Sailing By

Emma stands at the gates of the City Hall. She is naked. The streets around her are empty; the whole city seems deserted. Storm clouds threaten rain as a harsh wind whips acrossDonegall Square. Rubbish spills from litter bins and dances through the air. A page from a discarded newspaper wraps itself around her leg. She begins to shiver. There are goosebumps on her arms and legs, her nipples are hard as bullets. She calls out his name. she calls out his name but her voice is carried off by the wind to be lost in the hills above the town…

‘Sailing By’ was published in the USA literary magazine “34th Parallel” Issue 5, in 2009. 

34th Parallel

The Missing

I hold the egg in my hand, my fingers tracing the contours of the shell; its tough but ultimately fragile protection. I watch my hands move, pale and blue-veined. My fingers pause, and for a moment the egg, my hands, and where I am and who I am, is forgotten. My mind empties. For a few precious seconds I am at peace. Then I return to myself, shake my head, and move away from the sink. Turning to the mixing bowl on the work surface I crack the egg against its brim. The yolk and egg-white slop down into the bowl to join the butter and sugar. I break five more eggs into the mixture. Cracking the last egg, a few pieces of shell fall into the bowl. Delving into the sticky mess with my fingers I hunt out the tiny, jagged pieces, then turn to the sink to wash my hands. I catch sight of my face reflected in the kitchen window. Lately I’ve come to believe that this mirror image is a deception, a trick of the mind: I could not have grown so old without noticing…

‘The Missing’ was published in the Northern Ireland literary magazine ‘Verbal’ Issue 7, September 2007.

 

Hunger

My daddy’s drunk again. I can hear him slamming the kitchen cupboard doors and shouting at my mummy.

He’s always hungry when he comes home from the pub, but he can never find anything to eat. It’s my mummy’s fault, he says. She lets us kids eat him out of house and home.

I don’t know what he’s talking about. There’s always loads of food in the house. There’s sausages, and chops, and tins of spaghetti Bolognese. And every Friday night we have fish and chips. Except for my daddy, he always has steak.

Whenever he’s not drunk my daddy’s happy enough to eat whatever my mummy makes for him. He comes home from work and eats his dinner, then when he’s finished he leans back in his chair and says, “That was de-licious.” He always says it like it was two words, instead of one…

‘Hunger’ was published in the Northern Ireland literary magazine ‘Verbal’ Issue 27, in October 2009.

A pdf download of the magazine is available here: Verbal Magazine Issue 27

Like a Fillum

ulla

 

Do ye member that Saturday night we went t-see a fillum an just like that song says it didn’t matter what fillum we saw but we went t-see Titanic an it was way too long an I thought it was borin an silly but you cried at the end though ye said ye didn’t an after it was over we started danderin home an on the way ye toul me ye thought the fillum was dead romantic the way he gave up his life for her at the end an that when we first started goin out you thought I was romantic an said nice things t-ye all the time an bought ye books that wid talked about an wee silly bangles an hair clips an girly stuff that I knew ye liked an in a way I swept you off your feet but then ye said I wasn’t like that anymore now wid been goin out for ages an all I wanted t-do nowadays was get pished an watch fillums an sit in front of the TV all night watchin whatever shite was on an tha wi didn’t even shag that much anymore an then I got all moody an you called mi Victor Meldrew an then said I was turnin inta mi da an I was even gettin a beer gut like his then I lost the plot an told you te go an find someone else then someone who could afford te buy ye things all the time an take ye out te all the fancy new pubs an clubs that were openin all over the town an your new fella might even be able te fuck ye as much as ye wanted cause ye were a nympho anyway…

‘Like a Fillum’ was published in the Northern Ireland literary magazine ‘Ulla’s Nib #4’ Summer 2008.

Learning to Float

Anthony ‘Tonto’ Mullen stood at the edge of the high embankment and gazed down into the water below. The swing, which hung from the outstretched branches of the chestnut tree beside him, moved heavily in the wind; describing a lazy figure eight above the slow flowing river. The morning sun dappled the murky green water with dancing light and threw shards of silver onto a rusted pram, which lay half-submerged in the silt and slime of the riverbed. Tonto hawked up some phlegm from deep in his throat, rolled the soft oyster around his mouth, then spat towards the thick, brown rope of the swing, hoping to hit it. He missed and swore to himself…

 **********

‘Learning to Float’ was published in the short story anthology ‘Late-Night River Lights’ from Edit Red Books in 2008.

The anthology is available to buy from amazon.co.uk at the link below: