Murder on the shore

On Ogmore beach the sea is calm, the wind is still and all is at peace. It is the 17th of August 1950. In North Korea the last of thirty-nine American prisoners of war are executed on Hill 303. 

Roger, aged six, is with his parents, Martin and Janet. Summer sun shines as he stands on a sandy path holding a metal Mickey Mouse bucket in his hand. He wears a short-sleeved shirt, short trousers, white ankle length socks and buckled sandals.

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The school run

It’s 1954. Simon, aged eight, stands on the front door step of his house, about to walk to school. His mother, Rachel, holds a large glass jar of brown and white peppermint sweets. On the jar there’s a picture of a grinning boy, his cheeks bulging with sweets. Rachel takes a mint from the jar, unwraps the cellophane wrapper, and pops it into Simon’s mouth saying, It’ll keep you warm on the way to school. They both laugh at this nonsense, but – in a sense – it does just that: her love keeps him warm.

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‘Fetch’

It is a late summer evening in O’Meara’s wood; a time when dog walkers or ramblers are rarely found wandering in the dense un-coppiced woodland; this is why Jon favours the wood. There are no humans to pollute what he regards, unreasonably, as his wood; it is tranquil and within walking distance of the cottage to which he retired with his wife, Mary.

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The Welsh Dresser

On Swansea beach it’s impossible to tell where sky and water meet. Hadyn stares into the distance and sees no edge to the world. He leans on the handle of a large battered Silver Cross pram.

Although a conscientious objector, he feels guilty about not being ‘over there’ even though he’s had his own war. He vividly recalls the sounds of the Blitz: of Luftwaffe bombers droning, of ack ack fire, the whining of the approaching bombs and then finally, his bomb and after that, nothing, no memory whatsoever of the bomb that threw him two hundred yards and almost took his life.

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The Lift

The School of Anatomy is located in a mouldering four-storey early Victorian building. In 1899, an architect is commissioned to redesign the building to meet the demands of twentieth century medicine. He knows nothing of the latter. He’s a moderniser who turns things upside down in pursuit of progress. With the advent of electric lifts, he sees a chance to exploit the use of the top floor of the building as a new dissection studio (sic).

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Lily

63 Railway Street is a two-up and two-down terraced house, fourteen bricks wide, occupied by a respectable working class family.

Lily is six and plump, with a round face that speaks of innocence. Her brown tangled hair speaks of her mother’s carelessness, or uninterest. Her family describe Lily as a hunchback because of her deformity. It is a casual defamation.

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