I walk along the wooden bridge, my shoes sharp on the boards, my legs efficiently striding, businesslike. Stepping outside my body, to check myself over, I see a purposeful woman with dark brown hair, cut in an expensive bob. The pencil skirt kicks out slightly at the back, adding a feminine air to the boxy jacket. I nod slightly, satisfied with the sheen of success. I am steel, under the guise of linen.

At the middle of the bridge, I stop and look down into the shallow, slow flowing water. It was not always so. We used to come here on drowsy summer days long ago, to swim and gossip and make plans for our future, so far away.

I listen: there is no echo of our laughter. The others are all dead now. No doubt they have more recent enemies to haunt.

I am the sole survivor. Nobody alive hates or despises me for my subversive treachery. There are no whispers to taint my flawless reputation.

I notice a small stone lying at my feet, and kick it into the water. It splashes, and I watch the ripples as they circle outwards. They reflect inside me, uncomfortable and unwanted, tickling my gut and climbing to my chest, my heart.

I feel accusing fingers. They point at me. Perhaps the ghosts have settled themselves here after all.

© Jane Paterson Basil

2 thoughts on “GUILT

    1. That’s interesting, because it didn’t generate much interest, and I thought it may have been because I didn’t manage to become the character as I do with most stories. Itried to make her change into the kind of clothes that I wear, but she refused. She’s a strong minded woman, that one…


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