Christmas! Mary’s favourite time. Snow had fallen, muffling the world in its embrace. Yet, no wise men laboured knee-deep through the snow. Only Old Ted driving the cows into the stalls. Night fell early and the full moon rose, casting eerie shadows across the snow-covered landscape.
Some whispered Christmas Eve was a time when spirits walked abroad. Talking of spirits made her nervous. Father would scold her if he knew. Spirits were the makings of the weak-minded and the dark-hearted, he always said.… (read more)
Her eyes stared off into the distance, blank and unseeing. What a shame, he thought; such an attractive young girl yet afflicted that way. One of her auburn curls repeatedly fell in front of her eyes. Each time she’d tuck it behind her ear, no irritation in her movements, just care and attention. When she’d entered his workshop he hadn’t at first noticed she was blind. He’d been busy working on his latest canvas, putting the ultimate touches to the sky.… (read more)
“Hold that thought…” was all the message said. If it had been scribbled on a piece of paper you’d be tempted to turn it over and look at the other side to see if there was more. But it was an email, and there was no other side to it. He wasn’t even sure it was addressed to him. You never could tell with those forums. What troubled him most was that the phrase was so familiar.… (read more)
The following dream of Celi, a fifteen-year-old girl, is an extract from my latest novel code-named Story Five.
Celi stood at the foot of the stairs leading up to the platform. She dearly wanted to stay but it was time to go. People milled noisily around her hurrying to catch a last train home or to meet a loved one about to arrive. She paid no heed to them. She stood alone, her back curved with old age, watching her new-found friends climb slowly away from her.… (read more)
Thousands of raucous birds chatter in the branches at the top of the highest trees awaiting the magic moment when they rise as one, circle the village and fly south till spring. It could be days away. But no. Suddenly the incessant chirping stops and all is silent. Joy and loss at once! Loss? A deep feeling of it permeates the air. And you know they’ve gone. And you remain behind, glued to the ground.
We drove across the abandoned tarmac of what must once have been a majestic airport. Grass had forced its way through the many cracks that breeched the surface. The car came to a halt at a faded, red and white barrier on which was written: No entrance! Radiation! Danger! My father, my mother, my sister and I got out of the car cautiously. What desolation! Here and there jagged remains of masonry pointed skywards, accusing.… (read more)
I stood in the shadows of a nearby building waiting, watching, wary when a stocky man threw open the folding trap-door across the square. It landed with a thud on the pavement as he clambered up the steps from the underground passage and headed away from me. Right in front of him hung an astonishing yellow cloud just above the ground, dense and toxic. The man walked right into it. How could he possibly not have seen it?… (read more)
“You don’t have to be down a rabbit hole for things to transform unexpectedly in front of you,” he told those who could be bothered to listen to him as he waved his pint of beer dangerously in the air. “The first that I noticed of the alarmingly high level of the sea was when a giant wave overflowed the seawall in slow motion and flooded the deck of the boat that the towpath had become.… (read more)
Bright streaks of colour rained down like so many tiny meteorites leaving their short-lived traces suspended in the air in front of them only to be replaced rapidly by others following different paths. She shuddered at the beauty of it. She had never seen anything so moving. And to think that she’d been expecting one of those typically predictable lessons that he often dished her up with. “I don’t get it,” she said after a while, turning to face him in the dark.… (read more)
The room was hot and stuffy making him sweat profusely and causing his shirt to cling uncomfortably to his skin. He wiped his forehead and neck with a large white handkerchief that was none too clean and stuffed it back in his jacket pocket. Thick velvet curtains veiled the windows shutting out most of the torrid sunlight of the Italian summer. Since he’d arrived in Rome, the temperature had unfailingly surpassed all records with a number of elderly people succumbing to the heat, or so the radio said.… (read more)