Writing

‘Unravelling’ 

The black, writhing scales look fleshy against the flaccid skin. Jamille imagines him once young, well built, when the snake that wraps around his arm was a symbol of his virility. Now the arm is shrunken with a purple hue: a sign the atrophy is advanced. Mostly, the men come to her in the later stages after they’ve tried the official channels; when the cost and the waiting lists prove too much. The women come earlier. They’ve seen the results the medical services have meted out to their friends – radical treatments of massive skin grafts, even amputations. – The Big Issue Fiction Edition 2017

 

‘Something From the Old School’

The group of students crowded around the ground floor entrance to department chanting and clapping and holding up placards—the sunny quietude of well-watered lawns at odds with their noise. Elizabeth had to push past them to get in; the whooping surged around her then receded as she made it in to the relative safety of the foyer. Some of the other academics had come down the stairs to observe the proceedings. – Little Fictions, Dire Straits

 

‘Navigating’

The day Lucy finally agreed to drive her daughters to the factory outlet shop was the day she came face to face with her own demise. She sat in the car in the driveway reading a book, waiting out the last-minute fussing in the house. Her youngest daughter, May, came out and climbed into the back seat, a waft of a tropical scent, maybe jasmine, accompanying her. ‘Bree’s texting someone,’ she announced before Lucy could ask. ‘Great,’ Lucy said under her breath, trying to catch May’s eye in the rear-view mirror to share her exasperation, but May stared resolutely out the window. Lately, May had moved over to the Bree camp. Lucy pressed the horn in three short barks and fired up the sat nav, clipping it into its holder. – The Great Unknown, Angela Meyer ed, Spineless Wonders

 

‘King of the Air’ 

They are the kings of the air. The cockatoos come arcing in on their great white wings, their screeching ripping the air above the tress. It is piercing, tears through him like a thrill. He spreads out the bread on the balcony, kneeling down as the birds swoop in, perching on the railing or dropping down to the deck, strutting over the boards, eyes on him. He holds out his hand, palm up. Come on, you know me. The bird takes the square of bread in its great claw and nibbles. The others rush in with a clamour, the morning alive with their movement. – Sleepers Almanac No. 6, Sleepers Publishing

 

‘Skink’s Lot’

A row of almond trees separated the two lots, Skink’s and Lily’s; they met there to take a rest in the shade from digging and weeding their patches. But why did there have to be weeds? The City controlled everything, so why did they allow them? To keep the lotters occupied, Skink supposed, keep them out of trouble. She tried to say this in her head to Lily. They often practised being quiet like this to see if they could thought-trans to one another, just like the cubers, but now Lily merely looked at Skink blankly. – Shortlisted, The World to Come, Spineless Wonders