top of page

Cath Bore



Cath Bore is a Merseyside based writer, currently writing a crime novel and lots and lots of flash fiction.

She write fiction about the things keeping her awake at night, non-fiction about women, feminism and politics, plus creative non-fiction about anything and everything.

Her writing has been published in the UK and US.

She has an MA in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University. Blog:

          Last winter was a long one, the only colour outside offered up by balding grass or an evergreen bush overplaying its hand, plastic privet leaves perfect and even shaped, factory line fodder. Winter smells of nothing, but in summer warm murmurs of flowers, soft and malty, puff out the gentle scent of pollen. Bees flit from flower to flower like the rest of us aren’t here, they carry on whether we watch them or not; it’s reassuring like meat sizzling on barbecues firming from raw pink to brown. Something’s always burning during summer, our neighbour’s brazier coughs out smoke after dark like he doesn’t expect anyone to notice.  He chucks in all sorts. I reckon he goes around collecting bits of rubbish from people’s bins just so he has something to burn.


          ‘If he didn’t burn stuff every night I’d worry about him, wonder if he’s alright.’ I believe this even though the smoke dirties our windows something terrible.


         ‘It stinks,’ you say.


          You roll your eyes and I do the same back. I’m conceding the point because this summer you’ve made the effort, we’ve turned feral for the first time, taking lazy strides and dozing instead of sleeping. Every movement brings out beads of sweat like bubble wrap on your upper lip and trickles into your mouth but I don’t hear you complain. Thick salt water burns my eyes, hair stiff and sticking to the scalp, but shoving one’s hot head under a cold tap full on is one of life’s great unspoken pleasures.


         ‘Do you know what, it is,’ you agree, shaking your head from side to side like an enthusiastic puppy and showering me with droplets.


          Everything is messy this summer and I love it; buttercups spread bright yellow chaos across the lawn. ‘They’re only weeds if they’re growing somewhere you don’t want them to,’ you say. I smile at your joke because it was funny when you said it two days ago and because the weeds out back are out of control, golden dandelions a foot high. We marvel at the size of them.


          ‘It’s like the Day of the Triffids.’ I laugh as I come up with the comparison.


          ‘Dandelions the size of your face,’ you say.


          Yesterday you compared them to a plate. You’re learning not to love summer exactly but not mind it too much. You’ve let go this year as much as you ever do, it gives me hope when you turn up on time at the restaurant instead of being twenty long minutes early. This August is hot and clammy, thick grey cloud like a giant duvet in the sky holding the heat in, so you leave your jacket at home.


          You enjoy cold meats for your starter, claim they soothe the way a spicy curry works the opposite way in winter. Opposites attracting, cool on hot, both extremes coaxed towards a happy medium. I yearn for ice cream, but you complain it freezes your teeth and face. Cold meats it is, then. We amble on with slices of ham and you run out of things to compare the dandelions to, still reflecting on my face.    


          ‘I yearn for the structure of term time and knitted jumpers,’ you say, in an unguarded moment on the way home.


          As your words spill out, loose and careless, we both know it’s the end. Without me saying anything you sniff an acknowledgement and I mirror your sniff, a relief to us both you don’t have to pretend anymore. The winter comes soon after, its chilled tart air snapping and scratching at me but I cope well enough and anticipate the spring.     



Your old house remains the same, still old and crooked but instead of back then when a cheap watt light bulb glowed feebly from behind the glass, tonight the bay window throws out a sharp block of white, dazzling the footpath spotless. I look at the glass, it reflects like a mirror. I can’t see inside so I step forward and press my nose up against the window, spy thick embossed wallpaper replacing your chaotic Post-it notes and posters of Oasis. I remember the long summer days inside, you living on beans on toast – with cheese sprinkled on top on Sundays! And those four bare legs intertwined on wrinkled, sour sheets.



Ten years was it, since I was last here? Watching.





Burn him.



Kill him.



Kill him then bring him back to life and kill him again.





Dave pleads he’s been set up. Anyone can take a picture of an innocent man then put it on Facebook and claim that person cut a dog. It’s cyberbullying and harassment, some people have killed themselves over less, just think about that. Consciences duly pricked, people un-click and un-share and some even apologise but Dave calls his social experiment a triumph anyway, because he still gets one hundred thousand people to share his picture. Even after chucking in such obvious blindsiding variables, if you press the right buttons people turn into keyboard warriors, he laughs.



But that night the dogs up his street stay silent and bark out no warning as other variables come for Dave, all wet teeth and grimacing mouths. The soles of his shoes whine against the footpath like a kicked hound. A camera flashes the pavement bright and white, swollen flecks of dust floodlit and prancing, before it switches back to the black. 








bottom of page