Microfiction: The golden dog

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The dog lies, her golden head resting on her front paws, watching the passers-by. She is tired. For four days she has trotted back and forth along the route she knows best, between the two campsites, the park and the bridge, the bridge and the park. She and the man slept together in the same sleeping bag, sometimes under the bridge, sometimes under a tree. Now he has gone.
She waits and she watches, and she trots back and forth, back and forth. But she is hungry and tired. She plays with other dogs but won’t go near people. Her eyes search for a single man in the whole mass of humanity. Her fur is muddy and she is tired and hungry. But she waits and watches and trots back and forth.
I would catch her if I could, the golden dog, and bring her home. But she won’t be caught. I would take the place of the man who went away and didn’t come back. But she has more faith than I, more hope. She will watch and wait and trot back and forth, back and forth, forever.

Microfiction: Narciso

Painting by Giovanni Fattori

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Narciso stomps into the pharmacy and thumps his walking stick on the floor.
“Hola!”
We know Narciso. The Republican relic. The pharmacist puts on a smile that doesn’t touch her eyes and finds something to do in the reserve. Narciso takes up position in the chair facing the street to watch the girls go by. We try not to listen to his old man’s mutterings of appreciation.
Old ladies come in to collect their prescriptions and cluck in disapproval. They know Narciso too. He narrows his small, watery eyes, and barks at them in a tangle of Spanish and French, running his eyes up and down the bare summer legs passing outside, licking his lips.
He shouts his partisan anecdotes. His grasp on the language is slippery, facts slither from his grip, and incomprehension falls upon him as easily as deafness. But we all know Narciso and his story. The real one behind the heroic escape over the Pyrenees with Franco on his tail. We know why he has never gone back to Cataluña, and we look away. We know about the wife and baby he abandoned behind the crumbling Republican lines. And we know what happened to them.

Secrets and Doors

As the blog blitz for Grá mo Chroí kicks off, I’d like to get in a bit of a word for fantasy author, Christine Haggerty, whose story Simple Magic appears today in the anthology Secrets and Doors. All royalties are to be donated to charity.
Here is Christine to explain.

All proceeds from Secrets & Doors will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their fight against T1D. We are donating all author AND publisher proceeds.
http://jdrf.org/
About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.
As the largest charitable supporter of T1D research, JDRF is currently sponsoring $568 million in scientific research in 17 countries. In 2012 alone, JDRF provided more than $110 million to T1D research.

Where to order the book (also available on Amazon, but they take all the money)
http://crimsonedgepublishing.com/bookstore/

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I had a sneak preview of the Secrets and Doors anthology in the shape of Christine’s contribution, Simple Magic.
I knew I was going to like it from the first line:

I cannot kill the child.

As an author who opened her first book with the mass murder of newborn babies, I could empathise. These are Elves we’re dealing with here. They have the classic Elf look, long silver braids and green eyes, but all similarity stops there. This short story is a complex affair mingling magic and fantasy with spec fic. These are more like Aliens than the Elves we have come to know and love through the likes of Tolkein. Whatever is noble and upright about them is riddled with corruption, and they have brought the seeds of their destruction with them from the world they have fled.
The story describes how, on the eve of becoming a fully-fledged priest, an Elf begins to doubt, then to ask questions, then to realise the true nature of her existence. What she surmises horrifies her, and suddenly, the ethereal beauty of her crystal castle in the sky, with its gardens and marble halls, seems so paltry compared with the earthy pleasures of human beings and the nature that surrounds them.
What I enjoyed most about this story were the descriptions of the Elf dwelling, which had a truly dreamlike quality about them. If anything, I would have said the story didn’t need to be so complex. I would have been happy without the technical explanation given at the end in a denouement that came over as just a little contrived. The simple contrast between the cold, decadent beauty of the Elf world and the familiar human world of hard work and love, would have been enough for me.
Having said that, many people prefer to have all the loose ends tied up at the end of a story, and I very much enjoyed Simple Magic. If this is representative of the quality of the anthology it should be one worth reading.

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Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

Links
http://www.christinehaggertyauthor.com
Facebook: Christine Haggerty, Author
Twitter: @chaggerty99

Snowing

A short story for Christmas.

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Drizzle. Low sky. Grey cloud, or was it fog? What was the difference anyway? Both were wet.

“Will it snow this year?”

“I doubt it.”

“When’s it going to snow, then?”

“It isn’t.”

She said it with a finality that sounded unkind, even to the child who shut up and trudged along in a sullen silence. She hated this time of year, the hysterical jollity of people spending money they didn’t have on things nobody wants. She had managed to pay the gas bill. The house insurance loomed and there was nothing much coming in to refloat the budget.

“Me feet are wet,” the child muttered, dragging on her hand.

She felt like weeping. She knew he needed new shoes, didn’t they all? The two older ones got through shoes at the speed of light. If she bought new shoes would there be enough left over for a present?

“Nearly there,” she said and her voice was softer. She could feel the excitement in the slight pressure of her child’s hand.

They turned into the street and into the wind. The drizzle felt like a film of ice. The child let go of her hand and ran the last few yards to the dark red door with a sprig of holly stuck behind the door knocker. She tapped on the window. The door opened and the child rushed in, his cheeks red with pleasure.

“Nana!”

“And how’s my best little man?”

“Is it going to snow, Nana?”

His grandmother shook her head and smiled. “Over my dead body!” She looked at her daughter, her eyes bright and knowing. “The kettle’s boiled. I’ll just wet the tea.”

The child was already inside, darting here and there like an excited puppy though the room was small enough. She followed, taking off her wet coat and hanging it on the back of the door. Her mother touched it and pulled a face.

“It’s raining,” she said in explanation.

“You walked it?”

She shrugged. “He took the car and I couldn’t face…didn’t want to wait for the bus. Coat, Micky,” she said, but not sharply. Her mother’s house was already beginning to work on her nerves, smoothing her ruffled feathers. It wasn’t particularly warm, but it was cosy. The cat helped, curled like a great cushion in the best chair. It gave out as much heat as a small boiler. The gas fire was turned low, but there were draught excluders at all the doors, a curtain at the back of the front door, and the windows were tight, south facing and snug.

Her mother bustled in the tiny kitchen. The child touched the sleeping cat gently. She smiled. He was usually so brusque. He climbed on a chair and gazed at the pot of bulbs. The hyacinths were out, blue, white, and pink, and the scent was overpowering. A garland of silver tinsel had been wound between them, and a couple of golden baubles were tucked in the space in the middle.

The tea arrived and a plate of buns. Plain, no chocolate, no icing. Her mother didn’t hold with gussying things up. “Spoils the flavour,” she always said. The child waited to be invited, intent on the spectacle of the pot of hyacinths.

“Don’t they smell gorgeous?”

“Like perfume,” he said, smiling. “Why don’t you like the snow, Nana?”

“Because it’s cold and it’s wet, and if you slip on it you break your hip and spend Christmas in the hospital.”

“Oh.” His face fell and she knew he was imagining his nana tucked up in white sheets in a white room with nobody she knew.

“And the birds don’t like it either. They’ve nowhere else to go to get out if it. What do you think they eat when there’s snow on the ground?”

He didn’t reply. Deep in thought.

“And you,” her mother’s voice dropped and she was held in the knowing, gentle eyes, “are you well out of it?”

She shrugged, but the tears were close to falling. “He’s gone, if that’s what you mean.”

Her mother sighed. “He could have picked a better time, but then, if he’d been the thoughtful type…”

There was no need to finish her thought.

“It’s always hard at Christmas, but this year…”

Her mother patted her hand. “Ryan and Danny are old enough to understand. It’s about time they started lending a hand anyway.”

She was hardly listening. The two eldest boys were not understanding and were as like to take their father’s part as hers. Without the car Ryan wouldn’t be able to go to football. She was waiting for him to start whining about missing practice.

“And this one here is no bother.” Her mother pushed the plate towards the child. “Here, Micky, have another one before your mam eats them all.”

He giggled at the idea of his worried, pinched-looking mother stuffing her face, and took a bun, peeling the paper off carefully, and scraping the crumbs off it with his teeth.

“Just a bit of snow wouldn’t hurt though, would it, Nana?”

“You ask the birds. Go on! Look out of the window.”

Micky stood on the chair and cleared away the condensation with his hand, lingering over it to chase the drops as they coursed down the pane. He pressed his face against the glass.

“Can you see?”

In the tiny garden the single apple tree was covered in tinsel. Instead of glass baubles, his nana had hung bits of bacon rind and suet fat balls. The tree was full of birds. More birds than he had seen ever. Blue and yellow ones, a robin, noisy ones with feathers flecked in different colours. Micky stared, his eyes opened wide.

“A Christmas tree for the birds!”

She moved round the table to join him, put an arm around his shoulders. As they watched, the grey sky was no longer a veil of drizzle, and the ragged clouds seemed to fall to bits. The air filled with white flakes drifting. Silence fell and time slowed. Birds darted and the tinsel fluttered like soft wings.

“It’s snowing,” he breathed, and when he raised his face to hers, it beamed with happiness.

Writing prompt: It was all going well, until…

I saw this flash fiction writing prompt on Twitter this morning and thought I’d have a go. In the end I had two goes: the first is less than 300 words, the second just over.

The one that got away

It was all going well, until I opened my big mouth. I was sure he was interested. He’d looked in my direction at least twice, and if you get a second look you’re doing well. At my age anyway. But I had to go and spoil it, didn’t I? He has such a nice bum too—the way it rolls in a muscular sort of way as he hurries away from the tram stop, itching to get as far away from me as possible, In fact, he’s probably on his way to the airport to buy a one-way ticket to Australia.
I can see now how stupid it was. But I was worried we’d get to his stop before I’d had chance to get him hooked. I wasn’t to know what it was, was I? I mean it looked like a hanky from where I was sitting.
I put on my best come hither smile. I can do a really lascivious one. I’ve practiced it in the mirror often enough. I swooped down on the article by his feet like a falcon grabbing a rabbit. I hoped my lipstick was still okay and gave him my Marilyn Monroe pout as I dangled my find in front of his face.
“I think you dropped this.” I said. His eyes opened wide then narrowed with restrained anger. I could almost hear his teeth grinding. I followed his cold stare, along with the rest of the tram, to the thing in my hand. The ‘hanky’ was a red lacy thong.

Bingo, Aunty Pat and the Wardrobe

It was all going well, until Bingo ate one of the mothballs. We’d found a likely wardrobe, pinched the twins’ fake fur coats to hang in it, and littered the bottom with mothballs like in the story. Me and Chrissy climbed in and Bingo jumped in too. Chrissy tried to shove him back out because the kids in the story didn’t have a dog and she said he’d like as not disrupt the ecological balance. Or something.
Anyway, Bingo started to whine and we heard Chrissy’s mum clomping up the stairs so Chrissy just said, “ Bugger Bingo,” and closed him in with us.
The three of us squatted there with the twins’ pink fluffy coats making us want to sneeze and Bingo wriggling about, the mothballs crunching nicely like they did in the story. Chrissy’s mum was just on her way to the toilet and didn’t come into the bedroom so we started to plan on where we’d go when we got to the other side. I said we ought to find the Beavers straight away but Chrissy said that Mrs Beaver reminded her of her Aunty Pat and she’d rather handle the White Witch any day of the week.
We were just starting to argue when Bingo made a noise like he was trying to cough up a walrus. He’d been licking the floor for a while and we suddenly remembered the mothballs. He sat up and struggled a bit more with the walrus. We shoved to one side to get away out of his line of fire. He gave an almighty heave, vomitted, and Chrissy put her hand over her mouth and lurched backwards. She screamed and disappeared behind the coats. There was a crash like wood splintering and an icy wind made me catch my breath. Bingo retched again, shook himself and bounded after Chrissy.
Mothballs crunched underfoot as I pushed past the coats. As I expected, the wardrobe had lost its back. I shivered and looked down—I was standing in Chrissy’s snowy footprints. Satisfied that it seemed to be working despite Bingo’s efforts, I turned and grabbed the twins’ coats. We might look like two sticks of candyfloss but it’s bloody freezing in Narnia.

Story excerpt: Enders

Here’s a snippet from the beginning of Enders. Remember it will be free this weekend.

Enders
Enders

The atmosphere was strained. The usual dull exchanges about Joshua’s working day and Antu’s migraine had been no more than brief allusions. Joshua’s face was closed up and silent, but Antu saw what others did not—the worry etched all over it in invisible lines. She cleared away the supper dishes and began the rhythmic, ritual cleaning of the tiny kitchen so that the head of the household could recite the prayers of purification and protection over the apartment.

Joshua cleared his throat, breaking into the soft background swish of the dishcloth. He had not spoken for almost half an hour and the sound dropped loud and jangling into the silence.

“Work’s finished for me,” he announced and swallowed hard. “End of this week.”

Antu turned and stared at him. “Finished? But—”

“There’s no but,” he said sharply and pushed his chair back from the table. “Three new boys start next week.”

Antu knew what that meant: three old boys gave up their places. Her hands shook. She wanted to sit down but daren’t, not while she was working, not without Joshua’s permission. She heard his steps crossing the room, heard him take his coat from the peg, the click of the door handle. Without another word he closed the apartment door behind him. She stopped wiping the kitchen surfaces and dropped the cloth in the sink. In a daze she felt her way to the table and sat down heavily in her chair. Finished. They were both finished.

She wondered vaguely if the same feeling of horror and helplessness swept over everyone at the announcement of the final act. A sharp pain throbbed over her left eye and she pressed the place hard with her thumb. She was glad to be able to feel something, even the start of a migraine. Her eyes strayed to the door, wondering when it would be. Not wondering how she could avoid it. They would come, and that was all there was to it.

Promote Yourself: with Elaine Canham

Promoting herself today is short story writer, Elaine Canham. You can read more of her work on her website:

http://www.elainecanham.com

This is a story she particularly wanted to see getting a wider readership. I can see why. Thanks for sharing it with us, Elaine.

Madame Zsa Zsa

tightrope-walker

It’s funny how the most familiar things can really turn out to be really strange, while exotic sounding stuff just falls flat when you have it explained to you.

Look at Madame Zsa Zsa. If I told you she was a retired Hungarian tight-rope walker and former Parisian café owner, you’d think whoa, exotic. But if I then told you that really she played the organ in the kirk every Sunday, and everybody knew her as plain old Jeannie Delvine, then maybe you’d think, ‘Oh, well that’s boring.’

But to me it was Jeannie who was the more interesting person. For a start, I didn’t know her in her tightrope days. I was only eight, after all. But I did see her walk out on the rocks in the Tay to save Bugs from drowning, and she certainly had an assurance in that treacherous, whisky clear water, that I knew I would never have. And she was old then. Not old old, but old to me. Old as in her, what, forties, fifties?

She moved in next door to us on my eighth birthday. It was a blisteringly hot day, and my aunties and granddad were all round the table in the back room. Granddad was wearing his blue suit with a watch chain stretched across his waistcoat. He had taken his jacket off because it was so hot, and he kept wiping his face and the back of his neck with a brown and white striped hankie. We were eating ice cream and raspberry jelly. It was Neapolitan ice cream, three glorious stripes of colour in a damp cardboard box from Mr Menzies the corner grocer. Colin, my brother, had been sent up the drowsing street to get it. And when he came back he was full of the news of our new next door neighbour.

‘She’s got blonde hair,’ he said, handing two threepenny bits in change, to my mother.

‘Aye,’ said my auntie Nellie, looking meaningfully at my other auntie, Maggie. ‘Blonde hair? And did she have one of they short skirts?’

Colin wiped his hands on his shirt front and looked confused. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘Just normal. With flowers on and things.’

‘Nellie!’ my mother said gently. ‘Don’t ask him questions like that. Asking him to look at women’s clothes.’

Mum pushed back a limp tendril of hair from her forehead and looked at him. ‘Is she nice?’

‘Oh, aye,’ said Colin. ‘She’s awfy nice. I helped her in with a box and she gave me sixpence.’ He looked at Auntie Susie. ‘She didn’t have a short skirt. She talks funny and she’s quite old.’

‘Old?’ said Auntie Susie, catching a look at herself in the mirror and smiling.

Colin dug into his ice cream. ‘Aye. About the same age as you.’

Jeannie, or Mrs Delvine as I had to call her, had blonde curly hair. It was not, as my mother said, ‘out of a bottle,’ and therefore she was not, as my auntie Nellie would have had it, a Jezebel. If my auntie Nellie had known that Jeannie was once called Madame Zsa Zsa, she definitely would have been a Jezebel. But nobody knew anything about Mrs Delvine. She kept herself to herself, except for the odd smile here and there when you passed her in the street.

With every fresh bit of news about a new person in the village, there would either be a collective nodding by the women standing at the counter waiting to be served in Mr Menzies, or a pursing of their lips. Not that there were many new people coming to our part of Perthshire in 1963. I knew by their discussions that, if you were a stranger, you had to get certain things right. That you had to pass a kind of a test. And not just the one.

Anyway, the women didn’t have much to go on with Mrs Delvine, except, as Colin said, she had a funny edge to her voice. Nobody could quite place it. And then, when Mrs Melville got too much rheumatism in her hands, and couldn’t play the piano in kirk on a Sunday any more, Jeannie went to the minister and volunteered. And she was a fine, fine musician. So that was another test passed. But what all the tests were, was something that I spent a great deal of time pondering. Would I have to take these tests, when I grew up? When I went anywhere new, would people walk behind me, inspecting my hair and my clothes, and thinking my voice was funny? And how many tests were there and what were they for?

I asked, I did ask, about these tests, but my mother would just tell me to stop blathering and go out to play. So I would go, with Bugs Leckie and Anne Sutherland and Margo Menzies, up to the field behind the school where the swings sat in deep muddy puddles, and where the older kids would dare you to lick the snowball bushes. ‘They’re poison they are. They’ll kill you if you swallow a berry. Go on, I dare you…’

Or we would go down to the Tay. Not often, because it was fast and rocky where it went past our village, and when it was in flood it scared me. But on hot summer days, when it lay quiet and brown under the trees, we would venture out on to the rocks and dip our hands in the cool water and try to catch the sticklebacks that flitted in the shadows. But we wouldn’t go right out in the middle. It was dangerous out there. It looked calm enough, but it was deep and cold, even in August, and the wrinkles on the surface let you know there were big currents underneath.

Bigger boys would sometimes dare each other to cross the river by leaping from rock to rock. And sometimes they did, and sometimes they fell in. My cousin Kenneth had drowned there in 1942, when he was just a boy going after his football. And his mother, my auntie Nellie, had never really got over it. Sometimes, she went a bit odd and looked in the kitchen cupboards, calling his name, and then she would have to go to hospital for a while. We never talked about going down to the river, in front of her. But we still went.

Anne and Margo would stay on the steep tussocky bank and make mud pies with an old frying pan, but Bugs and I would go out into the shallows, before it got dangerous. Bugs wasn’t a girl. His real name was Bob. But he had sticky out teeth, and the boys made fun of him because his dad had refused to fight in the war. Peter Menzies, the grocer’s son was the worst. It was him that thought of calling Bob ‘Bugs’. But they all called him a coward.

The war had ended 18 years before, but memories were still strong in the village of some of the men who had gone and who had not come back. Peter’s uncle was one of them.

Bugs’s dad came to the school to get Mr Roberts to stop the bullying, but Mr Roberts wouldn’t have anything to do with him. They stood in the dim brown corridor by the school hall, wee Mr Leckie, with his Sunday jacket on and his hair combed flat, and big tall Mr Roberts with his gown and his dark suit. ‘I will not see you, Mr Leckie,’ intoned Mr Roberts, in that same booming voice that he used in assembly. ‘I will not see a man who refused to smite the Germans.’

Smite the Germans. I was standing by my classroom door. I had been sent out for talking. I had to stand there for five minutes. But I had no way of knowing how long that was. I had no watch. I could not see the clock in the hall. All I could do was look through the glass in the door and hope Miss Thomson would see me and wave me back in. But smite the Germans took me away. I could see Mr Roberts dressed like Goliath in the bible with a big shiny breastplate, and metal shin pads, his sword raised. Smiting the Germans as they came over the purple plains in their tanks and low flying planes. Smiting them.

Was he going to smite Mr Leckie? And what with? I could see Bugs’s dad clasping his hands and then standing almost to attention. ‘My beliefs are my own, Mr Roberts,’ he said quietly. ‘It is not right that my son should suffer for them.’

Mr Roberts twitched his gown and turned away. ‘I will not hear you, Mr Leckie. I will not hear you. Your son is getting an education. And that is more than the Germans would have given him.’ And he opened the door to his room and strode in and shut the door in Mr Leckie’s face. And Mr Leckie turned and looked at me, and I wanted him to open that door and go in after Mr Roberts and give him what for. But he just stood there and put his hands deep in his pockets and turned away. Maybe he was a coward after all.

I wanted to go after him and ask him why he didn’t want to smite Germans, or even smite Mr Roberts, but at that moment my class room door opened and Miss Thomson pulled me inside. I was sent out again, half an hour later, for asking too many questions, so I don’t know why she bothered, really.

So there we were on the rocks, Bugs and I, trying to catch sticklebacks when I asked him if it was true he was a coward.

‘I am not,’ he said. His hair, blue black, fell into his eyes, and he swept it out with a wet hand. ‘I am not a coward.’

‘I was just asking,’ I said.

He got up on his feet. ‘I’m not a coward!’

‘All right,’ I said. ‘I don’t mind. Dinne fash yersel.’

He was standing in the light of the sun coming through the trees, and the light was bouncing off the water on his hair and face and arms. It was like he was covered in diamonds.

‘I’m going to walk across the river,’ he said.

‘Like Jesus?’ I said.

‘On the rocks,’ he said. ‘I’m going to jump between them. And if I make it, you can tell everyone, and I’m not a coward, ok?’

‘But the water’s calm,’ said Margo. ‘Anybody could do it now. Even cowards.’

Bugs looked at her, his pale face flushed bright pink. ‘Would you do it then?’

Margo looked out over the broken line of rocks in the water. ‘No. Because I don’t want to get wet. And anyway, if you fall off you’ll get swept down to the weir, and that’ll be the end of you. There’s currents in there. My mum told me. ’

‘Right,’ said Bugs. ‘I’m going.’ And he turned and there was a moment that I saw on his face, that he really was scared.

‘Bugs,’ I said. ‘Bugs.’

But he leapt for the next rock out. ‘I made it!’ he turned and his face was shining. ‘I made it!’ he shouted. ‘I made it, and I’ll go all the way. You’ll see!’

‘Bugs, come back! You’re not a coward!’ The look on his face was so determined it made me clench my hands. I wished I’d never asked him that terrible question.

But he was too busy looking out at the next rock to listen to me. I shouted again. But it was too late. He had leapt, and he had missed and the water was deep and still and cold there, and Margo and me and Anne screamed. And past us came a flash of yellow on the path by the bushes. It was Mrs Delvine out walking in her Sunday best and she glanced at Bugs sinking in the pool and bobbing up again, his face pale against the dark water.

And as neatly and quickly as if she were bending down to get a dropped hankie, she kicked her shoes off, put her handbag on the bank, and then jumped lightly out on to the rocks. It was easier for her, of course, because she was bigger than us, but there was an assurance and balance that she had, that I had never seen before in anyone I knew. She reminded me of the gymnasts I had seen in the Moscow State Circus on the TV. She just moved from rock to rock as if she was avoiding puddles on the High Street, and when she came to the pool she knelt down, reached out and grabbed Bugs by his hair and then she got an arm under him and pulled him out, and he fell against her, and her lovely suit was dark with water and river muck.

Men had come by then, and women too. Anne had run off to get them. Mrs Leckie was standing shrieking on the bank, ‘My wee boy! My baby!’ Mr Menzies was going out, in his grocer’s white cotton coat, to help Mrs Delvine, but Mr Leckie pushed him back. ‘That’s my son out there,’ he said. ‘I’ll get him, thank you.’ And he went out on the rocks almost as easily as Mrs Delvine, and took Bugs from her, and hugged him, and that was all I saw because my mum had come by then, and I was being dragged willy nilly back home for an early tea and bed and no argument, or it will be the worse for you. And all that long late afternoon and evening I lay in my bedroom and watched the shadows lengthen on the wall and wondered at Mr Leckie saying that, ‘thank you,’ and remembering the way Mr Menzies had blinked and stepped back.

And the next day apparently, Mr Leckie went into Mr Menzies shop, and the women stopped their talking entirely and the men went into the back room and talked for an hour together. And auntie Nellie wanted to go in and see what they were saying, but Mrs Sutherland stopped her. So nobody ever knew what was said. But when Bugs came back to school Peter asked him how he was. So that was all right, because that is the ordinary thing that I wanted to tell you.

Later on, days later, maybe weeks, I can’t remember now, I was round at Mrs Delvine’s because I was having a piano lesson, and there was a picture of her on her piano in a spangly leotard, balancing on a tightrope. Everybody had seen it except me. And exotic as it was, it was given only a minute’s worth of attention by the women waiting to be served in Mr Menzies. ‘Oh yes,’ they said. ‘See that Jeannie Delvine. She used to be a tightrope walker, in Hungary. And then she got arthritis, and her husband, aye, John Delvine, from Glasgow, that she met in the war, he died, poor soul. And then she ran a café in Paris, and it failed and she came here and saved wee Bugs Leckie fae drowning. Fancy that.’

New review for Midnight Visitors

An unexpected surprise—a five star review for Midnight Visitors from Jada Ryker.

MidnightCover

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2PH879E4ZO3TW/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00K8DYOC4&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text

It would be brilliant if you could press the like button on the review to get just that extra bit of mileage out of it 🙂