Stories

Small Homes — failbetter
It all began with a different conversation, in a different city. I came home from school to find that you had hidden your toy—a small woodland creature, a bushy-tailed squirrel—in the vase I’d made with mum.

Why is it in there, I asked. It’s a little home, you said.

Cliff People — Wildness

This country is too flat, she tells me. Maybe it’s because of all the people—like they’ve trampled out all the interesting dips and curves. Maybe it’s the weather. The weight of all that gloom. She has a point; when you’re used to mountains, meadows look depressed.

The Birds — Brittle Star

We were late, as usual. The woman allows the man to put his hand around her waist.

I can’t believe I said yes to him again. He never seems to get me anywhere on time. Although—she gives the man a brief, appraising glance—at least I got to see you dance. I am sorry I missed the first piece. He smiles at her, steers her firmly to the line of cabs

Atlantis — Headland

His voice was familiar, the way a hot bath feels. But it took me a moment to place his face. I hadn’t noticed him enter the café; now he had one of my tea bowls in his hand, turning it as if to catch the light. It looks like pottery excavated from a tomb, he said, something you’d find an ashy body clutching in Pompeii.

Which Way to Ithaka? — Storgy

For a moment, everything around me was atremble. Desk, chair, pencils, mug, the framed posters on the office walls (sunrise behind the pyramids, sunset over Santorini)—all hummed and vibrated. Even the glasses quivered on my nose. Long after the chatter stopped, the air still shook a little.

Claimed by the Sea — Azure

Some evenings when the sky wears a dark face above the sea, my mother calls me to the window, to the sweeping vista over Avaris. We share in the warm breeze that rises from the Nile and gaze out across the palms. In a quiet voice she tells me of the feast of coming home.