The visitor had been sitting on the step since George had left the house with his dog. It was peculiar to watch him without speaking, but the visitor had no choice. The boy and the dog set set off all tangled up in good humoured orders, hectic barks and a new red leather lead, yet as they travelled up the lane towards the top fence, the visitor noticed that their silhouette was more balanced, more in harmony: they were together, no longer rivals for the first position.
George was doing well. He wanted to go as far as he could before anyone could call him back. Dust rose up as he walked as fast as they both could manage. This was getting away- this was freedom. Even the dusty air tasted good.
The dog knew his new name in a very eager sort of way. Once he had answered to Skip but this changed when he was found. No one now knew about the Skip and it probably was best that way, though it did give you an idea of what living with those human beings had been like. George had been looking for a dog and found ‘Bertie’ at the kennels , third row, second left. Just like the face had told him. You need to look for the three. Look for the three and then act upon it.
George was not the only listener to the rule of three. A small red plasticine figure was tucked up in George’s back pack, head and hands peeping out of the top. She would have looked very childlike and innocent if she had not moved. And a strange whispery voice like a purr and a hiss came trickiling out of the mouth of this red figure, teasing George as he walked on and occasionally calling to Bertie who kept raising his ears and staring upwards at the red hitcher in the rucksack.
The woman could not take her eyes away from them. Her vision magnified them, and they expanded before her, so all around their edges they seemed to glow with an orange light.
”I will never look away.”
She had made the promise and now she knew why she had made it. When you take your eyes away, people shrink, they lose their purpose, their hope even faith. George knew the woman was watching him.He felt her eyes. He had wished for this certainty all through the months when the woman had been away, leaving the face as her messenger with the plasticine creatures dancing about him.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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