Adam & Iveta

Descant 145 Private Worlds, Public Exigencies

A single mother’s irrevocable love for her son helps her to see the world from his own very unique perspective. Nominated for the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize Anthology.

We make slow progress along the corridor. Adam runs his hand along the wall, his fingers trailing over the occasional bulletin board or glass-encased window display. Once in a while we stop. Adam finds something of interest – a thumbtack wedged tightly into the cork, or a divot in the painted concrete wall where someone pushed a dried up piece of gum. Ewww, yuck, I say, my hand closing over his and moving it over, continuing the slow march. That is, after all, what we are doing. Every Monday for the last two months. Marching down the hall. Thrum, thrum, thrum – I swear I hear the dull, steady sounds of a drum directing my footfalls. Adam’s feet lift and clump down dramatically. We both hear it.

Alice

Prairie Fire Vol. 31, No. 1

An inner city doctor blithely manages heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and the occasional eye-roll inducing injection drug user, until one day he meets Alice and nothing can be the same.

Dr. Henry Nolan hears Alice before he sees her: piercing wails interrupted by staccato curses. He can even hear her breathing, deep and rhythmic between the outbursts. The purple and blue patterned curtain hangs still as he approaches but then it is flung open and a beleaguered nurse exits the cubicle, snapping her gloves off in exasperation. She exchanges a sympathetic glance with him as he parts the curtain with his own gloved hand. “Some morphine, when you get a chance, she’s withdrawing,” she mutters as they pass.

Stalin's Good Friday

Shortfire Press

The children live in a barrack deep in the Siberian forest, where the devil sleeps under the floorboards. It is Easter and cold, but they must still go to school. Only today is not like the other days. Today everything will change… Long-listed for the CBC Canada Writes Short Story Award.

I don’t want to get out of bed but my sister Oksana is up and she is tugging on my arm so I swing my feet onto the floor. Even now that I am nearly ten I try not to let my feet touch the gaps between the floorboards. When I was very young, when we first arrived, my sister told me the devil lived under our barrack. She said that the cold breath coming up through those gaps in the floorboards could only be from dank, monstrous lungs and the creaks were from walking on its scaly back. I didn’t speak much back then for fear of it learning my deepest hopes and feeding on them while I slept.

To purchase this story, or to read a longer free excerpt, please go to Shortfirepress.