FICTION: The Draw of It

The outcrop held the attention of those in the bay, having appeared at first light, with the tide, and the light, shadows passing over the edges, too far to discern precisely, greased still by the wash, and slime, that gathered and swept inward with each wave so that feet were coated, and trod it back to their homes, where it lay, in lines, unclean, stuck to the floor, things stuck to it, so that the furniture no longer moved, and anything dropped could not be picked up, held in stasis, but the feet, still trod, and moved, from home to bay and back, if not usually to see the outcrop, but something else, like the colour today of the slime, and the dead fish. On the second day the outcrop was gone, a drain appeared at the mid water mark through which the materials of the bay had sunk, the sand, some other things, the feet yielding against the pull, the ground below the feet falling, shifted by particle, the tide no longer rising beyond that point, the drain had no destination, through which nothing fell back out, the sea itself retreating, with the sand, the outcrop was sought in the middle distance, with houses vanishing down the slope, undercut feet, all materials travelling about them, as they stood, and watched, so it slid away, a partition wall, another staircase, the bedrock ground out, the feet set against the fall despite each collision, the undertow, cows, other livestock, drawn inward, their attention unyielding, standing against the draw of it.

Ansgar Allen is the author of several books, including two novellas, Wretch (Schism) and The Sick List (Boiler House Press). The Draw of It was written in collaboration with Emile Bojesen, in response to his composition in sound, Lamplighters. Ansgar is based in Sheffield, UK.

Image: Round Lake, Mud Bay, Tom Thomson, Autumn 1915

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