I won’t cry for help. I know there’s only one soul out there who can hear me, and I’m too frightened as it is. They must be pretty close by now, I can hear the movements getting nearer, and it’s too horrible to think about; I need to save my strength. No-one else will hear me now, I’m too far off the beaten track, and the chances are pretty remote.
It’s like being lost in the Everglades. Tall weeds and bushes follow the path for miles, clinging to its fringes like an encroaching disease. Like a ghost suffering from a fever, it wanders crazily, winding in and out of odd little copses where you aren’t even sure how close to the river you are anymore. It’s really deceptive, because all of a sudden you see it’s only about a foot away through the brambles. One minute you are right next to the cocoa coloured waters, and the next you could be a hundred yards back inland. I don’t believe a bird could see that route clearly from above, so tangled and winding is the path.
Every now and then a clapped out a knackered boat will loom up through the leaves out of nowhere, its stained bow yoked to the bank with a filthy umbilical cord of slimy blue-nylon rope. There are quite a few along the way, their tiny walkways overflowing with rough firewood, and the hoods over their cabs permanently aloft, weathered grey-green and patched with gaffer tape. Ancient bikes and nervous dogs are stationed on the decks, and little disturbs their solitude, except from the ebb and flow of the tide, the silent swans, or the raucous cries of the rowing coaches bumping along the opposite bank at dawn and dusk, swearing at their crews. (more…)