Ghost at the gate

I closed the gate, sat down and opened the thin silver notebook. The ghost had returned. A presence on the edge of moments willed empty. Insistent though not insisting. Suggesting uncertain memories, images without roots to weave and curl around things which may or may not have happened. She whispers about a nest. Nonchalantly loops a snare.

And so I walked to the stone and timber well and dropped my bucket into the deep black hole. In the silence of the fall one horned owl called another. Colour faded, stars brightened as evening edged into night and finally a distant, resonant splash. Somewhere down there the wooden bucket floated briefly, tipped and slowly sank. I waited as it filled and then began to draw it back, heaving hard on the rope, all too familiar with the unpredictable possibilities of the load. Fists clenched tight, my arms ached as I hauled, the bucket swaying, bumping against damp walls, weight increasing with every inch gained. Then all at once it came. I stumbled backwards almost losing the rope which flew up fast, too fast as the back of my head struck the earth and black blue to purple dawn spread across the eastern sky.

I don’t know what happened. I heard the gate open then bang shut again.


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