A short story by DOMINIQUE HUA.

The two figures moved around each other in a familiar dance. This was breakfast. This was breakfast in a familiar place made unfamiliar.

She opened the drawer, which crumbled in her hands, shattering on the floor in a clatter of cutlery which pooled silver around her feet. Picking up two spoons she walked over to the cupboard, stepping over the smashed drawer to dig out a singed packet of cornflakes.

He got up from the chair with a back burnt black from fire, ignoring the plaster falling from the hole in the ceiling which left a fine blanket of dust over everything. Knowing where the tea was kept, and where the kettle was, he boiled two cups of rusty water and set it down on the table, the tea bags making barely a stain in the murky brown liquid, but the base of the mugs making fine rings in the particles of plaster.

Parts of the window frame crumbled, falling in shards and splinters on the floor, ignored, again, by the inhabitants of the crumbling home.

Two bowls, then. Cereal. Rancid milk weighed the tarnished spoons down. Silence and the wilful obstinacy of trying to get a broken toaster to work. Sunlight and the unwelcome sight of flaws in the glass, glass in the windows, on the floor, on the shelves.

The ceiling pulsed rainwater, a steady drip that collected on the table and spilled down her leg. He put his hand on hers. She didn’t pull away but instead stared at it, all the time pushing the cornflakes around, thick synchronisation in the chipped bowls.

The house creaked and groaned, wood warped beyond repair threatened disintegration over their heads. Outside the charred walls the sky stretched forever.