Hannah stood before the king, head bowed, praying: O Lord, hear the petition of your servant. Give me victory in my hour of need.
Glancing sideways, she could see the deliberate erectness of the woman beside her, could smell the new-wine fumes from two feet away. Miriam would have to try to make sure the king would not detect the scent himself. Perhaps there was hope in that.
The king spoke. ‘What is this dispute? Which of you will tell me?’
Miriam jumped in first, and Hannah’s heart leaped. Perhaps if the king detected her drunkenness he might rule against her straight away. ‘Lord King,’ the woman was saying in a wheedling tone, ‘this woman here and me both live in the same house. While she was with
Fat And Lazy Duck
The ducks and swans are feeding well this morning, they take all the bread that I throw to them. Almost all the ducks, anyway. There’s one - that fat, lazy one over to one side, lying on that piece of bank that juts out into the water. He hasn’t moved all the time I’ve been throwing. Doesn’t he want any?
Father was in his chair last night when I got home. Just like always. Just like that duck. Fat. Lazy. ‘Get my supper, girl.’ That was all he said, soon as I got in. ‘Get my supper, girl.’ Not, ‘Hello.’ Not, ‘Have you had a good day at work?’ Not anything but, ‘Get my supper, girl.’
The taxi picks me up from home at half past seven, same as every other year. ‘The Connaught?’ the driver asks. Like every other year, I answer in the affirmative.
On the way he starts to make small talk, which I join in with, ensuring I maintain eye contact in his rear-view mirror. The journey to The Connaught winds through six miles of country lanes - mainly deserted, but with the occasional cottage or two abutting the road. A mile before we reach the village in which the hotel stands, we pass a man-made lake, reachable by driving down a narrow
Two butterflies were dancing in front of Rick’s face as he stepped along the biodome’s carefully-marked path, and he made to brush them away in irritation.
‘Don’t!’ A voice admonished him from behind, and he turned in surprise to see another man stumbling towards him. He took in a heavily-lined wan face, sparse grey hair clipped short in a retroactive style, clothes that might have been passe in the twenty-first century, let alone now, a cane assisting a stiffened leg. His lip curled. An Ancient. A class almost beyond scorn to one such as himself - young, alive, vital. He made to turn away, but the man reached him, and Rick stared into watery eyes, grey as the hair and complexion around them. ‘Don’t ever,’ the other continued before Rick could summon a biting comment, ‘harm the
Harry sat on Blackpool esplanade, looking out over the beach and the sea. The water reflected the lowering sky - grey, bleak, shading to black where the rain drove down over the horizon. He liked it - it matched his mood perfectly. The early-morning November wind whipped in from the west, shafting him through his sleeveless undershirt. He wasn’t going to allow himself to feel the cold, though. It was the only control he could maintain over his body now, and he wasn’t going to relinquish it easily.