Grace’s father lent down and placed his right hand on her small, sloping shoulder, weighed down as it was by his old army knapsack filled with soda bread and a flask of weak, sweet tea.  He looked directly into her eyes, pale green, like his own, and blinked away the sentiment tightening his chest and throat.  He swallowed hard.

‘Write when you get there, Grace.  Your mother will worry until you do.’ He hesitated.  ‘And don’t lose Buster…he’s your future.’  He smiled.  

Grace looked down at Buster, a tiny piglet, asleep in the wooden crate, then back up at her father.  She bit her bottom lip hard.  

Her father eased himself up to standing, patted Grace once on the arm, then, turning, hesitated.  Grace waited for him to say something but he was distracted by the approaching ferry.  He stood for a moment watching the boat then, sighing, walked back down the landing and away.  Grace turned to see the ferry reversing its engines as it moved closer to the dock.  The ferryman was visible on the open bridge, flanked on either side by his twin sons, their dense red beards hiding any detail which may have told one from the other.  When Grace turned back round, her father had gone, lost in the crowd of workmen arriving for the first crossing of the day.  Grace slowly released the breath she’d been holding then, leaning down, picked up her case and Buster’s wooden crate and walked slowly up the landing.


Lotie Parker was born in London, grew up in Newcastle and still lives in the North of England. Having finished her first novel, she is now working on her second alongside writing short stories and flash fiction. Her work was shortlisted for the Writers Retreat Award and has been published in The Daily Drunk Mag and Minute Magazine. She is on Twitter @LotieLotLots

Illustration: PNG key


Popular Posts