When my third foot grows

When my third foot grows I will call it Bob, or Nelson, or perhaps something good and kind, like Miranda. Maybe then my foot will be safe from getting lost. I was very careless, see, with that second one. I should have treated it better, taken more notice. Then maybe I wouldn’t have a piece of me missing.

I’ve got to be ready. Ready for whatever comes next. Don’t let on to anyone, but I felt the beginnings of something late last night. I was half watching the weatherman promise sun for tomorrow, and half listening to the rain throw arrows at the window, when it happened. Just a tingle at first, a tiny electric wave brushing across my skin. Then much bigger, like hundreds of pins and needles tumbling towards that great lummox of a foot-shaped hole.

I sat up, grabbed hold of the torch I keep by me for emergencies, and pulled my leg up to get a closer look. There, right where my ankle used to be, something knobbly was pushing its way out. Real slow and gentle, like, but there. No mistake about it: my third foot was on its way. I let out an almighty whoop, hopped over the settee and three times round the coffee table. I made enough of a racket to wake the dead. Sure enough, Mrs McDermott screeched from downstairs, punching holes in her ceiling with Hail Marys and a broom handle. I retaliated with a few more rounds of the room and several shuddup you stupid old lady’s.

So you see, it won’t be long now. If a foot’s anything like a bud or a leaf. I’ll be waving my third foot around in no time.

Miranda. Miranda used to laugh and say, ‘If you really love me you’ll love my toes.’ And I did. I do. Every last one of them. Then it happened. Miranda took on enough work for the two of us. She’d come home from the shop, smile – al done in – shoulders hanging, but not a complaint out of her. I’d say, ‘Sit down love, take the the weight off.’ I’d undo her shoes, peel away her socks real carefully, and squeeze away the day from her feet. I was trying to balance things out, see. Somehow. I wanted to look after Miranda.

It’s the toes that I miss. One lot of little piggies in the bed just don’t seem to be enough.

There we go – definite movement from the ankle down. I’ve measured two inches since this morning. There’s all these sticky out bits like branches, pushing up from underneath my skin. These must be the new bones, after which will come the branches of the foot – then, my all-new row of toes.

Stupid bugger. Can’t stop myself from crying. This time tomorrow I will be a whole person again. I won’t go to sleep. I want to be here when Miranda comes.

 

Published in paperpack: Derek & More Micro-Fiction by Leaf Books Ltd 2007

We Love You Antiques Road Show

Dad took us to sea in a bargain car-boot dinghy. Found the beach, no bother. With Dad’s map-reading there wasn’t a hope of getting lost.

‘Here we are then. Rhossili!’ Dad’s words barked from him like a polished sign.

There was a heavy suggestion of clouds. The beach was deserted. Normal people had warmer things to be doing with their January Sundays.

The boat looked like something you’d play with in the bath.

We clung on like limpets. Dad sliced through the waves. The coldness soaked through to our bones. All hope anchored on the Antiques Roadshow – Dad never missed.

 

Published in paperback: Ada and more nano-fiction by Leaf Books Ltd 2009

Henry’s Breakfast is Still Here

My brother Henry’s been missing for twenty-three hours. Gone since yesterday’s breakfast. He is two years younger than me, and I’m seven. Nobody’s moved his bowl off the table, all his coco-pops have disappeared and the milk is brown and murky. Mam was shouting at Dadda. Dadda threw his cup of tea at the wall and it’s still there now, like a big splatt. Like the wall is bleeding. I put my toast in my pocket and ran out the door. Should of taken Henry with me. He was sitting still as an icicle, his face white as a ghost.

 

Published in paperback: Ada and more nano-fiction by Leaf Books Ltd 2009