‘Love Animals’

8 March 2021

Bel picked up the turtle from the middle of the road, where she feared it might be crushed by a car, and carried it to the verge. The turtle’s shell was green as an olive, the plates of its carapace indistinct under a layer of moss. It had turned itself into a stone, its head […]

Bel picked up the turtle from the middle of the road, where she feared it might be crushed by a car, and carried it to the verge. The turtle’s shell was green as an olive, the plates of its carapace indistinct under a layer of moss. It had turned itself into a stone, its head and legs tucked inside, but its body was lighter than she’d imagined it would be, and more slippery. She couldn’t resist looking at its underside, where the shell was a surprising corn-yellow. This was the way the turtle was going — to the dam beside the road — and Bel set it in short grass on the other side of a wire fence, backing away so that her shadow no longer fell across its body. She rubbed her hands on her jeans, got back into the car and drove down the escarpment to where the town lay invisible, veiled by low clouds. It was almost eleven o’clock, but the lid on the valley hadn’t lifted. Six months she’d been here now, and she loved the worn-down hills rising to the west, the insectivorous bats that flitted over her backyard at night, even the wind that poured cloud into the valley.


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