His death was both inevitable and, somehow, unexpected. Like the proverbial creaking gate, he hadn’t been well for a long time; his blood pressure high, he was overweight and drank too much; he didn’t take any exercise. And yet one expected him to go on. Even when he was taken into hospital with a heart attack, I expected him to come home. I sent him a text saying, ‘Get well you bugger. I’m fed up with being polite.’ I found that text a few days after the funeral and wondered whether to delete it, whether to remove his number altogether. It seemed silly to keep it in my phone memory and yet somehow disrespectful to remove it, as though I were finally removing him from my own memory. (more…)
Category Archives: Stories
The Priest loomed over Vitalis d’Engayne and thrust the crucifix towards his pale face.
‘Ha! I have you now!’ he said with a note of triumphant righteousness.
Celia cowered in the corner where she had been flung. All her strength had drained from her and she stared in horror as the Priest lifted the stake, preparing to drive it through the heart of the once-noble d’Engayne. This was what she had been striving for for so long – the destruction of the most powerful and ancient vampire – but now the moment had come, she dreaded it.
Clem stared at the computer screen, as she had been doing for most of the day. She just wasn’t sure how to finally finish off her creation. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to. He had been the source of her income for four years now, and her agent thought that vampire novels had a couple more years to run before the reading public finally got fed up of all that pale, brooding menace and barely-concealed eroticism: all the biting and the blood. (more…)
They say everyone has a book in them, and Alice Clarissa d’Averel was afraid that she’d used up her quota with her book on the iconography of the reliquaries of Thomas Becket. She would, she felt, prefer to be the heroine of a romantic novel than to write one, so one morning, about 11.30 when her colleagues were beginning to look at their watches and wonder how soon they could go for lunch, she picked up her capacious handbag from underneath her desk and walked out of the British Museum for the last time.
The familiar smell of old books is the smell of dust; book dust has a peculiar, a particular, smell: slightly damp, organic, but not unpleasant. To those who frequent old libraries and second hand book shops, it is a smell redolent of promise, of information to be disclosed and stories to be told. The smell is even more pungent when associated with manuscripts written on parchment, rather than books printed on paper. But there are dangers: the dust is dust from the pages of the books but also dust from the skin of those who read them. The two dusts mingle. The reader and the book become one and all turn to dust. (more…)