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In Fifty Words

After the Ball

The white rat snapped awake. The laboratory was dim and silent, yet something had disturbed him profoundly. Near his cage lay a strange pile; discarded clothing: a scarlet jacket, satin breeches, a cocked hat. He selected a food pellet, began to nibble nervously.

Far away, a clock finished striking twelve.

Journey's End

She was strolling happily, enjoying the morning, when she met a stranger. There was nothing overtly objectionable about him, yet she felt uneasy.

After their ways had parted, she hurried, relaxing only when she arrived at the house and knocked.

“Lift up the latch,” called a voice, “and come in”.


She was sitting in stinking wetness. Hunger clawed at her belly. She crawled toward the bars, sobbing incoherently.

In the corner, a blur against the lighter darkness, sat the bear, unmoving.

She clutched the bars, hauling herself slowly upright. She screamed.

In the big bed, her parents slept on, undisturbed.


When they'd been on the road for a week, she went into labour. Joe pulled into a motel.

“Sorry,” said the manager. “All the rooms are taken. I can only offer you a couple of stretchers in the garage. You'll have to bed down the baby in a packing case.”

In the Beginning

Using clay, the children made hills, valleys, rivers and oceans. They made plants and funny animals.

“Let's make some people,” said Elly. “They can be just like us.”

But the people, being tall, began to bend and crack.

“Let's hose them away,” said Josh. “We'll save the good ones, though.”

Note Found on a Kitchen Table

Dear Mum,
I've been watching the sea from my window. The fleet looks magnificent. I just have to go down to the beach so that I can see it properly. Don't worry that anything terrible will happen to me. I'll be perfectly safe, because Dad's coming with me.





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