Justice

He stripped down to the skin, his clothes in hand, the dirt clearly visible and the smell was noticed even by Duncan.  Time without a proper meal had taken a toll on his body and his shoulder bones were clearly visible as were his hip bones. The chilling air produced air puffs from his breath like a small train.  At the stream, he paused and took in the view. Clumps of grass gave homes to small fishes, smaller even snails. The water was fast, but not enough to make white peaks, but enough to refresh the pools of water at the edges. It was cold, his ankles were almost blue as he stood just off the gentle slope of the overgrown bank. He swung his head up and then down the steam, looking for the perfect stone to use as a scrubbing board. Once he found it, be plunged his shirt into the swirling water, and heaved it onto the rock. The soap in his other hand was crudely slapped over the collar and shoulders and then he set to work rubbing the material vigorously  together until a pink film appeared on the material. He stopped and studied his work then with a grunt, plunged it into the chilling water, over and over again, until it ran clear.  Bent and perched precariously over his rock, he worked until a thin band of sweat appeared above his eyes. Still he worked on, until all the clothes he wore, including his socks were clean and wrung dry.  It was turn for his grimy sweaty ripe body next, and he walked along the bank until the water was deep enough to dive in. As his body was swallowed by the dark waters, he glimpsed in his mind the picture of her again on the prairie, dressed in only white, and he winced.  He stayed under the water until his lungs were touched by fire, then reluctantly broke the surface. The sound was like that of a huge blue whale breaking the surface of the sea from the long journey below to the life-giving air above.  We swam toward the other shore, with strong strokes and then turned and repeated the actions back.  He knew that he couldn’t tell her, and that he didn’t want to hurt her, but it was now beyond his control and was inevitable.   By the fourth crossing, he had made up his mind. He slowly drifted toward the shore like driftwood and bobbed in the shallows, until the cold was unbearable.  As he heaved his body out of the water, a trained eye could see the tattoo of writing that spanned up his leg.  A simple word: justice.  Soon he was dressed again, the steam rising from is clothes, and breath and it was then that Duncan got back in his car and backed away from the body he had left at the water edge and turned his car towards the city.  He would always be on the run now, always hunted and he didn’t mind it one bit.

 

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