(Apr 22nd to May 5th)

Format: Triple

… I hear a thud in the engine-room. Then the noise of machinery falling down—like fire-irons—and then two most awful yells. They’re more like hoots, and I know—I know while I listen—that it means that two men have died as they hooted. It was their last breath hooting out of them—in most awful pain. Do you understand?’


This is from “In the Same Boat” in A Diversity of Creatures.

Conroy, otherwise a fit young man, has taken to drugs to ward off a terrifying recurrent dream. With the help of a young woman who has similar nightmares, he confronts the terror, and breaks free of his obsession.

‘Now, you wouldn’t think, would you’—he glanced off the book toward my wildly swaying dressing-gown on the door—‘that I’ve been seeing things for the last half-hour? ’Fact is, I’m just on the edge of ’em, skating on thin ice round the corner—nor’east as near as nothing—where that dog’s looking at me.’


This is from “The Dog Hervey” in A Diversity of Creatures.

The narrator is on board ship with Shend, a wealthy friend, who is suffering from the extreme effects of drink, and – in a part of the story which has always puzzled readers and critics – has hallucinations of a little squinting dog, which recognises the Narrator. Later Shend is saved by the love of a similarly stressed young woman,who is also obsessed by the dog…

An’ then I saw—I tell you I saw—Auntie Armine herself standin’ by the old dressin’station door where first I’d thought I’d seen her. He was lookin’ at ’er an’ she was lookin’ at him. I saw it, an’ me soul turned over inside me because—because it knocked out everything I’d believed in.


This is from “A Madonna of the Trenches” in Debits and Credits.

A young soldier has been serving as a runner in the Great War trenches, in the depths of winter, taking messages along alleyways where one hurries past frozen corpses, constantly at the risk of violent death, and struggling to keep one’s sanity. When he seems to see the ghost of his mother’s sister, it is more than his tortured mind can handle.