Hill

by Luke Otley

I indicated left, and pulled over. The van came to a rumbling halt on the gravel side-road. When I killed the ignition I could hear the soft bubbling of boiling rusted water in the tank. Habitually I pulled the lever that opens the bonnet. On stepping out I saw a broad scope of green cloven mountains to my right. The sun was setting, blushing the partially clouded sky a deep roseate. The mountains regarded me pensively; I sighed and looked down at the sad wreck of engine. The water tank was fogged, steaming and spluttering her familiar siren’s call. I waited. When the tank quietened, I felt the lid cautiously.

Next thing I know I’m hollering on the way to the floor. My glasses had abandoned me, my knees were blooded and grazed, my hands numb. I’m in the road. I’m covered in boiling water. My face is covered in boiling water. I grope around, blindly, staggering about in the gravel. I felt my face, it felt numb, prosthetic, alien.

I was covered in a base brick silt. I put my head on the wheel and breathed quietly as darkness, in his true tomb gloom, sheepishly intruded on the scene. I took water to the engine and refilled the tank. As I did so I steadied a sober gaze on the paling dusk. The moon talked gloatingly of my misfortune to the possums who grinned – in pairs and groups of three – revealing gristle grey teeth yellowed with hot yolk.