It was noon when they awoke the pig. It was slumbering in the folds of my mother’s lap all the way there.
I considered it, pink beyond measure and menacing as my father at twilight. He would lift the sheets and hum as he got into bed.
My mother shook a drop of sweat from her sleep heavy brow and set the shrieking beast on the seed strewn floor of the cheap and sweating compartment we had travelled so many miles in.
Lost among the mumbled words of peasants and small time businessmen.
I wondered what hope their lives held as I jumped the two feet drop with my small gray flannelled legs below me.
My aunt waited for us at the end of the platform like some disgraced actress from films that made me drowsy on summer afternoons.
‘It’s over’, my mother said, racing in front of me and whispering into her sister’s angular shoulder.
‘I warned you, you never listen.’
In the brief exchange of glances and the veiled stare my aunt gave me I sensed the conspiracy of desertion, and the empty shell of loss early.
I carted my case, now heavier, to the car that waited for us in the endless vertigo of that twilight.
They said no more and I waited in childhood’s caul of ignorance for some elucidation of why I was there.
My mother picked at the hem of her sleeve while the pig shrieked with obscene aggression in the back.
The house was dark and uninviting and we ascended stone steps and left the animal in the hallway.
I listened to the conversation below as I went to bed.
I heard only the dark mutterings of shame and regret.
I began to wash, rubbing my hands blindly in the darkened bathroom where a dripping bath tap made me drowsy and indifferent.
I must have rubbed them raw for the next thing I knew the birdsong brought my reddened hand into view, sprayed with the spittle from my slack jawed mouth.
I rose and wandered the deserted corridors of the house I hated.
I wondered what had happened to my father.
When my mother rose she seemed more my aunt’s sister than someone I knew, as if she had been altered by an unseen hand in the night.
They ate while I stared out of the window at the grounds.
It occurred to me from their hushed tones and darting glances that I had become a nuisance, something they would get rid of. Once again father’s face swam into my mind like the bloated body of a dead fish.
I looked for the pig all morning.
Its pink skin seemed warm and less threatening than the long dresses my mother and aunt wore.
The swishing of the starched material jarred me.
I catalogued my wrongs.
I watched the daylight die.
I never saw the pig again. I grieved the loss of a plaything.
That evening we ate so far apart at the long polished table my mother seemed made of waxwork.
I tried to hide my hands beneath the tablecloth.
My only guilty pleasure was the fresh bacon the dinner brought.
His work has appeared in many publications, places like A Twist Of Noir and Pulp Metal Magazine, as well as in three anthologies. His play ‘The Cure-All’ has been produced on the London stage. His first crime novel ‘Apostle Rising’ is about to be published and will be released for sale onto the market at the beginning of 2011. You can watch a video ad of ‘Apostle Rising’ by using this link http://www.richardgodwin.net/ . All his published works can be found at his site.