The Stranger

(950 words) We chatted about this and that, the state of the hotel and whether it’d be possible to restore it. “The desert wants its land back. It has a mind and a will of its own,” she said. I was a farmer, arable and dairy cattle, used to co-operating with the land. It was no use fighting it. “I can understand that.” I brought us both refills from the bent old man’s enormous tea pot, then Olive asked me if anything strange, maybe supernatural, had ever happened to me. I laughed. “Not that I can think of, I’m not one for mumbo jumbo.” Olive’s wide blue eyes twinkled. “Well, I’ll tell you anyway. See what you think.” “Be my guest.” “Well, where I live, there’s a playing field opposite, a small one with an area of swings and slides for kiddies.” I sipped my tea, it was hot and sweet.

Daydream Believer

(700 words) The Monkees would be on the radio. Cheer up sleepy Jean Oh, what can it mean to a Daydream believer and a Homecoming queen? We used to laugh, because grandma’s name was Jean. I never understood what a Homecoming Queen meant, I guess it’d have different connotations now. It was never mentioned, but upstairs lay a terrible secret.