The Stone Fish
You walk up the path that curves to the right. You can go either route but this one is your favourite. Here you can breathe in the gorse that smells like rich soft butter and see the river that runs S shaped snaking down through the valley. It rushes impatiently today like scrambling children shouting me first, me first as it roars round the bend; beer froth on top.
Further on you pass by a pile of sheep droppings that look like a spilled punnet of blueberries, then you glance up as you hear the flapping wings of a bird that sounds like sheets being shaken crisp from the laundry line. The road has deep terracotta puddles and you see one that looks heart shaped. As you pass by it changes and you see that it is two puddles. One big, one small; a thin ridge in-between. Funny how things change the closer you get to them. You feel a smattering of light rain on your face like tiny flies bouncing off your skin and as you approach the forest you notice the fir trees look tsunami high today, standing tall in the sky like giants, bending over as if to eat you up. Often they wave their branches hello like Grannie used to. You swallow knowing he’ll be angry if you’re not home soon.
You kick a stone accidentally, it skims the ground like a pever, then you notice an unusual rock in front of you. You stoop to pick it up. It’s shaped like a fish with a long sharp fin. It reminds you of the Stone-age tools you saw once in a glass cabinet. It feels marble smooth on the surface but the top edge is as rough as Daddy’s gutting knife. You grip it in your hand, fin extended and you walk past the trees whispering thank you for the warning.
You see the smoke twirling up from your house in the distance and the sight of it makes you feel like a million tadpoles are flipping around in your stomach, trying to escape. You feel hot cheeked at the wetness that’s leaked into your pants.
Today you know it will happen again, today will be the same as every other but today you are prepared as you march forwards gripping hard onto your stone fish.