Tarantula Gigante

For three months I have searched the Amazon jungle in vain for the elusive theraphosa apophysis gigantus or Tarantula Gigante, the largest, most venomous spider in the world. This dinner plate-sized arachnid is an extremely shy creature – hence my difficulty in finding one – but when provoked it can attack with surprising speed. It has been known to kill a boa constrictor, such is the striking power of its fangs. I … Read more

The Stud

At the age of sixty-three, Etienne Duval fell deeply in love for the first time. Liliane was thirty years younger — a fact that flattered him no end — widowed, childless, adrift on a sea of melancholy until they met. Each evening, after closing his boucherie, he visited her at her tiny flat above Boulangerie-Patisserie Gregoire where she worked. He brought her pork cutlets, lamb shanks, or sweetbreads for her supper. She … Read more

The Dancer

I’m on the dance floor for the first time in a long time. It’s Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice, my grandson’s favourite. We often dance to it together. The beat is intense and I’m on top of it, using all the moves I’ve choreographed in the privacy of my living room. At last I’m able to display my prowess. Now I’m moving like someone on steroids with St Vitus Dance. I spy … Read more

Black as Night

It’s two o’clock in the morning and she’s alone. Jason has left it too late to say he can’t make it. Kids are sick, apparently. Dragging anyone else in now is out of the question. Most nights see only a few customers drop by, but it’s been an hour since the last customer left, and it will be some hours before Sharon and Judy turn up to relieve her. She moves around … Read more

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

As soon as I take the mobile phone out of my bag, the security guard is on to me. The sign had said “No photographs” when I entered the gallery and he’s smart enough to know that most phones these days have cameras built in. I flash him a smile, check the screen, and put it back. I don’t need it. I have other means at my disposal. In front of me … Read more

The Rescuer

Seagulls wheeling and crying overhead, waves breaking against the shore, his body embraced by the warmth of the sun, Erik yielded to the creeping languor and stretched out on his beach towel, hands folded over his stomach, cap shielding his eyes. Lynda lay face down alongside him, bikini top unhooked, reading a paperback she’d borrowed from the library. As he was drifting off, he caught snatches of an argument in a foreign … Read more