Short story extract -
ROSE PETAL MESSAGE
You left me a message in rose petals on the kitchen work surface. It was there when I came home from school after athletics practice. The petals were tiny and delicately coloured. Wild rose petals on the dull black surface. You didn't do texts. I don't think you even had a mobile. I knew it must have been you. You were the only person I'd told about the key which we always left through the cat-flap.
The lines were all wavy, kind of dancing. They must have taken ages to do. Some lines sounded like they were taken from a poem. You were like that in school, always quoting mysteriously and the teachers never knew how to take you. I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it over and over till I knew it by heart. I would do that later, I thought. I whispered the last line aloud.
Meet me down by the river. You know where I mean. Six o'clock.
You had picked your time perfectly. It was the middle of June, long, lovely evenings that year. I was so happy. And I was so scared. I still dreamt of swimming, long swims in deep water but I never went out of my depth any more.
I didn't even think of leaving a note for Dad. He nearly always worked late now.
I wore my jeans and that green top that you'd once said you'd liked. Then I stripped them off and dressed again, this time with my swimming stuff underneath. I picked up my backpack, put in a towel, a bottle of water and my notebook, just in case there was anything I specially wanted to remember, anything that wouldn't burn in my memory forever.
Second Prize Museum of River and Rowing, Wind in the Willows Centenary Competition 2009
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