Short Is Sweet

In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation. Sacheverell Sitwell, For Want of the Golden City A few months ago a friend recommended I read a short story by the English writer Robert Aickman. ‘The Real Road to the Church’ is in the collection Cold Hand in Mine (1975), and my friend wanted to discuss the story with me. And so I abandoned the novel I’d been reading, and have been enthusiastically devouring Aickman’s “strange stories” since then. Last week I was asked why I’m drawn to writing short fiction. I talked about the form … Continue reading Short Is Sweet

THE GHOSTS

It’s a squarish room, plain by day, and nothing to speak of. But after dark, when the lamps are lit and the candles positioned, the room takes on an inviting glow, and were you to walk inside from the chill of a wintry evening, throwing off your coat and rubbing your hands together, you’d think it had the air of an old-fashioned club. A suggestion of wood-panelled age, perhaps; of capacious leather armchairs, and small low tables ready for heavy tumblers of whisky. You might describe it as a pleasant room, a cheery welcoming place. A place where a roaring … Continue reading THE GHOSTS

Chumi Falls Out | Tincture Journal, Issue Twenty

“He went out for a walk. There was a group of ducks on the river, near the wetlands. One of the ducks swam towards him. He told it to fuck off, and it moved away. He sat on the edge of the river with his legs drawn up, hugging his knees. It was a warm morning, so he took off his shoes and socks. His socks were slightly damp where his problems had seeped out through the soles of his feet. He dangled his feet in the water. The ducks swam away, far from the slick of worry on the … Continue reading Chumi Falls Out | Tincture Journal, Issue Twenty

Playful Arrangements | from Roomers #59

He’s up with the birds, usually. Before them, even. Reeling at the shock of cold water splashes on pasty skin. This is always where the day starts: staring out into the sky, into the depths of dark yard silence. Waiting for light to peel over the edges. In this way, he considers the things done the day before, and how these activities might easily become those for the day ahead. He could visit once again the strangers who live by the bridge. He could stare along the river’s reach, towards the lumbering shipyards, and at the fishermen dotting the rocks. … Continue reading Playful Arrangements | from Roomers #59

TONGUE | from Roomers #62

1978, a birthday party. One of those once in a blue moon family dos where a local hall gets hired, there’s catering, a DJ. The adults end up drunk and misty. Someone overdoes it, creates a spectacle. There’s a fight. No blood’s spilled, but there’s harsh words, someone gets upset, there’s tears and the gin gets blamed. And so on. That kind of a night. I spent most of it watching Tommy and trying to pretend otherwise. I’d always thought of me and him as the same age, nearly, but since the last time he’d become old enough to drink … Continue reading TONGUE | from Roomers #62