December! People start asking you annoying questions about whether you’re ready for Christmas, and also, lists appear.
Here is a list. It’s of things I wrote (or, at least, published) this year, and where you can find them.
“The Last Good Day”, Cossmass Infinities (January 2022) CW: Emotional abuse
As she tramps home, the sky blooms colours. A dust sunset in hothouse reds and pinks, indigo shot through with orange flame. She can’t help but stop and stare, and think that even the apocalypse gives out consolation prizes. A bouquet handed to the aging diva, humanity, as it dodders offstage, voice and memory shot.
This isn’t the end of the world, Dani reminds herself. The stern voice in her head is Haf’s. It just feels like it, enough so that a good day is a rare, startling thing.
“Crane Flies”, Wyldblood Magazine (April 2022)
They scattered the ashes up here, a couple of weeks after the sparsely-attended funeral. Trees wild-armed in the bluster, birds flung like scraps through the air high above, and Pip had to keep angling her body out of the wind to avoid getting a faceful of Auntie Cath. She was blue in the face with swearing by the time they were done, but it felt more final. More the kind of end you’d have imagined for Auntie Cath than the sedate chapel service at the crem, that was for sure. Trust that woman to be a pain in the arse even after her dying day.
“Rose Sickness”, Fusion Fragment (May 2022) CW: Homophobia, non-consensual medical procedures
“What have you heard?” I asked, voice low as I could make it. “Have people been… talking about me?”
Being talked about was a danger Mama had warned me about almost as soon as I could talk. But she and her friends, and their daughters who were designated my friends, talked about people all the time, and those talked about gained a special glamour, an aura of danger and strangeness that set them apart from those doing the talking. Sarah Watson had had an affair with the gardener! Natasha Richards had driven her husband’s car into the swimming-pool, barely escaping with her life before sparking electronics turned the whole thing into a death-trap! They became characters from stories and recognising one of them in the street sent a jolt of adrenaline through me, the way people must feel when they spotted a celebrity.
Perhaps that would explain the way Lena had been looking at me. But she only frowned, as though what I was saying made no sense, and peered more closely at my face. “God, Ang,” she said. “They really messed you up, didn’t they?”
“Hundreds”, Ebb Tides (September 2022) CW: Homophobia, child death
The car lurched, throwing Nia sideways in her seat. A squeal of brakes. Her head bounced off the window and her phone leapt from her hands, landing with a thud somewhere in the footwell.
Laney was breathing hard. Nia touched tentative fingers to her temple, pressing on an incipient bruise. No blood, thankfully. “The fuck just happened?”
Though she looked unhurt, Laney was very still in the driver’s seat. A slight tremor in her fingers as she raised her hand and pointed.
There, at the side of the road. A child’s raincoat, hung over a fencepost by some kindly passer-by, in hope that whoever had lost it would pick it up. Bright sunflower-yellow. The same colour Keeley had been wearing when she vanished.
“A Piece of String”, Gwyllion (October 2022)
When Kel reached the Estate, somebody was already there.
She kept back out of sight, tucked into the clump of bushes around the broken-down hoarding that gave the Estate its name. (TRIAL ESTATE, the remaining part read, in foot-high letters that must once have been a cheerful green. Kel sometimes wondered if this was where they’d brought the thieves and trespassers for sentencing, back before the war.) Motionless among the scratchy branches, Kel watched, the way Mum had taught her when she was small. Never let a stranger see you first. Might be a Tommy. Might just be someone scared and hungry and trying to stay alive, who won’t stop to find out you’re a friendly before they lash out.
Review: The Book of Jem by Carole Hailey, New Welsh Review (subscribers only), January 2022
“Books for Alien Girls: Fiction and Neurodivergence”, New Welsh Review, April 2022
Review: The Burning Bracken by Morgan Davies, New Welsh Review, August 2022