The Dungeness Dolphin

Simon Pressinger


From a frame in the shape of a small goal post, the dolphin hangs. Black against the twilit sky, burned into it, a fish-form hole. The loose hinges creak and clank in a bitter chill that blasts its way through the barren land. Shutters tap and eaves whistle from glowing houses by the dark road. The silence is vocal.

Four gasping tyres hush. The chassis moans in the body of a car that gropes and lurches in the punctured road. Its headlamps are dipped. The roar of the sea is a whisper.

Quaw-quaws pinch the air.

The briny coughs and heaves. Teasing his flat wet tongue, ten trillion pebbles host a junkish tableau. Fish vertebrae, the carcass of a crab, one milk-pink jelly shoe, the eyecap of a Canon, flat scallops and ear-shells with live audio coverage of ocean sound. The chill wind soughs and teases these like a sightless, murderer. In a spree, the waves are whipped; the roaring sea sprays a salty rumour landward.

Now, the wind: it softly dies. The dolphin hangs still by the roadside. Safe, immortal fish. A two-dimensional guide with a pointing nose. Lurching vehicles moan and roll past, bound for a power station at the end of the twisting road.

Image from Pixabay.

Image from Pixabay.

Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 3 (2016).

Simon Pressinger recently graduated with a BA degree in English & American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Kent. He has been treasurer / health & safety officer for the Kent Union Creative Writing Society for the past two years, and has enjoyed dreaming up risk assessments for various society trips. In the past he has worked as a shoe salesman, an apprentice electrician, and many other part-time minimum-wage jobs. He also has a diploma in musical performance from the Academy of Contemporary Music and likes dancing to music in his room when no one’s looking.