Diane, Ten

“It's only Roland,” said Genie in a low voice. The car roared then sputtered, and Diane turned. Roland looked tired, his face was darker somehow than the last time, like he had been up all night pondering something very serious. There was something very compelling in it, something that made her want more despite the [...]

Diane, Nine

She was well now, though. Well and husbandless. Brotherless, and she had done her time. The kettle began to pipe and she lifted it from the flame. “That wasn't so bad, was it?” she asked the kettle. Outside, in the cool air, Diane sipped her tea and watched the cat play with a small mouse [...]

Diane, Eight

The way it was. That's what Mr Winthrop often talked about. 'The way it was' was a kind of device he used to refer to prehistory, to man in his child state, where decisions weren't yet made about what was possible and impossible. People, he said, experienced things, unusual, majestic, mystical things as a result [...]

The Earthquake

Domingo returned five years after the earthquake. The diocese had been prepared to pay for his flight there but he had opted instead to drive. He remembered the roads, and tried to avoid air travel, not simply because of the attention he drew in his black cassock—the handshakes and genuflections and requests for blessings—there was [...]

The Confidence Artist

Cathy's party was going well. Her great-grandmother had been brought over to the holiday village where they were all staying, and gazed placidly at the fare and hazards around her. She didn't recoil at children's screams anymore. She had asked Cathy what she wanted to be when she grew up and Cathy had said she [...]

Before the Guests Arrive

Julian pottered. Yes, he wanted the geraniums and lilacs in before Thursday, before the guests arrived, his esteemed and noble guests, but he also just liked remarking the various hidden aspects of the garden as he paced its acres, studying the root of its appearance—what it was and what it was made of and how [...]

Counting Finches

How many? said the finch. He had landed beside his friend on the frosty branch. Down inside the house there was the business of human ceremony—something opaque and inscrutable. Yesterday there were seven, today there are six, he said. Upstairs through the foggy window the girl was sitting and using a stick to change something [...]