Fiction

SPECULATIVE FICTION

Birthed

A low guttural cry tore through the cavernous interior of the abandoned Tavern on the Green and the hairs on Sylvie’s bare arms rose. The fire surged in the broken fireplace and a gust of wind rose from nowhere, extinguishing all the candles. She shuddered and tried to ignore the insidious feeling something was trying to get in. Something a drawn bolt and a chair beneath the knob wouldn’t keep out.

“Back off,” Sylvie hissed, picking up the scalpel lying beside her and pointing it in the direction of the ebony-haired Priestess inching closer, trying to see how far the baby had emerged. “I mean it.” Read more

Broken Angel

The faded stain pokes up between my bare toes and I focus on individual threads of the shagpile looking for differences in colour. Beyond my foot the change is obvious, the brown blotch sweeping outward. They say it happened the Christmas I was five, stumbled backward on a toy car and landed on the corner of the coffee table. Head wounds bleed profusely, that’s how it got so big. I don’t remember, and the scar is hidden on the back of my skull. The only thing I remember is waking up Christmas morning to find my mother gone.

“We go through this shit every year, Marcia” Rod says, the anger snapping out between his perfect teeth. I stopped mentally referring to him as ‘Dad’ the year I turned seven, unsure if he’d ever actually deserved the title. For Christmas he’s wearing his good mission-brown Stubbies and a Camel cigarettes singlet. Read more

GENERAL FICTION

24 (with Claire Jansen)

Amber’s breathing moved with the same hypnotic motion of the sea. The sound push-pulled Ben as he teetered on the edge of consciousness. Oh, how he wanted to pitch face first into sleep and lose himself in oblivion for just a few hours. Free from thinking about what Amber had said and everything Helena expected to hear.

A golden fissure glowed in the crack between the curtains and he imagined the dawn stealing in. Seeking him out. Exposing him for what he was.

And he deserved it. Read more

Bondi

I look down at the pile of paper sitting on the kitchen table and the list Claire has prepared. My shoulder starts aching.

“You need all of this?” I’m in utter disbelief at what she’s presented. Claire’s face is earnest and eager. Mine twists into a frown and I try to rotate my shoulder.

I admire my ten year old daughter’s thoroughness and organisation. Claire is Matthew’s daughter, despite the dark curls and amber eyes inherited from me. In the past year I’ve barely been able to scribble a simple shopping list, much less ensure I get everything on it. He should be helping her through this, not me. Read more

Nothing New to Begin

The silence of the car trip followed them inside with the chill of night air. She paused in the doorway then backed away, staring at the queen-sized bed. “I’ll sleep in one of the other rooms.”

A single bed had less lonely space to fill.

“I wasn’t suggesting,” he said, and she forced a smile to stop him finishing the sentence.

“Are you okay?” The car trip haunted her. How the conversation had petered out with the suburbs, becoming polite inquiries about the next CD and the best rest stops once they hit the highway. If she’d known it would be like this, the melancholy clinging to them like the damp sea air, she’d have never suggested it. Read more

What I Left to Forget

Charlotte Mackay thumped a sweaty fist against the steering wheel and swore loud enough for the elderly woman in the nearby Morris Minor to hear. She ignored the raised eyebrows. Mouthing ‘fuck you’ as she turned back to glare at the temperature gauge and cut the engine. Ahead, the traffic jam stretched into the melting horizon.

She wanted to escape. Sit on the veranda with a cold beer pressed against the back of her neck, the bitter taste cooling the inside of her parched mouth. Most of all she wanted to ring Jake—to hell with Grayson’s threat. Read more

MICRO- & FLASH FICTION

Olives

The symbolism was as mashed as my nerve: the table set with a chipped and stained antipasto bowl filled with pimento olives drowning in oily marinade. It looked like you were making an effort. This time I didn’t care.The sweat leached from my back and armpits, sucked at my t-shirt even though it was a cool March afternoon, a pretend taste of sub-tropical autumn before the city melted in a final hurrah to summer. Read more

Poppies Grew Scarlet From Her Tears

Somewhere beneath the rubble her true name lies, the syllables torn from each other and buried in the foundations millennia ago. All attachments to herself severed to step from the shadows of personhood into immortality. To abide forever in a delicious nothingness, freed from pain and disappointment. From longing, grief and uncertainty. Read more

She Would Be Grass

Seven days straight it rained. Walls of water interspersed with the dark heaviness that hung from the sky. The dead lawn became a swamp laced with black lines from the postie’s tyres.

On the eighth day the rain stopped. Light and heat returned. Judith’s husband came downstairs, kissed her cheek, as if their tempest was nothing more than a cloud passing across the sun. Read more

POETRY

Almost

We almost had sex.
Almost broke the lounge
as ‘Blue Velvet’ played to itself on the TV.
The gas radiator filled the room with heat
augmented by our lust.
When you slipped out into the cold night air
your calling card was my body,
almost covered in carpet burn. Read more

Ambrosia

She is warm caramel coating your tongue,
dawn at the end of day,
and hope born of promises.
Cherry blossom confetti,
crushed cotton sheets,
and the expectation of what hides beneath. Read more

Later

Later,
in the first promise of dawn
where powdered hearts
became butterfly wings,
the infinite layers
from which we unravel
shed like onion skin. Read more

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