It was late in the autumn. The days were getting shorter and the nights colder. The first rain had arrived earlier in the morning so it was a damp, cold and grey world Martin the B Keeper padded through. His breath steamed.

Chilly as it may have been, there was a lovely warm spot in Martin’s chest – caused by the fresh-baked bread he had stashed inside his coat, to share with a certain someone.

Martin scrunched up the short gravel path to Rebecca’s front door. Without knocking he called “Hello!” as he stepped inside and hung his coat on a hook behind the door.

There was no answer and he wandered into the tiny kitchen. Onyx the cat meowed a greeting and rubbed himself on Martin’s leg. Martin dropped the bread on the newly smoothed wood of the kitchen table – he had helped Rebecca restore the old thing only a week ago.

On the table was a note.

Martin read the note. He grabbed his jacket and began to run…

Splashing through puddles on his way to the railway station, Martin kept wondering “Why?”
“Why would she have to leave? Why must she go back to the City? Why can’t she say when she will be back? Will she be back? What’s going on?”

He did not understand at all, but if he was fast enough he may get to the station before the train was gone…

Martin knew he had missed the train as he ran along the last section of the path. He could hear it gathering speed, already some distance off. He stopped on top of the footbridge and leaned on the railing, catching his breath.

‘Becc was on the train, he knew it. The platform was empty. Through the thick old windows he could see the waiting room was empty too. He didn’t need to see that to know though. It seemed there was a ribbon running from his chest to the train.

He stood on the bridge and watched the train, not understanding at all.

It was some time before the last carriage disappeared over the horizon. The ribbon pulled tight, and yanked a chunk of something from deep inside his ribcage.

Martin sighed deeply and trudged back to Rebecca’s cottage. It was exactly the same as he’d left it, but already it seemed colder and emptier. He picked up Onyx the cat and zipped him into the front of his coat. He picked up the fresh loaf of bread. He carried them both back to his own house; Onyx purring happily with his head poking out from the top of Martin’s jacket.

The cat was warm and soft on Martin’s chest as he walked, but underneath the new hole ached.

It ached a lot.





Mount Duneed, Australia

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Artist's Description

Martin and Rebecca have a little history already. Things were getting settled – but past lives can have a way of intruding rudely on the present…

Artwork Comments

  • bellmusker
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