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The River

It shoved her ribcage, whirling metal, and her chin flew towards the wheel. She landed, pain in her palms.

"Fucking shit!" Someone was tugging the bike. She looked at the jellyish eyes of the cyclist. His lycra clutched him. "What the fuck are you doing?" He shook the bike vigorously, then clacked off with it down the shadowy side street.

She squidged her toes into a bereft stiletto and hobbled to a step. Nearby, sunny Threadneedle Street was marching with home-bound workers. A wasp-engined moped zoomed past. "Have dinner with me," the John Hurt man had said the night before.

"Facebook me," she'd said, similarly film-like, sure he wouldn't remember her name. He was drunk on her juicy body.

And on the deafening train back to Upminster, in her warped reflection, she'd seen the neat way she held her handbag.

Now, she brushed grit from her elbow and a chill breeze rippled her blouse. Maybe she had broken bones. She faltered towards the smoking girls and buttoned-up Essex boys. Beneath Wellington's horse, cabbage palms held the light. Instead of joining the Underground flow, she faced the late sun and progressed up Queen Victoria Street, wanting to see the river.

Story by:

Victoria Grigg

25 July 2013