At six it was a black mirror capturing and framing the first settled shapes of rising sun, but by seven the reservoir held ten thousand triangles of light that reconfigured themselves across the surface like a shoal of rising herring. There was a light breeze too, and birdsong from the curlews and house martins as they rode the unseen currents of air.
The other day, I had a nightmare. It was Wednesday afternoon and I’d been up since the night before writing a newspaper review of a translated science fiction novel called One Hundred by the Portuguese author Priscila de Araujo Severo. It’s about a detective who has an accident that leaves him with the power to see the future, without the ability to change it.
I have been thinking about shame, or perhaps, guilt. I understand the difference between the two as being that which is public and perhaps, humiliating, and that which is suffered in private. But you might feel differently about this and I can’t see that being a problem. My grandmother, a practising – if somewhat flexible – Catholic had no patience for either emotion.
Ella & Tim have been a couple for 2 years. Ella is thin and Tim knows the stylist. Both work in content and enjoy taking photos of each other’s feet. Every Friday, Ella and Tim invite friends over for dinner. This Friday, Tim has bought the ingredients to make pasta vongole, as instructed by Ella, based on a recipe she found on a friend’s food blog.
He had to get out. That thought came through louder than what he had done last night, louder than the anxiety over another day in the office with a hangover, louder than the uncertainty over whether he had been smart enough to use a condom with the girl that lay next to him. Chop.
The Museum Of Extinct Animals is many things. It is a labyrinth of dusty secrets. It is a fortress of fallen totems from another time. It is a symposium of ghosts. The Museum Of Extinct Animals is a cathedral-sized capsule containing stuffed creatures of rare distinction. Mythical creatures, post-extinction.
The tapir, like all odd-toed ungulates, has an exceptionally large penis. I have seen it with my own eyes. I can never un-see it. I can never erase the weighty mental image, but I can offload it onto others. And I do so often. I tell my friends and my mum and the postman about it.
An empty bottle of 94-point Napa Cabernet sat next to the bed. He had purchased it through a collector. They were not alcoholics, but at a bottle plus per night, she supposed they were falling into that class of lush who wrap self-medication up in exquisite packaging. He thrust on top of her.
In the dream, Charlotte was laying on her right side on the bed, with her arm propping up her head. Wade was flat on his back. White blankets were ruffled between their bodies. Charlotte could feel all her clothes, but it was a dream feeling so she could not tell if she actually had any clothes on. Wade was shirtless. She could see his upper half, stocky and soft.
EXT. PARK – EARLY EVENING A London park in autumn. Ducks float in fountains. Leaves blow in the breeze. A vast white tent is visible through the trees. Inside that tent is an art fair. INT. ART FAIR – EARLY EVENING An evenly lit, and exactly white-walled gallery stand. CONCEPTUAL ARTIST (young man, worried expression) is having a conversation with HOLLYWOOD ACTOR (drug-addled, sex symbol).