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.”

My Name is Ian Z. McPhee


TASWG assignment: Write two short stories beginning with the following words. Give one a positive ending and the other a negative one. ‘It was incredible and completely unexpected; the sensations as our fingers touched was electric; my heart skipped a beat and I momentarily forgot to breathe.’ (This, negative ending.) (627 words) [original publication date … Continue reading My Name is Ian Z. McPhee