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An Aversion

Page 2

Jack had stood motionless. He tugged at his earlobes. Immediately, his heart pulsed rapidly. He couldn’t hear the sound of rippling water… then miraculously, as if someone has flicked on a switch, he heard noise again. Thank God!

The smoke had dissipated… his palm was sliced by a jagged piece of metal.  As it surged through his hand, the pain was like nothing he had experienced before.

The rudder was contorted and stuck in silt. Strewn across the riverbank were remnants of wooden planks and chunks of metal, larger pieces looming, dark shapes submerged in water. He had found the boatman metres away floating face down, caught up in tangled branches. Jack hesitated before he turned the body over, but he was too late.

He had run back to the wreckage. Jack’s mind was bombarded with reverberating images. Just like before, he was powerless. After his breathing had returned to normal, he found his daypack, scorched, but intact, and followed an overgrown track into the jungle. As he trudged forward he thought about his mother.

He was sitting at her bedside and remembered a stale, lingering odour. His mother, middle-aged, was gaunt and fragile. Jack checked her cup of tea on the side table. It was still full. She looked up in his direction, but there wasn’t any brightness in her eyes. She tried to pull up the sheet.

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