Patrick ran along the path, hands spread wide, feeling the tall rapeseed through his fingers. The sky was a deep blue, the sun was shining. It felt good to be out of the stuffy house.

For the first time in a week the wind direction on the island had changed and the radioactivity levels had dropped. Jessica’s parents were still refusing to let her leave their fallout shelter, but Patrick was free to cross the fields and visit her. Maybe he could persuade her mum to let Jessica come out. Ever since Mr. Trebold had caught the cancer, she had been cautious about Jessica’s exposure.

Savouring the fresh air, Patrick stopped and gathered a handful of the yellow rapeseed flowers, a present for Mrs. Trebold. He held the flowers to his nose and breathed in the musky, honeyed scent. The last week of increased fallout levels was enough to ruin the crop again, same as last year and the year before. They would go through the process of harvesting, then sending it to the laboratory on the mainland for testing, before the fields would be set alight and the precious oilseed incinerated. Still, they looked glorious for now, swaying golden as far as he could see.

Clasping his self-made bouquet, he was about to resume his run when he spotted a section of the crop next to the path that had been flattened. Odd, especially as no one had been allowed outside for the last week. Perhaps some livestock from Old Timpson’s farm had escaped, but they should have been locked up in shelter too.

Curious, Patrick approached the opening. His feet crunched on the carpet of broken stalks. The breeze, pushing the crop to and fro, made a rustling noise that grew louder the further he immersed himself between the tall plants. Over it all he heard a man’s voice, a voice crying out in pain or anguish. He couldn’t understand the words, the language was foreign to him.

‘Pochemu ty ostavil nas!’ the man cried. Patrick crept forward and came upon the man, on his knees, hands filled with crushed rapeseed in both fists, tears running down his face. He recognised him. It was Pyotr. His parents had warned him to stay away from him. He was a Crazy Old Russian. The children thought him harmless, they taunted him whenever they saw him in the village.

Pyotr saw Patrick. He looked up into the young boy’s eyes. ‘Eto ne moya vina,’ he said, his wet eyes pleading. ‘It is not my fault,’ he repeated in broken English, before a fresh wave of hysterics enveloped him.

Patrick turned and ran. He couldn’t wait to tell Jessica about the Crazy Old Russian.

Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Between curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

31 responses to “THE ISLAND BETWEEN”

    • I don’t think you have missed anything. The link I tried to make was the radioactive fallout and how it affected life on the island, and the Russian demonstrated that Russia was perhaps the source of the radiation – whether it is from a Chernobyl type accident or a missile strike in some global future war perhaps, I will leave to you to decide. Be good to know if that was what you thought was going on?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I did pretty much get it. Actually really enjoyed the world you created. A unique piece of post apocalyptic fiction. Where most are bogged down in misery (understandably) your’s in many ways is about the normalisation of life after something like that. The kids are still going out to play, just not they have to be careful of different things. Would be good to share some writing sometime, man. I’d love to get some feedback from you on some of my fiction, see what you make and if you can help me improve my prose in general.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, I’m glad you value my opinion that highly. Let me know when you have something to share. I’m trying to get through the 2nd draft of a novel at the moment, with another idea bubbling away, so we could do a trade 🙂


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