Keeping low, he slithers to the ridge of the small cliff, gripping the edge with his mud caked hands to help pull his body along the ground just enough to peer over the edge. His muscles relax; she’s alive, crouching down by the river, face towards him, washing blood off her hands and arms. It colours the water, briefly staining it before dissolving along into the stream.  He inches forward, pressing his body further into the ground, the dampness from the grass soaking through his cotton trousers. She’s scrubbing viciously, her lips moving frantically, he knows she is counting the strokes as she brushes her arm. Looking up, his eyes lock onto hers, lustrous as diamonds and pearls – hard and cold but at the same time iridescent and valued. There had been a couple of times he had wanted to tell her, but it wouldn’t change anything, especially not here and she probably wouldn’t believe him anyway. No, what he needed was a weapon and he needed it now.

Louise Lanham