CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
I wanted to scream or raise my arms to stop her but I was paralyzed. Then the woman had gone and all I could hear was the sound of fabric being torn, which grew louder and multiplied; the shreds of sound poured down on me like rain, filling my head as a migraine does. Then the storm passed and I was naked and cold. I moved to another tree, this one barren and leafless. I began studying its skeleton of branches and twigs and thought I could see them transforming into a picture, a three-dimensional line drawing whose shape, as it took form, began to create a feeling of nausea within me. I watched its form and thought I could recognise its message, but the nausea took over and I had to get out of there. I felt sure the picture was of myself holding a child amid a harmonious family and glowing with happiness, contentment and health, but I could not watch if for long enough to be sure; I cold not stand the discomfort of its formation. I felt my body was about to begin the convulsive actions of vomiting and I had to go. I turned and heard traffic noise, then the sound of seagulls circling overhead and swooping by. I followed them and was then back in childhood.
I was playing on a beach. There were two, indistinct figures sat nearby on deckchairs. Neither of them had voices, it seemed, for they were occasionally making mumbled noises like the barking of beached seals. Their faces, though, I could see clearly. My mother’s and father’s eyes looked out helplessly from the faces of these forms. Occasionally they glanced at us, and less frequently at one another, but mainly they seemed harassed by the fear of falling back down into the formless bodies that surrounded them, as though those very bodies were their graves. Sat around me were my siblings, though again they seemed not to posses a voice. I could stand the silence no longer and ran off to play alone. I felt the sand beneath my feet, first cold, then warm as I ran out into a more sunny area. I slowed to a stroll and felt liberated; I could see no more pictures and as I looked about me, I found I was outside again in the blinding sun. I glanced back at that yellow and green poster and resolved to never again eat chocolate.
As I walked along the street, there was a dim image at the back of my mind, a picture glimpsed from somewhere inside that gallery. It began quickly fading in the dazzling sun until I could no longer see myself misshapen by the burden of indulging in illicit pleasures. And then the image had gone and my mind was clear. I strode on, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face.
He snatched back at the letter but she held onto it. He pulled, then she pulled back, then they both pulled and separated, each holding one tattered half of the letter. The front doorbell rang—as if to mark a brief pause in their contest, allowing them to return to their corners and remuster their weapons. He went to snatch her half back but she pulled her hand away, screwed up the fragment, threw it to the floor and shouted, “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing.”
In response he merely looked at her crumpled half on the floor.
She shook her most emphatic finger at him and shouted, “Don’t think I don’t—that’s all.”
He continued pretending to have not heard her.
Her head started trembling like the lid of a kettle coming to the boil and she shouted, “Just you see what you get for this—just you see.”
She turned away but then changed her mind, turned back and—just to make it clear she had got the better of him—she said, “Huh.” But just in case there should be any doubt about the meaning of this “huh,” she made sure to say it in a tone that would emphasize the fact that she had got the better of him; and what was more, she was also careful to say it in a tone that made it absolutely clear that she knew that he knew this.
She was about to turn away again when she noticed he was now pretending to have not heard her “huh.” So, to make it clear to him that she knew he had heard it, she repeated, “Huh,” but so as not to leave any doubt in his mind, she was also careful to say this second “huh” in a tone that summed up every one of her opinions of him. And now being satisfied he knew exactly what she thought of him, she contentedly put her most emphatic finger back into her tracksuit pocket and went to answer the front door.
Peter looked at the remaining half of the letter in his hand. He placed it on the table and smoothed it out—as if half a letter were no less decipherable than a whole one, so what difference did it make anyway. He put this half to one side, picked up Lily’s letter again and resumed his struggle to decipher it.


Some links to other sites of literary interest.

Project Gutenberg. The first internet archive of free electronic books. There are now over 25,000 books available free at this site.

eBooks@Adelaide. The University of Adelaide Library’s collection of Web books. The collection includes classic works of Literature, Philosophy, Science, and History.

ReadPrint. Online books, free to read. From all the classic authors, though with some authors, only the most well known of their books are yet added. The books are nicely laid out easy to read.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The Web's first edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. The texts are clearly and simply laid out, making them a joy to read. Navigation within each play is also straightforward.

The Literature Network is a vast store of online texts: books, short stories, poems. The full texts are included but the more popular works are peppered with advertising. If you don't mind that, happy reading.

Gaslight is an archive of classic short stories which were originally published as an internet discussion list. Genres include: mystery, adventure and The Weird.

East of the web. A growing collection of classic and newly-written short stories made available on the Web. Stories are organized by theme: fiction, romance, crime, sci-fi & fantasy, humour, horror, hyperfiction, children's, and nonfiction. Includes works by many famous authors.

George Boeree. This site contains many fascinating nonfiction etexts introducing every aspect of psychology. George's writing is clear and straightforward.

The Internet Classics Archive. An archive of works of classical literature in English translations. The works are mostly Greek and Roman, with some Chinese and Persian works.

Online Magazines Current affairs magazine with short stories, essays and poetry. See the archive of short stories.

Narrative Magazine. Fiction, poetry, short short stories, nonfiction, features. Good quality writing. You can subscribe to the site free of charge, which will allow you to read the full text of the stories.

The Oldie. This magazine was created by a previous editor of Private Eye, as: an antidote to youth culture but, more importantly, a magazine with emphasis on good writing, humour and quality illustration.

Zoetrope All-Story. A short story magazine. You can read samples from many of the stories online, but will need to purchase a subscription to read the full text.

3:AM Magazine. Containing fiction, nonfiction, interviews, poetry, opinions.


How to Write a Story is a blog consisting of articles on how to write. Today's news stories from around the world. And other similar reference material.