In the first week of December 2015, my story The Colour of Mud was featured as The Weekend Read on the For Books’ Sake website which champions women’s writing. It was originally published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 7. Lots of people got in touch to say how much they enjoyed reading it online – and that’s always an energy boost.
Read the opening paragraphs below. The rest of the story is available for 99p on Kindle for a limited time only. Buy it here.
Submit your short stories to For Books’ Sake here.
The Colour of Mud
I am never gonna be clean, even though I wipe myself down seventeen times a night. It’s the mud, see.
I pull my scarf around my face and jump puddles alongside the wall of trucks, grey ones, black ones, all blanketed by the dirt.
There are three men playing poker at a table they’ve set up in the middle of the drag. A standing man, his leg bent up on a chair, blows a tuneless harmonica. A jar on a table beside him is scabbed with ash.
I step forward and the mud sucks my leg down knee-deep. I grunt and slurp it out.
The lights of a bar flash on and off: The Good Times Saloon, the scaffolding on the roof a kind of skeleton. An open kitchen fogs oil and fried plantain. Further up the drag, the cooking mixes with the night stench. Petrol, tobacco, skin slicked in sweat.
There are echoes of laughter and the underfoot beat from a song on the radio.
I pass an island of scorched grass and stare down searching for remarkable signs of green. There’s no such thing as colour in this non-existent town. It’s not on no map, but the truckers know just where it is, halfway along the Western stretch of the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.