‘They keep the weeds under control,’ Emile explained when Hannah asked why goats were roaming the graveyard. ‘But don’t they eat the flowers?’ ‘People don’t leave flowers here anymore. No one’s been buried here for a hundred years.’ He stooped to avoid a low branch and waited for Hannah on the other side. ‘People can’t be bother with the long since departed. We only see your kind these days.’ ‘My kind?’ ‘Yeah, history nuts who prefer the dead to the living.’ ‘Oh I don’t-’ ‘Makes a change at least. It’s nice to have a little warmth amongst all this stone.’
The jetty had rotten clean through in places, creating a hopscotch of holes almost impossible to see in the dark. Gritting her teeth, Emile slid one foot in front of the other and eased her weight onto it. At the end of the jetty a light flickered and went off. She paused and steadied her breath. Patience, she reminded herself. She’d waited fifteen years, she could afford fifteen minutes to get across this dock unscathed. She ran a hand across the outline of the pistol inside her jacket. Fifteen minutes, she promised herself. That’s all she needed.
‘You worked things out then?’ she asked, stretched out long and lithe on the blanket beside me. I plucked at the dead leaves beside us. Focusing on their half broken frames. Better them than her. She took another drag and raised an eyebrow. ‘Well?’ ‘Tomorrow,’ I promised, just like I had the last time we were here, naked and damp with the dusk closing in around the empty windows. Teenagers had tagged the insides of the building until all you could see were curses and slanted signatures scrawled across the concrete. I don’t have to look to know she’s frowning.
Lilly had been expecting something more than blue, trellis gates. Beyond them, the compound crept west, the concrete yard broken up by thistles and nettles, bursting out of the cracks and spilling out onto the emptiness. She swallowed and looked at the gates again, imagined something stronger, like steel or iron, tall and spiked. ‘Three, fifteen,’ said the woman beside her. She sucked air through her teeth and tapped at her watch. ‘Your uncle said he would meet us here.’ Lilly nodded and peered past the weeds. She nibbled her lip and then stopped. Remember, she thought. Just be nice.
‘We’ve been waiting for over an hour.’ Sonya scanned the floodlit runway before stepping closer. ‘He’s not coming.’ I saw her lift my hands, her lips warm against my knuckles. ‘We don’t leave without him.’ She frowned at me. My hands went cold again. ‘And what if he’s dead? What if he’s been caught?’ ‘He might be dead,’ I admitted. ‘He won’t have been caught.’ She shook her head and I wondered if she’ll leave like she did in Cairo. ‘We wait.’ She bit the words out. ‘Just like we always bloody do.’ I smiled. Once. ‘For him,’ she growled.
Carrie leant the brush against the counter and checked the room again. Cardboard was stacked neatly in one corner, bubble wrap in a heap next to it and the twelve black bin bags of crap from twenty years neglect were by the door. She sighed and dusted her hands off. Not bad for the first day. The fading sunlight tumbled in through the stain-glass windows as she pattered towards the door. ‘De-consecrated,’ she murmured. ‘Just another word for abandoned.’ She spun and eyed up the old alter, broken and grimy with dirt. She smiled. ‘Not for much longer,’ she said.
Your Grandmother lived in this blocked of flats with no elevator, and when she turned sixty your mum tried to make her move out. She stood there, biscuit tin in hand, holding a photo of your Granddad as if your mum was a demon and he was the bible. ‘This is my home!’ she said, and in the end your mother gave up. We cheered. Back then it was easy to side with the little old lady who told us stories and fed us cake. We didn’t see the grizzly side of getting old. That bit sneaks up on you.
“So tell me what we’re looking at?” asked Amelia, clipboard and pen at the ready as her wife Grace stepped past, black cocktail dress hidden beneath the newly acquired lab coat. Behind them, the night staff of St. Gregory’s clustered around the yellow tape marking off the far corner of the hospital car park. Amelia sighed, they’d been having such a lovely date night. “Well it’s not man-made,” said Grace, crouched down in front of the mess of crystal implanted in the tarmac. “It looks like it grew here.” “Grew?” repeated Amelia. “Yeah,” frowned Grace. “It looks familar, almost like——- “It’s representative, not literal,” shrugged Noah, arms folded, watching the journalists clustered around his newest exhibition. “The idea just came to be, like a bolt of lightening on a clear day,” he smirked. “Or a meteor at three o’clock in the morning,” snorted Poppy, his daughter. Tucked away towards the back of the exhibition she was out of earshot. “I wanted to examine the complex, nature of human life, fractures yet still one whole.” “You’re …
PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Georgia Koch “Your grandfather used to run coal up and down this canal,” said Elizabeth’s grandmother, hands stuffed deep into the pockets of her coat and they squidged through the muddy footpath side by side. “My father was a farmer just over there. One day there was a knock on the door. There he was, covered in soot and wrestling this poor, soaked ewe into submission on the doorstep. Well he looks up at me and says mam, you need to fix your bloody fence. The canal is not a ship dip trough. I dam near asked him to marry me then.” (100 Words)
The letter was marked number 66/41/C/8504 and mixed in with the correspondence of someone else. This was the only reason her name had survived the purging of her family when they sought to scour all trace of her from their history. Wincing at the creak of old paper straining beneath the pull of modern fingers, Anna unfolded the letter. “To my dearest Father, I am sorry…” The rest is faint, the ink is much older than Anna and almost lost to time’s fading. She wonders if whoever wrote it can see someone has found her words and is finally listening. Back in Shrewsbury our archives are right next to the library and for me the two sites share so many similarities that one always makes me think of the other.