Diane, Seven

“Kindly light these candles,” said Mr Winthrop, gently touching the two of them, one then the other in their holders on the round table, before reaching beside him to produce a box of matches. Diane squinted down at her hands. Mr Winthrop got up and went to an upright something covered by a heavy black [...]

Diane, Six

The children's beds were against opposite walls in the room. Mavis's had a pink nylon mosquito net suspended from the ceiling, which she loved, and had draped in a circle around her bed year-round. It made Mavis feel safer, as though it were a thing inside which she could see out, but others could not [...]

Tammy, Four

“Come, he hath hid himself among these trees, to be consorted with the humorous night;” Mr Feigenbaum replied measuredly, the revolutions of his foot keeping rhythm, “blind is his love and best befits the dark.” “If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark. Now will he sit under a medlar tree, and wish his [...]

Tammy, Three

Mr Feigenbaum was known as Mr Faggotbum at Gradston High. That was because he wore a scarf and crossed his legs, and knew more about poetry and plays than the librarians, the teachers, and certainly any of the children's own parents. Mr Feigenbaum had a wife and three children though, all grown up. He had [...]

The Folds

From their seats the two girls stared back at Dennis in the way that the instructor would sometimes stare at the dummy grenades they used in training when he was a recruit—with a certain restrained expectation that they might explode. And indeed he was a grenade, though decommissioned now and filled, instead of adrenaline, with [...]

Diane, Five

“Quickly,” said Mavis, pulling her brother's hand, “we have to go quickly.” At once! her mother would shout when she wanted her room clean, her bed made, or her toys in the toy box, and sometimes that's what she would use with Lewis, but not this time, because to go quickly was the very thing [...]

Diane, Four

“She's a owl!” said Lewis, gesturing with his spoon. At that moment the light above them flickered, the room strobed and the kids, as though impelled by the illusion of the world's momentary stillness sat in perfect quiet for several long seconds afterwards. Lewis at last laughed mischievously as though he had done something, which [...]