In the morning, there’s a hole where the house used to be. The kitchen, where we drank tea and talked about the day, is shreds and burned brick. A lifetime of things, decisions, and memories, taken while we slept underground.
The terraces across the way have lost their roofs, their windows empty sockets. There are fires in the town.
But the kids. The kids are fine. Our eldest, Alan, pulls a blanket from the rubble, finds an unbroken chair for Dad. Emma checks on the neighbours, comes back with her little playmate.
“We’ll be right,” she says.
Edward Barnfield is a writer and researcher living in the Middle East. His stories have appeared in Ellipsis Zine, Lunate, Strands Publisher, Janus Literary, Leicester Writes, Cranked Anvil, and Reflex Press, among others. In 2021, he won the Exeter Literary Festival and Bay Tales short story competitions. He’s on Twitter at: @edbarnfield.