(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.
(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.