Not under the shelter. Not by the hedge. Not in the ditch. Jogging from pen to pen, Micah carried out one last headcount. Ninety-nine present, for which he tried to feel grateful. That afternoon’s freak hailstorm had been a portent. One had gone astray.
'Nothing else for it,' said Micah aloud. Hood raised against the drizzle, he set out for the far corner of the park. There was the board that marked the perimeter. They shouldn’t go beyond this point, he thought, and when they do, nothing good comes of it.
It had already been a long day, and his legs protested as he scoured the rough and steep track. Nothing. His hands stung from the thorn-ridden brush that peppered both sides. Still nothing.
The day’s light had gone by the time he reached the stream. Micah cursed himself. Why hadn’t he thought to bring a torch? He picked his way along the water’s edge, straining his eyes through the falling rain. Again, nothing. No, wait.
Without thinking, Micah bounded into the freezing water that covered his feet, his ankles, his knees. Here was the one that had wandered, unable to right itself. He lifted it tenderly out of the current and waded back to the shore, then found the strength to balance it on his shoulders for the long return journey, spent but joyful.
Finally back in the park, Micah returned it to the shelter and the safety of the fold. In so doing, he became aware of being observed. A young lad was keeping dry under a nearby pen.
'Rejoice,' shouted Micah, 'for what was lost is found!'
The boy looked from Micah, then to the shelter, and finally back to Micah.
'Mate,' he said, 'it’s only a trolley.'
This piece is part of our 2022 Community Flash Series showcasing new writing by the Wandsworth Carers Centre Writers Group. You can read m...
One day the planet tilted just ever so slightly to the left and everyone and everything I’d ever known in between fell off. It wasn’t easy t...
A shaft of sunlight fell across the worn herringbone floor, drawing his gaze upwards to the flawless blue sky beyond the row of windows, ...
Before we launch into a new year at FlashFlood, we'd like to take a moment to celebrate all our 2021 award nominees. Congratulations to ...