ing ﬁne shadows. Moon had appeared above the vertical
cliﬀs down the coastline.
My ankle skited away under me and I jabbed out a
hand 楮to the black: I was right there, by the water. I
stood looking out to sea for a bit, the smear of moonlight
coming towards. I looked round in the night, over the
dark block of the faraway summerhouse. I pu汬ed up the
rave top; the keys and stone-thing necklace thumped
down on my collar bone. I undid the zip on the skirt and
ﬂicked the button with my ﬁnger, holding the hem so's it
wouldnt go and touch a stinky water pool. I stepped over
the skirt with each foot then tugged off each Nike not
undoing laces. I put a foot into sea.
Water reached my ankles but I stepped forward
again and the leg sunk right in.
You had to stand still while the other foot edged
forward fee汩ng for something secure. I brought the foot
up but then a small wave hit on the knees so I wobbled.
In deeper water caused by the wave I felt kelp or
seaweedy stuﬀ shift against my shins. I went a bit shivery.
I cooried down on hunkers dunking my bottom and
thighs under. Balancing with a hand on rock I felt out
with one leg bent at the knee then my toes found flatness
in front of me. When I put the other foot next it and
stood, the water was up to the top of my legs. Another
wave came in and you could sense by the p畬l and suck of
the water it was deeper to my left so I stepped there. You
could hear water pouring oﬀ a ﬂat rise of rock behind
me. I was getting a汬 the deeper.
I walked fo牷ard. For a patch it seemed shallower
then you felt a surge of real sea; my feet lifted a little then
I swam forward. My heart was really pounding but the
pull and tug pull and tug of water against something solid
was gone from my shoulders; I pivoted my body down
and already I was out of my depth. I started the night
Further out I turned to try check my position. You
could hear water on rocks; you couldnt see the lights of
the restaurants, only moon above the sharp cl楦fs and
moon splattered across the sea I was in. I let out a wee
laugh, turned and swam on further out.
I went on my back and ﬂoated feeling the keys and
stone of the necklace hanging at the back of my neck
among hair, snaking and ﬂoating as part of the water
movements, gently tugging my head backwards.
䅬l was made of darknesses. My chest showed out
the oily black surface. I angled my toes round so the
moon was rising out right between my bosoms. I let the
coldish surface of the water cluck around my ears so's I
was looking straight up at the sky. Stars were dished up
all across bluey nighttimeness.
I let my legs sink down; my nudeness below in the
blackwater; legs hung in that huge deep under me and
the layer on layer and fuzzy mush of star pinpricks were
above with the little buzz of me in between.
I sucked in air deep and dived down sharply in the
nightwater. I kicked once more, a wave of much colder
water surrounded and a pressure was in ears. I jerked
eyes open in the nothingness. Salt nipped as I seemed to
be spinning slowly so
blew out to stop me rising and
when my bubbles were gone, then there was silentness.
My ears squeaked, I opened my legs wide, yanked my
head back and threw out my arms to keep me down in
those waves and layers of cold thick-seeming water. Sud
denly there was a rumbling and the liquid slid offof me as
I came to the surface: warm air on my face, the sounds of
the earth and all under the moon.
I started the swimming in. You noticed how my
heart was racing. I was swimming with faster and heavy
sweeping pulls of arms. Once my cupped hand broke sur
face as I pulled back a stroke and it was the splash that
sounded like panic.
hissed in a breath then kicked
Something touched me on a bosom so's I rolled over
and grunted out loud. My shoulder came against some
thing with a sharp bump: rock. I found I could stand. I
sputtered out and laughed. I walked forward, then when
I was in up to the knees I bent forward taking breaths
with hands on thighs.
swayed from side to side moving among the queer
shaped stones doused in moon that reﬂected on my dark
wet skin. The keys at my neck chinked.
I'd come ashore from the nightswimming further up
the raised beach of volcanic rock. I saw the ravey top. I
rubbed my hands on it then just tugged it over my neck. I
put on the skirt and the Nikes. I shook my hair and pu汬ed
at it to see how fankled and sticky with saltiness it was.
The trainers squelched a little as I began picking my
way over the lunar rocks towards the buzzing of crickets.
I crossed to the opposite pavement but most of the
bridge players had gone from the veranda.
I passed the ﬁshermen then took the path up beside
the cypresses and under the pomegranate tree. You saw
the strobe of Spook Factory and, through the concrete
skeleton of the unﬁnished apartment block, the light
house and the moon. Across the orchard there was some
thing else. You could see part of a giant blue eye in pale
light. I stepped into the lemon and apricot trees. You
could see the top of the concrete screen at the late-night
Among the trees you became aware of the perfumes
from the thick leaves that were black in those shadows
where I stood.
The massive pale lips of a girl seemed to turn up to
the night sky ready for kissing and you could see the light
from the screen flicker on the leaves. I turned facing the
sea. You heard a drip come oﬀof my hair. I closed my
eyes there in the quietness just breathing in and breathing
in. I hadnt slept for three days so I could know every
minute of that happiness that I never even dared dream I
had the right.
nother dawn found me moving
through the ripe orchards. Black bats swooped
above. The colours of the sky were busy changing as the
dogs across the v楬la range barked to each other.
Piles of cloud sat out to sea jammed against the hori
zon and the ﬁrst of the sun behind was
citrusy in the
pine trees on the far point. The sun slid up over the mi
mosas till cloud out at sea started to curl and 汩ght fell in
masses on the water; the bottom of a cloud bank broke
away while a bar of sky was stained pinkish then the pur
ple-like shadows changed into a peach roof above. At full
light small pools of silver glistened on 慬l the greenery.
The bats were gone.
Circles of fallen oranges lay under the dark leaves of
their tree. I shivered in the shade then reached up and
twisted an orange from the tree. Further on I pulled an
other two oranges, cupping them in my arms with my
long shadow out in front of me then when I looked up
there was a burning bush blazing away ten feet in front. I
dropped the oranges.
It was the sun behind me shining on the tree. The
beautiful blossom tree had been strangled to death under
the mother of pearl psychedelics from a couple of thou
sand clinging snail shells.
I sneaked round staring then moved on quick to try
and cross to the riverbed path but I misjudged or just
couldnt after all the wastedness with raving so's I just
went ﬂying with my hand shooting out as I fell. My open
palm hit stone and you felt the two long nails get forced
back then snap as my glittering knee shuddered against
I got straight back up. Reddish soil was on my thigh.
Pale bits of skin at the ball of the thumb were pushed up
with mud round. Blood was rising out from the little
blocks cut in the hand. Two of the ﬁngernails were only
just hanging so I shook them free and they ﬂuttered to
A long snaking of blood was coming from a cross
ways slit on the glittering knee and you saw the trickle
reaching the top of the Nike. I tried to smile and look
straight ahead but white pin pricks of light were ﬁlling
both eyes. I stepped forward with my cut hand stretched
right out feeling a way through the trees but I was faint
ing at the sight of my own blood, rolling through explo
sions of white then the bass drum sound of me hitting the
ground and lying still.
saw an atlas of clouds linked in the sky and let out a
chuckle that became a cough. I tried to get up slowly. I
felt and the keys were at my neck. I was shak楮g and
famished. I took some slow steps forward not looking
down at the cut knee. Just a little longer. Please, I says
I moved past the irrigation sluice t楬l I was under the
tree. I held my head back and squinted up at it in the
clear light. I was under the pomegranate tree. 䅬l fruits
on branches were burst right open and the bright reddy
insides had sp楬led out in the sun. Clumps of ﬂies were
feed楮g on the peeled-back, split skin and glistening ﬂesh.
It looked like little burst, mutilated creatures were up the
I was managing to make it to the end of the path
near the pavement and the apartment building. As I
turned out of the orchard something bright caught my
eye. It was a scarlet speck moving over the dry earth by
the irrigation sluice: it was one of my broken na楬s being
carried away by ants.
breath, brake lights
bloomed up in the bitter cold night and the lift
toot-tooted under the bridge taking the fort junction
without indicating and away.
Soon as it was gone I stepped forward and burst ice
in a muddy puddle tinkled together. I sucked in and held
my breath: listening, listening.
Way up the ra楬way track 楮 the port direction you
saw the dull light of the steamed-up signal box windows.
In the other direction you saw the steady pattern of track
leading away into the dark. The sleepers were pale with
I put one hand on the fence then climbed over,
jumping into the bushes despite the noise. I rushed down
the steep embankment pushing an avalanche of cinders
and frozen stiff dead leaves in front me.
I stopped at the bottom of the bank and peered
both ways up the railway track. I turned and walked away
from the signal box, into the darkness towards the pass.
So's I couldnt be seen against the paleness of frozen
sleepers I kept well to the side, walking just below where
the stone ballast stuﬀ was.
Further along the straight track my feet rung hollow
over the stream bridge. I looked over and there were big
froths and cankers of ice in at the banks. I looked around
me but there was no moon. I hoiked the haversack up
more com晹 on my back and moved to the middle of the
track before wa汫ing on.
The sleepers were skiddy and too close together to
step from one to the other but too far apart to step com
fortable over three.
Mter about the mile I was entering the pass proper,
and though you couldnt see, the sheep fanks were off
above me. I followed the reverse curves to where the
mountain's ﬁrst slopes were up to the left.
A gust of bitter 睩nd made me turn my head to the
side both cause of coldness and to listen for an evening
I was well into the pass; the odd vehicle down the
steep embankment went by and in headlights you saw the
black water of the loch and shadows moved across the icy
sleepers. Then I heard it.
A diesel accelerating away from the Falls platform
where The Turbines Bar was, two miles on. I looked to
the darkness where the road was then stepped down the
bank being canny of any sudden drop but it wasn't too
I sat down resting the haversack against a trunk and
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Documents you may be interested