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Even bigger than Daddy.
Evie looked up at the ship as they waited for the cars to start boarding.
"What happens if it sinks, Daddy?"
"It won't sink, pet."
"But what if it does?"
"It won't." Evie sighed and looked back again. There were people moving around, she could see them. Little ants pulling ropes and other official-looking things.
"Why isn't Mummy coming?"
"She can't, pet. She would if she could."
Evie held tight onto Daddy's hand when the tannoy rang out.
"Please make your way back to your cars now. Boarding will begin shortly."
Knives had always fascinated her. Not in a violent way; she didn't want to use the knife on anything more gory than chicken or steak. But the feel of a really good quality knife in her hand, the shine of the metal, the balance, the tang running into the handle - all of these things gave her a curious satisfaction. She spent hours in Debenhams and House of Fraser testing various knife sets. Her favourite, yes she had a favourite knife, was a butcher's knife. The long, wide blade just screamed power and efficiency at her. A paring knife was...
"The day after tomorrow, this will all be over. I will stop being sick, I will no longer be a whale. I will be able to touch my toes again. Heck, I'll be able to see my toes again.
"I'll have a tiny body to care for. I will no longer be a me, but an us. I was an us once, but now I'm a me. But the day after tomorrow, I will be an us again. I will be stop being sick. Did I mention that? Maybe. I will be able to look at food without retching. I...
There had been a time when he could have named all the seas on the moon, and pointed them out. That seemed to be in another life. He curled into a ball as tight as he could go and tried to ignore the pain in his leg and the weakness stealing up his body. He tried to ignore the cold seizing his limbs, and instead recited lists of constellations, dragging them from the pits of his memory. He even managed to get a couple of the moon's names. He uncurled one hand and the claw-like fingers groped blindly for his...
She hated kids' parties. She had had to be blackmailed into taking her niece to this one, and it was only because she couldn't stand Lucy looking at her with such disappointment in her great big eyes that she'd caved. Lucy had the guilt trip thing nailed, even at four years old.
So she'd promised herself a drink afterwards to blot out the horror, strapped on the most unsuitable shoes she could think of for a party, put her make up on and braved the church hall.
It was worse than she'd imagined. What, had they invited 100 little monsters...
Mike had been walking for hours. Flamin' car. He knew he shouldn't have bought that old banger from Rob. The heat was belting down; it must have been at least 25 celsius. 'Hey, that's hot in Newcastle', he could hear himself saying defensively to Rob who always took holidays in Tunisia and Morocco.
The tarmac was beginning to soften and the collar on his shirt was chafing. No way he'd make that interview now. His first chance to get up the ladder in years, he'd been picturing telling Rob for ages, and now he'd blown it. Or, rather, the car...
He was a great runner. Clare ambled along at the back, jogging along, lost in a daydream as usual. He steamed ahead, focused on the finishing line. He had lapped her once already; she had felt the wind pick up, the footsteps thumping on the ground, then he'd passed her in a blur. The other girls were right behind him, wanting to be the first ones to be with him when he finished.
There, he'd finished, she saw. The girls were surrounding him, praising him. One even dared to reach out and push back a stray lock of hair. Clare...
So, give me more details, sweetie. No, not that kind of detail!
Where'd you go? What'd you eat? What'd you wear? Come on, babe, we need more, more, more!
Did he pay? Wait, I need to light up...ok, go. Credit card? Flashy. You're kidding - champagne? On a first date? Seriously flashy.
Ok, so what next? Did he leave a tip? No way, cheapskate! Bet they remember him there anyway.
And where'd he take you? His flat? What, the old "my mother's staying with me so we've got to go to a hotel" line? You're kidding - no-one really says...