It took most of the evening, but three tenants from Block 6 finally broke through the barred door into the long-abandoned basement flat.
‘That’s it — we’re through,’ said Jack, the burly building manager. He wiped muck from his face as he lowered the sledgehammer to the carpet. Sweat clung to his chest like a bib.
Dust settled and the door lay in splinters before them. The beige apartment beyond was exposed. Continue reading “Square-Eyed in Block 6 by Darcy Lin Wood”
The website had said the road was rough and “Unsuitable for Nervous Drivers”, but after Porlock Hill it held no terrors for me. It stretched seawards, the grass on either side sheep-shorn. We could see no further than the next bend, until we reached the brow of the first hill and the downward snake of the track appeared ahead of us. There was no sign of the lighthouse.
On the final stretch there was a sheer drop on one side, but a fence gave at least the illusion of safety. And then it was there, in front of us, the long low building tucked into the cliff, the light on the seaward side rotating, slow flashes in the dusk. Continue reading “Gathering the Hill by Cath Barton”
‘I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.’
A. A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh
Trevor watched as Chrissie went to make another cup of tea. Green tea with honey, always. He watched her squeak out a “Hhehh” when a colleague walked past, which he presumed was supposed to be the first syllable of “Hello”.
He scanned her over-crowded desk. Always too many pens. She regularly slowed down the pace of a meeting by not having a pen that worked – sucking on the nib, scribbling – but she had pots full of them. Was she clinging on to all those broken pens for sentimental reasons? Continue reading “Imagination by Hayleigh Sleigh”
‘You take all the time you like,’ he says. ‘Have a browse. Guaranteed we’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.’
His name is Ted. It’s displayed in large letters on the badge pinned to the left side of his blue polo shirt. Over his heart. Underneath, he’s stuck tiny smiley stickers. Three in a row. I try to smile back at his wide face with its blue eyes, big teeth, all bright and shiny.
‘Thanks,’ I say, and shuffle down the aisle. I thought I knew what I was looking for but now I’m not so sure. Continue reading “A Change of Heart by Hannah Tougher”
A whirlwind wails over barren, dusty carcasses;
Cavalry of ranked tombstones stretch over the graveyard
and shade over the dry, scorched sand. They mourn
the bodies cleared of soul, buried in the sand, unnamed;
Weep over the lost ones and grieve those who will not be born.
Such is the cost, measured and inevitable, of the past that is lost. Continue reading “Death is a thief by Aldas Krūminis”
The reddening was getting worse, splitting out across my sclera like the wetlands of southern Louisiana. It was a common symptom according to the experts – bloodshot eyes. A drop of saline could soothe it, but the wine red would still snake across my white; a marker that I was a sufferer – a casualty of the spreading allergen. It didn’t help that I constantly rubbed them, wound my index fingers anti-clockwise to counter the itch that came as a side syndrome, swollen blood vessels abound. I’d circle and circle and circle until the kohl that I’d applied bled as though I was made from coal. I checked the pocket mirror I kept in my bag and licked my thumb to wipe the collection of smudges away. The sweat from the underground train had made it sticky and the more I wiped, the more it dragged like a child’s finger painting. Continue reading “The Fever by Emily Harrison”
I walked along the offbeat path that led to our house; steeling myself. Even though it was yards away I could already hear the fighting going on. Mum and Kenny, husband number four, were screaming at each other loud enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear. My stepfather had probably come home late after his shift at the car factory. Mum was always volatile and incredibly violent. She’d probably had a shitty day working at the nursing home and was looking for an excuse to lay into someone.
I deliberately spent a few hours at the shopping centre after school in the hope I wouldn’t run into a row at home. No such luck. As I rounded the corner the yelling grew even louder. Mrs Slyde the obese woman who lived in the home opposite was smoking on her front porch. As usual she regarded me with a toothless leer. Still despite her unfriendliness the old woman never seemed particularly bothered by the constant fights going on next door. The whole Slyde family was weird. Continue reading “Home Sweet Home by Cordelia Harrison”