The Opening of ‘The Monster Factory’

The boy sat on the jetty dangling his be-wellied feet into the loch. He had discovered the jetty yesterday; it had at last stopped raining and he had really needed to get away from his parents for a while. The holiday cabin, nice though it was, had become confining and restrictive. It was supposed to be a period of recovery after all that he’d been through but if he was honest he would sooner have gone straight back to school.

            Yesterday there had been a pretty little clinker built boat tied up against the jetty and he longed to take it out on to the loch and just float away, away from everything. Just him and the gentle swell of the water. Not that he knew anything about boats. He was a farm boy from the Midlands. Not many big stretches of water around his part of the world. Not any that he liked the look of anyway. But he liked this. The peace, the lack of people, the lack of traffic. It was pretty good. Perhaps he’d move here when he left home.

            A small puttering noise roused him from his daydream. He looked up. The small boat was heading towards the jetty. As it approached he could make out the driver (did you call him a driver? He wasn’t sure) and the black head of a Labrador standing in the bow. The driver was a boy of about his own age. Untidy, sandy hair poking out from under an old-fashioned looking cap. Outdoor skin. Slim, alert and with a kind of poise that made him look ready for instant action. He was wearing a life jacket, not the big orange kind but just a green collar. Probably the sort that inflates when you fall in. Ben knew enough to be aware of that. The boy drove the boat expertly up to the jetty, looped a line around a stanchion and came to a halt. The dog leapt onto the jetty and danced around on the planks excitedly waiting for the boy to get out.

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