The soundtrack to dying is not that of Death’s winged chariot hurtling from the sky, but rather one of nurses’ trainers sticking on worn lino, of saline drips ticking over, of low, urgent voices in hospice corridors.
I am the city. I live amongst you, around you, underneath you. My breath is imperceptible; it heaves beneath you nonetheless, twisting the tarmac of your roads and making the timbers of your house creak. Dotard. Not for one moment do you see yourself as anything less than master of your own destiny. You are as fleas upon my broad flank. Continue reading “I am the City | Short Story”
We children used to watch Mr. Mason from our bedroom window. Our house overlooked his garden, and it was there that the old man could be found come sun or shower, dawn or dusk. Mr. Mason’s garden was as fine an example of composted soil as could be seen anywhere in England, I’ll be bound. So it should have been. The soil was worked relentlessly with pitchfork and spade, a churned mass of aerated, loamy mulch. Once he had worked his way from one wooden fence to the other, Mr. Mason would simply take a sip from the canteen in his trouser pocket and begin working his way back again. Penelope, my sister, said he was mad.
It feels as though a lot is expected of me today. Strange, because there is really nothing left unresolved. The coffin awaiting its descent into the frosty ground is testament to that. It lies there, a timber cuboid. The ultimate full stop.
‘Your first responsibility is here, Charlie.’
Piece of toast in his mouth, Charlie snapped his toolbox shut and reached for his coat. Evelyn stood with their infant son in her arms and a challenge on her face. She waited whilst her husband filled a thermos from the kettle, clingfilmed his sandwiches, and finished chewing.
‘You’re doing just fine with him,’ he answered eventually. ‘Mum’s getting on a bit; she can’t look after herself so well.’
‘She can look after herself a lot better than she makes out.’
Little Arthur Weston had first come to my practice in July of 1811. Eyes downcast, the young lad was dragged loose-limbed into the surgery by his tight-lipped mother. Mrs. Weston struggled to speak at first. She fiddled with the cheap rings on her fingers and mumbled about not wanting to waste anyone’s time. Arthur, however, was all eyes once seated. The boy’s hungry gaze was not directed at me, however, but rather at a point somewhere several inches to the left of my head. A glance to my posterior, where my essential medical texts lay stacked, told me all I needed to know. Continue reading “The Literary Relapse of Arthur Weston | Short Story”
There’s worse places t’be security, I’ll grant you that. I could be pushin’ punters around outside some shithole of a nightclub or standin’ in front of the East Upper Block of the New Den getting bottles lobbed at my head. Instead, I start my shift to the sound of choristers warming up for evensong. My first hour is spent sayin’ goodbye to punters as they wind out of the abbey, shafts of sunlight streamin’ through the stained glass and surroundin’ me like I’m Mary Magdalene herself. Not a bad way to earn a living, really.
All things considered, though, Westminster Abbey is an odd place for someone of my political views. Continue reading “Heavy Lies the Ground | Short Story”
It is remarkably difficult to manage a discreet business in modern Britain. Gone are the days of bootlegged whisky, of smothered lanterns and boat keels grinding across beach pebbles. When clandestine activity is not made impossible by CCTV, urban creep, and light pollution it is impinged upon by idiots walking their dogs or morons waving mobile phones. Those of us who wish to avoid attention have had to diversify. Continue reading “Urban Creep | Short Story”
Imagine a person on any news website, any glossy magazine, any television advertisement. Done? I’ll bet it’s a face you’ve pictured. Am I right? Airbrushed, tinted, perfectly lit? The problem with faces is that they lie. You only need to watch the lips move to know that.
Hands, on the other hand… Continue reading “Twenty-Seven Bones | Short Story”
It is a molar-rattler of a wind that bursts through the tent canvas. It is a wind that makes a person’s eyes run and their cheeks burn, a wind that pulls and shrieks and buffets and tugs and moans. Nevertheless, even the relentless howling commands only the tiniest flicker of attention from my senses. What I hear cannot compete with what I see. Continue reading “Capturing the Mountain | Short Story”