Reply To: Bi-Monthly Comp – May/June 2019

About Forums Den of Writers Monthly Competition Bi-Monthly Comp – May/June 2019 Reply To: Bi-Monthly Comp – May/June 2019


You seem to have set a fire with your idea, Raine: even I’m having a go. Yet more apologies: 408 words.

The Last House

There’s freedom and there’s freedom. Sleeping rough and scavenging for food is freedom, but not the sort that appeals to me. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing tonight if something doesn’t turn up. Another night’s B&B will just about clean me out.

And there’s precious little sign of anything turning up here. Mountains and moorland and big sky might be just what you need if you’re looking for peace and solitude and communion with the beauties of nature. If you’re on the road, homeless and looking for work, they’re no use to you at all.

How much more of this is there? I haven’t had a lift for hours, and I can feel every yard of the miles I’ve walked in my blistered feet, my sore shoulders, my aching back, and most of all in that bloody right leg. It’s hotter than it has any right to be this high up, the bottle of water I bought in Brecon this morning is a distant memory, and my rucksack’s getting heavier by the minute.

SAS men have died in these mountains. And I’ve seen lanes in Surrey that carried more traffic than this supposed main road.

They must have been having a laugh when they sent me along here. Pub along the Swansea road, they said. Desperate they are, they said. You might have a better chance there.

So where is it? There’s not a house in sight, or a barn, or any trace of civilisation at all. Not even a tree. Just rough yellowed grass and shaggy heather. Not a sound, except the wind in the grass and the occasional distant bleating of a sheep. I could be the last man left on Earth.

Or do I hear something coming up behind?

Yes, I do. Better stick out my thumb. Go through the motions.

His brake lights have come on. His hazards are flashing. Glory be, he’s stopping.

It’s a white pick-up, streaked with rust and spattered with mud. Not quite my idea of luxury transport, but I’m hardly about to get picky.

The passenger’s door is already open when I arrive alongside.

‘Thanks, mate,’ I say, dumping my rucksack on the floor and settling myself into the seat.

My saviour has wiry grey hair and a cheerful, weather-beaten face. A sheep farmer? There doesn’t seem to be much else to do around here. ‘I’m only going to Ystrad, mind,’ he says. ‘You okay with that?’

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by RichardB.