Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Childminder

Courtesy of standout-cabin-designs.com

‘I don’t want to go,’ I say on the way to the childminder’s.

‘Don’t be silly, you love Delia!’

It’s a long, dark road through the woods to the house. ‘It’s so beautiful,’ Mum says. ‘Quirky, like a gingerbread house!’

Della opens the door holding the fat baby. A hot cake smell creeps out. The pudgy boy, Ben, peers from behind her. 

‘Oh you’re baking. In that lovely, enormous range!’ Mum says. ‘He loves cake. I think he’s putting on weight.’

I cry. I scream – but she leaves me anyway.

Delia smiles at me. A worm crawls from her eye.

Monday, 19 September 2016

School Run

She was there when I got back from the school run, sitting in my kitchen as if nothing had happened. Even through the shock, the disbelief, it was good to see her.

‘Em?’ I said.

‘Of course.’

‘But how did you get here, how..?’

‘I don’t know what you mean. I always come.’ She looked away as though my face worried her. ‘I need to ask you.  I don’t get it.  I mean, where is Ella?’

‘She’s – with your Mum.’

‘But why?’

‘Em,’ I said, gulping. ‘You died. We buried you.’  I blinked away tears, and her chair was empty. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Courtesy of www.tnktravel.com

The trip goes way beyond the promises of the Vietnam Tours brochure. Their speedboat roars along jungled mangrove swamps, and on to a raft with barely fenced-off edges, where a rod dangling fish corpses attracts ravenous crocodiles. They set sail, watching monsters leap, thrashing from the murky water.

She’s thrilled. She sees him chuckle at the health and safety abomination, and breathes; his mood, their earlier row, have passed.

The boatman smiles and turns to reach for more rotting flesh.

Hands slam into her back and shove. She tips in the humid air, drinks mud, feels writhing texture, tearing agony.