The night was sweltering, despite all the jingles. Snow was a laughable concept for this part of the globe. A white Christmas even more so. Handcrafted snowflakes in windows were a poor substitute, but this festive season brought out a desperation like no other. Harry made himself comfortable on the roof, keeping his swinging legs from hitting the gutter. It was imperative that his hiding spot wasn’t compromised, for his opponent had been in the game long enough to prove a worthy challenge.30 November 2018
These three stories are the winning entries from the gothic-themed micro-story competition associated with the exhibition Dark Imaginings: Gothic Tales of Wonder curated by Special Collections in the Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library. The challenge was to use 300 words (or less) to tell a gothic story. While the exhibition focused on the gothic from c 1750 to 1900, the competition was open to free interpretation of the word “gothic”.16 November 2018
She was on her knees by a depressive begonia.
“They’re not getting any air in here,” she said when she saw me. “It’s gotten to the point where I have to go around breathing on them, multiple times a day.”
I unloaded the box on the kitchen counter.
I scoop the complaining cat into my arms and cradle it like a baby. Oliver stands outside the kitchen door, throwing the mince meat balls out onto the lawn. One magpie appears, then two, three, swooping in on the easy breakfast. More magpies swoop from the sky until the lawn is dotted with them. Oliver throws the last ball and comes inside.
I called her every Saturday morning, though, and played ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush into the phone. I wouldn’t say anything, just play the song as soon as she answered and then hang up when it finished. I never did explain why and I think she hated it, but it became such a habit that she just answered every week without fail.
You can remember when he used to sit there amongst the eucalyptus trees and the brown dirt. Coffee in that old white mug, words of some society or organisation faded from the ceramics and from your memory too. The air of your backyard entering his lungs becoming his heartbeat, slow and steady and sure.
He thought of his wicked tutor Dan, those evil ticket inspectors, those bothersome essays. Such a cold and uncaring world. But then he paused. He stopped and he thought. How he wished he could leave, pursued by no care. But he did care. He now cared for this world. He thought of Chloe, his friendship, the laughter and joy. He thought of Professor David and the comedy show he performed. Such warmth and love this world did possess. ‘Twas a mingled yarn, with good and ill together.
At night, the streets—unlike any other city—are empty, but the repurposed Victorian gas-lights remain lit. They project onto the neo-classical architecture, the statues of Oxford circus, the garrets made of red brick, exaggerated angles/boundaries of shadow like the cabinet of Dr Caligari, or the fingers in F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, edging around the columns and overly decorated facades like vines.11 September 2018