River Sigh

The others leave, one by one, and it ends up being just me and Ginger at the steps by the river, sipping from the bottle in lukewarm turns and staring out to the monstrous city lights that seem close but are worlds away. ‘Let’s get some chips,’ he says. ‘You go,’ I say, resigned. I knew it couldn’t last, just me and him. ‘I’ll wait here,’ I say. He takes the bottle from me, and takes it with him. He won’t come back. He’ll start talking in the chip shop. To another, more interesting, more attractive. He won’t be back, … Continue reading River Sigh

HENRY

It’s the usual cafe, every Saturday. Today, Aaron asks for a banana milkshake, and his brother says he’ll have one too. “He always has the same as me,” says Aaron. And it’s true, the brother always has exactly the same, whatever it is. “Why do you have to copy me?” says Aaron, riled by his brother’s smile. “I decided to have banana before we came in,” says his brother. “So maybe you copied me.” “I’ll have strawberry instead,” says Aaron. The waiter looks at Henry, who turns away. Henry tells the boys that he’s going to the toilet, and to behave … Continue reading HENRY

IF I HAD A LION

If I had a lion, I’d train it to eat anyone that wasn’t me. It would just be me and the lion. The lion would do his stuff, and I’d do mine. He’d hunt, because that’s what lions do. I’d harvest and eat wild plants and berries, because that’s what I’d do. I’d shed my clothes, and walk naked. The two of us naked. Afternoons I’d spend reading and writing, and he’d rest, drowsy, one eye half-open. Half-watchful, but half’s enough in the afternoon. At night, together we’d stir at noises from far away. Stirring, together, at these sounds in … Continue reading IF I HAD A LION

Ernie

‘In here,’ he said, grabbing my hand, and leading me up a dark flight of stairs, then another, and another, until we’d climbed so high I could feel the building sway. He unlocked a big metal door and pulled me into the room and said, ‘This is Ernie.’ It was an ugly thing, squat and grey, and it hummed and clattered, and wires spewed from its centre into various consoles around the edges of the room. ‘You mean all the beautiful books I’ve been reading were written by this?’ I said. ‘Not only can she create,’ he said, ‘but she … Continue reading Ernie

The Mirror

Although he hadn’t been asleep, Michael felt rested and much calmer. The room was still and peaceful, and lit by a bleed of sunlight around the edges of the curtains. He was lying on his front, and he turned his head and looked across the bed, into the mirror in the wardrobe door. Just behind him, standing at the side of the bed, was a figure. He knew right away that the figure was his father, come to reassure him again. He didn’t move. He felt sure that if he were to turn around the figure would no longer be … Continue reading The Mirror