My daughter bowed to the silver face of the moon, which hung like a pendant in the sky, and sunk her teeth into the dead flesh with a wet thunk. I felt bile rise in my throat and swallowed the bitter taste, watching in all my alien humanity as her near-feline body arched over the corpse of a rabbit and stripped the life from its body. The dizzying, metallic smell of blood was thick in the late autumn air, and watching her, I longed for a daughter with glittering blue human eyes whose infantile desire to murder I did not have to worry for. Anya grasped the leftovers of her meal between her bloodstained fangs and threw it further into the tall grass, swishing her bushy tail behind her proudly. She straightened, composed herself, and trotted towards the house that glowed amber at the end of the shadowed garden: my world and hers.
His hair was curly. I always liked curly hair, the movement of it, the way it falls around a person’s face like it isn’t sure where it should sit. Here, above the ear lobe? How about here, on the opposite side to where I sat yesterday? His hair was dark, the kind of curls that almost don’t qualify as curls; wiry, thick, static, unpredictable. I was the opposite: fair, fine and straight. All in order.
I think I fell in love with him because of his hair. I always imaged that one day I would go to university, meet a guy, a poet, in my creative writing class. We would talk about Sylvia Plath and he would wear knitwear from H&M, skinny jeans, he’d smile out of the corner of his mouth and ask me what my favourite book is. When I met him, I recognised him immediately. There you are. I’ve been expecting you. It was a weird moment. When I think of it now, I see colours.
The Hatter sat watching Alice in the shadows and smoke. She constructed two lines of white powder on the stone floor and returned to his side. Her eyes faded from purple to blue and back again.
“Happy birthday to me,” she whispered to nobody, and the powder was gone. Hatter wiped the remnants from her Cupid’s bow and secured her to his lap. Her skin felt like silk beneath his large, calloused hands. Velvet and silk; butterscotch lips. She tasted of strawberries and broken pieces.
“If they find you here, you’re as good as dead.” He spoke against her mouth with a smile, though he knew there was nothing worth smiling about. The drugs cooled his temper. Alice returned the packet of fairy-dust to her bra and laughed, ethereal. Continue reading “Fairy-tale Retelling: The Mad Hatter – Asylum”
I am about to be murdered and preserved, thought Bernadette Breecher, staring at Esmeralda’s Treasure Chest of Wonders. “There’s no way I’m getting into that.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” replied Esmeralda. “What on earth is wrong with it?”
“It’s a kitchen cupboard.” Bernadette took a quick look at Esmeralda and tried to picture her in a serial killer documentary. Esmeralda’s glass eye rolled languidly from one direction to the other. Yep, easily, she thought.
“Well, I’m very sorry that there isn’t a more suitable mode of transport for your ladyship.” Esmeralda kicked open the cupboard door and Bernadette crawled in. She looked up at her through the pipes. Continue reading “Esmeralda’s Treasure Chest of Wonders”
Just an excerpt from something I didn’t use again…
“Breakfast of champions,” I sang, hopping into the front of the car. Banana milkshake and a Happy Meal. Post-concert food.
“Does it count as breakfast at 2AM? You smell like a man.” Dad switched the radio to mute. “Why do you smell like a man?”
“I’ve been to a gig. Everyone smells like a man after a gig. It’s sweat and someone else’s beer.”
“It’d better be someone else’s beer. Are you drinking now? You’re fifteen. Who’s buying you drinks?”
The hum of the engine grew into a growl. “Change your gear, Dad. Chill. I wasn’t drinking.” I slurped on my milkshake and rolled my eyes at him from the passenger seat.
“Good.” I watched his fingers turn white on the steering wheel and listened to the wheels on the road, the ticking of the indicator and the tremor of a distant rap song from a car with a small, bald man inside.
“Is that Eminem?”
This was a Creative Writing assignment in which I had to write about an object from my childhood. It didn’t take long to think about Dad’s old guitar.
In those early years, when nights meant counting sheep and bedtime stories, I could never sleep without Dad’s lullabies. When I think back to those days, I see him sitting in his work boots at the kitchen table, his acoustic guitar sitting on one knee and his plectrum positioned between his front teeth and bottom lip. Brows furrowed in concentration. He would sing the same line over and over: Quietly turning the backdoor key. Stepping outside she is—
“She is free,” I would sing. How did he forget the words when I kept telling him what comes next? Continue reading “Dad’s Old Guitar”
Under the dim light of the setting sun, Gatsby’s house awoke and welcomed the world inside, two by two. It was the second time I had visited Gatsby’s house that summer, and it still sparkled the way I remembered. It sparkled like a star, like money. But this time I had William.
“Hurry up, Elsie. The boys from the studio are waiting and we’re already late. If you walk any slower, you’ll sink.” William Reeves was the president of a movie studio he inherited in Hollywood, a gambler extraordinaire, and my husband. He had hulking shoulders and heaps of money. That’s what I loved about him. Those shoulders.
“Well, they can wait some more.” I was busy, you see. I was busy counting every brick and window of that house. It was bigger than anything I’d seen. It was ancient and mysterious and new and exciting all at once. Caterers poured through the doors, balancing trays with delicacies imported from France, Italy, China. I followed them, longing for Gatsby.
I hate the plastic green bowl. It tastes like old popcorn and cupboard and nothing at all like bowl. On weekends, Logan uses it as his soldier helmet and turns into Action Man. Bowl goes on adventures. I’m told not to eat things if I don’t know where they’ve been.
Nana places it down on my lap and smiles all wide the way she does when I’m supposed to say thank you Nana and eat it really quickly zoom like the Powerpuff Girls. But instead I stare at the soggy Weetabix and jiggle the green bowl until the milk splashes over the sides.
“Be careful, Storm,” Nana tuts and holds the bowl still in my little, paint-covered hands. A pink and green splashed finger pokes the fairy dust on top.
“What is it?” I ask her. She pulls a funny face and her nose crunches up like my fingers do when I sit in the bath for too long.
“They’re Weetabix. You like Weetabix.”
“It’s got a carpet on top,” I tell her very clearly. “Silly Nana.”
“It’s sugar,” she tells me, but I know she’s telling lies because sugar tastes like chocolate and lollipops and magic, but this tastes like the sand on the seaside and Weetabix tastes like bowl. I let my spoon fall into my bowl shlop and little pieces of brown fly out and land on my knees. Nana gets really upset this time and starts breathing funny and muttering about the carpet. I told her there was a carpet in my bowl.
Anonymous Young Child
Bench Outside Greggs
Dad wouldn’t have noticed Ben’s shoes started talking yesterday, the tongue flapping on the school playground flap flap flap, but I did.
Linda from Greggs said I’m too small to be shopping by myself but she gave me a sausage roll and winked at me all secret so I think that we’re friends now and she won’t tell Mrs Carter I ran away. I wish she’d given me a fairy cake. I’ve never had one and Lucy always draws them in our art class on Tuesday’s, which I should be at now but I crept through the gates on the playground whoosh like Scooby Doo. Lucy’s cakes are pink and fluffy, just like the one’s Linda is selling today. I can see them from here, in their little rooms with the lights switched on, all warm like my sausage roll but nicer, and the crumbs wouldn’t get all over my skirt like this does but I don’t mind because Linda gave it to me and we’re friends now.