Death of a Pelican in St James’s Park

I would recommend your sign be more firm. ‘Please do not feed’ implies the action to be optional. A sans-serif font would be considerably more off-putting. There have been pelicans here on the lake since 1664, a gift from the Russian ambassador. In South Australia, a woman named Judy communicated with pelicans as a way to heal lung disease. I… Read it

Heartbreaker

Sewing down the straight edge to the point was the easy part, then a pause with the needle, holding the fabric to lift and swivel before continuing up the other side. Getting the curved edges right was another matter, almost impossible. The double layer of fabric had to be manoeuvred gently, gradually, as the needle raged forward biting into the… Read it

October, 1869

The smell of damp earth. The smog hanging heavy over London. Mist, stealing through the gravestones.  Footsteps, hurrying through the cemetery, boots echoing on the pathways, voices hushed and urgent. “Where is it?” “Here. Just here.” Also to the memory of Elizabeth Eleanor wife of their elder son Dante Gabriel Rossetti The hiss of a match. The metallic clatter of… Read it

Pan’s Final Victim

She crouches on the cold, steel chair, eyes scanning every inch of the grey room. From mirror to door. Door to mirror. Just as He taught her. A door slams in the building and her ears prick. Footsteps. She knows them before they reach the door, before he steps into the room. He looks her up and down, taking in… Read it

Prick

It was the first time Katy was going to Florian’s place and he had promised to cook dinner. The ominous third date. They’d bantered by text about steak tartar and snails. Frogs legs too. Forced jokes and eager, over-worked replies. She thought he was charming. Katy felt giddy as she ascended the escalator, then nervous as she searched for the… Read it

Blood-orange

Your latest orchestral piece is a limestone cliff that you want me to throw myself off. Instead I jumpstart the Cortina and drive it slap bang into the space between notation and stave, but not before taking your Zippo out of the glove box and setting fire to the house. Later you’ll pull back your cuff like some inky conjuror,… Read it

The Amaranthine Moment

The slender iron columns resolute in their purpose, curved off towards the tunnel, their rigid equidistance punctuated by people milling, reading, their toes awkwardly kicking the shiny painted paving stones of the platform in anticipation of the train’s imminent arrival. The woman was there again. Her tall and purposeful gait was as slim and strong in appearance as the column… Read it

Countdown

The thing she had, the syndrome, was like nothing the best minds in medical science had seen before. In the foyer of A&E they lifted her like cloth sacking, triaged her; no she hadn’t fallen, or vomited. Her temperature was pushing fever point, that was the most they could say. “Do we have her notes?” the nurse wanted to know.… Read it

Green Stalks

Trouble with me is, when I start I can’t stop. So I saw this boy, he must have been, hmm, seventeen? Anyway his tie caught my eye. He’s seventeen and wearing a tie? Perhaps he’s got an interview. But a tie covered with bright blue flowers? So I follow him. Down the escalator, on to the platform. He walks to… Read it

Sleepwalkers

Lenny, you’re a deft circle. Lenny, you’re a square. Lenny, do you know how the pavement shifts when you walk along it towards me? Lenny, don’t you see that the way ahead – if not impossible, impassable – is more than a little obstructed with soup cartons, green-handled knives from Monoprix, high street play mats and soft toys from Ikea?… Read it

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