The Hunter Sits: extracts from The Floating Harbour

Download the whole novel, for free, as a PDF here: The Floating Harbour


     Scanning through the aural picture independently, the ears converge and indicate the point the eyes must follow. The head complies and, from its vantage up upon the wall, the watcher slinks along and drops in silence.
     Drops in silence to the edges of a muddy maelstrom, maddened movements merge and bring collision, sown about congested creatures – flesh and wood, that would travel to or from the second city. Gracefully contorted – flattened ears, balancing tail – the watcher morphs into the hunter through the spokes within a wheel, rising, falling, as they stutter back and forth. Assaulting all its senses – sensitive, adept, attuned – the bridgely chaos caters pandemonium. Carters caught – confined, confused – contesting clashes crossing; livestock leaning low, lurching listlessly.
     The hunter sits.
     Sits between the wooden wheels.
     Between the wooden wheels that stand gridlocked.
     Gridlocked at the gutter down the centre of the bridge, as the sides descend, to meet, from the shopfronts.
     A burst, a ball of brown, and two eyes focus on a point and pull the head, the body, out across the mud and between stamping pillars, up and over waves within the air that carry snorts and barks and bellows, dodged or ridden in pursuit.
     Closer, closer, closer, to the place it disappeared, forced to skirt around, at speed, the fallen goods and stenching shit, to leap at length and vertically to scale the shopfront to the sill beneath the glass to see the pursued safe inside.
     Such keen eyes, such keen resolve.
     The hunter morphs into the watcher, sat there up upon the sill, as the ears diverge to better sweep the aural landscape, with the tapping of the twitching tail, its tip over the edge, beating faintly every time it hits the stone; making waves each time it sweeps against the sky.

Follow now the ripples in the air.
Pick a pathway as they’re shattered on the wind.

One careens into
the shouting out of wares and prices.
One emerges on
the far side of a whirlpool, impact-born.

Two are tangled
in a mass of muttered words and uttered phrases.
Still more are
lifted to escape the sonic storm.

     What happens next?

Image credit – Bristol City Docks

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