She hadn’t believed him when he told her what he’d seen; it seemed stupid then. Why would you believe a thing like that, no matter how much you loved him?
‘A dragon, up there on the hill last night,’ he told her, a new light sparkling in his eyes, the low sun reflecting from his hair, blond from the still recent summer.
She’d smiled then, and stroked his blond hair that spread sprawled out over her knee as he lay and she sat on the sofa in the shared flat. Stroked his hair and wished he’d stop talking.
But he didn’t
‘It was a big one today.’
She’d said nothing.
‘It was bigger than the ones before. I told you the other day it was a big one but today’s was bigger.’ His words were faster now, excited.
She stopped her stroking and made to stand up.
He must have felt the movement. ‘Where are you going?’ he’d asked, the light illuminating the innocence in his child-voice. He wasn’t a child.
‘Just to get some water,’ she’d said. She remembered it had seemed forced at the time. She hadn’t wanted water — but they only had water; he couldn’t have anything else, apparently.
His head made a dull pumpf as it hit the softness of the sofa cushion; she was standing, swaying slightly. She went to the kitchen. Maybe water would make her better.
But her mouth stayed dry.
And the next day his eyes were dry too.
And the rest of him.
There were no hills near the shared flat. Just other flats; and a rubbish tip in the distance where the gulls circled.
She looked out towards the gulls now, their faint cries carrying on the dirt-scented breeze through the window. She closed the window. She didn’t want to hear the gulls anymore; their crying made her sad.
And she thought, how would she face a future without him?
‘We’ll take Mr. Wills away now,’ they’d said, the men with the dark clothes. They told her to stay in the flat. They’d call her. She wasn’t strictly family; but she was and the dark uniforms didn’t understand that.
She knew where he’d hidden the phone number so she pulled it out and dialled. It rang. Someone picked up; a rough voice, though his words didn’t sound old.
After the boy had left she picked up what he’d left. She wanted to see the dragon too. She wanted to know it hadn’t been a lie.
And so she in-streamed what the boy with the rough voice who’d known her love had left, into her deepest self. And then she knew he hadn’t lied.
There was the dragon and there was the hill. And there he was, blond hair streaked behind floating graceful in the clean breeze. And she ran to him then. And he took her up. And she knew he hadn’t lied.
©Davey Northcott September 2014
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