They crouched to peer beneath the stairs; a small boy and his even smaller sister.
"What are we looking at, Jack?"
Jack frowned and shushed his sister, pointing conspiratorially at the darkness between the slats of the steps.
They stayed that way for several minutes, scrunched up tight, necks disappearing into shoulders, rocking forwards on their toes.
"There, Arianna, look!"
He pointed towards a patch of darkness that had begun to twist and swirl in very much the way darkness shouldn't. Two yellow eyes blinked and stared back at them.
A voice like poison treacle spoke into the silence.
The first thing I noticed about him was the shapes his mouth made when he spoke. He spoke in a language I didn't understand, but his voice was gentle and flowed over the foreign words like a lullaby.
His hands made shapes, too; complementing the stories he was telling, drawing invisible pictures in the air. Those hands had told a thousand stories, I think, brought alive by the emotion in his eyes.
I held those hands as he told me his final story. I listened with my heart to what my ears could not understand. I let the shapes of...
Th dapper man picked up a penny and turned it over in his fingers, scrutinising it.
"Yes, this is definitely his," he said, after some time.
"How do you know?" his companion prompted, with bemused admiration.
"We know our chap must have had a lucky penny. This one is worn, as if it has been rubbed many times - for luck, you see - but it is still dirty. Our chap is a dockhand; it is grime from his workplace that has become ingrained in the coin. He must have dropped it when he realised he was being pursued."
The bane of my son's existence.
I set the plate down in front of him with a futile hopefulness that today might be the day that he wouldn't wrinkle his nose and recoil as if it were something deeply offensive. But it wasn't. And he did.
"I don't LIKE potatoes," he growled, glowering up at me.
His father frowned and made to reprimand his son's insolence, but I held up a hand to silence him.
"These aren't just any potatoes," I declared with authority, "These potatoes are grown by superheroes."
My four year old looked skeptical, but as he...
They were listening.
That's what my mother always told me when I enquired about the two men sitting on the bench in the park.
Every Tuesday we would find them there, sitting as still as statues, seemingly staring straight ahead. My mother told me that they were blind and that that was why they never seemed to be looking at anything in particular.
She said that they listened so much because they couldn't see; that they took in double as much information through their ears. They were drinking in the sounds of children playing and dogs barking and couples walking...
I held it at arm's length. It had begun to exude a rather offensive smell, but it was not that that had caused me to desire such distance between me and the thing that would undoubtedly change my life.
The thing in question squirmed and grinned as she shoved a fat hand in her gummy mouth.
"You're sure she's mine?" I asked for what was probably the fiftieth time.
"Absolutely sure. The DNA test was entirely conclusive."
The baby gurgled and reached her now slobbery hand towards me. I raised my eyebrows and slowly brought her towards my chest, where...
The audience stared open mouthed at me. The excitement of their shock rippled and fizzed through me as I beamed at them, arms spread wide.
I'd been acting in the same play for what felt like aeons and it had begun to wear on me. Each line felt like a chore and I had said so to a friend of mine over coffee.
"Do something new, then!" he'd said, "Do something exciting!"
I'd pondered this suggestion as I dragged myself into my costume. The most wondeful idea hit me and acted my part better than I ever had before, buzzing...