When Olivia woke up and found she had metamorphosed into a giant cockroach, her first feeling was one of relief. Now, finally and unequivocally, she would not be able to go to work. She lay there on her back waving her new limbs in the air. Olivia’s bed was in the spare room. When theyContinue reading “Metamorph”


Eva had a gift; had had it, in fact, since she was born. No, before she was born. When she was a baby in the womb, visible only in the form of an occasional footprint on the drum of her mother’s belly, she could already call the elements to her. Sigrid, her long-suffering mother, feltContinue reading “Gift”

Seeing someone

A few months after my brother Adam dies, I book myself in to see a counsellor. It seems like the sensible and responsible thing to do, if only to reassure everyone who suggests, with a slight sense of panic, that I See Someone. It turns out to be a mistake, though. What can I say?Continue reading “Seeing someone”

Something more

Akiko chewed her pencil, then her nails and then, finally, the end of her ponytail. She had never asked a boy out before. But he was perfect. Had anyone ever been so perfect? She doodled another heart in the corner of her exercise book. Akira. Akira and Akiko. Akiko and Akira. Perfect. They were madeContinue reading “Something more”


Day is dawning. Early runners are out already, jogging along the bike track in grey light. The trees in the park are brightening slowly from the tops of their canopies down to the shadowy branches below. The playground is still, waiting. Nobody is there to see a figure slip furtively through the safety gate withContinue reading “Park”


My ex-husband wasn’t stupid when I married him, but he became so through dogged determination and years of practice. I have no idea why he chose such a project, unless it was because he knew he could succeed. He was always in a hurry to get to the end of a problem. Why do peopleContinue reading “Haunted”


We all lived close to each other, in the community. There were no predators in paradise but we were alert, nonetheless. We found our way with sounds and clicks, with shapes that loomed when they came close to us, dark grey on light grey and grey on black. We knotted long ropes to tell ourContinue reading “Normal”


Let’s start with once upon a time. Once. Once upon a time, once upon an island, once upon the shining sea. Once under a silver-grey sky, once there lived a child and once that child was me. I lived on a hill crowned with an abbey so large that the rest of the town gatheredContinue reading “Once”

Where the bee sucks

The owl hovered high up, its brown wings stretched wide as if to gather all the air towards it. Susanna knew it would have a white mask for a face and darting, hungry eyes but all she could see from this angle was the sun flickering and flashing between the feathers as it turned. SheContinue reading “Where the bee sucks”

Snow Queen

Long ago before the Thaw, when I was just a cub and the Queen ruled at Cair Paravel, and all was right with the world, I met Her Majesty. Narnia was so beautiful then. The snow was crisp and deep and lay in soft drifts so that you could walk and tumble for miles andContinue reading “Snow Queen”


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