“Just follow me,” George said, “and you’ll know everything about Glastonbury, because I know everything about it. They all call me the king, everyone does, even mum.”
This story deals with subjects that some readers may find upsetting.
I’m willing the old lady to take her seat already so the driver can go. Come on, come on, old girl, just pick a seat, any seat.
“Please take mine,” I say and stand. She smiles a paper-thin smile and eases herself onto the damp fabric. I hold onto a pole as the bus shudders onwards and we’re off again. I take out my phone and replay the message. “Miss Hart, Tabitha is unwell again. Please come and pick her up as soon as possible.”
The way Tabby’s teacher lingers on the word “again” sends a painful throb to my stomach.
After a short rest, when she thought he might fall asleep, Amy reached round to slap her sweaty lump of husband on the back.
“Get off now.”
With a groan, Brad peeled his slick torso from hers, rolled off and collapsed, naked and vulnerable. Their mixed sweat chilled the front of Amy’s torso, but she didn’t have time to shower.
A few nights ago, Jim identified the great, distant sun Naazar in the autumnal sky, and then attempted to sell me tales of its splendor and glory. This had caused an old memory to trip my inner As If Alarm. Some claim my inner As If Alarm underscores the ever-suspicious side of my personality; all things considered, I find it a useful and necessary device.
In my quest to find something interesting to say in Hugh’s absence this week I did a quick Google search for the significance of the number 179.
As you can imagine the results were thrilling.
I can confirm 179 is a prime number – an Eisenstein Prime no less as it is indivisible even by complex Gaussian integers, and Chen Prime because it is 2 less than the next prime number.
She knew from the moment that the notion entered her mind that it was surely a terrible one. The odds were too high that he would fully transform. It seemed these days that the slightest annoyance and the stiff orange hair the color of an emblazoned sun would streak the ridge of his spine and he was all claws and jagged teeth. He bit a boy on the playground last week. A smaller boy who’d done nothing more than deny Wallace the privilege of destroying his small diligent sandcastle. It was like watching a Godzilla movie if Godzilla were an outraged baboon decapitating beach condos with shoddy foundations instead of a giant lizard. And then they had all spent three hours staring at the sterile screaming walls of the ER while both boys were tested for rabies.
“All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God…”
“I was told I should report here. What do you need me to do?”
“Shovels are over there, buckets are behind you. Dig or help carry it away.”
“Each little flower that opens
Each little bird that sings…”
“I’m sorry Mrs Jones but you’ll have to move back. They’re going as fast as they can.”
“I just need to know if Tommy is OK. He is OK isn’t he? He said he was feeling sick this morning but you know what they are like on last day of school…”
“Of course you can talk to him, off you go.”
I watch as Daniel sprints away. Head down. Arms pumping. Balance ready to fail him at any given moment. Adrenaline fires my heart as he skids on a pine cone at pitch-forward-and-split-head distance from the wooden bench. I breathe again as he thrusts his hands forward and climbs laughing onto the seat and gives the old man a hug who, in return, as usual, pats my son’s head and continues to stare at the trees lining the park.
“I got a book from the library today it’s about a dog and Charlie wanted it but I got it first and gave it to my teacher and…”