Page 66 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 66

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020


          William awoke to pain and light. The sun was high in the sky and shone on his face. He
          sat up. He was somewhere out in the hills, away from the vineyard, in the empty land
          beyond.  He  looked  down  and  examined  his  arm.  The  elbow  stuck  out  an  unnatural
          angle, the joint flabby and swollen. William reached up to his face, felt for contusions or
          lumps. One eye was almost shut. He ran his fingers down his face to check for further
          injuries and that was when he found the cut in his neck. His fingers came away sticky
          and wet. He traced the cut. It ran from his ear to his Adam’s apple. That fucker cut my
          throat and left me for dead out here. For the fucking foxes to eat.
          William tested the wound carefully with his fingers, prodding the gash. The skin was
          parted  and  open,  but  it  had  stopped  bleeding.  He  squinted  at  the  sun,  plotted  the
          compass direction from its place in the sky, the shadows under the trees. He did the
          maths.


          If I head east I will find the road. Then we’ll see.



          It took him most of the day to find it. Roberto had dumped him far into the hills. William
          traversed the slopes unsteadily, tracing a way back. Occasionally he saw a faint tyre
          print. Sometimes William stopped when he found a tree to shelter under. The stumpy
          brushy  eucalypts  offered  him  little  comfort,  but  the  shade  was  something.  Once  he
          found a muddy spring, and scooped handfuls of dirty water into his mouth. It made him
          feel both sick and stronger.


          Later, when the sun was long gone for the day, his feet found the road. He paused. For
          a moment he looked down from the hills, away from the direction of the vineyard. If he
          followed the road he might still get to town, get help. In the softness of the night a thin
          sliver  of  moon  had  crested  the  horizon.  I  could  make  my  way  down,  get  help,  come
          back with the police. Wait for justice.


          William looked up at the sky. The constellation of Orion burned above him, the great
          hunter majestic and bright. His celestial bow pointed up the hill in the direction of the
          vineyard. The stars pointed the way.



          Fuck town, he said aloud. His lips felt thick and alien, like they belonged to someone
          else. He smiled, ran his finger along the cut, picked away a crusty flake of blood, and
          began walking.


          *****


          The  sun  rose  over  the  vineyard.  Roberto  lay  in  bed.  He  had  spent  the  day  before
          burning and burying William’s possessions. He had even burnt the mattress that the
          boy  had  slept  on,  consigning  what  was  left  to  the  earth.  There  would  eventually  be
          questions, of course, but no evidence. He would say the boy had finished his contract,
          been paid his lump sum and left. He was ready.







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