Chapter 1 - A Beautiful Place

Chapter 1 - A Beautiful Place

A Chapter by Leigh Green

I live in the most beautiful place in the world and would not want to live anywhere else. The land is lush green and the water silky brown and swirling gold. Somewhere in between that is the place where we are, our little house, our port, our jetty and our boat. We supply the coal that fills the coal yards that is taken on the lorries to the big houses in the big cities. One of those cities is Bristol and although I have never been there, I know that if I did, if I did go, I would look through every window to see if there as a fire lit. Jim Company is my name and I work on the boats on the river, that is a channel, an estuary and in the old days was called the Seventh Sea. I always have worked on the boats and I hope I always will. They would have to kill me before they took that away from me. My older brother died in the war, the big one, a German sniper got him, so I carry on for both of us. He's always there, he's with me, in the boat mainly. I talk to him every day.


After dad died I became captain of the Severn Star and it was me on my own, apart from old Hubert Friday who took care of the loading. It was right that I was captain, dad had done his bit, he was seventy-two when he went, so like the Star he'd had a good run. We always said the Star would go on forever, her engine had a big powerful heart and had never really let us down. The river never seemed too much for her and she would easily be able to handle the open seas if it wasn't for her flat hull. Our boat is sixty years old, it was built around the turn of the century when things were built properly. We had to retire the old boat, the Lady Rose and we laid her to rest in the mudflats. Gradually over the years she’s sinking in. Every day we sail past the Lady Rose and every day she’s sunk in an inch deeper into the mud. One day she will disappear and won’t be there. On the back of the sea tide we travel out fully laden. The Star sits low in the water and we take it steady. Further up the river, where it gets narrow, the river twists and turns, this way and that, we can’t take the Star up that way too much as she is too big so we don’t and never end up going up there much. There is a giant oxbow up there, so big that it has three villages on it, with roads and fields and hedges in between them.


That night there hadn’t been much to eat, only a hunk of bread and some milk on the kitchen table, so we went hungry, mum and me. We often ran out of food mid-week before pay day on the Thursday. I went to my room shortly after tea and read a few pages of my book, it was a short novel, so it suited me. There was nothing much else to do on an evening. Sometimes I would go for a walk across the fields or we might have to check the boat, to see if she was shored up okay. Once a week in the middle of the week Mary would call, she would usually bring flowers or some eggs. In the old days she would talk to mum and dad and then ask to see me, but now things were more casual, mum needed the company more, we all needed someone to talk to. Mary had been calling at our house for as long as I can remember. I would come down and she would tell me all the talk from around the village. Me and her were supposed to be together, our families had lined us up, but it had never quite happened like that. Something wasn't right, there wasn't a spark between us, so we stayed just friends. Every now and then she'd get a twinkle in her eye and become overly friendly, but it was no good to me.


I took Mary for a walk across the rubble of Albridge, a docker’s town, that had got the hell bombed out of it in the war, thanks to a large squadron of Heinkels. The Germans had thought there was a munitions factory there, but there wasn’t, there was only the fish processing plant. No one much had survived those fateful raids, only a few people here and there. There may have been survivors, but the community and the memory had been killed completely.


We talked about school. She had not long left and now was working in a mill, whereas I had left over a year ago and it all seemed like a distant memory. She talked about the Davy brothers and how we had been bullied by them. I didn't want to hear about those sick b******s as it made me remember how we ran from them and would do anything to get keep out of their way. When we were together we could out fox them, twist and weave, but if she was on her own I knew she was more of an easy target. She told me how one day after I had left they cornered her, pinned her down, made her do stuff; I didn't want to listen. All of a sudden, she grabbed me and kissed and held me, I kissed her back, but didn't feel anything much. There was no spark of excitement. She kissed me again, longer this time and I slowly began to feel warm inside. It was then I knew nothing would ever happen between us. I thought of the girl on the island and the sparks came and flames grew.


"Mary, listen, this can’t be," I said shaking her free.


"I know, it doesn't matter," she said. We walked back in silence and then I walked her on home. I kissed her outside her front door, but it was a friend’s kiss, nothing more. But, as I left her I saw her eyes full and alight, she looked hopeful. 




© 2017 Leigh Green



Author's Note

Leigh Green
http://leigh-green.wix.com/leigh

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Reviews

Great chapter! Keep it up!

Posted 10 Months Ago


Leigh Green

2 Weeks Ago

Thank you there is more to come
I'm enjoying your work. I'll go on to the next chapter in a few minutes. I especially love one of your lines:
"her engine had a big powerful heart and had never really let us down." He could almost be describing his mother. Nicely done.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

Yes there could be a double meaning
That is a nice starting. Well begun is half done, hope you make a go of the other half as well. Keep writing.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

Here here, I will, thanks for the encouragement
Beautiful begin of a story, Leigh. Well done. :) Rudi

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

Thank you Rudi, Chapter 2 is finished :-)
great story,loved it !nice book coming

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

It's a struggle to reach 'The End' but I am determined to get there. Thanks
I like the voice.________

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

Thank you...
another enjoyable read, his frankness to the situation and her realization was a good way to end it :) provoked a lot of imagery you described before it so it all seemed like a wonderfully composed allegory such as the boat slowly sinking as was the realization of his feelings for her, both lost to time. (on another note there may be a typo on the first paragraph, I'm not sure as it could be a term of the day but is it snipper or Sniper?) I just point it out because I have bad dyslexia and always appreciate folks pointing such things out for me. good work either way it was very easy to follow and imagine, even with my brain :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


Leigh Green

1 Year Ago

Thank you for your reviews, it is sniper of course, silly me. I will comb through for further mistak.. read more

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Added on July 26, 2016
Last Updated on July 22, 2017
Tags: Mystery, romance, mudflats, river, story, hope, secret, change, beauty, love, adventure


Author

Leigh Green
Leigh Green

Bristol, United Kingdom



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