London Walk by Kit Samuels

‘We sit quietly, holding hands, listening to the early morning city sounds. The murmur of the distant traffic, the boats’ horns from the river opposite, the snatched pieces of conversation as people hurry by to work. Their words change but the sounds never do.’

The Architect by Jon Wood

‘A very human silence permeates every corner of this post- industrial void, wrapping itself around the cold steel beams, seeping into the porous painted clay of the internal brickwork, and pushing up to the metal framed windows. Maybe it’s not the eternal silence of a mausoleum; nor that of prayer in the cavernous half- light of a medieval cathedral, but to the ears of an ex bricklayer it’s pretty close.’

If You Know your History by Stephen Thompson

‘A short while later, he’s peeling off his hot sweaty socks and struggling to breathe through the cloying smell of dubbing and Deep Heat, when he starts daydreaming again. In an extension of his earlier fantasy, the Orient fans are now chanting his name.’

Vellichor by SN Rasul

‘I’ll be turning fifty-nine tomorrow. Is that old? I can’t tell nowadays. I don’t feel old. Maybe I’m old, just not elderly.

Before I came in today, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said, “I’m getting old, don’t you think?”

She didn’t reply; just smiled at me.’

New York, New York by The Hornsey Hound

‘I tightened my hold on the hand grip and peered out into the gloom. At 5.30 am traffic was almost non-existent and we must have touched 60mph as the Licensed Lunatic approached Archway roundabout. He took it as if he’d just been told it was having sex with his wife.’

Man in the Ivory Tower by Frances Gow

‘If I closed my eyes I could pretend I was at the beach, walking across the pebbles. But then the rank scent of the Thames did nothing to persuade me of that. I had forever left behind that little girl in her seaside town with Mother clutching at memories and the hope of a brighter future.’

Cracked Porcelain by Samantha Kelly

‘Kramer wanted to take a picture. She looked so peaceful and so at ease as she curled into a late afternoon nap. Her arms formed a little pillow under her soft blonde curls and her eyes fluttered with sweetened sleep. He felt like her protector. The world wouldn’t get to her here, Kramer promised, as he pulled the blanket over her defenseless shoulders.’

The Dirty Bastard by Anne McCarthy

‘Martin and Warhol were engaged in a private neighborhood warfare. The thing is, poor hopeless Martin had no idea the spat was even going on! He was but a simple American, blissfully and obnoxiously ignorant. Actually, he graduated the top of his class from Harvard, but that’s neither here nor there.’

Love at Short Sight by Antonis Kazoulis

‘His face was inhabited by thoughts and looked as though moths were bothering it. You could see the lines form on his forehead. Wrinkles come with age, not ageing. I wanted to ask him about his troubles, but I didn’t know his name. Then again, what’s in a name?’