Upriver from Bridge Cottage Added£1.59
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(A short story of 2455 words)

Upriver from Bridge Cottage


by Lesley Jackson

They had a rented cottage with a rowing boat all to themselves in the north of Scotland but the first trip out on the loch had to be weathered in more ways than one.

When they walked down to the boat, the sun was already out. She could see the hills reflected on the surface of the loch in shades of pink and brown, blurred softly at the edges like a watercolour wash.

“Look at the hills. They’re all fuzzy in places,” she said, “like fur on a mole’s back.”

He busied himself with the oars while she sat and watched him. It was so wonderful to be able to sit still and look at him. There were so many things that she wanted to say to him; small tender things.

“It’s good to get away, isn’t it?” she said. “Escape for a while? Why don’t we try to cross the loch? Row all the way to the other side?”

“It wouldn’t take us very long” he said. “Then we would have to double back.”

“We could stop somewhere and picnic.”

“I thought we might go up the river that feeds the loch and see where it goes.”

“It looks very rough at the bridge where river meets the loch.”

“It’ll be fine,” he said. “I’ll row through that patch. You can take over later on.”

The bridge, that once connected the path that ran past their cottage to the land on the other side of the river, had collapsed into the water long ago. Tangled metal sprawled from the bank below the cottage and the water writhed and foamed around it in swathes of grey-green and silver. He manoeuvred the boat past the ruin of the bridge and towards the first bend in the river, where it was calmer. The boat creaked along in an easy rhythm. Water dripped noisily from the oars as they rose...


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