My story ‘Here Come The Gulls’ is published over at Spelk today. Hope you enjoy.
She will set fire to the garden, to bring her father back.
It is day sixteen of the heatwave. The lawn is a tinderbox ready to spark. Shrivelled flowerbeds are perfect kindling.
She will tempt him with the smell of scorched grass and dying flowers. He will come to repair the garden, so neglected after his leaving.
When it goes up in flame, it explodes outwards, catching specks on her skin.
Her father does come back, to visit her in hospital, soothing her burns with the promise of never leaving her again.
We spend our days playing in the closet.
In our imagination it is a spaceship, a doorway to other worlds, a portal that can travel through time. In the darkness we act out our fantasies, constructing the characters of our narrative. We play with the treasures that surround us – costumes in boxes, paperwork on shelves, trinkets that remind us of our parents.
We play all day in the closet, waiting for the door to be unlocked once more.
The music almost kills me today.
It is a childhood memory. The song that would play as my father hunted and brought local wildlife to the garage. It would play as I cried for my mother, begging her not to go to work. Terrified of spending time with this hulk of a man.
Today the song comes on the radio again. I can smell that garage. Hear those birds.
My subsequent tears almost cause an accident on the motorway. When I pull over onto the hard shoulder I sit for twenty minutes, thinking about my mother.
He reaches the bridge at midnight, the bolt cutters heavy in his hands. Five hundred padlocks are to be removed, an unpopular decision taken by the council. His instruction is to work in secret, throughout the night and paid at double time.
Many of the padlocks represent young love, a history of the town documented in metal. He instinctively finds his own padlock, now rusting and unfamiliar, a painful memento of a world less cynical.
Using a key from his pocket he snaps the padlock open, and holding it tightly to his chest he begins to climb over the railings.
This story was originally published on The Drabble