• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 04

Parlour Games in the Dark

Do you remember winter in Bloomsbury, when we played parlour games in the dark? Games of words and cleverness we thought marked us as intellectuals. Then you brought your new beau, all rough-hewn granite among the polished-marble men of our set.

He mocked our games, said they were for children, and introduced his own. He called for a bowl, brandy and raisins.

“A drinking game?”

He shook his head and struck a match.

We stepped back as the flames danced across the liquor, accenting our fear in blue. He showed us how the game was played: with finch-beak fingers he plucked a sweet treat from the bowl and placed it, still burning, on his tongue.

How proud you were when you took his hand and played nurse, stroking and sucking his fingers. You should have watched his eyes, burning with a fire of their own as he looked in a different direction.