In July 2015, I was commissioned to write a story for an art project. An exciting anthology on the theme The End. The artist, Nicolas Ruston, painted fifteen The End images. Fifteen authors have written stories for the images. Each author’s own interpretation of their choice painting.

Nicolas Ruston is gifted. I feel fortunate to be part of the project. Fine authors are in the anthology. The book launch and art exhibition is in April 2016.

Mid September I submitted my story. Two weeks later the editor said he liked it. Only edit needed was a title change. I was relieved and glad. The editor suggested a title. His title was story-match right.

It’s a unique project.

Here is the project website…


Morning sat damp on the field. Bigman Boyle sunk kneesore. Breathed his will on sick dirt. Dug his fingers into it. Soil he’d nursed and turned. Olden time tilled by old fathers.

Lord, I beg your might, he said, his hands earthed far.

He rose and watched the hills. Peaks scarfed with mist. He cast a prayer there. From the cottage his wife called. He waved at her. The child beside her waved back. Bone kin on the doorstep.

Come in, she shouted.

They’d raze here, he knew. Black hearters. The bread bellied.

But not today arrive, he asked.

Top 25, December 2012 Fiction Open: Top 25 — Glimmer Train (@glimmertrain)

Black sea mirrored the moon. Liquid will-o’-the-wisp. A slow tide wet the sand. Footprints a step apart.

‘We’re one,’ she said.

‘One us.’

‘Would you die for me?’

‘A million times.’

‘Only a million.’

‘A billion times.’

‘That’s not infinite.’

‘I would forever die for you.’

‘I dreamed this.’

‘Our honeymoon.’

‘Our trust.’

Dawn cast pink on the hill. He carried her. Her breath on his neck. Citrus hair on his face. Her pearl hemline trailing damp.

He inhaled, devoured, kept her.

Hilltop, the cottage shone. Yellow brick. A saffron nest.

‘I’ll make coffee,’ he whispered.

She folded into him. ‘Husband.’


Midmorning she slept. Bedsheet cast on the floor.

He sipped wine at the balcony table. Tasted oyster air. Rain tapped the wind chimes and cooled his bare torso. A foghorn blew, tanker on the horizon, shiny red. Seagulls cried, a pair, pearl in the blue.

Bedside he sat and touched her hand. Knew her safe asleep. He blew out the candle and shut the blinds and lifted the sheet and put it over her and headed to the beach.

Past the sand dunes he hiked a trail. Crunchy pebbles and slate and shell. Along the path he reached a gate. It opened to a churchyard.

A woman walked a lane and knelt and laid flowers against a stone heart. Yellow petals on neat grass. A child grave. She bowed and stroked engraved script.

He watched her from the gateway. Her hair stuck on her cheek. Auburn wet-glint. She looked serene. Pious. A grace.

He sensed he would keep her, see her in his elder time, clean as the now.

Back on the path he wished his wife’s presence and hurried to tell of the pure lady.