Featured Review on this writing by Kevin Michael Smith

The Hut

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
DARK FANTASY
The Hut lies beyond the auld groin.

Image: Heather Boyajian at Pixabay

Submitted: May 27, 2019

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Submitted: May 27, 2019

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The Hut

 

The Hut lies beyond the auld groin. The rotting sea timbers: barnacled planks, shrivelled posts, cut a shadowy, black swathe through the estuarial slime. It is dusk. The man-sucking, gooey, grey, fermenting, morass of ragworm-infested mud flats stretch as far as the eye can see. The Hut lies beyond the groin: as seen at low tide. I see the Hut squatting on its carbon strip of rock.

The moon rises over rivulets of silver which streak, like opaque fissures, through the muck and murk, until they reach the flat, calm, pale vellum sea. The Hut lies past the groin. I move closer to the Hut. Just a boy. Standing on a concrete quay. Staring at a Hut which lies beyond an auld groin. At twilight. I wonder who lives inside the Hut? And, why? I will not rest until I find out.

*****

Just a boy. A mother’s boy. A sensitive, mother’s boy-child, a suckle baby. My mother is a sea witch. At twilight, the distant shore is but a dark horizon, the occasional, twinkling fairy light vanishes as weary folk draw their curtains on another bleary day spent in the soporific company of the sea.

Folk say my mother is a sea witch. I draw the milk from her full breast, my teal eyes staring, in loving admiration, of my mother’s blushing face, as I gurgle, and slurp, on her burnt caramel nipple, meld myself to her breast, suckle upon her teat, drinking her creamy milk. I am her boy.

Her sensitive, mother’s boy-child. Her suckle baby. And I’m 12 years-old.

I feel her index finger gently unlatch my lips, holding my head still, fondly stroking my wavy, brown hair, as she lemon-wipes her nipple, my mouth, then folds her heavy breast into her bra. I perk, sit up, on her lap, like her elfin sprite, gorged to repletion.

‘Mother?’ I say to her, looking at her curiously, like her nine-times-dead, black witch’s cat.

‘Yes, Child,’ she replies, buttoning up her rose petal blouse, tucking her folds of flab inside her wool skirt, concealing her middle-aged spread with conspicuous, gaudy pleats of patterned silk.

I suck my thumb, suck my thumb when I’m put to sleep in my cot. When I say, ‘Where’s Dad?’

‘Your Father’s busy pleasuring young women,’ she replies, shortly, ‘Now I think it’s time for bed, don’t you, Child?’

‘No!’ I cry, ‘I’m not going to bed. It’s almost twilight! I want to see the Hut! I must see the Hut!’

‘What did you say? Why, I’ll clip your ear, wash your gob with soap and water, Insolent Child!’

I claw her face. I feel her soft, puffy cheeks tear, under my fingernails. I claw her eyes. I draw blood. Strips of raw flesh hang like shredded minced beef from my bloodied fingers. I push my sea witch’s ugly head back against the wall. Her raven head cracks, like a raw egg, spraying blood at the white-stone.

I sit up, perked. I climb out of my mother’s blood-soaked lap, stand, and sprint, to the wrought-iron handled, oaken door.

A chill sea breeze slaps my pallid face. I smart as driving rain stings my eyes. I look back, at the lamplight, the afterglow, the burning flames, where I smashed the oil lamp on the floor. The driving rain fills my lungs. I cough and sputter and choke. But I won’t stop running, stop running, not until I reach the Hut. The rain stops falling…

*****

I marvel at the nightscape. The grey band of rainclouds, suspended, over the darkening navy sky. The faint, holly-green shadow of the far-off shore. The flat, calm, brackish water. The auld groin. The coal-black strip. The Hut, glowing in the moonlight. I climb down off the damp sea wall, cross the quay, and jump, flexing both knees to break my fall as my old tennis pumps hit the canker surface. The chill wind, ravaging my face red raw, bluing my running nose, I crunch my way towards the Hut.

The Hut stands on four stumpy struts. It has two parts: a dingy, oily part with slime-smeared windows, and a brilliant white cube, a box with a brightly-lit lookout portal, and blue felt roof. A gangway, no steps, just a glistening ramp, like a slide in a children’s playground, leads my widening eyes, up one side of the struts, to the dingy part. The ramp has its own rusty handrail.

I haul myself up the slope, using every ounce of strength in my feeble arms, dragging my legs behind me, floppy guy’s legs. I slip and slide, stumbling on the seaweed-slick surface, falling to my knees. Halfway up the slide, I lose my grip, and slither down the slide, grazing my bare knees on the razor-sharp grit. The thick, green, woolly socks, mother knitted for me, slink down my calves to my ankles. My sandals scuff. My grey shorts saturate with grime. My stripy tee- shirt is soaking wet. I’m shivery-cold, wretched.

I want to go and dry myself by her fire. I sit up, perked, stare the length of the shady quay, its inert cranes, the malting tower, a barley store, some full sacks. In the distance, I see my sea witch, burning brightly, arms outstretched, a human fireball, trapped in her white-stone tomb.

I feel no guilt. She controlled me. Never let me out. She taught me at home. Said I wouldn’t need school. I think of the faceless man who deserted us when I was only four. She taught me how he left her at twilight, for the Hut.

It is dark. Silent. I stare at the ghostly bundles nestled on the flats: white mute swans, the black swan, mallards, nestled on the flats. The silence is broken by the searing cry of the sea witch, as she perishes in the flames.

I stand, my child’s face set like granite, in renewed determination. Slowly, I haul myself up the slide, until I reach the dingy part. There is a narrow walkway, it circles the grime-daubed metal wall, the blacked-out windows. I press my body flat against its slippery surface and edge my way around, careful not to look over my shoulder, at the drop. The dingy part is empty, lifeless.

I feel the raised surface, the cold steel rail, the rung, a second rung. I climb the ladder, the wind beating my back, flaying my cheeks, chilling me to the bone. The shining light beams out above my head, evaporating in the darkness, lighting one white wall of the box. I clamber up onto the curtain surrounding the brilliant white cube.

I edge towards the light, the warmth, the steaming vapour, the gleaming bottle-green broth, the mystical briny elixir. I enter the Hut. I wonder who lives inside the Hut at night? Why? I enter the Hut.

They squirm and wriggle in the life-giving briny mulch. Their wet hair, aflame with red, auburn, ginger, teak, blonde, cascading over their shoulders, caressing their breasts. Some of them lie in the throes of love’s tender embrace. Others stay still in each other’s slender arms, kissing, occasionally flipping a scaly tail. Some tails stand erect.

I smell their musk, primordial scent. They slide over each other’s bodies, a mass of massaging fish.  I hear them, keen for one another. The sirens sing their shrill, joyous, song of love. The tide will rise. The Hut will drown. Their mating ritual over, they will swim in magical shoals, far out to sea, where we can never hurt them.

*****

I entered the Hut.

I found where Mermaids go, to make love.


© Copyright 2019 HJFURL. All rights reserved.

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