- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Image by Philipp Keller/Stelzer Group/EMBL
ELECTROMAGNUSI’ll cut its head clean off. Then I’ll put its head and body on the bonfire. Harry Priest told me he cut one in half once and it turned into two baby ones right in front of his eyes.
I stack flat stones and pull together a scratchy stack of dry seaweed, fish eggs and bits of blue and orange twine. The flame will tear through this when I light it.
The moon shines along a thin a strip of sea. A pathway, that’s what she’d say, my Mum. “Look! Where do you think it will take us?” Anywhere that’s a far fuck away from here, I’d say.
The roll of the tide, pushing and pulling the stones doesn’t drown out the rumble coming from behind the mountains. Our boat’s waiting, beached up by the cove, out of sight for now but ready to float when the tide reaches it’s highest point tomorrow. No false starts this time.
I don’t know why I’m holding the knife behind my back. I can hear the thing swishing, pushing, turning. I think it senses me coming because it moves so much that the tin bucket scrapes and shudders against the stones.
Harry Priest caught it for me earlier today using one of his old nets. He hadn’t told me that it was actually shining. It does look beautiful just like Dad said it was but when I see its black skin and thick neck I think I’m going to puke.
Dad said it was Mum’s soul lighting up the water when we sailed out the first time. He said that it was Mum telling us to stay, letting us know we’d be safe. He said he couldn’t leave if it meant leaving her.
He was sobbing as he rowed us back. Crying and almost collapsing each time he pulled on the oars. I didn’t know what to say, given that he’d seen Mum’s dead body and there was no light it in as far as I could see. He hadn’t let me look under the cover but if there was something shining in that dark and silent basement I would have noticed.