The Pools

by Bethan Roberts

Set in the shadow of a Middle England powerplant cooling towers, this novel is breathtaking in its ability to capture the thoughts and feelings of its characters. Each chapter, written about individual in the story, intertwines around one central character - Robert. This is a young man, deeply loved by all from his parents to schoolfriends. However, all is not as rosy as it seems as there are fatal consequences. You should enjoy this read.


I step off the gravel path, push through some skinny trees, and reach the biggest pool. It's dark as death itself, as Mum would say. I get as close to the water as I can. There are bushes and weeds all along the edge. Big spiky branches stick up in the air like spears. But there are gaps where the plants thin out. Gaps where you could slide through, if you were to slip on a muddy patch. I lean over. The water smells slightly acidic. Cold.
I can just see the outline of one of the warning signs. They're everywhere down here. I know them off by heart.
'DANGER - Deep Water!'
'Keep Away From Edge!'
'Deep Soft Mud Leading to Possible ENTRAPMENT!'
And a skull and crossbones beneath each one.
Deep Soft Mud. It sounds inviting. Like a mud bath in a beauty salon, or like drowning in a face pack. It would be cold at first, but then it would get warm, and its smoothness would creep over you. It would hold you there, suspended in the warm mass of mud. It would get in all your cracks. You'd suck it up your nose, like chocolate milkshake through a straw, until your lungs would be full of mud. Fit to burst.


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