The Monster, a smart and handsome young man, sat by the towpath watching the water ripple. He watched a film of diesel spinning shapes on the water and crane flies zigzagging in some pointless search.
And he watched as a small, exhausted child slid beneath the surface of the water. Her little body settled on the silt just four feet below.
She'd run by so closely her dress had brushed the Monster's leg. The shock as she hit cold water drew the breath from her lungs and rendered her mute, her eyes snapped to their widest and locked onto the Monster's just an arm's length away on the safety of the towpath. For more than a minute her eyes begged him before her strength failed and her face turned to the sky.
It wasn't the Monster's fault. The little girl had become separated from her family, squealing as she chased the ducks that had plopped into the canal and swum away. But Emma, running at full pelt, couldn't stop herself. The Monster watched but did nothing and if he’d done nothing then surely he’d done nothing wrong.
No, it really wasn't the Monster's fault.