19th August 2014
The village seems deserted, devoid of human life. No children play, no neighbours gossip, no smoking chimneys sully its black and white prettiness. Yet steam drifts mistily from heating vents and now and then I catch a glimpse through darkened windows of pallid faces bathed in an eerie green glow, and I shudder to see pale fingers tapping out their frantic messages: adults and children communicating with the world but no longer with each other.
6th June 2014
I hang up my coat, pick off a stray hair. It was a shock seeing you again. Embarrassing. Should we shake hands, hug, brush cheeks? Toes curled in tight funeral shoes. Memories flashed: teenage fumblings, back row cinema gropings, red satin valentines kept in drawers till they fell apart. Politeness prevailed: looking well ... long time ... sad occasion ... must meet again. Heart thumps, stomach flips. Surely not! Grey hairs on a black jacket. Yours or mine?
27th February 2014
One for sorrow. Superstitious nonsense! But I shouldn’t have mocked you, mercilessly pouring on scorn until your eyes brimmed. I overreacted. And now my apologetic flowers wilt inside their cellophane shroud while silence rises through the house like dense, poisonous gas, filling every room with self-righteous accusation. And the single magpie on the lawn cocks its velvet black head to one side and mocks me as my panicked eyes search in vain for another one.
16th November 2013
Sam had a breakdown once. Back in the Sixties, decade of love and enlightenment. Mocked by so-called friends and professionals alike he somehow stumbled through his shame. Fast forward. 2013. A schoolgirl stares with youthful vulnerability from the pages of Sam’s newspaper. Suicide: her mental illness mocked by friends and professionals alike, internet trolls swarming across her life like rabid wolves. Sam stares bleakly into old age and clings on tightly to whatever sanity remains.
12th October 2013
The last time the mountain had moved he’d gone scuttling to the back of the cave like a terrified insect. Now, as slivers of a red dawn seeped in, and with hunger gnawing at his insides, he clawed at the fallen rocks with bloodied fingers. The cave mouth opened onto a precipice. Below him a vast new ocean stretched to the horizon. He trembled. Was he the last man standing on Earth? Or the first?