An Eye for an Eye


(1400 words) I stared in total disbelief. I’d returned home from work to find my front door hanging from broken hinges and the whole house surrounded with yellow tape, stating POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS. I looked around. There were no police vehicles, that I could see anyway, and nothing happening at any of our neighbours’ houses. All seemed quiet and deserted. I ducked under the tape and went in. A table in the hall lay on its side, but in the lounge, everything seemed normal. Then I looked in the kitchen. It looked as if a giant arm had swept everything onto the floor. There were broken cups and plates strewn around everywhere. I spied a mobile phone amongst them, my son Jack’s, I thought. How odd. I picked it up and put it in a jacket pocket. As I did so, I noticed a dark stain on the brown kitchen carpet tiles, and what appeared to be speckles of blood all over the crockery. A saucepan on the stove, now cold, had a blackened base, as if it had boiled dry. “You’re not allowed in the house, sir!” I turned around and jumped out of my skin. A man stood in a yellow suit with a huge clear visor. Through it, I could see he was breathing with a respirator. He wore black rubber gloves and shoes. “What’s going on. Where’s my wife and son?”

Circles and Stones


(1400 words) I was sitting on a wooden bench with my girlfriend, Daisy, in the graveyard of St. Mary’s, in the village of Blackbarrow. My fingers traced random patterns on the warm, weathered wood, as I gazed over a sea of gravestones. Many were ancient, toppled at strange angles, worn illegible by centuries of summer heat and hostile, frigid winters. Why was there no system to put them upright again, I wondered? “It’s so peaceful here,” said Daisy, squeezing my hand. “Thank you for coming.” I kissed her cheek, warm and soft. “That’s OK, I like graveyards.” She sighed. “Two years. It seems like two months.” I noticed her eyes were wet. “I know, sweetheart, but they did everything they could.” How many times had I said that? She took a tissue from a brown leather shoulder bag and blew her nose. Then she reached back in and pulled out a thick paperback book. “Christ, can’t you give it a rest?” “Look, I have to study. I have to pass my exams. One of us needs to earn some proper money.”