Angel, Jamie Derkenne


Lots of people had theories on how to catch those silver perch swimming in the water holes where the Nambucca snaked round Bowraville, but not many people ever seen any theory work.

Ray Glossip freely gave advice to any passing tourist or local, whether asked to or not. He’d swear a small hook with a tiny pinch of mullet was the only way. The time of day was crucial, had to be just before dawn, or just after sunset, and cool but not frosty. Neglected to mention been fishing for years, no luck. Percy Callinan, who caught one about thirty years previous, but had to throw it back because it was too small, reckoned silver perch were slippery bastards related to eels. His head cocked to one side, he’d show you a small, faded photo showing nothing, and opine you had to use a swivelled hook, and you needed a net. Andy Murray from the South Arm reckoned he caught them all the time, no big deal. ‘Just need the right ‘quipment,’’ he’d say, but never said what he had in mind. Also reckoned they weren’t good eating unless made into fish cakes.

Kev Shillingsworth, who was as close as most in town ever got to talking to someone traditional, often got asked questions like, ‘What you fellas do to catch perch in them olden days?’ To which he would reply, mysteriously tapping his nose with his forefinger, ‘We had our ways.’ But if Kev had ever known of the ways, he’d long had most of them whipped out of him, and suspected the ones he did know weren’t so traditional anyway. Once lifting up some lino with Percy, he’d come across some old yellow pages from the Bowraville Guardian, including a small story concerning the court appearance of two long-gone great uncles from the 1930s. The paper said they’d been caught fishing for silver perch near Lane’s Bridge, which wasn’t so much a crime even for them, although there would’ve been people who would have liked to make it one. The crime – fined five pounds each – was they were fishing with dynamite. Which explained why Andy Murray, who was into blowing things up, thought they were an easy catch.

Kev could understand this, because with dynamite, you could catch a lot of fish, and fish was good. ‘He was a fisher of men,’ old Father Finbarr Ewels would say from the pulpit of St Mary’s, pointing his bony finger to those up the back. He would growl about the heathens, because that’s what they were, their faces dark with sin. Women were the worst, sometimes wearing those white Jesus dresses like old mish girls, so poor, Finbarr would get confused bout what decade he was in. Some of them probably started thinking that if they ate a lot of fish then maybe they wouldn’t have to stand in the stalls any more at that Bowraville Theatre. Kev had been a Kinchela boy, so would eat anything so long as it wasn’t hay. He’d have fish on Fridays, and many other days besides.

Kev had taken his son Saucepan, river fishing a couple of times, but on each occasion they had soon given up, preferring to eat the cobra worms hiding in the sunken logs. Tastier, and a lot less hassle than if they had caught a fish, which would have meant building a fire, and scaling and gutting the catch.

Not that Saucepan ever gave up on the idea on catching some of the perch. You could see them glide just below the surface. Mostly small fish, but occasionally one of the big ones would rise up from the depths of the water hole. You could make a proper meal out of one of those, if only you knew how.

Which is how Saucepan stumbled on a secret. It’s not like he invented anything or the like, being Saucepan, it’s just that once, by the river, with his Marley music and earplugs, he built himself a small fire out of some wattle twigs, in the hope of making just the right amount of smoke to keep mozzies away. The wood burnt keenly, so to make a bit more smoke, he grabbed some smartweed and making a small tight bundle, put that on the fire as well. Sat watching the river, nodding his head to the music, not hearing or seeing the pale pink Martins on the other side of the bridge yelling at him. After a while, he put the fire out by throwing the burning sticks and bundle of weed, one by one, into the water. Watched them fizzle as the water soaked up the small yellow flames, got up and started walking back home. Was almost halfway back over the paddock to the road before realising he’d left a Burnin’ cover on the bank. So he walked all the way back, and as he was picking up the cassette cover, looked over the water and saw about twelve small fish on the surface, gulping air, which was doing them no good at all.

Saucepan stood staring for a minute or two, trying to work out what was going on. The fish hadn’t been dying when he’d left the first time. Had someone come along and poisoned them? He waded in and without any difficulty picked up the biggest. It rested limply in his hands. He smelt it; but he couldn’t smell any chemical. He tossed it back into the water. He scooped up some water in his palm and tasted it. River water has its own particular taste, and this didn’t taste any different, just faintly of the ashes from his fire. Shrugging, he picked up his belongings and went home.

It took Saucepan, being Saucepan, nearly a month to work it out. One day Kev was showing him old photos, including one of his Grandma, called Aunty Rose by everyone, the one who was Grandpa Jacko’s wife. The photo was a bit bigger than the small four-by-two jobs, so you could see some of the details of her face. An old woman when the photo was taken, but shy of the camera. Was giggling, and had her left hand over her face to hide a smile. Most of her little finger was missing.

‘How come she got no finger?’

‘In them olden days if you were a girl who wanted some lucky fishing you’d get most of your little finger chopped off. Women’s business. Tradition. Dunno why.’

‘Any good at fishing?’

Kev laughed. ‘Was she any good at fishing? My mum said she was the best. She knew some lingo she’d call out to the fish. She’d call them softly so they would come to the surface just hoping she’d pick them up, and when they floated up within reach, she’d just wade out there and pick up them grateful fish.’ Kev made it sound like his history, but being Kinchela, most of it was history he scraped together long afterwards.

Saucepan got to thinking. Maybe it was the wattle, maybe the smartweed. Maybe he’d accidentally poisoned the fish. One way of finding out.

He got himself back down to Lane’s Bridge early one morning, cool but not frosty, plucked up some smart weed, chucked it in the water, sat down, lit a bong, and waited. Waited a long time, staring at the water, sometimes thinking he could see ripples, though on the kind of Ganja Saucepan was toking, you could end up seeing anything. Saucepan had bought it at the mish, but like almost everyone else, believed it had been grown by those Thumb Creek boys, who, legend had it, would rather shoot than let you stumble across one of the crops. Sat and toked for twenty minutes, waiting, then gave up.

Saucepan was halfway up the bank thinking nothing ever worked, when he heard a loud smack on the water. He paused, thinking should he check it out or not? Finally figured he had nothing to lose, and carefully, being toked up, went back to the river bank.

In the middle of the pond weren’t any silver perch. They had probably figured someone was messing big time with their pond and had gone away. Nope, no silver perch, but the biggest freshwater bass he’d ever seen. A granddaddy of a beast, more than two foot long, lying on its side, and sucking air the same way Angus Noble sucked schooners at the Royal.

Saucepan waded out and picked it up. As soon as it was out of the water, the silvery rainbows of its scales became dull grey. The fish looked at him, its mouth opening and shutting like someone trying to get you to understand what they are saying in a mosh pit.

‘Bless you, bless you,’ the fish seemed to say, over and over, carefully, yet silently articulating each word.

‘Fuck that,’ Saucepan thought, and taking it to the bank, gutted it on the spot.

Now you might think that Saucepan’s dad, Kev, being the closest most in town got to talking to someone traditional, lived down the mish, but he and Saucepan lived on the Macksville Road, several miles past the races. Kev owned a hundred long there, and even had a job working as a lollipop for the Shire road crew. How he scored that caused a lot of scalp scratching. Someone reckoned it was because he had a degree in sociology which some people, Andy Murray included, said just proved learning wasn’t worth a rat’s arse these days if they were learning the likes of Kev Shillingsworth.

So this Saucepan, with a bong hidden in his red, yellow, and green beanie in one hand, and a great big dead bass in the other, found himself walking the long walk back to his house. Was daydreaming as he walked along, a dopey sort of dream, that his dad might be mazed with him catching a whopper with  bare hands and all. Saucepan had an uneasy time with his dad. Saucepan thought Kev was maybe coconut like most of the mish said. Hundred acres, job and all, maybe he was in with the Thumb Creek boys. It did Saucepan’s head in trying to work out his dad. Kev thought Saucepan was growing up to be a waste of space.

So lost was he in his little dream about him and his dad sharing a fish meal, that he jerked in fright when he heard Billy Wells’ voice softly in his ear. Billy Wells was in the habit of unintentionally sneaking up on people along the roadside, so much so that come dusk, or dawn, most drivers kept a sharp look out for roos, stray cattle, and that Billy Wells.

‘You shouldna oughta done that,’ Billy song sang, walking  beside him, his hessian bag slung casually over one shoulder. Saucepan exhaled slowly, relaxing himself, and muttering something bout the weeping Christ.

‘Shouldna oughta done what?’

Billy nodded towards the fish tucked under Saucepan’s arm. Saucepan swapped the fish and the beanie. The fish was getting to be a bit of a burden. It had stiffened up quite a bit in the sun, but seemed like it was made of lead. Was a big fish, after all.

‘That there is an old man fish. Probably thirty years to grow like that. And you come long and caught it. Shouldna oughta.’ As he walked, Billy shifted the sack from shoulder to shoulder. There was something solid in it, like a rock.

Saucepan opened his mouth to say something, that if Mrs Ringland heard, would have had him expelled from school, again, but instead said, ‘Me and my dad we’re gonna eat this fish. This is good eating, this fish, so don’t you go telling me what I can and can’t eat. Free country innit.’

Billy held up his palm in apology, and the two walked some distance in silence. A few bush flies also joined the procession.

‘Jesus this fish. I swear he’s getting heavier,’ Saucepan said. ‘I gotta stop a minute, give the arms a rest.’ Saucepan sat down, and placed the fish carefully on a tussock of grass. Saucepan sat down, rubbing his arms. Billy sat beside him.

Billy looked at the fish thoughtfully. It had quite a few flies on it now, and its river water smell was getting just a little bit stronger.

‘Fish like that, you should eat it right away. You live next door to Jesus and Mary right? That’s a long long way to walk a dead fish.’

Saucepan knew, rightly, Billy wasn’t talking about Father Finbarr’s Jesus, but Mexican Jesus, who was a neighbour to his dad and him, who would never eat fish if there was some muck called frijoles in the offing.

Saucepan looked at the fish and thought. Few banana leaves, a small fire, he could have nice steamed fish in next to no time. And he was hungry. Tokin all the morning does that. But what about having a nice meal with his dad? He could tell his dad all about how he sussed out how Aunty Rose had done it. Would make his dad proud, that.

‘Yeah, okay. Let’s cook the fish. You go get some leaves,’ Saucepan said, standing up, and looking around for some sticks.

Billy grinned so his whole face crinkled, and pushed a lank strand of hair  out of his eyes. ‘You’re boss.’

Saucepan built a small fire, scaled the fish, and carefully wrapped it in several layers of leaves. He put the parcel to one side, waiting for the fire to go down to hot embers.

Saucepan watched Billy as he squatted on the ground, observing the fish on the embers. The old man was still agile, and had no trouble sitting on his haunches. Billy brushed a strand of hair from his face again, and using a stick, poked the embers. Saucepan reasoned maybe the hair was long that way to hide a patch of thinness in the middle of the scalp. As Saucepan watched, he couldn’t help but feel he’d seen a younger, more curly-haired version of Billy, something from an old painting. Not that he’d ever seen an old painting, only the small black and white prints of heavenly consorts, saints and philosophers in Miss Ringland’s well-thumbed History of Art. Well-thumbed not because of any artistic appreciation amongst the class, but because Jesse Owen, who had an eye for such things, found several pictures by some bro called Corbet that were real interesting.

Billy kept staring at the fire and as he was staring idly, reached under his coat and gave his back a good scratch. He half-closed his eyes as he was scratching, like a dog does when scratched behind the ears. Although his hand was hidden under the threadbare coat, it seemed he was concentrating on scratching the space between the shoulder blades. He scratched delicately in the one spot, the sort of scratch that is needed to remove a pimple or small wart. Eventually, his black-nailed hand came out again, holding a small white feather that was decidedly worse for wear, its vanes tangled with grit, and the shaft bent at an odd angle. Billy adjusted his haunches and stared intently at the feather in his hand for a few seconds, before holding it over the embers and dropping it. But instead of falling, the feather soared upward from the heat, see-sawing ever higher. Both Saucepan and Billy watched it disappear gently into the sky, becoming one with the blue.

‘I’ll be damned,’ Billy said.

Soon Saucepan had the fish steaming in the embers. It takes just two or three minutes for a fish to cook that way, and using banana leaves as plates, the two of them made a good meal out of the bass. Saucepan ate in silence, listening to Billy prattle on. Billy was good at prattling on, especially when he had scored a free meal or a free drink. He called it philosophising.

‘Have always liked fish. A noble meal. The kind of meal even Jesus would approve of,’ Billy said, while delicately sucking on the bones. He licked his fingers and wiped then carefully on his jeans. He burped, and lay down on his back, looking at the scuttling clouds.

‘A blessed meal, a blessed meal,’ he said, letting out a fart and started softly humming to himself. After only half a minute, he started snoring.

Saucepan thought for a while that this might be a good time to see what was in Billy’s hessian bag. A lot of people had theories, but no-one had ever gotten to the truth. The sack was in a heap in front of Billy, and definitely had something small in it. He started to stretch his arm over to grab it, but he checked Billy first and stopped, because Billy was sleeping, there was no doubt bout that, but sleeping with one eye open, looking at Saucepan. Saucepan raised a hand and waved it in front of the half closed eye. The pupil sluggishly followed the hand.

Saucepan sighed, grabbed a stick, and sat on his haunches, flicking dirt onto what was left of the fire to put it out. He felt cheated. Having just caught the biggest fish he’d ever seen from the upriver Nambucca, he had nought to show but old Billy Wells’ farting and snoring on the side of the road. Saucepan always thought his luck turned bad in the end. It was like everyone else was living under the Grace of God, but all he had for a guardian angel was the likes of Billy Wells. What was he going to say to the old man about the fish now? ‘I caught a big fish, but Billy ate it.’ He had been so close to making an impression, and now all he had was a story. Two stories, because he had also accidentally discovered Auntie Rose’s secret method of fishing. Maybe he could tell that to Kev, being traditional stuff and all.



Frijoles                                    a traditional Mexican dish of cooked and mashed beans


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When Adam Found God Under the Kitchen Sink, Toby Wools-Cobb

From certain books in the cathedral, came the idea of the boy. The old man walked to and from each of the bookcases that circled the room and withdrew books, flicked through the pages, thought through the words, and then returned them to their place. He then sat at his table, took his pen and began to write.

He placed his character, the boy, somewhere quiet and alone, a place unto himself for the duration of his use – his own bedroom in an apartment complex. The old man then bestowed the bedroom with a bed, a closet, a door and a window arranged into a pleasing manner.

The boy found himself on his knees, beside a pale wall, running a blue crayon along a rippled crack in its surface. Tears ran down his hot cheeks and he hiccupped between sobs. He did not remember why he was crying, or what had happened before entering his bedroom, or what had happened the day before or the day before that, or his name. He suddenly knew he had a mother. And a father. A sister too but only for a moment and then she was gone, as though caught in a riptide and swept away. He cried.

The crayon slid into a hole in the wall and the tip broke. Shavings crumbled to the floor. The hole glowed at his elbow, no bigger than his thumb. Light sunk into it like a puddle in a notch. The boy lay down on his stomach and peeked through. On the other side, he saw a thicket of twigs and thorns like a tiny, fierce forest. A deer stepped into the clearing and began to nibble a berry from an overhanging branch. He watched her soft, elegant legs pace around as she broke off more berries and ate them. His tears dried and he let out a shuddering breath. It startled the deer and she looked up at the hole, watched for a minute, and slowly stepped closer until the boy could only see her hooves and the tawny fur of her legs. She lowered her head down to lap the stream trickling from the hole.

That evening, he drew the scene with crayons – the sky a crumbled blue – and showed his mother, who hugged him to her breast and told him what a wonderful son he was. ‘Thomas,’ she called him. She was a lean woman, her cheek-bones cradling her eyes, the smell of lavender in her skin. His father walked into the kitchen, a letter crunched in his diesel-streaked hands. His mother showed his father the drawing and his father showed her the three day pay notice.


Days passed and the boy watched the little deer eat and rest under an overhanging thorn. To his delight, he had found another world; a crack in the hall that, when peered through, he saw a balcony overlooking a garden of violets, gillyflowers and lavenders circling myrtles. The garden glowed like coral in the moonlight, and a dark-skinned man would appear from behind a reed trellis, dressed as a prince in a turban and silk shirts, leading a sabino horse by the reins. He called out in beautiful Arabic, and a princess came to the balcony, a green satin gown cascading from beneath her floral brocade, flowing between the balusters and down the balcony like mandevilla vines to touch her lover’s fingertips.

The boy’s sister, written into the family at some time, mistook him – clutching his hands around the sides of his eyes and staring into the wall – as though counting for a game of hide-and-seek. She would hide, and later cry because he didn’t play with her anymore, but he could not remember ever having played with her before.

The boy found more and more openings in the walls. A hole in his parent’s bedroom revealed a maiden galleon capsizing into the Baltic Sea, its harbour visible on the horizon. Through a splintering in the kitchen floor the boy watched an eagle soar amidst clouds over a city of white marble far below them. Through a hole under the sink stretched the nave of a cathedral with the pews removed. Bookcases mounted the walls and culminated in the dome of the apse so that the occasional book slipped from the ceiling and fell like a nesting dove that had been struck down. At the far end, in the middle of the sanctuary, an old bedraggled man in a grey gown paced around a desk. He coaxed dust-covered books from shelves at either end of the room, leafed through them for a minute only to return them a moment later, muttering louder each time.

The boy tried speaking to the deer, but scared her away. And his shouts alerted the palace guards who arrested the Arab prince. So when he came to the old man in the cathedral he only whispered, ‘Hello?’

The old man looked up from behind his desk. He frowned and, easing from his chair, walked down the aisle and knelt to the floor so his face was level with the hole.

‘Thomas?’ The old man did not speak to the boy but seemed to look past him. ‘Why do you disturb me?’

‘Why are you under the sink?’

Impatiently the old man said, ‘“Why” is the prelude to “what is” and does not need explaining – why trouble a man who writes with questions of why he writes? Is it not satisfactory enough that which is, is written?’ With a sudden smile the old man claimed, ‘You may as well be Adam and ask why he was created?’

‘I’m under the sink in the kitchen, in my apartment. Apartment number twenty-two. Where are you?’

The old man’s eyes flicked to the boy’s. ‘Apartment you say?’

‘Yes, number twenty-two.’

‘And there’s a hole under the sink?’

‘Yes. But this isn’t the only one, there’s lots. There’s a deer and a bird, and a boat on the water!’

‘Ah!’ The old man’s face wrinkled with a smile. ‘Yes, they would be mine as well.’ He chuckled and with a sly grin he asked, ‘Did you enjoy the deer?’

‘Yes, very much.’

The old man bellowed with laughter. ‘What nonsense! Like an ape commenting on the refinery of the Sistine Chapel! Or a child admiring the remarkable spark in a mother’s womb! Thank you, Thomas, most amusing.’  He returned to his feet with a huff and walked back to his desk.

‘Hello?’ The boy said. ‘Hello? Hello? Hello?’

The old man took a deep breath and exclaimed, ‘Be silent! Be silent!’ He murmured to himself and crumpled a piece of paper in his hands as he approached the hole. ‘Like a rat in the wall with its squeaking – it will squeak! And squeak! And squeak until it is gone for good! Conversation with you is as productive as remembering a dream!’ With that, he plunged the paper into the hole like a plug.


The next day, huddled in front of the heater in the lounge room, the boy sat between his mother’s legs while she combed his hair. It was raining outside, pouring musical notes onto the bitumen. His mother said his name, ‘Adam’. ‘It’s always been your name silly,’ she cooed.

The front door opened and a cold breeze unfurled inside and rippled over the boy’s shoulder before being sucked into the wall’s cracks. He heard his father’s rustic coughing and the curses he threw down the hallway. His mother joined his father in the kitchen and the boy listened as his father talked about the rent, coughing hoarsely between each sentence. He heard a sudden thud as his father collapsed to the floor.

His father kept to his bed with a sickness. His chest sunk into itself and his skin draped over his ribs. His blood-shot eyes rolled in their sockets, abandoned, and his speech became the murmuring of dreams. When the boy asked his mother where his sister was, she gave him a faint smile and said, ‘Maybe someday, when your father gets better.’ During the nights the boy listened to his mother crying in the next room, or the delirium of his father, and crept from his bed. He would fall asleep on the floor, curled beside the hole, to the sound of the deer pawing the earth.

When it seemed the boy’s father would die, he crawled under the sink and pulled the grubby paper from the hole and said, ‘Hello? Help! Please, you must help me!’

‘Hello? Help! Please, you must help me!’

The old man looked up from his chair. He sat to the right side of the nave, in front of a make-shift hearth of plywood. An orange glow was brewing, consuming paperbacks piled together. He tossed in the book was holding and came to the hole.

‘My father is sick! My mother is tired! I don’t know where my sister has gone, and the landlord sent us a letter -’

‘And yet you remain!’ The old man paused. A look of resignation came to his eyes. He turned his face to sanctuary and wailed, ‘What must be done to destroy an idea from the mind? I could destroy the world with a flood – but this Noah, this Manu, this Gilgamesh would survive! Were he bound to a book I could burn him to ash but the smell would forever stain the walls!’

‘Please, I just want my family to be better. I’ll never bother you again!’

The old man caught his breath and he grabbed the wall as though to grab the boy.

‘Yes! A bargain. Adam? I promise you your family will be complete once more. You may do what you like; choose your own path, but I need you do one thing for me in return.’

‘I promise.’

‘I want to never hear you, see you, or dream of you again. I want you expunged from my mind?’

‘Okay, I won’t -’

‘What is the landlord’s name? In charge of your apartment. Does he have a name?’

‘I – I don’t know. He lives in the room downstairs.’

‘Adam,’ the old man eyes darted in worry, ‘you must never open the door to the landlord’s apartment, I never got around to creating him. Do you understand? It’s a hole I never filled.’


‘What mustn’t you do?’

‘Open the apartment downstairs. Apartment number twenty-one.’

The old man’s eyes searched the boy’s. ‘Good.’


The next morning the boy found his father in the kitchen, his chest filling out his work clothes, his eyes bright, and his jaw cleanly shaven. His father kissed his mother on the cheek and left for work. When the boy tried to ask his mother what had happened, and tried to describe his father shackled to his own corroded body, his sister skipped into the room and giggled, ‘Adam’s having dreams again! I heard him talk in his sleep!’ At the sight of his sister, the boy broke down in tears and grabbed hold of her by the shoulders and shook her, screaming into her face that she was not here, she was not here. His mother scolded him and then held him to her breast and hushed him. ‘You’ll grow out of such nightmares sweetie. Don’t you worry.’

Later that day his sister wanted to play hide-and-seek and so the boy ran to the cracked wall with the sinking galleon and stared into the fissure between the flaps of the white wallpaper and saw only the minute grains and splinters ending in a dark, closed line. He ran from room to room, checking every crack and hole in the walls. He took a torch from the kitchen and drove the light through the floorboards. His sister toddled from her room and cried that he wasn’t playing. His mother scolded him but he ran to his room, collapsed to his knees and pressed his eyes to the hole with the deer. She too was gone, along with her forest of thorns.

Days passed, and then weeks, or months, it all seemed the same day to the boy. He would wake up in the morning and find his father in the kitchen, kissing his mother goodbye and leaving for work. His sister would skip into the kitchen and demand a game of hide-and-seek. He played the first few times but then stopped trying. Each day he would wake up in the morning and find his father in the kitchen, kissing his mother goodbye and leaving for work. His sister would skip into the kitchen and demand a game of hide-and-seek. He eventually came to rest his head against the wall but rather than count, he wept.

He tried piercing holes in the walls with pencils, or a nail loosened from a floorboard, or kitchen knives or forks, but when his mother found out she hid anything sharp and had his father repair every hole or crack in the apartment. ‘Lest the landlord make an inspection.’


On the passing of the month, the boy found himself standing on the landing outside apartment twenty-one. He was not sure why he felt he needed to open the door. He only knew he needed to see something unknown to him, something different, and apartment twenty-one had grown the magical allure of any latched chest or arcane door that is forbidden.

Inside the landlord’s apartment was the cathedral, the nave broadening out from the doorway. On the other end of the room, in the sanctuary, steam rose from a white mug beside a stack of crisp blank papers. A breeze brushed past the boy’s legs and sailed across the nave, carried by the ripples in the marble floor. It broke into itself against the leg of the desk and unfurled upwards, plucking the papers one by one into the air like feathers.

The old man appeared through an archway on the left side, wrapped in his gown, his jaw unshaven, towelling his wet hair. When he reached his desk he looked at the papers rising into the apse, then towards the door, resting on Adam’s face for quite some time and then finally watching, in sudden horror, Adam’s feet as he stepped into the room and walked towards him.

The old man was frozen; his eyes wide, unblinking; his mouth agape; his breath trembling; his hand pressed against his thudding heart as the boy stood before him and stretched out his fingers. He touched the old man’s hand.

‘Are you okay?’

In a deathly whisper, the old man announced, ‘It would be no more of a shock to me to learn that I did not father the child that I have loved so dearly,’ and fell to his chair. On seeing his tired eyes, the boy fell to the old man’s lap and began to cry into his gown.


The old man watched as the books trembled from their shelves and the shelves collapsed into a bed of bricks and dissolved mortar. He watched them drift away. He watched the door and nave fade as though he was becoming blind, and watched his desk sink into the brick floor. He watched the last remaining books, suspended amongst the apse, as though spun together, go their separate ways one by one, and then he watched the apse be withdrawn as though by an invisible hand.

He placed his hand on the boy’s head, smiled meekly down at him and said, ‘I am sorry, Thomas, I have been such a fool.’


Download a pdf of When Adam Found God Under the Kitchen Sink, T. Wools-Cobb

Nicki, Vivienne Psaila

I have a black and white photo of Nicki. Not some digital wish wash but the actual thing, one that I can hold in my hands and rip up if I want to. He’s hunched over the kitchen table scribbling into his notepad smoking a cigarette. He didn’t know I was taking the picture. He was lost in whatever he was doing. He’s bare chested so you can see the bits around his collar bone that look hollow because he’s so skinny. He never ate anything because he was constantly smoking. Still, he had a boyish masculinity about him that girls seemed to like. But they all babied him in a way, like they were trying to fix him up or be that special girl that could change him. But I don’t think anybody can change anybody else. I remember this one girl Elyza, bought him skin stuff with mud masks and everything. She got all clinical on him and told him he had to use it three times a day. Nicki’s skin was pretty bad, but whatever. He just used the products as a type of paint and drew portraits of Elyza wearing trannie makeup. We stuck them around our place and called it art. I think I still have one of them somewhere. Whenever Nicki drew self portraits, he drew a little stick figure with a huge head. He could laugh at himself. That’s important. I remember after I took the photo I made him bacon and eggs. I always cooked the cheap home brand bacon because it tasted the saltiest. Once Nicki made me watch a YouTube clip of pigs chewing on their cage bars as these fat farmers ripped piglets off their teats. He told me I had to stop buying it. But I still buy it.

I think the last proper meal I ate with Nicki was at Star City over in Pyrmont. He licked the plate clean. He picked the thing right off the table and held it up to his face so that his nose squashed against the plate. He said, ‘that’s some good tucker.’ We went to see his mum at the pokies after that. That never took long. Especially this last time.

‘Hey Ma,’ he said. I’ve never seen him look at someone’s face the way he did at hers. She didn’t even look at him.

‘Hey Ma.’

‘I’ll give ya twenty bucks to piss off.’ That’s all she said, so we left.

We met about three years ago at a house party in the western suburbs. He was wearing a gold cowboy hat and his hair was long like Kurt Cobain’s. It was cold because people started tearing pages from books to make a fire in the backyard. They were tearing up all kinds of books. They even tore up 1984. It was the penguin cover with Big Brother’s face all patched up in a collage of different coloured paints. I was leaning against the fence getting all hot and not doing anything about it when Nicki turned around to me and said, ‘that’s the kind of thing that could get me to go to war’.

He moved into Glebe with me soon after that. Amidst the chain stores and the plastic glow of the world’s 7/11s. The bloated and gluttonous franchise that is Westfield. The Lansdowne pub with half of its signage broken so it read ‘DOWNE’ in pink neon. We drank coffee and tallied the number of girls flaunting wrist tats, slobbering over tally hoes, rolling their own cigarettes. We flicked through Brag and Drum Media, looking for the boldest band names we could find. ‘Milk Titty’ still takes the cake. We laughed at hipsters that carried ripsticks about like handbags and girls that had obviously spent hours perfecting the ‘homeless-chic’ look. We were there, amidst our instagramming, tweeting, hashtagging i-generation, slopping through all the caffeine and bullshit trying to figure out what it all meant.

Glebe became a real home to Nicki and he worked three jobs to keep it that way. He did his best to cover rent, but I usually paid it. He wasted most of his money on alcohol and cigarettes. I get money off my parents. They own a big house in Edgecliff and go travelling all the time so I never feel guilty about it. I don’t see them much and I guess that probably bothers them. My brother James still lives with them. He doesn’t get out much. He’d fuck his computer if he could.

We used to spend heaps of our nights at the Kings Cross Hotel. It’s right opposite the big red Coca Cola sign on William Street. Every weekend the street was teaming with girls stomping about in their cheap plastic heels. I was always so curious about those girls because I never felt anything like them. Usually we’d drink at our place before we went out. Then Nicki started drinking alone before I was home to join him. For his nineteenth birthday last year, we were supposed to have friends over for drinks at our place. I came home from work around six and there were beer cans and bottles and scratched records all over the floor. Nicki had written ‘Meet you fuckers down on Jubilee Street’ on the wall. He’d blue-tacked my Push the Sky Away vinyl there too, so that it made up one eye of his self-portrait. The face looked demented, like something Francis Bacon would get off on. I wiped the walls with a wet chux and collected all the empty cans before everyone came over. Lucky he’d drawn the whole lot in chalk.

When I met up with him at Kings Cross Hotel, he was sitting alone on the first floor balcony wearing a stupid red party hat. The ones that look like upside down ice cream cones. I stuck my finger up at him as I was crossing the street. He just stared and sort of flicked his wrist at me. I bought a round and sat with him outside.

‘Hey, Happy Birthday fella.’

He raised his party hat to me and took a swig of beer. Three girls with noticeably orange skin came and sat down at the table next to us.

‘Oh my gawd Laura, how much was your skirt?’

‘Like, twenty dollars from Mink Pink.’

‘Actually? Looks literally, so amazing.’

Nicki turned to me blankly. ‘I unenrolled from uni today as a birthday present to myself,’ he said.

‘But you only had one semester to go.’
He shrugged. He was watching a homeless man walking along the street asking people for money. He never wanted to talk about why he dropped out so we never did. I remember the next day there were stacks of old papers by the front door. They were Nicki’s poems and essays. He had been doing an arts degree or something at Sydney uni. I read through some of his stuff. Almost everything he wrote had something to do with a girl. ‘She’ this and ‘she’ that. Some of the poems were pretty nasty and I guess those were directed at his mum. The others I’m not so sure about. He mostly got marked distinctions, if not better.

After he dropped out of university, he went to work with his dad as a mechanic. His dad’s name was Bruce, so we called him Springsteen. Springsteen punched Nicki in the eye when he found out he quit uni with only six months to finish. He had a black eye for a week. All he said about it was, ‘Springsteen’s just in a big old wax right now, that’s all.’ When I asked him what his mum thought he said ‘yeah yeah, enough chit chat,’ and walked off. He suited the look of a mechanic in an innocent kind of way. He would come home all black and greasy and I used to imagine he jumped in a vat of black milk and swam around like a baby all day. He seemed pretty happy around that time. Maybe it was just being around his dad that made him that way, but I liked to think it was because he floated in that tub of black milk and felt weightless for a bit. It probably would have been good for him if he could feel like that some of the time. Maybe that’s why he drank so much. After work with his dad, he taught English as a second language to people in Pitt Street. One time he brought a student called Ashvindar back to our place because we were having a party. We called him Ash. He was quiet. Probably uncomfortable with the wayward air we had about us. Some guy named Stuart was there. He had the Southern Cross tattooed on his forearm. What a knob. No one had ever met him before, he was just someone we knew through a friend. He offered Ash a VB but Ash didn’t want one.

‘What? Australian beer not good enough?’ he said. Ash looked at Nicki because he didn’t know what to say.

‘It’s VB, that’s Victoria Bitter,’ Stuart continued, ‘and I reckon you better love-it or leave-it.’ Then Nicki did something pretty weird and smashed his beer bottle against the table and shoved it at Stuart’s face and told him to get the fuck out. Stuart scrunched up his face at Nicki like he was crazy, but he got out of there pretty quick. I always thought Nicki had an okay temper, but not after that. I made a joke and said, ‘that’s how we do it here in ‘straya.’ Everyone laughed except Nicki. Even Ash laughed. Nicki disappeared into his room and stayed there for the rest of the night. I didn’t want to make a scene so I left him alone. Now I think of it, nobody ever went to see if he was okay. I saw Ash out at the end of the night. After that, Nicki didn’t bring any more of his students home, or anyone at all really.

The next day I had to put baking soda on the carpet stains Nicki made when he smashed the bottle. The carpet was green and always laced with cat fur. ‘We don’t even have any pussies!’ Nicki used to yell and that always got us in a chorus screaming ‘I got the no pussy blues, I got the no pussy blues!’ We’d bang on the walls and roll around thrusting at each other like depraved sex addicts. He never did treat me like much of a girl. Our neighbour owned some cats. He never let them outdoors so whenever I passed by in the hallway, I heard them scratching at the door. Nicki used to coax them into our place with a little butter on the nib of his finger. He liked animals. He told me when his parents were still together they owned a black cat named Roger Waters. He showed me a photo of the day they found it shoved in a pillow case on the road near their house in the western suburbs. They were all crouched over it and kissing it. The photo was probably ten years old and they all had huge smiles on their faces. Nicki had the biggest.

At our place in Glebe, the bathroom door was broken. Lucky my parents never visited me or they would have lost their shit about it. I had to use a case of Tooheys as a doorstop. It worked well enough. Nicki walked in on me once. I was standing side on to the mirror looking at my boobs. I’d put a pencil underneath each of them because a guy told me that was how you tested if they were a good size. Anyway, he walked in and I jumped and the pencils hit the floor. We looked at each other awkwardly for a couple of seconds then Nicki goes ‘people are funny things.’ He lingered at the door like he wanted to say something else, but I told him to get out.

Yesterday I saw Nicki at Coles in the aisle where they sell birthday cards and soft porn magazines. I almost didn’t recognise him. He’d cut his hair off and it was super short at the sides. He had filled out and his pale arms were all bloated and spotty. I followed him for a while, watching from a distance. I haven’t seen him since we had to move out of Glebe. His dad made him move back in with him because he got done for drink driving. When my parents found out, they got all serious on my arse. Like I had something to do with it. I wasn’t even in the car. I tried to visit him but he lived so far away in the suburbs. He stopped coming into the city so I stopped inviting him to come out with us. People just sort of forgot about him I guess. I said hello to him.

‘What’s that for?’ I asked, pointing to the card in his hand. It was a tacky photograph of a blue rose overlaid with the word Mother.


‘How is she?’

‘She’s alright.’
But today my friend Carl told me she was in rehab. I told him I was surprised because Nicki didn’t say anything to me when I spoke to him. I wonder if Springsteen is taking care of her. After we spoke for a bit Nicki said he had to go but he didn’t say why. I don’t even know why he was in the city. I said goodbye and watched him wander off ahead of me. He paled against the clean white light of the grocery aisle like a dying flame, only more delicate. Then he turned down another aisle and was gone. I don’t think I’ll see Nicki again. I just have a feeling about it.

Nicki wrote me something once. I found it in my desk today. It’s mostly rubbish but I kept it anyway. He wrote it while we were having breakfast one morning. Right after I took the black and white photo actually. I was throwing cornflakes and bits of dried eggshell at his head trying to lodge them in his hair.

‘You should wash your hair Nicki,’ I said, ‘you’ve got food in it.’

‘One sec.’

‘Nicki Nicki Nicki! I’ve put some cornflakes in your hair to take for lunch.’

‘Hold up, one sec Frankie.’

‘I packed some for old mate Springsteen too.’

‘A-huh, ‘preciate it.’ He was still trying to write.

‘Hey, do we have to see your mum again tonight after dinner?’

‘Yeah, we do.’


I think that really annoyed him because he stopped and scrunched up whatever he was writing and threw it at my face.

‘I’ve got uni now, I’ll see ya.’

I read it that morning and I read it again after I saw him yesterday. And again today. It reads:

beneath this skin
rests a nightmare
two hundred sleeping hands
all lifeless, bloodless
but one

supine golden
warm as the sun

Then it just stops because he never finished it. I like it. But I still wonder what Nicki meant by all that stuff.

Download a pdf of NICKI

Drift, Elizabeth Laird

The screen door rattled in its frame as Chris’s footsteps ground along the gravel path past the kitchen window.

‘Geez he can disappear quick,’ Angela muttered to the empty bowl and the newspaper, spread like a drop-sheet round her place-mat. She finished her coffee dregs and shuffled the paper into some random order, put the dishes in the sink and headed to the bathroom. Leaning into the mirror, she bared her teeth at the reflection, hastily applied a toothbrush, smear of lip-gloss, dash of mascara and just thirteen minutes after Chris, stepped out into a sullen Monday morning. The hydrangea wet her side as she pushed past the lanky branches poised halfway across the side passage. They had been just waiting to off-load their soaking cargo of drizzle. She sighed. Chris swore that he was going to borrow Mick’s hedge-clippers and open up the path to the front door. Even he said Mr Kurtz would have trouble negotiating the jungle that flourished there.

Having to use the door off the kitchen instead of the one at the front of the house was the problem. The old brick semi was a bit of a basket case in its layout. The room at the front of the house, the one with the front door in it, was going to be The Baby’s Room. That was what Angela and Chris called it when they bought the place five years ago. Instead the room was full – with Chris’s bicycle with the mangled front wheel, Angela’s kayak that needed patching after a rock oyster rendezvous, Chris’s surfboard, unused since his new job at Hamer and Wiley Lawyers devoured his free time, plus numerous boxes of unsorted paperwork and paraphernalia. The door was closed on the junk and the promise of a baby, it seemed.

Angela pulled her coat tighter and tucked her hands under her arms as she ran through the restaurant’s menu in her head. Dodging a dog turd on the footpath, she hoped the tram was on time. Sue would have a fit if she was late to work again. She pulled out her phone to Google ‘Chez’. The tram trundled into view, sparks flashing on the power line in the dingy light. Angela wondered, as she stepped into the commuting scrum, when Chris had become so ungenerous, with his money, his time, his Chris-ness; that package of a man who had looked at her with such hunger. She fumbled in the chaos of her handbag, finding her pass as the tram lurched into a sweeping bend that sent her untethered body careering into a sneering school kid. When had that hunger waned? She shivered as she recalled the press of his hands as they delved her flesh and his mouth’s ravenous explorations; those eyes that searched so deep that the rest of the world could evaporate in that moment. All that seemed like a lifetime ago. Now those eyes averted, were cast down or looked straight through her. When had the indifference become so normal that she hadn’t even noticed it happening?

Where’s the spark?, she thought, releasing a stifled groan hastily transformed into a cough to divert the stare of the woman next to her. She stepped down and faced the thirty-minute uphill walk to the dog shelter. As the tram disappeared over the rise she realised she’d left yet another umbrella, the third in six weeks, on the tram. And then the sky opened.

As her shoes began to make squelching complaints, Angela reflected on this morning’s breakfast. It felt like some blooper outtake from a sitcom, the kind of ‘Special Feature’ that came in the DVD boxed set edition brought out in time to capture the Christmas retail frenzy. The laugh track was missing however. The clichés just felt unnerving. She re-ran the opening scene in her head:

‘What’ll we do Wednesday night?’ she had asked, as she poured the milk over her cereal. She watched, dismayed as it rebounded off an upturned flake and sent a jet onto the table.

‘Why? What’s Wednesday night?’ Standing at the kitchen bench, Chris looked up from studying headlines on his iPad. He flipped the cover closed with a slap and watched Angela mop at the puddle.

‘Our wedding anniversary. Eight years of wedded bliss.’ Her voice pitched up on the final syllable. She flung the cloth at the sink and it gave a squelch as it hit the cupboard door and slid to the floor.

‘Oh yeah. Er, the pub? Wednesday’s two for one deal,’ said Chris. He turned away as he picked up the cloth and rinsed it.

‘Aww,’ Angela squawked. Chris flinched at the childish whinge. ‘Couldn’t we do something besides the pub? What about Mario’s, or Thai Dyed, or that French place up on Newland Street, Chez something-or-other?’

Chris slumped into the dining chair, not made for such a casual pose, with its rigid, high back. He tapped his middle finger on the table like a distracted woodpecker. With his eyes squeezed into slits, he imagined the scene before him filmed from inside a post box. He was a spy, an observer of this life that was surely someone else’s. He suddenly felt the urge to escape. He watched Angela chomp on her cornflakes and released a sigh across the table.

‘Wha?’ she said, displaying the mashed cereal and a dribble of milk.

‘Nothing. You book, I don’t mind. I’ll be late tonight. Catching Mick and Andrew for a beer or six after work,’ Chris said. He grabbed his brief case and pulled open the front door. Angela swallowed and opened her mouth to comment.

His footsteps this morning had echoed like the closing bars of some avant-garde symphony; novel sounds met with enthusiastic applause and total incomprehension by a bewildered audience.

‘I need some kind of Inspector Gadget attachment on my shoulder or head,’ Angela whined to Sue when she finally got to the office with a soaking coat and a forehead curl dispensing a trickle down her face, taking her mascara with it.

‘Excuse me? Inspector Who?’ Sue was stacking the clinic shelves with worming tablets and hadn’t bothered to turn to look at Angela.

‘You know, Inspector Gadget. He has all these helpful gadgets in his hat and coat and stuff. I can’t seem to own an umbrella for more than a week these days.’ Angela was struggling to extricate herself from the clinging coat. Sue pursed her lips as she turned and watched the spray settle over everything like one of the dogs out in the kennels had sent a squall across the room.

‘Maybe I need to build one into my…’ Angela’s voice petered into awkward silence as she noted the frown and the mess. She grabbed the roll of paper towel and swished ineffectually over the floor, bench and cupboards and sidled to her desk.


‘Coming to training Wednesday?’ Andrew asked as he manoeuvered the tray laden with beers and a bowl of chips onto the table. The pub was busy for a Monday night and he pulled his stool in closer to the table to hear Chris’s reply over the din. Chris looked up from his phone screen.

‘Yeah, ah, no. It’s me and Angela’s anniversary. She’s booked that fancy French joint up on Newland Street. Probably cost a fortune.’

‘Man, you’re a tight-arse. She deserves a nice night out for putting up with you for another bloody year.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Chris thrust out his chin.

‘Well, you’re hardly the most romantic bloke I know.’

‘And what’s that supposed to mean?’

‘Nothing. I’ll be back.’ Andrew headed to the toilets and Chris looked at Mick with a what-was-that-about shrug. They both reached for a chip.

‘Mate, I’d rather be at footy training,’ Chris moped as he ran his finger down the condensation on his glass.

‘Geez Chris. Andrew’s right. It’s a night out with your wife, not root canal.’

‘Anniversaries are like that Auntie you only saw once a year at Christmas when you were a kid.’

‘What are you talking about?’ asked Mick.

‘You know, it was all like ‘Ooh, look how much you’ve grown’. The other 364 days is like your parents who see you every day and don’t notice the changes. Then Auntie pops up once a year and sees the two inches you’ve grown painstakingly over the last twelve months and makes out like it happened overnight. Ange and me, we’re just drifting away from each other and then come 25th of July each year, I suddenly see the distance.’

‘What distance? You two are great together.’

‘Who two?’ asked Andrew, returning to the table and picking up his beer.

‘Chris is having a whinge about him and Angela. Reckons Ange is like his Auntie.’

‘I didn’t say that Mick, you idiot. I said anniversaries are like my once-a-year Auntie. Look. Forget it. She drives me nuts though.’

‘Who?’ asked Andrew, ‘your Auntie?’

‘Oh for God’s sake! Angela, Angela drives me crazy. She loses her keys every day. She forgets what night I train. It’s been the same night for the past three years. She eats with her mouth open, the paper looks like it’s been through the shredder by the time she’s finished with it. She sticks these obscure pop culture references into every second thing she says. She’s got more band tee shirts than you can poke a stick at. That stupid job of hers pays peanuts and she’s always bringing home one or other of the dogs for respite, she calls it. What’s the point of an Accounting Degree if you’re going to waste it working for a dog shelter?’ Chris noted how shrill he sounded and for the second time that day, felt the urge to escape.

‘Whoa mate. Calm down.’ Andrew reached over the table and grasped Chris’s shoulder. ‘Ange loves that job. If it weren’t for people like her, there would be no shelter and all those dogs’d be put down. And she loves her music. So what if she wants to wear that on her tee shirt. Chris, what’s going on with you and Angela?’

‘I’m fucked if I know. Eight years, and two before that when we were going out.’ Chris’ voice faltered as he struggled to find some context for a problem he couldn’t clarify.

Mick shuffled the stool round the table so it was closer to Chris’. ‘Yes mate, eight years. Are you telling us that you’re gonna throw all that away? Because she eats with her mouth open and owns too many tee shirts?’

‘I don’t know what I’m saying. I just know that I’m unhappy. But the stupid thing is, I don’t even know it ‘til my bloody anniversary comes round and I realise I have to force myself to do something special for Angela and it feels like some mammoth effort.’

Is that what married couples do? he thought as he pressed his fingers into his forehead. We work, eat, sleep, get up, do it all again. Going through the motions. Once I couldn’t keep my hands off her; now I don’t even see her. We were gonna travel, have kids, fix up the house, I was gonna make partner. Images from a misplaced future bombarded his thoughts.

‘Where’s my bloody Machu Picchu?’ he said out loud. Oh God! he thought. Now I sound like a raving loony. His fringe flopped over one eye. He stared at his friends like a sleepwalker waking mid nightmare.

‘Mick, get us another round mate,’ said Andrew. He downed the dregs in his glass and stacked it onto the five others perched on the tray. ‘I remember that day Chris.’

‘What day?’

‘Your wedding day, you moron. You were both so bloody happy. All those things you are whinging about are all the things you loved about her; her scattiness, her sense of humour, her passion for her work. You’ve changed a bit, just quietly.’ Chris looked up with a chip poised halfway to his mouth. ‘This new job for a start, you’re making a packet but you still complain like you’re a student living off two-minute noodles. You work every minute God sends you and you don’t do anything.’ Andrew brought his hand down on the table and the stack of glasses clinked and shook.

‘Whadya mean? I play footy, I ride my bike.’

‘Mate, you haven’t ridden your bike since you pranged it two years ago and I don’t mean you, I mean you and Angela. She rang Michelle the other week to go to a gig with her. You’re thirty-two years old, you’ve got a great job, plenty of moolah. Can’t you loosen up and live a little?’ Andrew moved the tray onto the empty table next to them to make room for the new glasses.

‘I thought I was having a few beers after work with my mates. I didn’t know I was going to be nominated for Arsehole of the Year.’ Chris finished tearing the coaster into a spiral and chucked it onto the table.

‘I am not calling you an arsehole, you dickhead,’ said Andrew with a grin. Mick returned with the beers and they drank in silence.

Andrew broke the awkward pause. ‘See you at training Mick. Chris, Ange is a great girl. Get your head out of your bum and make it work hey. Enjoy Wednesday night.’ He gave Chris and Mick a gentle thump then strolled towards the door.

‘I better head off too Chris. Big presentation tomorrow. Take it easy mate. You and Angela will be fine. You two are solid.’ Mick followed Andrew onto the street.

Chris tilted his head, closed one eye and watched the bubbles rising through his lager. He didn’t like examining his own life. He knew he was pretty good at dissecting other people’s but his was just fine if he didn’t look too close. He and Angela didn’t fight. They didn’t even argue much. When had he stopped loving her? A continental drift moved them apart. He could hardly see her standing on the far shore, waving, grinning, and spilling her breakfast. The realisation felt like a punch. ‘Now what?’ he muttered.


Angela ran her fingers down the wine glass and grasped the stem. I wonder if I get the habit from Chris, or if he got it off me? she thought as she watched the trail appear through the condensation. The candle flame wavered as she tapped her foot against the table leg and reached for the menu again.

‘No, I’m fine thanks,’ she answered the hovering waiter as she checked her watch for the millionth time. Her phone sat in silence on the napkin she had taken from her lap and placed in front of her. She hit the button and the image of Chris and her grinned out of the screen. Just how she could have missed a call or text when the phone was under her nose was unknown and she felt the welling desperation in the action even as she did it. When half an hour turned to 40 minutes, then 45, she snatched up the phone. ‘Yeah, it’s me. Give me a call so I know you’re ok and how long you’re gonna be. Want me to order you a drink? Anyway, wondering if I should start calling hospitals. Yeah, er, call me.’

‘Shit.’ It came out like a slow leak from a tyre. What if he had forgotten or worse, decided that football training was more important. Angela glanced at the door through the mood lit couples and the gentle chinking of cutlery on plates. There was only a twenty-dollar note in her wallet, a bit extravagant for one glass of Sav Blanc. She couldn’t bring herself to face the waiter so slipped it under the base of the glass and stepped in silence out into the neon strip. The air was cold but she walked anyway. It would give her time to think but her mind numbed to blankness after she had reconsidered the possibilities one more time.

The house was hunkered in darkness as she fumbled in her bag for the key. A shudder passed through her and she opened the door. She swung her handbag onto the bench, her keys jangled to the floor and she turned and flicked on the kitchen lights. She froze and felt her skin burn as fear hit her body.

Then she registered that the figure sitting at the table was Chris. Wearing his new shirt, smelling of aftershave and hair gel, he raised his face from where it rested in his hands and turned to look at her.


Download a pdf of Drift