(This is a short excerpt taken from a longer story. To read the full version for free, please visit us here. Thanks for reading.)
Staring out at this landscape, the girls hesitate for a moment. Only the boy knows where they’re going and he pulls them along with him. He grew up in these parts, he tells them, has spent his life, in fact, exploring all the hidden corners of this coastline. He’s taking them to a bay just a few miles south of here where, he says, “the water is warm and safe for swimming in. The sun gets trapped in there and stays all day and, best of all, no one else ever goes there. It’s a secret place. Hardly anyone but me even knows its there.”
This is an exaggeration, of course. Everyone in the nearby towns knows about Old Meiga Bay, but it is true that few ever visit it. Too far for the families and their cars and pushchairs, too far for the dog walkers to venture, only the occasional hiker or naturalist comes this way, and on days as hot as this even they are few and far between.
As for the boy himself, something about his manner makes you wonder how often even he has really been out so far along the coast. How many pretty, young girls has he brought out this way to strut alongside and impress? Not too many you would wager, because for all his certainty, for all his youthful arrogance, there’s a nervousness about him that does not sit well with the confidence of his words. He’s too excited, somehow. Or rather, is trying too obviously hard to disguise how excited he is. There’s nothing sinister about this, just a naivety he’s anxious not to expose. In some small way, perhaps, he’s taking advantage of these two girls. He’s enjoying the fact that they don’t know him too well yet. He’s making himself up as he goes along. His name is John.
‘The old maid and other stories’ is Chapbook number two of four volumes forthcoming from the Olgada Press during 2015.