a woman sobbing, drops a knife over the parapet into the water. The life of a working boating family is a hard one, made all the more difficult by the by a brutal man. Her face once more damaged and swollen by the hands of the man she once loved. Her tears fell freely, she sobbed. Though she knew what she had done she was not sorry for him. Whatever the outcome now her life could not be worse than the last ten years.

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