Sunday, 29 January 2012


"OK. Three. Two. One."
Applause washed over the two women seated in comfortable arm chairs on a brightly lit stage.
The applause ebbed away.
"Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Greet with me our next guest, Nadiya Hunter!" said the woman on the left, all radiating smiles.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Here comes Nadiya, hurrying around a corner on almost silent rubber soles. Her light brown hair is billowing behind her as she runs, and she can't help thinking that her mother's mother wouldn't approve. Grandma had wanted her only daughter to have blond children, like herself.
Slightly out of breath she stops in front of a flight of stairs leading to a grand door. She takes two deep breathes, smoothens the short skirt, which had ridden up her thighs, and climbs the stone steps.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Elisabet's hands were being kept warm by her parents, who were on either side of her. The rest of her body was tightly wrapped in warm clothes, with the exception of her face, which was terribly cold.
"Mom, how long do we still have to walk?"
"Not very far, honey," replied Lucy in the inaccurate but reassuring way of parents. In fact, Lucy didn't have a clue, and from the way Dan looked at her over their daughter's head, neither had he.
They had promised Elisabet something special for her seventh birthday, a trip to the new Fantasyland, but now that they were at the given address this didn't look at all like a good idea. The pedestrian’s exit from the parking lot had led to this long, straight road flanked by brown, frozen fields. The parking lot itself had been quite well filled - Elisabet had been very angry that they were so late to arrive - but nobody was visible on the road, nor was an end, like the entrance to the amusement park, in sight.

Friday, 13 January 2012


"And you will behave, won't you? Do nothing I wouldn't do?"
"Of course, Susan. I am your best friend, you know."
Susan sighed and got up. Instantly, the world went black before her eyes and she had to grip the back of her chair for support. Erica and John, Susan's love interest, watched her with concern as she tried to steady herself.
"Are you sure that you'll be all right?" he asked. "We could bring you home."
Susan considered this for a second, but then shook her head. "The night is too young to be wasted. And, anyway, it's just a cold!"
The other two shrugged, not willing to disagree, and watched her sway towards the exit.
"Well then," grinned John without humour, "time to get drunk!"

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Elisabet felt uneasy. The new white thing they had dressed her in was of a strange, scratchy quality, and the room she was in was unfamiliar and huge; only the faces around her she knew. Mother had given her to a Friend, who held her now, with a smile that made her look slightly ill.
There was a man dressed in black, a Stranger, who talked using unfamiliar words and gestures. She recognized her name and something that sounded like “part of the glory of heaven that has strayed down to earth”, but that didn’t make any sense to her. Then there was noise, loud and intrusive, and some kind of strange song sung by a lot of voices. Elisabet guessed that maybe there were some more people around she couldn’t see. They also seemed to speak all together; the sound sent shivers down her spine.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Note: this is a sequel to Five.

After flying for hours without a break, his wings had grown so heavy it felt like he had to beat the air he was supposed to glide through into submission, and it got harder with every flap. Some part of him, the one that was still thinking, had hoped the exercise would free his numb mind, but it didn’t. To the contrary, he was now feeling dizzy of exhaustion as well.
At least he had reached the Himalaya. Instead of heading towards his cave, though, the dragon decided to go on - and up. His lungs seared as he climbed through the clouds, which clung to his body as though they’d never want to let go. Some part of him, the one that felt the agony, wanted to see heaven.
The clouds around him got denser and denser, until he lost all sense of direction. The mountain peak, white with snow, was only visible up close. The last thing he saw was the glitter of frozen snow.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Picture a hill, loosely vegetated with trees. Blades of grass reflect milky moonlight, but there is a patch of denser darkness as well, roughly a square.
On the patch of darkness, perceive movement and noise; the rustling of paper and cloth, the tinkle of glass, a soft giggling. There are voices, too, breaking the silence of the night.
She says: “Oh, Dan, this was such a fantastic idea! A moonlight picnic, how sweet.”
He says: “I’m glad you like it. Champagne?”
She says: “Yes, please,” followed by more giggling and another tink. Then there is silence.