The Ejection of Anima

Open Casket Did she just wink?Something about her beauty was…off.The beryl of her eyes?The barest invitation of a pout? That wasn’t it.Nor was it the chatoyancy of her skin.The hair, perhaps? Ethereal waves that might carry you off without an anchor.No.The tilt of the nose, then?Just a nose…But, sixteen eyelashes twitch, release themselves and crawl down her cheek.Ah yes, the …

In Gothikas Res

Catching the Scythe When full moonbeams hit St Barquistes, listen.The stony buttresses live; not only flesh can pass away.In the gloom of grief, under black rainbows, the gargoyles sing: some in Hebrew, some Latin or French; others still, Aramaic.But heed their canticle; listen for names.And if any named are those you love, spend time with them while you can. Be …

The Herald

Man used to fly, but no more; not since The Shift. Then, am I not a man? Alone, naked, and illustrated in script, but a man all the same. As The Shift razed civilisation, I rose; a traveling man with only inks and an unshakeable task to record, but a man all the same. I soar with the Trade Winds …

Stone Snitch

Childhood memories often come complete with a hazy, nurturing comfort, but even the best ones carry a burdensome, bittersweet aftertaste.I’d forgotten all about that summer in Kent at the Bloemfontein House, and the foul drinking water. What I do recall is Rex Bloemfontein’s diaries. Slick, greasy things bound in a cheap, ersatz leather; wild cursive loops and bowls exalting his …

The Catch

Whilst the North Sea commits suicide over the rocks of Northumberland, the town’s fishermen repair their nets and pots. It’s hard to figure the coarse, knotty meshes piled at their feet for the silken webs the men back home spin over their heads; like the most skilled pizzaiuolo, my fellow Florentine’s artistry set their nets so delicately on the Arno. …

Down There

Another night of poor sleep. Ever since lockdown started it gets harder. We went to bed around eleven, and within five minutes she’d fallen into a deep slumber (if the soft pop-popping of not-quite snoring was anything to go by). It was a small mercy – at least I wouldn’t have to lie still. The awful curtains reminded me of …

Vigil For A Mother (for Michael McDowell)

The last time I was a mother, I was waving Darnley off in his dinghy. Polished mahogany flashed under an early autumn sun, the red of his sail slowly melting into the scarlet wall of maples on the great lake’s far side. I’ve learnt when a parent loses a child, she becomes something undefined. Losing a breast in ‘89 ungendered …

You’ll Find Me In The Tall Wheat

The raft is not the vessel I’d hoped for. For a time I had company in the form of terns, a miniature armada of black-prowed yachts bobbing on the becalmed waters around me. But when the barnacle-encrusted flukes of a giant erupted lazily nearby, those feathered ketches became gliders, hanging like M’s from a child’s mobile. I envied them as …

The Rise of Woman

Nobody could recall an actual date when the island appeared off the coast of Lyme Regis, why it should have, or what circumstances conspired to allow it, but one thing universally agreed upon was its portentousness. Mallory, on summer break from the clamour of Oxford’s Magdalen hallways, congratulated himself on the prodigious serendipity of his decision to holiday in Lyme. …

MIBs

Harriet rolled her eyes at her brother’s petulant bleating. She supposed this was about her beating him at real tennis after church. A man of nineteen years should know better! ‘Saints preserve us, Freddie!’ Mother called from the kitchen as she prepared water crust pastry. ‘Whatever this “flying cigar” was, I’m sure there’s an explantation…Did you see it, Harriet?’Harriet wandered …