‘The A&B Building was made entirely from driftwood,’ she says, patting the wood pile. ‘So it can be done.’
She’s a treasure trove of half-truths and and pseudo-facts. She delivers them with confidence and conviction, though.
Like that building she’s referred to; it had a driftwood facade, but it looked the deal – like her. Nobody cares what I know – I didn’t learn the art of public speaking before civilisation collapsed. Why do they still mistake eloquence for expertise?
Today, though, she injects everybody with the enthusiasm to build shelter with the material at hand.
The faster, the better. The weather is turning, even if she doesn’t believe it.
Shake of the head. Way he looks at her, though – fishy.
He doesn’t like her going out; he doesn’t like her having fun. He likes being in control and when she meets her mates, who knows what they’ll get up to or how late she’ll stay out. Without her keys, she’ll have to come home before he goes to bed and since he’s on the early shift, he’s getting up at stupid o’clock. He hides her keys, he gets to tell her when to be back.
I think of the first time Dad took me to the planetarium. I didn’t understand space or the difference between stars and planets. The mystery added to the attraction, though – I decided that day I’d become an astronaut.
I couldn’t have done it without Dad. When I applied for the astro physics PhD programme and the family consensus was that it might be time I started a family, Dad challenged their outdated notions.
I wish he’d lived to watch the launch; the cancer took him too early, so his ashes are coming to the Moon with me. But not back.
Playground she went to with Jim when they investigated that murder in Alfred Place. Swings, slide, climbing frame – all massive. Kids clustered around the benches, passing a bottle around.
Card them? But I’m a DCI. And they are so big.
Smash goes the bottle. Broken glass everywhere. Hazard for little children – ones her size. Her sister’s always going on about how they should keep teenagers and drunks out of children’s playing areas at night. As if they didn’t have real work to do after dark.
There was a hush. There was a crack. Birds burst into the air, shrieking; water burst the dam, sweeping.
Nobody had told the poor to evacuate. Their kids wondered why no cars sped down the roads but they didn’t care – they’d never seen so much space to play. There was a hush, followed by children’ shrieks and sweeping water.
Given the distance to the disaster, the sunbathers thought themselves safe. Imagine their surprise when they found themselves trapped between ocean and onrushing water. They barely had time to scream and panic before they got swept away. There was a hush.
It is Aunt Becky’s only birthday wish to have a big family dinner that won’t escalate because she’s ‘not long for this world.’
But there are grooves so well-worn that we cannot seem to avoid splitting up into our familiar factions; the squabbling starts before the starters have arrived. No matter what our intentions, these get-togethers always threaten to turn into a blood bath.
‘Enough with the shouting already,’ Aunt Becky roars. ‘D’you want to be remembered like this? Settle down, I wanna take some pictures and I don’t fancy looking at your scowling mugs when I’m on Mars.’