Gwyther House

In the time that Alfred’s been resident in Gwyther House, he’s observed the consequences of many depredations: the Great War, Spanish Flu, the Wall Street Crash, the Second World War, rationing, the global financial crisis, austerity and climate change. Covid-19 causes him little alarm. Alfred is self-centred, entirely self-sufficient and dead. 

Continue reading

Lying In

It’s a late winter afternoon in 1921. In Violet cottage, one of an isolated terrace of eight tied-cottages, deep in Holderness, an oil lamp sheds a pale glow in the small front room. Orstine, dressed in a cotton shroud, lies in a cheap pine coffin, which rests on a trestle, with his feet pointing at the curtained windows. The women of the terrace have reluctantly laid him out in accordance with local tradition: a bandage around his head keeps his mouth shut; scraps of muslin are wedged up his nose and pennies cover his eyes. The GP, who’d taken three days to attend, attributed his death to natural causes.

Continue reading

Flies

Stefan hears the distant sound of a bluebottle buzzing as he sits at a table staring at the phrase he’s written across the centre two pages of his notebook – All stories begin with a question. The sound grows louder. A large bluebottle lands in the gutter between the pages of the notebook. Imperceptibly, Stefan, holding his breath, slides his fingers under the book’s hard covers. With great speed he slams the book shut crushing the fly between the words he’s written. 

Continue reading