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Short Stories 

Husbands and Wives 

Funny how the mind can play tricks. Time, light and space converging in one to disorientate and undermine what you think you know. But why today? And why in this place? They’d never been here together. She’d never even been here on her own.  She’d been in the final room when she’d become aware of the time and realised she was taking much longer than she’d said she would.

Peter wasn’t interested in historic houses. He said they were never really authentic because the carpets and furnishings, and even the wall hangings, were reproductions brought in to make them look like they might have looked hundreds of years ago when people actually lived in them. She didn’t think that mattered. She enjoyed imagining what life would have been like for those people, putting herself in their shoes, as it were. Even better when she could put herself in their minds.

Last Rites

It’s only a short flight from Dublin to London. He is sitting squashed into the window seat waiting to take-off and wishing he’d booked the aisle where he could stretch out a bit more. Or even better, a front seat with plenty of leg room up beside the galley. He is wearing his dog collar and his black anorak that he can zip up if he has reason to fear that the collar is drawing hostile attention. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be away. He packed a clean shirt and a couple of pairs of underpants into his ancient briefcase this morning, along with a few other essentials. If he needs anything else he can buy it over there.

He watches the other passengers shoving on board. Businessmen in suits. Suited women. All with laptop bags slung over their shoulders. Young fellas in jeans and trainers. Girls all dolled up and caked in make-up, ripped trousers spoiling the look of them. Older couples heading off on a break – an anniversary maybe. Him going to his dying brother, Tom, whom he hasn’t seen or spoken to in forty-one years.

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