the carver

Competition Twelve Highly Commended: The Carver by

Danny Taylor

Oct 17th 2009 – Jan 2nd 2020.

He loved this beach, our boy.


Matthew was granite.



******And silent.

******Two halves of a bronze plaque in two separate hands. A birthday in his left. A deathday, heavier, in his right. Around his feet, a bench in splinters.

******Danny’s bench.


******Matthew’s mind stuttered. He scrunched his eyes closed until he was dizzy. The sea whispered. Whispered memories of Danny, ankle-deep, knee-deep, shoulder deep. With sand between his toes, a sunset glinting in his eyes.


******He loved this beach, our boy.


Matthew quit his job.

******He bought a drill and chisel.

******Matthew didn’t stop.

******His muscles hardened, his hair greyed. His wife brought sandwiches, flasks of tea, company. Even when she left, returning to their house – a black hole where once a galaxy had been – he didn’t stop.



******He didn’t stop until the cliffs and the rockpools, and the harbour walls, and the ice cream hut, and the sides of the lifeboat station, and the wonky steps and steep road down to the sand were carved with Danny’s name. Engraved with Danny’s face. Over and over. Shaky outlines of Danny’s favourite things. Football boots, tennis rackets, kangaroos and eagles, cheeseburgers, apples, birthday cake and chips. His bike, his Xbox and every superhero.

******Matthew etched and scraped until the stone ran out.

******He dropped his tools, whittled down to stumps. Craning, he took in his creation. His limestone almanac. More painful to look at than a high summer sun. But up close, tracing thankful fingers, he had something solid to feel, something more than memories, something to last beyond him or anything else he could think of.

******Something to be where Danny could not.





Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her work has appeared in Perhappened Mag, Northern Gravy, Free Flash Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, and Reflex Press among others. Balancing too many projects is her natural state. 



Photo by Lucio Patone on Unsplash


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