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The doors to the barn were open. Inside, the dark was hardly troubled by ten or fifteen candle lanterns. Perhaps a hundred bodies moved to turgid pop music. Someone whoooped. It was hideous. The local yokels groped and drank, shuffling, stomping, shouting above George Michael. Mating calls in the gloom.

Across the road, four young boys lay on the earthen flood barrier on the bank of the River Trent and watched, and drank vodka from a stolen bottle. I was one of them. The clear summer night was being sullied by the shitty sexual drama below. We understood hardly anything about sex, but we knew the men inside wanted it. You could almost smell the desire. Farming folk, and the youth of the countryside churned up the evening like silage. They were ruining the night for us but we couldn’t take our eyes from the scene.

After an hour or so, vodka warmed, we watched a young couple leave the front of the barn for the long asbestos side and more dark. He dragged her skirt upwards as they kissed. She tried to stop him at first. We wanted her to stop him, he was rough, demanding. Shit…he was raping her. She gave up and let him hulk over her, unzipping his fly and thrusting it in. He turned her around and she let him, but it looked to me that she was limply just letting him get things done as soon and safely as possible. He came, throwing his head back, in no time at all. Shook his cock and did his trousers up, tucking in his farmers shirt. He slapped her arse, she was still facing the wall, and went back inside to a loud cheer from beery friends.

We watched her stand and put her hands up high against the wall for a moment and bow her head. Then she turned and walked down the road towards the dim lights of the nearest hamlet.


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