Volume 5 Number 3


Summer 2007


by Sarah Hilary

Green light gusted above the peat, squatting in fists and pockets close to the muddy skin. "Pixie lanterns," said George, putting his thumb in his mouth.

"Rot," said Lily, the cynical twin. She leaned against the stake Pa had sunk into the hard ground at the foot of the garden to mark the perimeter of their play. The peat bog lay around three sides of the house, silent until they threw stones, when it burped and belched and swallowed them down like Scooby snacks. Lily threw one now, weighing it in her hand before she let it go, hearing it land with a ripe plop, seeing it bounce once on the surface before the mud made its grab, dragging it under with an acid parp, sending up blisters that burst and spattered.

"Yuk," said George.

"There's something dead in there," said Lily, "under the mud. That's what's making the green. Something dead is rotting, giving off gas. If we lit a match, it'd make fireworks."

"Ooh, let's!" George's face shone.

Lily was less sanguine. "Pa would belt us. Besides, it'd send up bits. You might see all sorts. Eyeballs. Hooves."

"Is it a horse?" George eyed the bog fearfully.

"Maybe. Or a cow." Lily swung from the stake, one foot kicking in the direction of the peat. It scared her too, but she'd never name her fear,pretending instead to despise the stinky disgusting old thing. She stuck her tongue out, echoing the noises it made, blowing raspberries of spittle.

"Maybe it's a man who wandered off the path and drowned, inch by inch." She jumped at George, grabbing his ankles so he squealed. "The cold mud crept up his legs—" She walked her fingers to his shins and pulled with her palms at his knees. "—drinking him down like broth, bubble-bubble...."



BIO: Sarah Hilary has just completed a first novel — about a woman addicted to Internet erotica — and is currently at work on a second. She lives in the bucolic idyll that is the English countryside, and has a weakness for high-brow literature and low-budget horror films.