Flash by Helen Moat

bare feet in mud

Hannah hums as she lays her clothes out on the bed: floral blouse, white flounced skirt and ankle socks, red patent shoes. Outside she hears the run-off from last night’s rainstorm dripping off the drainpipe: larghissimo.

She breathes in the fabric of her top: sweet, perfumed, clean. She holds her white skirt to the light: spotless. She dresses and straps on her shoes, the patent leather reflecting back her solemn face.

Outdoors the hot air wraps itself around her. She feels her skin prickle, the moisture spreading across her back. She sighs. Still she walks on along Back Lane, nowhere to go, nothing to do; no one she knows here. Ahead she sees the boy she recognises from next door. She follows him.

He jumps a stile and Hannah climbs after him, picking her way along the fern-lined path. The wet fronds slap at her legs and large droplets of rain begin to tap on the hillside rhododendrons: lento.

She frowns at the mud splattering her new shoes.The boy turns and sees her.
“Hi. You stalking me?”
She blushes.
“You’re the girl who’s moved in next door, right? I’m Steve.”
The rain’s falling steadily now: andante moderato.

Hannah pushes tails of wet hair from her face. She stares at Steve’s bare feet caked in mud.
“There’s been a landslide down on Lake Road. Want to see?” he says.
“Um, no, I’d best go back. I’ve not got the right shoes.”
“Take them off. You’ll be fine.”
Hannah thinks no, but slips her shoes and socks off anyway. The mud oozes between her toes and on up over the sides of her feet as she walks.

As they arrive at the landslip, the rain thrashes down, bouncing of the asphalt: allegro.

Within minutes the road’s a river. Steve rolls his trouser legs up and splashes through the water. Hannah flings her red shoes down and joins him. They whoop and laugh as they kick through the deluge. Hannah’s blouse and skirt cling to her skin, stained with grubby rainwater. She doesn’t care – nor about the roll of thunder or the first flash of lightning.

Hannah’s dancing: vivace.

Published in Blue Five Notebook, February 2015 as ‘Dancing’ here: https://bluefifthreview.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/blue-five-notebook-february-2015-15-3/

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About helenmoat

Helen Moat is the author of Slow Travel The Peak District. part of the UK Slow Travel guide books and published by Bradt. The book is available from Amazon and the online Bradt shop, as well as major outlets. Helen Moat was born in Northern Ireland and spent her childhood travelling the length and breadth of the island in her Dad’s Morris Minor – or so it seemed: she still suffers from wanderlust. Helen studied German in England, living in Switzerland and Germany for extended periods. The author has since settled in the Peak District, her adopted home. She is constantly inspired by the local landscape, and the people and places shaped by the Peaks. A keen walker and cyclist, she’s happiest when outdoors and on the move. As a travel and fiction writer, she’s always on the hunt for a good story. The Peak District gives her plenty of material. -
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