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A House Made One

Deze pagina is een thuis voor het manuscript van A House Made One, een novelle die ik schreef tussen 2017 en 2021. Hoewel ik een aantal Engelstalige uitgeverijen heb benaderd, heb ik nog geen plek gevonden om de novelle uit te geven.

A House Made One is een utopische novelle die plaatsvindt in een tijd en plaats waar mensen gedwongen zijn samen te leven in grote Houses om lange winters met onafgebroken regen te doorstaan. Het gaat over een tiener die door de extreme jaargetijden leert om een meer verantwoordelijk en volwassen onderdeel te worden van zijn House. I schreef A House Made One om te onderzoeken hoe onderwerpen als identiteit, liefde, gemeenschap en zelfontwikkeling zouden veranderen in een context die radicaal herinterpreteren van menselijk samenzijn toestaat. Ik wilde een omgeving bedenken waar mijn hoop voor positieve interactie tussen mensen wordt aangemoedigd in plaats van de situatie in onze wereld, waar ze zo vaak worden ontmoedigd. In een samenleving met eenvoudige technologie maar verfijnde socialen structuren stel ik me een wereld voor waarin polyamorie, genderidentiteit en gemeenschappelijk eigendom geen grote obstakels zijn, maar juist worden geaccepteerd als de best mogelijke antwoorden op de vraag van menselijk overleven.

Het verhaal volgt Beru, zeventien jaar oud, die zich gedraagt zoals tieners zoals ik ze ken uit mijn lespraktijk. Echter, omdat de regels van zijn wereld anders zijn, kunnen lezers een ander perspectief op menselijk gedrag verkennen. Bekende drijfveren in een onbekende wereld staan lezers toe om een verbinding te voelen met de karakters terwijl ze zich kritisch kunnen verhouden tot een alternatieve maatschappij dan de onze. Door een heel jaar met Beru mee te leven kunnen lezers zich voorstellen welke keuzes zij zouden maken in de vallei van het House of Turtle en die vergelijken met hun keuzes in hun eigen leven.

Dit is een uitnodiging om de eerste vijf pagina’s van het verhaal te lezen. Mocht je meer willen lezen, laat het me dan weten. Ik stuur graag de rest van het manuscript naar je op en ben benieuwd wat je ervan denkt. Als je een connectie hebt met een uitgeverij of iemand kent die mogelijkheden voor uitgave met mij wil bespreken, zou ik erg dankbaar zijn voor elke stap die het project verder brengt. Mocht er interesse zijn in een Nederlandse versie, ben ik van harte bereid een hertaling te ondernemen.

A House Made One

by Wessel Fledderus

Beru looked out across the lagoon and felt the breeze lift a few strands of hair. This is what summer should be like, he thought. This is what life should be like. He consciously turned to his senses in sequence. He felt his weight pressing on a smooth rock, he felt his pantoons breathing loosely around his legs and he felt the drops of sea water dry on his shoulders. He heard the younglings chatter and pile rocks on each other, he heard the creatures around them make their sounds of complete comfort and he heard the waves overturning on the beach. He saw people devoted to their tasks on the beach, the sparkling waves in the lagoon and the horizon turning a deep green where it met the spotless sky.
This was what life should be like. Why could he not imagine how he had felt only two moons ago, when he felt everything was pointless and life should have been ended before it turned to misery? He struggled to remember the thought process, but could not grasp the steps he took then. He fought to evoke the feelings of that time, to drag them out into his current situation and face them here, where he would certainly destroy them forever. He visualised the endless rain and the grey faces, but to his current eye, they seemed distant, even slightly pleasant.
On the beach, an unage apprentice had found a particularly pretty shell. A nearby seal slowly lifted its head. People gathered and he could hear their cries of excitement all the way on the cliff. The shell would be on display for everyone in her house to see. She was not from his house. The Whales, he thought, or possibly the Crabs. He tried to make out the faces, suddenly excited. Maybe Trucia would be there, too. That was the reason he was here in the first place.
“Beru, we need you.”
The voice was torn, but friendly. Aless beckoned him.
“The first layers have been built. I want you to inspect them and perform judgment while I hand out the firstmeals.”
“Naturally, master elder.” Beru wasn’t always a committed apprentice, but he appreciated the task he had managed to claim today, so he made sure to appear zealous and capable. He rose and moved towards the miniature rock foundations the younglings had made, acknowledging the effort they had put in. After every foundation, he performed judgment with a kind smile. He was aware of the influence he had over the younglings, who were only between five and ten winters, and he felt the disaffected gaze of Aless, who would perform judgment on his performance upon her return to the house.
After he was finished, the younglings eagerly chomped down their firstmeal while clustering in small groups. The noise of the sea resounded around them and they looked around leisurely. Beru watched them while he ate, reaffirming that he was lucky to be caretaker today. Aless and Berth seated themselves next to him.
“They are doing well,” Berth said. She was a strong woman with short, dark hair, known as one of the best builders of the house. Beru appreciated her, but rarely spoke to her. She was demanding of herself and others, something that made her unpopular with Beru and other unaged.
“If they maintain this discipline when they grow up, our house will be secure and prosperous,” Berth looked from the piles of collected rocks to the younglings. “It warms my bones.”
“They certainly worked hard. They must have been impressed with your example this morning.” Aless was an older woman, with a tenderness that contrasted her cracked face and voice. Her grey hair was put up in a complicated pattern, an artistic variation on the traditional hairdo for the elderly masters. She had been caretaker as long as Beru could remember, treating the ill and supervising the young already when Beru was a child himself.
Berth turned to Beru.
“Your judgments were kind and wise, but you need to refine your builder’s eye. I hope you will join one of my classes before autumn comes.”
“It would be my honour, Berth.”
He hoped that would be enough to stop the discussion there. He was willing to learn, but not ready to spend his days underneath the House if there was a chance to be close to the sea, with a chance to see that girl again. He noticed a feeling swell in his chest. Summer was too good to be spent on foundations.

After the task was completed, Aless and Berth started to prepare to take the younglings back to the house. The younglings were excited to be relieved of their duties and were already planning their afternoon playing.
“Will you join us, Beru?” asked Aless.
“No, master elder. The others will soon be here and I would like to make the most of the sun’s abundance today.”
Berth grinned and started walking, saying: “The young are full of energy, but lack direction. Enjoy your sunsoaking, Beru.” The younglings followed her, not quite aware of what she had said, but enjoying the words at Beru’s expense. As they headed for the House, they started a children’s marching song. Aless nodded to Beru and said: “Enjoy the day. Maybe you can find some new followers for our House, too.”
Beru froze at the cheek of her remark. It always surprised him how his elders could think so lightly of contacting the other Houses and selecting potential lovers, in whatever form. To Beru, nothing could be more important or more daunting. His heart pounded with the realisation that everyone must be aware of his friends’ intentions. If Aless could mention it so casually, it must mean the whole house was talking about it. Even his father.

He quickly left for the beach, where soon there would be a congregation of unaged from all nearby Houses. Usually, there would be close to fifty, depending on how the tasks had been divided in the morning. They would swim, sing and sleep in the sun, perform feats of strength, skill and agility and outwit each other wherever possible, hoping to attract others to them. It was exhilarating and a constant source of new connections. Last year, Beru had become interested in Trucia, a girl from the House of Caiman, but she had only been to the beach during her tasks this summer, never afterwards. Maybe today.
He was already radiating heat when his friends arrived. He heard Cibastian first, as always. Cibastian’s voice was rich and playful, a result of Cibastian’s tendency to talk to everyone, all the time. During winter, he would be the last to run out of stories. During summer, he would be the first to have new ones. He was bold and impulsive, which used to upset Beru, who had always been more pensive. However, during the previous summers, they had discovered they complemented each other well, not least when contacting unaged from another House.
Cibastian was talking to Lear, which was mostly clear because there was no retort to Cibastian’s outrageous boasting. If Beru was pensive, Lear was positively introverted. He was Beru’s oldest friend and Beru’s mother never failed to mention how they spent long winter days sitting together playing their individual games, apparently satisfied to be in each other’s presence. Lear always thought before he spoke, or thought at length and never spoke at all. He was a serious, focused worker who did not change his mind readily. He treated others with a distant respect that could put people off. It certainly had required Beru’s repeated reassurance to convince Cibastian that Lear appreciated him enough to tolerate him around.
Beru heard a thump in the sand and felt some specks hit his face.
“Hello, Cibastian,” he said, without opening his eyes. “I’m happy you’re here.”
“Are you ready to gather some followers? I’m confident our House will be full of the prettiest girls soon.”
Lear’s raspy voice noted: “It will have to be soon. I think the rain might start today.”
Beru opened his eyes, shielding them from the sun. He looked at the clear blue sky and had to look between his eyelashes to look for clouds. Before he could find words for his predictions, Cibastian spoke.
“Nah, you’re being too pessimistic. It will be a wonderful day full of sun and sweetness. Look, Beru, I made some tokens for those girls from the House of Whale.”
Beru sat up. The tokens were a series of carved pieces of wood, held together by strings. They were decorated with elaborate patterns, which traditionally conveyed a personalised message explained when it was given. Cibastian’s tokens were promises of love, understanding, physical prowess and comfortable living. The symbol for laughter was in there four times.
“Where did you find the time to do all this? You’ve been on the beach constantly.”
“Clever task choice and setting of priorities,” Cibastian grinned. “I’ve been minding the elders, mostly. I let the others do the hard work while I entertain them with some talking. You know… They appreciate it. None of the aged are going to ask me to something time-consuming when they see an elder man thrilled to be in conversation about his own conquests at the beach.”
Lear frowned.
“Come on! Finding the best followers is important!”
Some others from the House of Turtle had arrived with Cibastian and Lear. There was Sissaly, a girl of seventeen winters and her sister, Offil, two winters younger. Then there were a few younger unaged, for whom this was their first summer away from the supervision of the aged. They were mostly occupied with each other and hardly interacted with the other Houses, although they sometimes challenged each other to games of skill or strength.
Slowly, groups of people were gathering on the beach, some four tens in total. People started swimming, talking, playing games and making music around the beach.
“Come, Beru, time to go. See you after, Lear. Good luck with Tymas.”
Cibastian dashed off. Lear squinted. Beru rose and put his hand on Lear’s shoulder. “He means well, Lear. I told him you spoke with Tymas regularly, so he jumped to the conclusion. Should I talk to him?”
“No matter. I don’t mind.”
“See you later, Lear. I’ll come see you when the first games are over.”
Lear nodded.
Beru turned to the part of the beach marked for rockthrow and started ploughing through the sand.
“She’ll be there,” Lear said.
Beru smiled and walked on.

With a sense of self-awareness, Beru arrived at the rockthrow. Some girls were throwing now. The rounded, marked stones lay in a pile close to the throwing line, which was marked by wooden poles. Cibastian was chattering away to Guerry, from the House of Crab, while they both crossed their arms in a display of simulated disinterest. Two other boys from the House of Seagull, Tymas and Rodderic, sat in the sand, speaking in low tones.
Beru recognised Yesther and her friend Jodi, both seventeen winters, from the House of Crab, who were watching the current thrower with disdain. She was clad in a noticeably revealing set of clothes, revealing the curves around her hips when she moved, which usually led to appreciation and condemnation in equal measure. There was a younger girl cautiously eyeing her while holding her own rock. He did not know either of them. Two more girls were watching the game, although Beru noticed they were more interested in the other audience members.
Disappointed that Trucia wasn’t there, he let himself fall down into the sand and started working it into shapes while he watched the rockthrowing absent-mindedly. He flicked through his memories of Trucia on the beach, some from last year, some from this year, before he’d had time to go there himself. Trying to paint every detail of her face in his mind, he struggled to find words to categorise her features and was unable to explain why he thought her to be beautiful. Wavy hair, deep blue eyes, sharp bones softened by her smile – these things he could capture, but they did not explain his fascination. A cheer rose from the audience as Yesther launched her rock, comically somersaulting into the sand, landing close to Cibastian, who smiled warmly. Beru felt his lips tighten. Would other girls do such things to win him over? Would Trucia?
At the start of last summer, Beru had shared some games with her. Two winters younger than him, it had been her first summer at the beach. She had boldly approached him and challenged him to her first game, taunting him by saying he would be shamed forever if he would refuse the dare of a newcomer. She was talkative, active and free. At first, Beru had trouble understanding her, because she seemed to behave erratically, alternating intimacy, mockery and distance with jarring switches. As summer progressed, he had become comfortable with her drive for breaking expectations and they were locked in a never-ending contest of wits where she attempted to surprise him and he attempted to grasp her motivations before she had uttered them.
When summer drew to a close, she had shocked him by revealing her feelings of admiration and appreciation to him as a matter of fact, a natural given. They had even kissed, once, secluded from the others on a walk in the forest. The last days of summer were filled with tumultuous emotions so that when the rains came, he had not said what he needed to.
His winter was therefore engrained with a constant inclination in his thoughts. His desire to be outdoors, in the sun, on the beach, and active, became intricately mixed with his desire to be around Trucia. Spending the measureless days of frigid downpour carefully articulating his feelings towards her, he feared his conjured scenarios would disconnect from reality.
When spring came, he had made the twofold decision to express all his winter’s worth of pining, pondering and pronouncing, and also search the reality of summer for signs that would completely deflate his dreams. Alternating between dedicated initiative and practical consideration, he managed to remain indecisive to the extent that his own response to seeing her would be a surprise to him.
A shadow moved onto his face. Cibastian hauled him to his feet. “Our turn, my friend.”
Tymas and Rodderic joined them. They declared a game of distance, rather than precision or skill, Cibastian’s favourite. While he moved to throw first, Beru heard voices approaching. He turned, too eagerly, he thought, and spotted her walking hand in hand with another girl, flanked by two more girls and boys holding hands. Beru almost dropped his rock.
“Go on, Beru.” Cibastian pulled him towards the poles. Two of them had already thrown, with decent outcomes. Determined to make an impression, Beru flung his rock past both of them. Cibastian cheered and declared legendary strength while hanging around his shoulders. Beru heard nothing as he met Trucia’s eyes. His mind came to a momentary halt and then questions poured down. Did she see his throw? Was it good enough? Had she changed since last summer? What if she was only attracted to girls? If only she would smile, he could stop worrying.
She faced him with eyes more blue than he remembered. The moment stretched. He noticed her new necklace with a carved wooden figure pointing down her chest. Strands of hair waved across her neck.
She smiled. He felt his body tremor.

Their initial greetings were comically casual, but Beru was pulled back into the game by Cibastian before he could decide what to do. Half the unaged from the House of Crab moved on, but Boryn asked to join the game and the rest stayed to watch. Beru felt split in two, divided between full attention on Trucia and remaining a normal person participating in a game of rockthrow. Every time he looked towards the audience, Trucia stood out like a full moon in a starry sky. He felt so drawn to her that he wondered whether he could hold his balance.
“It seems you’ve spent all your skill on that one throw, Beru.” Cibastian mocked him with a flourish of muscle. Muttering arose from the audience, as always when Cibastian performed in public. Beru wished he could do the same.
“You’ve spent it all on posing, Cibastian,” Rodderic scoffed. “You’re doing worse than Beru.”
“It’s all part of my ploy. You’ll never see it coming.” Cibastian’s face mirrored a demon mask, accurately.
“They will if you tell them, kelp brain!” Yesther roared from the side. The girls in the audience laughed freely. Beru was transfixed by the sound of Trucia’s laugh.
“Maybe it’s a double bluff,” Trucia said above the din. “Maybe he’ll lose miserably to confuse all of us.”
Tymas was ready to throw.
“That would not be a surprise at all.” His voice was relaxed while he body tensed. With admirable form, he launched his rock five feet further than even Beru had. Sounds of awe rose all around. If anything was to be won by this endeavour, Tymas had just won. Cool, capable and clever. Mud. Beru felt outclassed.
Then, Cibastian jumped on Tymas.
“Congratulations, Tymas! You’ve won a hug from the most attractive unaged at the beach.”
Both fell flat in the sand as the crowd cheered and Yesther jumped onto the both of them.
“Here I am, then!”
Beru looked back at Trucia, who stared straight at him with apparent communication. Beru felt his body respond before his mind did. He walked over and offered his hand, involuntarily, yet fully conscious.
“Shall we sit by the water for a bit?” His voice was resolute, a little lower than usual. Thankfully.
“Just the two of us, Beru? Are you sure?” She took his hand. “You might not remember how I vowed to harass you whenever I am close.”
“Oh, I remember. You just never managed. More practice, maybe.”
They walked away from the fray that had moved into the lagoon to a spot a little further away.

Beru was aware of the sound of the surf and the noise of those nearby, but it was dull compared to his hard-hitting heart. There was no silence, but the space between words was daunting. He felt Trucia’s eyes on him, but whenever he had mustered the resolve to meet them, they dropped to the sand below their feet.
“How come you’ve not come to the beach before?” Beru asked with strained casualty.
“I was ill for a while. My parents wouldn’t let me leave.” Trucia turned to him. “Were you waiting for me?” It was meant to provoke.
“Yes. Either you have trouble remembering last year or you’re just combing for compliments.” He sunk into the familiar exchange and felt his insides float.
Trucia smiled. “Maybe I was less impressed than you were last summer.”
Beru took a few steps, feigning deep thought.
“It does seem like a dream. Maybe I imagined all of it.”
Trucia mirrored his serious expression. Beru continued.
“I must have imagined that time when we came to the beach with our feet covered in cuts and bruises because we had stayed at the beach too long the day before and had returned when it was too dark to see.”
Trucia nodded, seriously, like a concerned parent.
“And I must have imagined that time when we were challenged to a double duel and Cibastian and Yesther fell over before we had made contact.”
A small smile fluttered on Trisha’s lips.
“And I must have imagined that time we pretended to be siblings for two days and we managed to convince even Cibastian…”
Trucia’s smile burst into laughter.
“All those glances we exchanged and all the times I could hardly contain myself and he didn’t notice…” She fell silent as she looked at Beru’s solemn face. She sat down demonstratively.
Beru dropped next to her, cross-legged, his eyes on the horizon, his right side tingling with Trucia’s proximity.

(end of page 5)

Mini-Poëzie Tekst

Zo groot als een tektonische plaat

“Als hij nat werd, werd hij zo groot als een tektonische plaat.”

(“Maar niet gewoon zo groot als een continent.”)

Sabrina van den Brink

Mini-Poëzie Tekst

Het Beleid Is Purschuim

“Het Beluid is Purschuim.”

Roxanne Elt.

Mini-Poëzie Tekst

Maak Jou Kapot

Maak Jou Kapot

Heks Kinderlokker Pas Op

Kelly is en blijf een fietsen

Die Zvaije

Gestolen Fiets

Fiets Elextra


Zie de Persoon

Sla de van

De Fiets



Ook mooi anders te lezen! Begin bijvoorbeeld eens bij “Gestolen Fiets”.
Mini-Poëzie Tekst

“Een zuiplap op sokken.”

“Een zuiplap op sokken.”

Gevonden door Sjoerd.

Mini-Poëzie Tekst

“Wie heeft dit zadel zo glijbaanesk afgesteld?”

“Wie heeft dit zadel zo glijbaanesk afgesteld?”

Gevonden door Sjoerd.

Tekst Tekst-overig

Publicatie: De Kwistige Reynearde

Het online literaire tijdschrijft De Kwistige Reynearde heeft het verhaal “De Schatkamers” geplaatst in hun eerste editie. Trots en enthousiasme vervullen mij. (Het is nu alleen veranderd naar tijdschrift Landauer…)

Kijk nu hier, want ze hebben hun website veranderd!

Mini-Poëzie Tekst

Het eerste pak Taksi

Het eerste pak Taksi is nog niet op
En er is al weer een vrouw geschaakt

Suzanne Klatten

Tekst Tekst-overig Uncategorized

Creative Writing – Dialogue

In 2008, I took a Creative Writing course during my bachelor’s English. Here’s assignment 4: Dialogue.


Assignment 4 – Domestic dialogue

LB: Wow, you see that kid over there? She’s a genius!
OB:  I am driving a car, Philip.
LB: She is the best! I’ve never seen anyone skip rope like that! I wish I could do it.
OB: Philip, you are a 43 year old male.
LB: I don’t care, it was amazing.
OB: I don’t think I can ever be proud of you if your deepest desire is to skip rope.
LB: I didn’t say it was my deepest desire.
OB: …
LB: Did you notice I had my hair cut?
OB: Yes, I did.
LB: … So what d’you think?
OB: I think it fits you.
LB: Why do you say that?
OB: Because it is polite to say that.
LB: So you don’t like it?
OB: I am not an expert concerning haircuts. You know that.
LB: I just asked if you like it. You don’t need expertise for that.
OB: …
LB: Do you think the ducks are back yet?
OB: They usually return in March.
LB: I just hope they took another month off in Africa. I really hate those ducks. Oh no!
OB: What is it?
LB: Do you think I’ll see those ducks when I go to Tunisia this winter?
OB: I consider it highly unlikely.
LB: It would be strange to see them over there. Perhaps they are much more friendly if they are enjoying themselves. Everyone seems to be friendlier if they are on a holiday.
OB: Do you want to hand over the flowers this time?
LB: No thanks, I have bought something myself.
OB: You’ve never done that before.
LB: I know, but isn’t it great I did now? I bought a necklace at one of those small jewelry stands downtown.
OB: Those are not jewelry stands. They only sell small pieces of metal. Did you check if it is made of nickel?
LB: No, I didn’t.
OB: You didn’t. Do you want to poison our mother?
LB: What? Of course not.
OB: She is allergic to nickel. You ought to know such things.
LB: I was just trying to be nice.
OB: You do not have to be nice. You have to be thoughtful. It would not be the first time you hurt Mother.
LB: What?! What did I do?
OB: You didn’t show up on her wedding anniversary. You didn’t come to her choir performance and you didn’t send her a card for Francis’ birthday.
LB: A card for Francis? He’s a turtle!
OB: Mother cares about it, so you should at least do something.
LB: I’m not gonna send cards to every turtle Mom’s got! I don’t even know half of their names.
OB: You should try to learn them.


OB: I told you you would hurt Mother.
LB: I already said I’m sorry. I feel miserable enough as it is, so please stop talking about it. I’m sorry!
OB: That is not going to bring Fred back to live. You should not have told her. We could have bought another one.
LB: I may hurt Mum, but I will never lie to her.
OB: She would not be crying now if you had lied.
LB: It would have hurt her a lot more.
OB: No, it wouldn’t. She would never have known and she would only be a bit worried about her missing turtle until we had found a new Fred. Lying is not a bad thing if you prevent hurt.
LB: You know I don’t agree with that.
OB: That’s the reason I am telling you this. You should try to change.
LB: Into a liar.
OB: Into a sensible adult, keeping his mother from hurt.
LB: …
OB: Yes, Mother? …  It’s in the fridge … No, just take it easy, we’ll start cooking. Let’s start.
LB: What are we going to make?
OB: It looks like it will be some kind of casserole.
LB: I can do that, no problem.
OB: Everybody can make a casserole.
LB: What does it matter, as long as we can make one now?
OB: Can you hand me the recipe?
LB: Why would you want to use it? We can make our own recipe.
OB: I don’t want to risk the failure of our supper.
LB: Mum would deviate from the recipe, you know.
OB: Yes, I know, but Mother is a good cook. We’re not.
LB: At least put in some extra mushrooms.
OB: It says three mushrooms on the recipe, so three mushrooms it will be.
LB: Why do you think Mum has bought an entire box?
OB: To make another one later on. We’ll stick to the recipe.
LB: I give up. I feel like I’m talking to a wall.
OB: Please turn off the radio. I can’t focus like this.
LB: Oh come on, you don’t mean that.
OB: I do mean it.
LB: How can a little music prevent you from cooking? You don’t need your ears for cooking. At least, I never use them.
OB: Just be nice and turn it off.
LB: Hey, here’s that song that you used to like. We bought the record for your birthday. Yeah, I remember! We danced all evening. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.
OB: …
LB: We even climbed on the roof and sung it there. Then Mum got mad and got us down. That was fun.
OB: It’s a miracle we didn’t get hurt. We should never have done it.

Tekst Tekst-overig

Creative Writing – Setting

During my bachelor’s, I followed a short course in creative writing in 2008. This was one of the assignments:


Assignment 2 – Setting (2017 edit)

I often go for a trip near my house. I live by the water, along a network of narrow waterways. These waterways were dug to harvest turf and are separated by thin, very long islands. The islands are filled with wild plants and trees, so you can’t see any further than the ditch you’re in. I hide from the world behind these curtains. No audience can see me here. Everyone may be looking at me when I leave my house, but here I am alone and I can do what I want without being rated by the critics of the world.

I like the silence of the ditches. Especially the far north-eastern edge is deserted. The only sounds are the echoes of another lone boat or the eerie laughter of a duck. When it rains, the drops create a distant murmur. It is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.

There are many boats still lying in the docks here, but they haven’t been cleaned for a long time. No one ever goes near this edge, because someone was murdered here two years ago. The police are still investigating the area, or at least that is what they tell everyone. I have never encountered anyone here, let alone a team of pathologists.

The boats and docks are camouflaged into the rest of the landscape, changing their white colour to greens and browns. People used to spend their free days around the harbours in summer, swimming and lying in the sun. Now the plastic slides and picnic tables are falling apart. The sheds containing barbecues and towels have turned to a monotonous green.

It is winter now. I prefer this season to summer, even though it is cold, cloudy and frequently rains. In summer, half of the ditches are filled with slick speedboats and luxurious yachts on their way to the lake. The noises of the boats and its passengers are intensified by the echoes. The smell of petrol, sweat, sun block and burned meat is inescapable. I rarely go for a trip in the summer.

The engine softly grumbles when I slow down. A few ducks stare at my vessel and bob up and down on the waves I create. I glide past a small boat called ‘Rising Star’. One window is broken and the front is largely beneath the surface. Near the rudder a seagull has its nest. It swears at me as seagulls always do.