A mountain to climb

They were four days from base camp. Two from the summit.

“Come on!” called Jonty. The group groaned and shuffled, testing their legs.

Rhonda rubbed her feet one last time and pulled her boots on. Blisters would be irrelevant when she looked out from Kilimanjaro, peace finally in her life.

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A moth to a flame

5,240 words – approx. 18 minutes

Harry Dent waited until he was in the doorway of the ground floor of Bellway House before taking his coat from where it had been draped heavily over his arm, and swinging it onto his shoulders in a single, practiced movement. Although the weather outside was furious, the third-floor flat he shared with Caroline was hemmed in on all sides, and so rarely got cold. While he imagined the other occupants of B-way, as they had taken to calling it, to be shivering in their kitchens’ morning chill, the warmth stayed with him until he reached the front door. There were only one such flat on each floor of the block, and Harry was proud of his foresight in having chosen one of them. After two years it was no longer an active pride, but something deeper that pulsed through him, heavy and warm.

The door of the block was solid and old, and Harry had to strain to open it – an effort not helped by the force of the wind pushing in the opposite direction. No-one else came to the door as he struggled, but eventually, by wedging his foot against its lower edge and pivoting his body out of the small gap he created, he was out, and could start his morning walk to work.

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All fires are distant

1,647 words – approx. 6 minutes

“I prefer natural disasters,” says Eric, without looking up. He’s been saying things like this a lot lately, strange sentences that aren’t what a divorced 42-year-old accountant should say.

“It does seem like one of those days where all the news is about bombings,” I reply, neither agreeing nor disagreeing. The words grate in my mouth like rocks: this was not an appropriate response. It’s rejecting a handshake with a hug, answering “Fuck you” to “Hello”. I’ve no idea whether there are other days when it feels like all the news is about bombing. Is that really a class of day? It doesn’t matter. It’s something to say.

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