Stairs to Nowhere


A shoulder brushes against hers, silk slips across her wrist. On the steps, she stops and grabs the rail with both hands. Lavender. The memory slips under her ribcage, clutches at her heart, and twists. It was lavender. 

“Excuse me, err, miss?” A hand on her back. “Are you okay?” 

“I’m fine.”

“Do you need a doctor?”

“Not the kind you’re thinking of.”


“Don’t worry,” she says, standing up straight. “I’ll be fine.” She looks him in the eye until he feels uncomfortable. His eyebrows turn upward. He looks up the stairwell. Little lines of worry form. 

“There’s no need to wait on me.”

He offers a blank look. Not worry. Not at all. Confusion? 

“Who are you looking for?” she asks. 

“Oh, I’m not. I just thought I saw someone I knew, that’s all.”


“From a long time ago.”

“They usually are,” she said. 

He smirks, either in agreement or amusement. 

“You are okay though?” 

“More than,” she says. “Someone’s perfume overwhelmed me, that’s all.” She works to iron herself out, push out the person she’s supposed to be. 

He doesn’t take to it. “Coffee?” That smirk again. 

She clutches her bag tighter, locks her fingers together. At the bottom of the stairs, a silk scarf flutters.



Debs, hi, great to see you here. And uh, Grant, right? Glad I could finally put a face to that name. 

Where are you? 

He moves through the room, his face shifting into the right position for the right person. Shaking hands, firm and not so firm. Kissing cheeks. 

You must be here

Sally! And quieter. Have you heard from the guys upstairs yet? I’m sure it’s just paper work, you know how it is. 

Her eyebrows turn upwards, inwards. He holds her hand as long as is required. 

He stops at the bar, orders a bourbon and water. 

You’re popular tonight, the barman says. 

I guess. 

Please don’t strike up conversation

Waiting on someone? 

Just a face in the crowd. Please stop. 

Uh-huh. The barman places the bourbon down. Pours out a large white. Fresh bottle, a good one too. 

Just the bourbon. 

She’s waiting for you on the balcony. 


He turns, catches a glimpse of red hair. He fumbles for cash. 

Don’t worry sir, I know you’re good for it. 

He places a ten down. For you. He takes both glasses and drifts forward. 

For you



Listen when I tell you this wasn’t personal, that I never intended for you to be involved, let alone get hurt. This is my fault and I take all responsibility. You are blameless. 

I look at her and, no, I look into her. Her eyes, those endless pools of mud. I start falling. I stop myself. I’ve done that a few too many times. That’s how we got here. That’s how I got us here. 

She stares at me, blank, tight lipped. 

I say I’m sorry. 

I’m not sure how to respond to that. 

“You’re a real piece of work.”

She stands up. She leaves. 


Mountain One


​Mountain. Snow, climbing. Faster faster. Keep going keep moving. Alone. See the sky, clear blue, so pale, so thin almost white. Feet slip slide down, survive. Rest, just need to rest. Five minutes maybe. Look out across the valley. Lie back. Closed eyes.



“Come over here,” he says.

“I don’t want to.”

“Why not?” He stands on the firmer, darker sand. The water laps at his feet.

“I just don’t want to.” She shrugs. “My feet will get wet.”

“The water is cool. You’ll like it.”

She trudges over. He takes her sandals and throws them on to the softer sand.

“What are you doing?”

“Take my hands.” He holds his palms open, facing up.

She places hers onto his.

He steps sideways. She follows. Water over feet. Her head flicks back, she laughs.

Screen Test


Face the camera please.

A little to the left. Yes that’s fine.

Turn your head to one side.

Which way?

Whichever way you want.

Okay… Now the other way. Thank you.

First line please.

I hadn’t expected you so soon.

Carry on.

I – I had it all worked out, everything I was going to say, why this can’t go on, why I can’t go on. It’s over, I’m sorry. You know I love you.

And again.

Which part?

The last line.

I love you.

You know…

You know I love you.

Take your time.

I – You know. You know I love you.



Now, they sit in the back room, among the shelves of yellowing books and with the grandfather clock looming. He can’t hear much over the persistent ticking, except for the light tap of afternoon rain on the window.

Her tortoiseshell cat hops up onto the sill, sits, face close to the glass. There’s something he’s watching.

So you went with Archimedes then?

Yes. She clutches at the teacup, sitting upright, staring at the cat.

It’s a little…


It’s very you.

She smiles, looks right through him.

Have you been up to much lately.

Nothing of interest.

And the book?


He nods. Raises an eyebrow. I can leave if you want me to.

No. I mean – stay. Please. I want you here.

He nods again.

The cat licks a paw, stops, lifts its head. They hold their breath. Then it jumps down, darting off between the furniture, its collar offering up a gentle tinkle.

The clock chimes three times.