A lovely and terrible thing


Description

Around you the world is swirling – you pass through a submerged town; the bakery, a wheelbarrow, a bike floating on its side on the main street, its steeples and trees barely visible through the thick water.

In the distance the wreck of the gunship HMS Elizabeth lolls on a sandbank a couple of miles from the shore. Oil slicks the canals of the capital and even now in the midst of the bombing, the old men still tell tales of mermaids in the shallows.

A pool, empty of water save for a brackish puddle at one end that has escaped the summer heat. A mess of fine bones and hanks of fur – the remains of mice or possums that have tumbled in, lured perhaps by the water. Two boys stand by its edge, watching a stolen bracelet flash through the humid air into the deep end.

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