Workmates

He had turned up, after all. He was waiting for me next to the van. He was blowing on his hands, trying to keep warm. He said, “Bad luck. You’re lumbered with me today.” I could've told him that he didn't have to hang about outside at that time in the morning. Instead, I said,…

Rear Gunner

He tracks the fighter as it stoops towards him. It is a shadow in a dark sky. He must not fire too soon, or the muzzle-flash will give him away. Exposed and alone at the tail of the bomber, he holds his breath and waits. Every nerve is crackling. When he feels that he can…

The Shadow of Life

“Drive fast,” she said. “Just keep going faster.” She knew that the car that she was sitting in was real, but she may as well have been looking at shadows in a mist. It had been months since she had lived in a solid world. Now she was trapped in the pain of the day…

Anastasia

  What did you think, Nastya, when you looked into the courtyard? Were you surprised to see that the promise of Spring had matured into Summer? Did your heart lift at the sight of the wide sky and birds far above the rooftops, or did your darkest thoughts return when you saw the decrepit wooden…

Early Harvest 1914

I grip the handles of the scythe and swing it right to left, right to left. I keep the blade low but away from the dulling stones. It slices through the stems and the wheat falls to my left, into a neat row. The scythe moves easily; I can work like this for hours. It…

The Corridor

  Coming down here seemed like a good idea, at the time. Now I’m not so sure. My problem is I just can’t resist a dare. You’d think I’d have learned by now. This corridor started behind an ordinary-looking door. The walls at that end are painted plaster, with no decoration. The floor’s tiled. There’re…

Chasing Memories

As I stand here, with my hand resting on your coffin, breathing in the scent of lilies and of wood-polish, the congregation is watching and waiting. I’m taking these few minutes to prepare myself, before I deliver your eulogy. There’s no shortage of memories; strolling together in the sunshine; running away from the rain; getting…