As darkness fell

Whistling through the aloe leaves, the wind took a sudden turn and fed itself through a cracked window pane of the cortijo. It swept the floor and climbed up the wall on the far side of the room, brushing aside the cobwebs and tickling the back of a gecko that watched the wasps against the fading sunlight. It then seeped slowly under the door of the bedroom and came to rest above the painting that hung in the farthest corner of the room. Nothing stirred. The air hung still, and the wind, now tired, breathed in the dust and musty smell of the furniture, and settled on the human’s skin.

Asleep, on the old mattress, lay a dog, sprawled across its owners’s legs. It snored and twitched, but otherwise lay motionless. The human, whose eyes were closed, barely moved as his skin sensed the wind fall onto it. The room grew darker, as the light outside turned from ash to grey and finally slate black.

Stars shone, far, far distant worlds, barely visible through the mist that now rose from the river and ran up the embankment past the terraces covered in mango and avocado trees. A dog howled across the other side of the valley and the rattle of cars crossing the bridge echoed up the hill, the noise rustling past the large leaves of the trees and bouncing off the walls of the barn. Then all was quiet.

And as the moon rose, the human opened his eyes and surprised, looked around him.

‘Come,’ he said to the dog, putting out his hand and stroking the fur. ‘It is time.’

With little more than a turn of his head, he rose from the bed and passed through the walls of the cortijo, followed by his dog who stayed at his side. He hovered above the roof of the house, smiled at the beauty of the palm trees in the moonlight, and then was gone.

In the kitchen, where the lights burned and a saucepan filled with tomato soup bubbled on the hob, there sat I.

‘Perhaps,’ I thought, ‘this time I will write.’

The wind heard me speak, as did my son. He was far above me, flying through the shadows playing hide and seek, like he used to amongst the trees and shrubs when he was a little boy, his dog always close by.

‘Yes, yes!’ he laughed. ‘What’s there to stop you? Why, look at me! I always wanted to be like Peter Pan!’

And he swooped past the tallest pine tree and flipped twice over with fearless glee.

I turned to my two dogs who lay at my feet. ‘We shall see, shan’t we?’

And with that I lit a candle for my boy, and began to write.


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