The dogs

Forget the sand you knew as a child. Forget the thick, wet sand you pressed into crude castles; or the hot, dry sand you sank your feet into, wriggled your toes under to cause tiny earthquakes, and later tipped out of shoes for days to come. That’s not sand.

This is sand. It has more in common with misting Yorkshire rain than anything solid, the way that without you noticing it settles on you like new skin, and by the time you realise it’s part of you, coating your hands, stinging your eyes, cracking between your teeth.

Continue reading The dogs


Home for Christmas

The change in Rich was noticeable straightaway when they met in the worn, dark bar of the Royal Oak.

“Right then, what’re you drinking, uni boy?”

“Just a jar please.” The word caught, like a chair on a rug. Rich blinked and continued speaking, as though nothing was wrong.

Kieran brought the beers back, fingers splayed and straight to keep all three from slipping. The table rocked on a short leg, spilling foam onto the thin carpet. Later they ordered food: fat, glistening burgers bulging from disintegrating buns, and sides of tough chunky chips.

“What’s the damage?” asked Rich when the waitress brought the bill. Tom gave him a look. Rich tried to pay for them all, but eventually relented, although he insisted on leaving a tip.

They left together, jackets pulled tight against the dark chill of the evening. Rich turned, arms spread wide.

“Same again at Easter, lads?”

Originally written for Ad Hoc Fiction.