Six am struck and Joan opened her eyes, bracing the sense of despair that had been clouding over her for weeks; weeks that had at some point turned into months. As she pulled back the duvet, those months of sweat, tears, and the occasional (daily) bottle of white wine that had ingrained onto her sister’s pale pink pyjamas fumigated the room. Joan stumbled out of bed, her head beating its constant pounding rhythm that told her you lived, you lived, you lived.
‘Tell me what you want me to do?!’ He screamed, holding his head. ‘I can’t read your mind Clara.’ My lips, dry, cracked. Thirsty. They want to tell him. But they don’t know what to say. My tongue, hides in the comfort of my mouth. It’s scared it will say the wrong things. Tangle and twist the truth. Spread its venom like a snake. For its vicious bite will be the end of this. This. Fragile, fucked up shit show we are still calling a marriage.
The train took me alone down south to meet you. You were already there at the station as I stepped onto the platform, and it was almost—but not quite—like I never left. All the force as you hugged me, so I nearly overbalanced with the weight from my backpack, but you anchored my feet to the ground and I knew I was safe.
King Horace Goodman thought he was going to die.
Bound in his own chariot with an enemy pointing a rifle at him – was this how it was going to end?
The book he had snuck with him dug into his tailbone, making him yelp. He shuffled in his hard seat. Continue reading
“Your nails are probably too long anyway,” Neave says, taking the creased Rizla from me and reclining back, her hair spreading into a halo on the pillow. Two neat folds form on her forehead as she rolls. I tell her that it looks like she has an equals sign above her eyebrows. She tells me I’m a c**t. Continue reading
On Sundays, I am sad. My toaster breaks on Sundays and I must scrape the burn into the bin before I lather my toast in Lurpack’s best. Throughout the week, my floor-drobe grows into a mountain of spoiled evenings and rushed coffee breaks and by Sunday I must tackle the problem head on. Continue reading
“R-r-r-r-ight,” the sweaty lady imitates a budget 80s quizmaster, deliberately or otherwise, “that’s time, on to your next table!” With a ring of her bell, an array of women rise and tiptoe around the circle. Continue reading
I grew up in pink suburbia but my mother is from the countryside. Not the countryside that is on tourism brochures, with yodelling and smiling cows. Her countryside lies on prehistoric, run-down mountains, on a soil that burps up granite rocks and breaks tractors. It’s always the coldest part of the country. People don’t move there because they want to, but because they’ve tried everything else. There’s a church on every tenth hill. Continue reading
“We only get to see one side of the moon,” I tell my daughter, pressing her fingers into two tiny fists and circling one around the other. We are sitting cross-legged together in the front garden, sky still dark, where Sheila would normally drive up and take her to school. We watch the moon’s last minutes above the tree line as the dampness of the grass begins to seep through my jeans.
A mosaic made up of shards of sunlight lay on the beaten track created by the last rays that glinted through the canopy above. They seemed to make a pattern on the forest floor, stretching across the clearing, as if trying to linger there as long as possible. Nothing disturbed it, not until footsteps could be heard, pounding the hard ground as if attempting to cause their own earthquake. Continue reading