His hand closed up over the stretch of five years, and stayed like that till he passed. First the pinkie, as if winched towards the palm by an invisible string, and then the ring finger went, till his hand was frozen stiff like a claw. It was like it had slowly snapped shut, sixty years late for the butterflies we’d chased in Parson’s field. It was no worry to him, he chuckled, his pipe still fit between his fingers.


  • by Philip Brennan