Writing 101, Day Seven: Contrasts

A bit of fiction from me today folks.

Andy stood before the broad window, a parted curtain in each hand, caught in the moment between closing out the night and the storm, and watching in fascination the wild forces on the loose. Trees would be down tonight, she thought. The wind blew across the surface of her children’s rain-wet trampoline in fierce gusts. It looked like the surface of a distant sea. Water smacked angrily against the glass in front of her face. Reluctantly she drew the curtains together, and the warm light of her daughter’s bedroom wrapped snugly around them, shutting out the whipping and heaving world.

Aoife* was just starting to grizzle at Andy’s feet when she turned back into the embrace of the room, bottle of milk clutched in one small fist, looking up at her mother out of a face scrunched in infant concern. Andy gathered her youngest daughter up and sat with her in the rocking chair beside her cot. Aoife’s head immediately found the sweet spot on Andy’s shoulder.

“I’ll rock you to sleep tonight, little monkey,” she said. Third children didn’t usually get rocked to sleep; life was on fast forward. Even now Andy could hear the older children bickering their way up the stairs.

“Quiet, you guys, please!” she called out as they passed Aoife’s door. “I’m putting your sister to bed.”

The squabbling abated for the span of a second, then continued further down the passage. Andy rolled her eyes.

Tonight, with the tempest rampaging outside, sounding as petulant as her children, she felt like slowing down and shutting out conflict and disturbance. Her daughter’s small body was warm and unwriggly against her chest, her blonde head tucked under Andy’s chin. Little puffs of milky breath exhaled against her neck, slowing; both of their breathing slowing as they rocked together.

The world shrank, its borders were four walls lined with shelves on which were baskets and books, quiet objects. The lamp shone down on the sole inhabitants of this universe-room, doing its best to stand in for a sun, but they were oblivious, wrapped in themselves for this moment.


*Pronounced Ee-fa

The Burglar on a Food Raid


The Burglar doing what she does best, burgling.

“Baby on the hunt!” I cried, but too late, she’d got hold of her sister’s unattended breakfast bowl.

the Burglar's food raid

the Burglar’s food raid