To Build a Home

(published in White Wall Review, 11/05/19)

Merethe’s not back,” Colton says as he walks into the room.

It’s 10:10pm. At 10:15pm, the automatic lockdown system would start. At 10:17pm, Sarah Hamilton, our long-suffering houseparent, would unwedge a strategic wellie from between the doors and let the lockdown system finish. I throw a coat over my pyjamas, grab my flip flops, and head out into the snow.

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The Day Before

[extract published in Kamena Magazine, 20/04/19]

My brother died on a Saturday. That morning we’d left him and my sister to mind the shop while Mutti took me on her errands. In the summer of 1939 she’d only just started working as a seamstress of sorts. Letting out waistbands, taking in waistbands, changing the neckline of a dress to make it look entirely new – odd jobs that were quick but required an experienced hand to get those neat, parallel stitches. It was all the fault of the church coffee ladies. Mutti had taken over the social club at the start of the year, and the minute those crow-eyed omas got their claws on her embroidered napkins, her fate was sealed.

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The Anatomy of a Home

[published in Bandit Fiction, issue 2, 20/06/2018; republished in Hypertrophic PressWinter 2018]

“Sammy is in the kitchen.”

Sammy pronounces it more like “kit-hen” when he points to the upper right-hand part of the diagram. It’s a common problem, that harsher “-ch” that doesn’t exist in all languages. We’ve done a sheet like this with cutesy drawings of architecturally unsound houses every week for the past month that I’ve been coming to the refugee centre.

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