Samantha walked down to the edge of the creek where the spongy earth ceased in a scrum fringe like the edge of a dark carpet. The shore smelled like potting soil or something more familiar, the smell of blood sometimes at your period.

It was ripe water her mother said once. Already the water chestnuts began to grow beneath the black surface of the water. They would grow into another carpet, an emerald one extending from the scum fringe to the opposite shore of the estuary.

Ripe and riparian.

There was an image of the sky inside the ebony water, a scoop of blue and tufts of feathery white, the reflection floating there like a damp photograph.

She was startled by a swimmer surfacing exactly in the patch of blue where the photograph floated. He was a skinny boy, naked and white as soap, the hollows of his buttocks as blue as photographs. The boy smoothed his black hair straight back against his skull. It was black as tar and shined like the water. He smiled and showed uneven teeth. His eyes were wary.

His name was Henry Stone and he had come back to her.

It is a good story, her mother said, I like how the earth smells like blood.