Study of an Empty Children’s Play Park After Summer Rain

Mairead Robinson

There’s a creaking swing, swaying gently. Long metal slide glazed with rain. A climbing frame, its cargo net sagging.

She cartwheels in through the gate, backflips, lands it, skips to the swing, but he’s there, paws gripping chains. Fox-face, agate eyes gleaming beneath dark hood. Dirty jeans. She stands still. Uncertain.

‘She went to the park,’ her mother says, ‘to play, before dinner.’

The policemen nod, search, but there’s nothing; damp dandelion clocks and broad-leaved docks, lone swing, silver slide, wet climbing frame, cargo net dripping.

‘She went to the park,’ her mother says, ‘for half an hour, before dinner.’

Mairead Robinson lives in the South West of the UK with a pro-social dog and an anti-social cat. When she isn’t writing, she’s thinking about writing. She can be found on Twitter @Judasspoon