She is enormous. She is poised, still, above a thick white zig zag of silk running through her web.
I trap a grasshopper in my hands. When I open them, the grasshopper flings itself out straight onto the sticky threads.
Blacktip reef shark
I register something new in the water. Coming towards us.
Grey shape sharp as a blade.
Every neuron explodes and thoughts cram themselves into my consciousness: they’re shy this one isn’t what does it want is this happening
It circles. My body turns with it.
A single grey eye evaluates me.
I never knew fear could be so beautiful.
The train stops between stations. Commuters tut and sigh.
On the slope outside the window, bracken twitches. The fox steps out, sits, and stares.
I glance around the carriage. No one else sees it.
Crossing a bridge, we are waylaid: in the River Itchen below, thick brown trout hang fat and lazy and sure in the current. An almost motionless dance.
We watch and watch and watch.
The birch tree outside my window. One blackbird lands.
Its partner is a wingbeat behind. It overshoots, pauses in mid-air, then flicks down to the same branch.
In my head, its voice goes like this: Oh, you were aiming for that branch, my mistake!
My eyes are resting on the empty water.
Empty no more: a black round head rises with a bubbly snort.
It has giant, depthless eyes.
Before my grin forms, before I yell seal! in delight, there is a gap when that gaze feels… malevolent.
The bumblebee is caught. Envenomed.
As the spider binds the bee’s wings down, they…
The sound is impossibly loud.
In that crinkling, I hear: the world is still working.