True Colours Extract

Extract from True Colours (2007)

” The light down the shaft grew stronger.

How could Jo get pregnant, he thought furiously. Why did she even bother to tell him? He wasn’t ready to take on a full-time lover agan, let alone a child. No no no. There were enough kids in the world already, even if none of them were his.

Even the bundle of rubbish on the far bank of the pool reminded him of a baby; if that bit was an arm, that the head, and the body tilting that way towards the water… he snapped out of it. It was becoming a nightmare.

Birdsong came faintly to his ears, which lifted his spirits further.He let his eyes rove around his prison again. In the opposite corner the walls disappeared into darkness. That must have been the way into the mine, although it seemed to be blocked. The whole of these workings were probably just an adit, a tunnel to let water drain out. If he had fallen into the deeper ore-digging workings he would never have survived.

Again, for want of something better to look at, the bundle drew his eyes. There really was something childlike about it. The large curve which could be a head, one arm bent and a hand up to the face as if to block out the world. On an impulse he suddenly put his good hand into the water and threw a little spray across at it. It was hard to get the range but at last a solid gout of water hit the target. Orange mud ran down. A deep grunting gasp forced itself from him and echoed around the chamber.

“Oh Jesus Christ,” he said aloud.

Now white and clear the fleshless fingers, the wise domed forehead and lightly stitched fontanelles, the sightless eye sockets, toothless mouth in a clean oval of surprise,neck disappearing into the rags of a reddish garment. Something shone yellow beside it and Simon sent another wave of spray over. It was plastic, perhaps a rattle, with a caricature of a face on it, its wide red smile still encouraging mirth and joy.

He started shouting wildly, all control gone. For some time he did not hear the distant sound of barking, or the voice that called back down to him…”

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