The Dividing Tide – Episode 32

Arthek was pulled to safety and lay breathing noisily on the ground. He opened his eyes and their gaze met. A moment later he was carried away to his office. A boy went to fetch the doctor from St Austell.

“All right, you lot,” the captain said to the men. “Show’s over. Get this carriage upright, then back to work.”

Garren turned to go, but he felt a hand restrain him.

“Not you. Wait here.”

His shoulder ached and he rubbed it as he watched the captain disappear into Arthek’s office. Surely he wasn’t in trouble again?

Should he have waited before trying to help? But if he had, Arthek Nankerris might well have died.

When the captain returned a few minutes later, he stood in front of Garren, his arms folded across his chest.

“You did well, lad.”

Garren looked at him in surprise.

“I saw what happened,” he continued. “If you hadn’t lifted the cart when you did, I reckon he’d have been a goner. You’re a hero.”

He smiled and held out his hand. Garren took it, and grimaced.

“Go and wait in my office,” the captain commanded. “When the doc has finished with the boss, I’ll get him to take a look at that shoulder.”

An hour later, Garren was pronounced fit except for a small tear to the muscle in his shoulder. The doctor gave him some liniment.

“A strong man like you will soon heal,” he said. “But light duties for a week, Captain.”

“Yes, Doctor. Matter of fact,” he added, “we’re moving him back to the linhay when he’s recovered, if that’s all right with you, son?”

Garren nodded.

When the doctor had gone, he added, “Thank you, sir.”

“Don’t thank me.” The captain smiled. “It was the boss’s orders. It’s his way of showing his gratitude for what you did.”

* * * *

Garren’s shoulder soon healed, and he was placed back in the clay store.

He liked the hustle and bustle of being adjacent to the yard. It reminded him of a sea port and he liked to see the comings and goings as he worked.

He was careful never to be idle, however, nor to give the captain any cause for complaint. The last thing he wanted was to become a kettle boy again.

One morning in early January he was shifting a load of clay on to a waiting wagon and pondering upon the problem that so often beset his mind – of how he was ever going to see Jenna – when he froze, staring in complete disbelief.

There she was!

Instinctively, he took a step towards her, his heart thundering in his chest. Of all the possible ways of meeting her again, he had never once thought she might come to him!

He stopped. She looked so grand in her fine dress and soft leather slippers.

He glanced down at his dusty boots and working garb, and stepped back into the shadowy interior of the linhay.

Jago said something to her and she laughed, setting her shining fair ringlets bouncing against her cheek. Garren’s heart sank as a gap suddenly yawned between them.

The girl he loved had become a lady, whilst he was still the same as ever.

He shrank still further into the shadows.

“I’ve lost her,” he whispered.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.