He ran in the room, his heart pounding, and his clothes soaking wet. A man was sitting across the room in a fat leather chair, the kind you see CEOs with. His back to the sopping boy.
The boy stood panting with his back against the door, his eyes closed and his head tilted at the ceiling. "S-sorry. I ran into some trouble on the way here."
With every drop of water that landed on his carpet the man cringed. He could hear it ruining the material. He took a deep breath, "Please, have a seat."
With complete disregard for...

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He ran into the room, his heart pounding, and his clothes soaking wet. The pool house was quiet, Jessica had left an hour ago to explore the local town with Daniel in tow, and Mother was still outside cackling as his brother danced his best victory dance.
Where to hide? He knew that he couldn't get the furniture wet, his Mother was volatile at the best of time and damp upholstery was a sure fire way to ruin everyone's afternoon.
He walked through into the small conservatory he had helped his father build round back the summer before last, it...

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She had made her bed and she now had to lie in it: that was what her mother had told her and what she now believed. So she was lying in it, like a good little girl – meek and mild, silent and compliant: behaviour that had got her to where she was now – unhappy, stuck, unravelling. Because old habits die hard, you see, and it is difficult to change. How does one forget three decades of learned behaviour? How does one peel off and discard the labels people attach? They don’t, that’s how, because they can’t – not...

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"Do you know how much you're paying to be there?"

Of course she knew, looking at her shoes. They were pretty shoes - very nice ones. She was glad she'd worn them. Something good to look at, a pattern to lose herself in as she tried to drown out the sound of her parents raging at her.

About university, this time, but really it could be anything. Insert subject here, and they would rant.

Lots of spirals on these shoes. Lots of colours, too -

Oh. They were looking at her. Expecting a response.


It seemed to be the...

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She sat with her feet upon the wall. He looked at her, "You seem nervous." She stayed silent. He took out his camera and took a picture. "You know, you look like Dorothy, with those on." She sighed, "When's the last time you've seen the Wizard of Oz?" He looked down. She's never been the same since her parents died. Her father was a firefighter, but he didn't die of a fire. Neither did her mother. They died of a car. A car with one passenger. One intoxicated passenger. He went up to her and whispered, "I know it hurts."...

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Once, in Beijing, a young girl in a red gown huddled in a doorway. Like it had been ever since the Chinese industrial 'revolution', it was smoggy and grey. She stared off into the limited distance, trying to peer beyond all the smog.

"Where's mother?" A voice came from behind her.

"Oh, you know the answer to that, Chang'e," she replied. "Go ask dad. I'm sure that he'll say what he's always said."

"What's that?" she asked.

"You're so forgetful..." the girl mumbled.

"But you are too!" said Chang'e. "I bet you don't even remember what father said to you...

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"I can do this," Jimmy thought as he ran across the field. It was early Sunday morning; the light was pale and there was still dew on the grass. At 5 A.M., Mom had woken up in a cold sweat groaning and swiping at imaginary demons in her bedroom.

"Go get Aunt Jane," Dad had said. Jimmy had never seen his hands shake or heard his voice crack.

After the first mile, a stitch built in Jimmy's side. He was breathing heavy. Another mile ahead was Aunt Jane's tiny cabin. She lived alone and had a garden of herbs. When...

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