The Golden Plait
Little Zoe Pearson skipped down the lane that led away from the village. As she skipped, her thick, heavy, golden plait leapt up and down behind her, bouncing softly on the back of her pinafore. Her shiny black shoes kicked up the dust on the road and sent the gravel skittering in all directions. Down the hill she went, past the cows, past the sheep naked in their thin summer coats, past the gates and the hedges, past the trees and the wild flowers, and past the sign asking motorists to please drive carefully through our village.
Little Zoe Pearson hummed as she skipped down the lane that led away from the village. She hummed because that day she’d got ten out of ten in her spelling test, and because she’d been awarded a shiny gold star for being the only one in the class to get full marks. She hummed because the visiting music teacher had singled her out to play that tune on her recorder to everyone else, to show them how it should be done. She hummed because everyone had clapped and the teacher had patted her on the head and said well done. She hummed because she liked the sound of her feet skipping on the gravely road, and the feel of her plait bouncing softly on her back.
Down the hill and round the corner she skipped, through the stretch of road where the trees grew so close and high that they met up at the top and blocked out the sky, the sunlight briefly flashing through the branches and dappling the road, and then she skipped back out into the light again. A butterfly danced alongside her for a few seconds and she smiled at it; then she smiled at the trees, the fields, the sky and the sun so they didn’t feel left out. She smiled at the old horse, his head hanging over the gate, and she smiled at the black and white cows going about their business in the field.
Little Zoe Pearson skipped down the lane that led away from the village. As she skipped, her thick, heavy, golden plait leapt up and down behind her, bouncing softly on the back of her pinafore. She hummed and she smiled and she smiled and she hummed; she hummed the tune she’d played to the class on her recorder.
Little Zoe Pearson was killed instantly when the sports car rounded the bend before her too fast, and sent her spinning up into the air. Her golden plait snaked in the air behind her as she flew, bouncing softly on the back of her pinafore as she landed broken on the skittering gravel.