‘Clear, Blue Waters’ fiction by Lee Stoddart

A solitary bubble gently floats upwards to surface on the placid loch, as the pale, dawn light slowly surrenders to a late-spring day. Watercolour washes in orange and pink give way to wispy-wool clouds gambolling over fresh pastures of azure. Reflections mimic their frolicking on clear, blue waters.

There is no breath of wind to offend or stir the scene. All is silent.

Any other day, the heart-beat lapping of wavelets against such clinker hull as this would lull a fisher back to early morning slumber, until the line tightens and a tiny bell rings the catch. But, today, goat-frayed mooring-line trailing, the boat drifts aimless on a current, swept gently towards the glacier-hewn granite shore.

A dipper momentarily rests on the gunwale, its head bobbing, then once again takes to the air, returning to its frantic purpose, hunting amongst ice-cold streams.

In hypnotic, somnolent rhythm, the boat’s prow tenderly breaks the shimmering surface, its keel scrapes coarse golden sand. It glides to a halt in the shallows, beneath the vaulted ceiling of the dark green Trossachs forest. 

Forever in shadow, barren of sunlight, the water is a deeper green-blue.

In leaf-sieved, piebald light, there’s no catch to carry today—nothing reeled into the boat with or without a struggle. No monster-fish met its end, no tall-tale to spin. 

Soon, cars will speed along the fresh black tarmac of the A82, circumnavigating prehistoric waters. Holidaymakers will cheerily play at spotting Nessie in the morning light. Locals will go about their private business. 

Ignorant of drifting vessels, intent on their own frantic purpose, heads bobbing, seeing all yet missing everything, for want of a moment’s tranquillity. Until tomorrow’s dawn, when this nexus of stone, water and air will, once again, be silently alone, washed in watercolours.

Lee began writing spec-fic in 2012 and has twice been shortlisted and published by the HG Wells Short Story Competition, in minor anthologies and online. He gave up senior roles in the corporate world in late 2017 to focus on writing and is currently working on a dark dystopian comedy.

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