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"Last time I saw you I needed twelve stitches. I told the police I'd press charges, but they couldn't find you, believed you'd fled abroad...."

death of a naturalist
fiction by caroline m. davies


I take a long sip from my glass, filling my mouth with the white wine taste of summer meadows and grass. This is liberation, being able to take my time. I look out from the garden to the distant hills. Take another sip - one glass is enough.

Last time I saw you I needed twelve stitches. I told the police I'd press charges, but they couldn't find you, believed you'd fled abroad. I knew you were just holed up in the hills, waiting for it to go quiet so you could come back.

But you never did. I never drank anything after that except mineral water. Too afraid that the smell of alcohol on my breath might summon you.

This afternoon a friend rang. When she said it was sad news I couldn't think what she meant. You'd been found dead - a suspected coronary. I was right about one thing- you were only living ten miles away.

I decided to have a drink to celebrate my release.

The evening is advancing, the bats are flying. I have a memory of you after we first met. Showing me a pipistrelle bat. You held it gently so it wasn't afraid of you. It weighed only a couple of grams, but with an impressive wingspan. I told you I was scared of bats but this was so tiny-mouse-like that I didn't mind holding it with you and we let it go together.

As the garden darkens I start to cry.

(illustration: ernest williamson III )


Caroline M. Davies is Welsh although she lives in England. She writes poetry and short fiction and is a member of Alex Keegan's  Bootcamp She is not working on a novel. Morefrom Caroline can be found in the Vault of Smoke.

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©2006 Caroline M. Davies • Smokebox
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