Racing the Devil
Copyright Rob Lowe 2011
Published by Atlantic Bay Press at Smashwords
Jake stood on the quayside, a loop of rucksack over one shoulder, his hand deep in a bag of dry crusts. Summoned, the gulls crooked their wings to snatch the curls of bread that rose and fell with each handful he threw. His fingers chased the last rough, dry crusts of bread around the bag and then launched a confetti of crumbs into the grey dusk.
It was midwinter and a few lights already shone across the estuary, the houses blurring as they rose to meet the rain-laden hills. He shifted his pack on his shoulders and made his way past the row of pale pebble-dashed houses that overlooked the harbour. Gauzy net curtains shrouded their windows, but here and there he could make out faint shards of Christmas lights. Once, he would have been excited by that sight, but he was already learning that Christmas was as much about obligations as gifts.
Further up the street his grandmother’s cottage wore a thickly woven wreath on the door, tartan ribbon snaked around it. Clan colours, his grandmother claimed. His mother had said this was nonsense; they were from the Borders and the wrong side at that.