He was standing in a mess of wet debris weeping uncontrollably. ‘She was my life,’ he said, snorting and choking. ‘She would never run away.’ He wiped the tears carelessly from his face with the palm of his hand and then clenched his fist. ‘Someone here knows where she is,’ he said, in a low growl, ‘someone knows—’
The insane flight seemed to have no end to it, until the fugitives knew nothing but the fire in their lungs and the need to keep moving. The boy cut the way forward with a short cutlass, hacking mechanically at branches and vines that flew back like knotted whips and lashed savagely at exposed flesh, but Anne and Bannockburn were ...
My reason fails me this night. Already, I have seen the shadows moving in the darkness beyond the glass. And yet, they tell me that I am ill. Ill I am, but I know that I be not mad. 0 curs’d flame that flickers but for the briefest instant! Yes, I am not mad although, in truth, I am yet afflicted with a dread-filled acuteness of the senses common to the male ...
Jagged Artex on the ceiling similarly suggested a makeover in the early-seventies, but the place was otherwise un-modernised. There was an ancient gas fire, and a grey, patterned carpet with a disturbingly large stain on it. ‘Is that where the previous tenant, sort of, you know, died?’ I ventured.
She was pushing forty now and he had not aged well. Emphysema was slowly drowning him and he was all but crippled with arthritis. He was decent enough to me, but there was something grotesque about him. It was his skin that got to me, stretched over him like a shower curtain wrapped around a skeleton.
We were suspended on the borderland where the rural and the red-brick met. I’ve spent my entire life in that house, almost. When I have tried to leave, I’ve still felt myself to be in orbit around it. I love that house, and it always calls me back, welcoming its last child to the one place that really feels safe.
As cold floorboards creaked in the pre-dawn light and the door clicked shut, Celia watched the cheval glass in the corner of the room rotate slowly upwards upon its central axis, until it neatly snipped the rosary carefully hung on its shoulder. Sacred beads tumbled, dancing between the boards into dusty oblivion.
This time he was at the door, his face pressed up against the glass. I got the impression of dead white skin and empty eyes before I legged it back upstairs, shaking like a junkie. The room next door was as quiet as the grave. Unperturbed by his weird confession, my dad was sleeping like a new-born kitten.
The People’s Vote March put me in mind of the Chartists. OK, I know that Chartism didn’t end well, with the final petition discredited by the Tories (claiming the signatures were fake, the demonstration much smaller than it was, and turning out the army), but everything they were fighting for has since come to pass in what we take for granted as a functioning parliamentary democracy.
‘I gave up on God at Dunkirk, but I ain’t saying’ there’s no Devil. What I do know though, is there’s another world out there, a dark world, running alongside of our own. And sometimes, for whatever reason, some folks get a glimpse of it through being ill, or mad, or pissed, or just unlucky. And if they can see into that world well, stands to reason, what’s hidin’ in there – I won’t call it livin’ – can see them.’
By this point we were at the foot of the stairs, looking into the shadows, the front door ahead of us, the doors to the two downstairs rooms either side. The bonfire was still flaring, casting an eerie light through the barred and broken windows. The front door banged again, admitting a frozen draft so solid I felt it almost push past me. I heard Angie gasp behind me...