and that was that, and right next to her was the picture that reminded her of the bad day, and in the other room, Samuel lay asleep.

I pulled my blanket over mum’s face. It was soft, and she was still, and I tried not to think about anything for a long time.


All the world that the woman knew was dark. She wandered about, drifting to see what was after the next shadow, and the next one, and the next one, and eventually she came to a pond, and around the pond sat a swirling white myst, and around the pond where other vapors like herself, drifting about, looking beyond the shadows, and she had the sense that she was there a long time, but it didn’t feel quite that way, and she seemed to know many stories; stories that seemed strange to her. Myths about strange things, like bright colors and pain, and solid bodies that would bump against rocks and not go through them, and she was afraid of such ideas and half curious if they were true, if there was some place beyond the darkness that she knew, beyond the vapors and the blank eyes of the others, and she walked forward and at the pond was a little girl, sitting in a black dress and a black top hat, swirling her feet in the water, but creating no ripples, and the woman sat next to the girl and dipped her toes in the water and felt nothing. The woman couldn’t be sure, but she thought that she heard some whispers in the distance, muttering the same word, over and over and over again.