The King’s Curse

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 “The King’s Curse”

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Miss Perfect

“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 “Miss Perfect”

The Moon Just Winked at Me

“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.

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Interruption

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 “Interruption”

Breathe

The doors ease open as he tries to calm his nerves. His mind is churning with thoughts of backing out, of going home and forgetting all about this ridiculous plan. It would be so easy, no one would ever need to know.

One foot after another, it’s almost midnight, dark, he’s the only one standing beneath the harsh glare of the halogen streetlamp, the only passenger waiting by the curb for the last bus. Continue reading “Breathe”

The Little Mermaid

The girl was paid to be a mermaid. Every evening she fought her way into a mermaid’s tail made of cheap nylon and sequins. The sequins scratched her bare thighs and left behind a purplish rash that wouldn’t heal. Her hair grew coarse and sticky with salt. When she got back to her apartment, usually just as the sun was rising, she curled up in a narrow bed and dreamed of far-off beaches with sand as white as diamonds, and heard the distant roar and slap of the sea.

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Going Home

by Helena Lönnberg

She rose from a pillow that smelt like last night, of cold smoke and rain on tarmac. The mirror was cracked but her teeth weren’t, so it was all good. A good morning.

Somebody knocked on the door just as she put on her rough jeans. The blue cotton slid over brown thighs, enclosed a waist that had changed size many times. Right now it was slim and bony, one could count the ribs if one wanted to. But there was nobody around to care, so it was all good.

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