Maybe I am wrong, maybe someone wanted her to look like that shape, maybe it pleased them or maybe they bent themselves trying to tell us something that we should know. Maybe she was always shaped like a fallen, bloody star.
We got out of the car. We had something to do, together. Love could wait.
‘Do you know how much it takes to cause this?’
The man in the plastic coat took off his glasses and wiped away the rain. If he had once been eager , life and death had hurtled that one over the fence. Cameras were busy and Bella finished her second cigarette.
My nose twitched. Beyond Bella’s tobacco, someone had left something behind, something the plastic coat might not know. Bella touched my arm and pulled me towards the orange tape.
The hands of the woman were cupped to the sky. A sweet gesture if you were on a beach, double jointed and part of your brain wasn’t leaking onto the road. But it was the left hand that was trying to tell us something more, with the strange red line wrapped around a stone that shone on , even in this faded light. No one seemed to notice the stone nor how near we were to the body; at least the old magic still lingered on.
Sometimes visibility is not an issue. I held Bella close. Any excuse..
What can you hear? she asked.
Something was breathing that should not. Dead things should not breathe, but some things should never have been alive, let alone dead. This breathing sounded cavern deep. It had an echo as if it came from another place. Believe me when I tell you it did.
It had escaped from ancient Amber; extinguished in one moment the protection of time. Thousands of years of silence and peace. Gone. We were neighbours again. Nothing neighbourly about this creature though. Think propinquity. Propinquity of menace.
A dark scattered shadow mixed in with the breathing and moved slightly amongst the broken body of the woman. When you are in the company of a predator you match their breath. I pushed Bella to one side. She knew. . If he was hiding out here, camouflaged amongst the lights and the dead, then so was I and the human noises at the edge of this place could be like small matches lit and then blown out. Bella was safe away from this circle.
I moved forward, blending into the night. Easeful, less limbed than you may imagine.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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