Your nails dig deep

Your nails dig deep into my hands
We are scared, but trusting, shiver

All is for the best and all will be well
Sirens call the people

The lights of the aurora fade in the sun
and then a sudden darkness

The stone is pushed with silent force
Dirt, torn fingers, scarring

The light again, the screams, the silence
Nobody breathes. No-one says the word.


“Your head’s full of rocks,” Davy’s mother shouted after him as he hurtled down the track on his bicycle, dust clouding up behind him. She shook her head.

Round the corner, Davy stopped and got off his bike. He walked down the path towards the river, the velvet bag in his hand. When Grandad had given him the bag, Davy had found Grandad’s football and soldier medals inside. But now the medals were safe in Davy’s desk drawer and the river pebbles were in the bag.

“They might be rubbish to her but to me they’re treasure,” he said to himself. He sat on the stony beach and, one by one, took the pebbles out of the bag. He held them in his hand and looked at them one last time. Then, wiping tears from his face with river water, he walked back towards his bicycle, towards home.

Cross the moat

The stone lions on the bridge across the moat stared forward, mouths slightly open, showing pointed teeth and the shadows beyond.

Ay felt eyes on his back, shining from the jungle with anticipation and fear. Pass the lions. Reach the palace. The others will follow. There are no other guards. Cross the moat and you reach salvation, for you, your family, your village.

He stood and began to run. The head of one of the lions began to grind round towards him, dust falling from its flexing muscles. Ay ran and ran and ran. The lion leapt, jaws open.

First published on 13 November 2015