Alice by John Young

A scorching summer’s day and a blackbird is lying, very still, on a patch of pebbles in the garden, head to one side, beak open, wings stretched out. 

Alice, a three year old girl points at the bird. “Bird dead.” She pauses and then looks quizzically at her mother. “Like daddy?” 

“No, not like daddy,” the mother replies softly, gently stroking her daughter’s blond hair. 

With arms extended Alice tiptoes towards the creature which, startled, takes flight towards a nearby tree, filling the moment with its shrill alarm.  

Wide eyed Alice turns to her mother to share the instant of her joy. “Away! Bird flies,” she cries. 

The mother nods and smiles. Flown away, like daddy, she is thinking.

John Young is an old chap, grappling with themes of limits, longings and finitude. Likes spooky stuff. Lives in St Andrews, Scotland, an ancient town with an ancient university, home of golf, home also – allegedly – of many ghosts. (He has not met any yet.)

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