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The Honking Of Ducks

The thing to do with a secret is to swallow it, and just as you're not bothered by thoughts of a plum's progress through your intestinal tract neither will you think of your sister running hand in hand with a strange man to the river bank and when your sister goes missing you will have to borrow words to explain why you never told and when the police say who put those words into your mouth you will think only of the loveliness of weeping willows, the ssshhh sweep of fronds over the sandy bank, all the fun you will have when your sister sets up house under water and you have to swim through the clefts in rocks holding your breath against the squeeze. And when you come up for air you will stand firm upon your promise and not speak, allude, refer or even write about your sister's sweet under water life but instead speak mysteriously about the mammalian reflex; how humans can survive in freezing water for longer than expected.

Meanwhile you wait with your mother on the river bank. She says she will thrash you, to get the truth out, if she has to but the secret has long turned to pip, to gravel, to stone.

"Listen to the ducks, mama," you say trailing your hand through the water.

Story by:

Frankie McMillan

30 July 2018