Extract from Vera Stone

VERA is a kind-hearted eighty-five year old woman, living alone in Manchester. Her nephew, BERNARD, lives just across the road from her, and often calls by to see her. After not seeing him for almost a week, VERA decides to call by, only to discover everything is not as it seems…


A few days later, Vera woke up and looked out from behind the curtains and saw it was a foggy day. She checked her calendar and also saw it was a Thursday. And on this foggy Thursday morning, Vera decided she was done wondering and was going to find out what was going on with Bernard herself.

Vera put curlers in her hair and got into her favourite dress. It was a mauve linen dress that her late husband, Bryan, had bought her for her 50th birthday. The dress used to fit her curvaceous figure perfectly, dipping at the breast, and pulling her waist in just right. But she’d been wearing it for thirty-five years now, and as she stood in front of her bedroom mirror she noticed the dress hanging limply from her thinning body. Vera shook her head at herself, put on a big wool jumper, took out her curlers and left the flat.

Vera’s wooden stick sunk into the wet ground as she walked across Bernard’s front lawn. His curtains were closed. Vera walked past the front door, down the drive and around the back of the bungalow. She slowly made her way up the three stone steps that led to the back door, leaning against her stick to keep out the way of the window.

The window looked into Bernard’s kitchen. It was dimly lit, but as Vera peered in, she could see Bernard standing at the cooker. He was stirring a bolognaise sauce around a pan.

Vera couldn’t work out why Bernard’s curtains were closed: perhaps he didn’t like the daylight? She was sure his curtains always used to be open. Vera stayed standing there, her bony fingers pressed against the peeling white paint of Bernard’s back door. She watched him stir some cut up peppers into the sauce and realised she barely knew her nephew.