the cool change coming. in the garden, he was. cross legged with a blue tin in his lap. the last of the Christmas biscuits. called to her he did, ‘Susan!’ to the fly-screen door with the long line gash through its worn-thin netting. and no reply. she, inside. seated at the table next to Granny-Gran, Louise and Helen, bickering about the fish that Granny overcooked, “and less we say about the bones!” Helen snatching nibbles at the fruit cake, nestled in her lap whenever her companions are not looking, hisses ‘disgusting girl!’ at Susan, finger in her nose and sitting on a grubby heel. ‘Susan!” she hears him call this time, the metal of the chair leg grinding into ivory tile, ‘slowly girl!” then Helen snaps, baring teeth, Louise sees the piece of date stuck in between her molars. the screen door groans on its hinges, slams. little fingers pinch and grab at clumpy crumbs left in the biscuit tin, Susan scoops them to her tongue and sticks it out for him to look at. “disgusting!” laughs he, tossing dry grass blades that cling to her hair and overalls. the cool change comes, they lay their bodies down. the soil breathes. cicadas hum.