Fish Hook

She walked back into the kitchen. A street lamp cast an eerie glow across the room and her eyes settled on the plate with its congealed yellow remains looking up at her and the glass, still on the table, and she moved on autopilot, taking them to the sink, pouring water into the crusting dish. A memory of her parents smiling and laughing came to her as she stood there, rooted to the spot. She smiled as it played out in her mind. Her father, singing one of his fishing songs and prodding her mother playfully with a fish hook; her mother, batting at him with the dishcloth to keep him away. But Esther’s smile faltered. Was it playful? Really? She sighed as she thought of her mother, how she didn’t like her husband to hold her when he came back from the dock, the stink of fish was too strong, she said, the hooks made her feel vulnerable. She always said she wished he’d stop fishing, that she wanted to move to the city, close to her brother, where the smells were always changing, and where the fish smell rarely was.

Esther swallowed; hot tears splashed her collarbone as she opened the ugly metal box that had its place beside the wellingtons lined up by the back door. The smell of fish and death hit her and she stifled a sob.

It was cold outside. Briefly she thought of her coat; her tears chilled her cheeks. The dark house seemed to mock her or dare her as she gripped the hook tighter. And then everything around her moved, people – there were people running up towards her. Sirens screamed through the streets and as she turned she was momentarily blinded by the blues and purples and reds of car lights.

“Esther!” Aria. Esther turned back to see her sister, small and sleep nuzzled and scared. She stood in her slippers on the gravel, the back door wide open, the wind picking up her hair as she shivered and rubbed at her eyes.

“Come this way, girls. It’s alright, come out of the way” men in uniforms called to them. Aria ran to her sister. Tom bounded towards them, held out his hands to steer them back away from the garage.

“I heard something. Before. I had to call someone” said Tom. The garage door opened.





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