The house held secrets; Alex knew this he could feel it in his skin. His grandma told him it was just the cold, to wrap up warm. But he knew. His grandma’s house was old, full of nooks and crannies to explore; it was the large parlour he was interested in though. Atop the mantelpiece lay an ornate ivory box. Alex longed to touch it. He had seen it a couple of times, before the door was shut tight, his grandma blocking his way, ‘Not in there Alex, that’s not for you’.

Still he longed, and soon enough he got his opportunity. His grandma’s friends were round, chatting and drinking tea, dropping biscuit crumbs on the floor. Minds engaged with the business of the village raffle. He glimpsed in on them, ensuring they were occupied and then crept across the hall.

His socks shuffled on the hard tile floor, each step a small victory. A cough and he turned, nerves wrought within him. He didn’t want to get caught, didn’t want to be stopped, took a deep swallow and continued on his way.

Hand on the door knob he slowly turned, and stepped inside. The room was large and light, dust sparkled in the air. He stepped quickly across to the hearth; the box was within his reach. Taking a moment to look at it, he saw it had an unusual shine, no dust settled here. He stretched out his arm, ready to grasp,

‘No Alex’, his grandma called. She was too late, his hand touched the box and he was gone, vanished in an instant joining the other dust particles floating in the room. Existing yet not, coating the house in a carpet of youth.

Life on the open sea

Ebbing waves, lulling to the grave. No water, no food, just the ship and the sea. They had been drifting for days now, the baking sun soon turning to an unforgiving night. The once strong crew was diminished, hit by cannon fire, hunger and disease. Only a few remained, slowly decaying, the wooden structure an encumbering coffin. The lapping waves, a slow beat to death. They closed their eyes and went to sleep.