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Category: Fiction

Works of fiction, both finished stories as well as experimental pieces.

First Impressions

First Impressions

As soon as Romy and Will entered Clissold Park, she knew she’d made a mistake that she was now, still furiously, clutching. She shouldn’t have put her heart and soul into the gift. It had been a complete error in her brain. The heat, she cursed, it was all on the heat.

*

Romy and Will had been dating for a month now and it was about time she’d meet his closest friends, as he’d so confidently put it. She wasn’t too afraid to meet his friends. He was a tall, mousy haired man – architect – with a charming nose and great comedic timing. A good taste in people was a given, she thought. Even so, impressing them was a different story. It’s always harder to meet someone else’s friends than make your own, right? Romy had ferociously Googled and Facebooked Emily, the birthday girl, to see what she was up against. Not that she felt Emily would be a threat in any way, but some people are laidback and others are not. The woman wore her red hair short, to her shoulders. She hardly smiled in her pictures but still managed to come across as friendly, or at least approachable. Manageable, as far as first impressions went.

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Splinters (fiction)

Splinters (fiction)

We had asked each other. What would you do, we said. When the time comes. Some talked about outrageous things; jumping out of a plane, doing a shot of heroin. Most were taken with this idea of drugs. Then there were the more sensitive ones. Me. Ally. Logan. We wouldn’t do anything other than be with each other, we said. Blankets, pillows, wine.

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Building fires (fiction)

Building fires (fiction)

He scrambled over the fence and fell into the gazebo, face first into the sawdust and ash and spilled wine. They had sat here the night before, the seven of them, contemplating their fate. He did not think there was such a thing as their fate. It hadn’t worked, this plan of Emily to break the spell of silence and share memories of her. They had drunk wine. They had drunk vodka. They had drunk whatever they could find, whatever they could afford. But they had not talked.

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Stage One: Disbelief (fiction)

Stage One: Disbelief (fiction)

Dear Marie,

I could not help but notice that you haven’t responded to my correspondence for at least three days. Worse still, your last letter arrived over a month ago. Don’t think I blame you Marie, no, I have no doubt you have a lot to say to me and your letters must have gotten lost in the mail or you have forgotten to post them. I decided to give you some space and to stop writing you for a while. This morning I saw that you had been online but hadn’t tried to contact me, so I think you are probably busy. Maybe you are decorating your new house.

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A Safe Shadow (Fiction – Short Tales for Frosty Nights)

A Safe Shadow (Fiction – Short Tales for Frosty Nights)

The first time it happened I was up until my nose in blankets, trying to push my lower legs down to the cold end of the bed. It was a daily struggle. I warmed my hands between my thighs and waited for some heat to start spreading. It had not been a very eventful day: outside it was grey, and when it was grey my body refused to do what I wanted it to do. In fact, the whole week had been grey. The afternoon I’d spent trying to sort out addresses for the Christmas cards I would send to friends and family out of sheer forced holiday spirit.
I liked December. Even though I wasn’t the best at decorating the house – my mother would re-hang all the ornaments in the tree after I’d put them up – I enjoyed the warmth of the holidays. Looking at a table full of food made by red-faced aunts and uncles who’d spent ages thinking of the perfect Christmas dinner amused me. It was so bourgeois that it was cute.
Christmas was in two weeks. The festive spirit had somewhat begun to take over the atmosphere, but the sky had decided to still be grey. And take all of the activity out of my body. I clamped my toes together to try to keep them warm. There was a faint tapping on the roof attic: rain had started to fall. Soon, little specks of white appeared on the glass of the window above my head. The first snow. It would probably not last, it wasn’t cold enough yet. Tomorrow I’d have to trudge through the slushy wet remains.
And then, with a loud shove, the other window in my room opened and a dark bundle of limbs and body stumbled into my bedroom. I was too stunned to say anything.

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Philipe (fiction)

Philipe (fiction)

Philipe wanted to make me feel bad about myself. It was a power move. He knew that I was madly in love with him, and even though he did, he kissed a red-haired girl when I was near. Okay, I thought, that’s it, tough luck. He obviously likes this girl more than he likes me. It hurt. I had enough.

Over the summer, Philipe didn’t stop contacting me, seeking me out. I was embarrassed, always giving pure honesty to him, asking for anything in return but receiving nothing. After a while it didn’t bother me so much. It was summer, I was having a good time with my friends: we often hung out at parks or climbed the wooden towers in the forest. We jumped fences and rolled down hills. Philipe was never there. He had never been part of my group of friends. They thought he was nasty.

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Keep control (fiction)

Keep control (fiction)

They were on an airplane from Dublin to Prague. One of them was Olivia, desperately trying to sleep. However short the flight was, about two hours and twenty minutes, she wished someone could knock her out right now so she wouldn’t have to experience any of it. She was on her way to her grandparents, to stay there for a week. It was almost Christmas and she hadn’t seen them in a while, perhaps hadn’t seen them since they moved to Prague? She couldn’t really remember. Her grampa was Czech and always bragging about ‘the most beautiful city in Europe’, so there, now she was on this plane. By herself. Olivia had never been to Prague, heck, she’d never really flown before, except for that time when they went to Canada, but then she had been about five years old so she didn’t recall a lot of.. anything. It didn’t count.

Behind Olivia was a couple in, she guessed, their late twenties, they looked quite hipster. He wore these tortoise purposely old-looking glasses and had a really full beard. The woman had purple streaks in her dark hair and that looked cool. What she didn’t get though was that she was wearing this fifties style dress with, what must be, a corset. Why was this woman behind her wearing a corset on an airplane?! Luckily her grandparents booked her good seats so she could order the free wine. Maybe she’d fall asleep then. The guy behind her was pretty good looking. They looked like a cute couple together. She might just read something in a bit, maybe her eyes would get tired and she would just doze off.

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And Grenn (fiction)

And Grenn (fiction)

It’s the Bowhands, the Bowhands,” Little Quon chants.
“Shut up,” I hiss. It’s the Bowhands, yes, but there’s others out there as well. Animals. Others.
Little Quon makes a face and flexes his bow. A few metres ahead, a squirrel falls down from a tree.
“I couldn’t care less about your hunting skills,” I say, “let’s have the odds in our favour.”
Three men on my left, three on my right. Two crawlers. I am Hunter today, which means that I can call the orders. I’m thinking we’re going for something larger than a squirrel. At least if I want any of the girls to bend for me tonight.
Little Quon gets his squirrel handed to him by Mose, our most skilled crawler. The fact that I hadn’t even seen him until now proves my point. Yesterday Grenn told me he and Mose sometimes held crawl-competitions while hunting. He has to learn so much still.
I touch my bow lightly. The crawlers, Grenn, they don’t have to do much. Just scout ahead and try not to be seen. It’s quite an easy task my brother has there. Sure, there’s room for competitions for him. I’m in the center. I can’t have mishaps. If I’m not in time shooting my prey, they’d probably trample me. You can’t be used as a center if you’re not strong enough.
Mose gives the wolf sign. I’m annoyed. If there’s any wolves here, we won’t see much larger animals. Especially not on the ground. Sometimes we couldn’t spot any running wild and would have to hunt for small animals the entire day, just to make up for it in meat. A squirrel isn’t a trophy. Maybe that’s why Little Quon is still so green.
The bowmen are facing all sides of the forest. We can all feel the ground shaking.
“Crawlers up,” I command. You won’t do any good facing a herd while on the ground.
“To the left,” Wreyn says. Black bear, that one. Ridiculously strong arms.
We look to our left. A doe rams into my shoulder. 

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Stable Boy (fiction)

Stable Boy (fiction)

Three sets of bikinis are stalled out on my bed. Pink with polka dots, blue with ruffles or simple black, but classy?
I decide my breasts look best in the blue bikini and pack it in.
“It’s grand,” Val says. Val is grand. Her body is long and slender but with a firm butt, and she seems to have a tan most of the year. I look at her in her new green bikini and want to crawl back to bed. But no, we’re going to this ‘grand’ pool in Redditch where the water is icy blue and the people are all toned up. I believe this pool was in some sort of top 10 in a magazine, but whether that was a list of Unbelievably Pretty Swimming Pools or a list of Fabulous People I Don’t Ever Want To Meet – Around a Pool, I couldn’t say.
Val’s not even going to wear something over her bikini, she’s just going to be strutting through the city like this, I feel it. She must have chosen me as her swimming buddy as some Thing people can compare her with. Or so she can cheer me on when I’m actually going in the pool, while she’s tanning on the edge. Yes. Needless to say, I feel very excited about this trip.

I shouldn’t whine. Honestly, I’m okay with going to pools. Nothing’s as refreshing as seeing we’re all so.. human. Four hundred bodies together, all sweating from the heat, some sun-burnt, some actually tanned, no one perfect. When we arrive though, I can see this is no average swimming pool. Four perfectly square pools are lined up with a neurotic kind of symmetry. No fun dolphin shaped pools, no, this swimming pool has really made it. The pools are surrounded by an endless field of trimmed grass and harmoniously planted trees and are connected by glass bridges with water streaming inside them.
“It’s so they keep cool,” Val says before I can say something.
“Someone should keep their cool, yes,” I answer.

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Woensdag (droom)

Woensdag (droom)

We lopen over het stukje van het pretpark waar alle eetkraampjes en stalletjes zijn. Mijn vader en ik. Er is een openlucht supermarktje opgezet, alle vormgeving lichtgroen en kalm. Een beetje als een Marks & Spencer’s. Ik zie allebei mijn opa’s met schorten in de kleuren van de supermarkt, de een prijst artikelen en de ander vult vakken. Mijn opa’s zijn allebei overleden.

“Kijk,” zeg ik. Mijn vader en ik weten allebei dat dit een illusie is, dat we dit dromen, dat de beelden die we zien niet echt zijn. Maar het pijnigt hem meer dan mij. Ik ben alleen een beetje bezorgd over de rug van mijn opa die vakken vult.

Dan is het opeens tijd om de trein te pakken naar de uitgang van het park. Helaas zitten mijn mocassins bij de kassa in een kluisje en heb ik geen tijd meer om ze op te halen. Dus loop ik op mijn sokken. De trein stopt te ver van het perron en Maarten en ik lopen over een regenachtig stuk steen langs de trein en een muur terug naar het perron. Daar wacht ik, op mijn natte sokken.