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.

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