The Bandwagon is thrilled to participate in the Nothing Is As It Was blog tour. The Climate-Fiction Charity Anthology is published by Retreat West on 3 May and proceeds will go to charity.
- Cath Barton – winner of the New Welsh Writing Awards AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella 2017: https://cathbarton.com/about/
- Rose McGinty – author of Electric Souk: https://www.retreatwest.co.uk/indie-debuts-electric-souk/
- Susmita Bhattacharya – author of The Normal State of Mind
- Weibo Grobler – twice shortlisted for his Flash Fiction and Poetry for the Fish Publishing Prize he has also had various stories published in Molotov Lit, National Flash Fiction Day, Reflex Fiction, Horror Scribes and more.
Read below for an extract of Mirror Image by Anna Orridge.
Aaron swings his legs over the counter.
“I look a fucking mess,” I tell him, pointing at the mirror. He shrugs. A pantomime shrug, almost worthy of a mime artist. When I first met him, one of the first things I noticed was the verve of his gestures. Leaps of joy ending in legs akimbo. Eyebrows undulating in astonishment. Lips chewed shamelessly raw. Slowly, all those gesticulations had been peeled away until only that shoulder-to-ear shrug remained. The last twitch in the corpse of his vibrancy.
“SPLASH!” Dougie yells behind us.
We both whip our heads round in time to see our son throw himself into the ball pit behind us. The soft play centre explodes in bubbling cacophony.
“We have no idea what’s in that pool…” Aaron mutters.
That was exactly what people used to say about soft play centres, when they were still in operation. Of course, they meant guilty wees and merrily smeared snot, the happy multiplication of bacteria.
That’s not what Aaron’s thinking of.
We came across a park recently. Most of the equipment was wrecked, the metal and timber torn out. But, remarkably, one of the swings remained. Dougie was about to hop on when Aaron checked and found a line of razor blades embedded in the side of the seat, just where a child would put their hands or calves.
I suppose there’s always been a random dusting of malice in human life. But now it’s blanket rage. A rage at empty bellies, lost homes, loved ones dead of diseases we had once decisively beaten. It has nowhere to go, so it makes its way to swings in parks…perhaps abandoned soft play centres too.