1974 Alice Barrett was eight the first and only time she met Great Granny Rose. Her mother had spent several weeks convincing her father that it was a good idea to visit. Alice was only half aware of these conversations. While she played on the floor under the dining room table, maybe forgotten, she had picked up snippets of often heated discussions about ‘the old woman’, sometimes ‘the evil witch’ – this was her father speaking. Her mother would hush him and plead again for him to drive them to Devon so that she could see her grandmother before she went. Alice was fascinated and terrified by the thought of the creature who lived in a mystical place called Devon, possibly creating spells in a cauldron.
Beyond the Spare Room Door
George couldn’t remember coming downstairs, but now he was standing in the kitchen doorway, watching his wife, Vera, preparing some kind of stew. He had something important to tell her about the spare room. It took a few moments for him to piece everything together in his head, and when he had he thought he must have got it wrong because it sounded too far-fetched.
The cows were grazing in the field just as Granddad had said. There had been sheep here before – the time Jay had come with his mother, when Gran was dying.
A New Leaf
Jake was five the first time his father hit his mother. He didn’t actually witness the attack; he was sitting on the floor of his bedroom surrounded by multi-coloured bricks and a menagerie of plastic animals. It was a game he called The Animal Kingdom, and all the animals had names and some had special titles like Lord Alligator and King Alfred, who was a lion with a missing leg.
Pain in the Neck
Everything about her was repugnant now, but it was the bloated neck that always unnerved him the most. It had the distorted shape and waxy look of a candle that had burnt to a stunted mess. The impossibly blue and red atlas of veins appeared knotted in places, the bulging intersections pulsating, fit to burst at any moment. But the worst part, the thing that he really fixated on, was the gold, heart-shaped locket that had become lodged in all this grotesque mass.
12 Signs You've Become a Middle-aged Gay!
You may once have been the twink that turned heads on the gay scene, but let’s face it that was decades ago. In your head, you may still be 29, but if any of these ring true, you could have become a middle-aged gay!
Give it a Name
Give it a name, they’d said. If it has a name and a personality you can talk to it, tell it to go away; treat it like an unwelcome visitor.
A memory lingers somewhere that’s warm A time tucked away, but still close at hand If I pause and breathe the scent of cut lawn