The water glistened from beneath the mossy surface, from between the rocks that jutted out of the woodland. It trickled, and spluttered over stone and earth. It gurgled and spat. It rushed down through the marsh grasses gathering power as the sides of its banks gradually widened to welcome its presence. They walked together in silence, trampling over spongy moss, bracken and twigs, and they were both aware of each other’s stride, tuning into each step and sway of limb.

She wanted to stop. To touch him and let his warmth and whole being wash over her but she felt their shared fear and so matched his stride. The river rushed besides them over boulders and down the sloped landscape. It masked the sound of the earth beneath them and urged them on ahead. Now, the trees parted ways as the land before them flattened out. He looked down at her. She felt a brush of his fingers against hers as he lost his footing or at least took his chance to do so. She smiled upwards. She held out her arm and now she knew she couldn’t stop it. The river growled and gossiped. They felt each other’s side against their own and in silence, slowed their pace as their hands entwined at last. A desperate relief of passion engulfed her. They stopped walking as the water lapped away intermittently and casually at the edge of the marshy bank onto the peat and sand beneath it.


Helen Kirk