Four short stories written in her own rich Scots by Angus writer Mary McIntosh. The concise directness of these stories belies the storm of emotions raging just below the surface – a storm that bursts through when a soldier in Bosnia comes face to face with his own hatred, when women try to break out of relationships with violent or useless men, or when a young lad, confronted by his own sexuality, acts on it and detonates an explosive reaction from his parents.
IT WIS THE DOOR that gaured him look at the hoose. It had strips pented ower it, green, blue, reid, sae bricht that he wis forced tae tak note o it.
Aa that the laddie wanted tae dae wis tae touch it.
"Dinna gae near him, dae ye hear me, Alex?"
His mither's face wis stern so he kent no tae contradict her.
"He's best left alane."
His faither lookit ower the tap o his paper.
Alex ate his corn flakes and didna look up.
On his wey hame frae the schule he stopped at the door. It grew the brichter as he studied it. He thocht the colours wid shout oot at him gin he stood there ony langer.
The door opened and the man stepped oot on tae the path. He had ane o thae black, knobbly walkin sticks.
"Weel, seen enough have ye?"
Alex wisnae tae ken that this wis the first words that the mannie had said since he had come tae the place.
The laddie wis a bit feart but wisnae aboot tae lat that be seen.
"No, no quite." His stomach wis aa wobbly and his voice wisnae that steady aither.
"Come tae see the door?"
"Yeah, come tae see yer door."
The man leaned on his stick, ane o his legs wis a bit bendie Alex thocht. He hunched his back till his neck wis near oot o sicht and noo and again his face scrunched up like he wis hurtin. He waved Alex ower tae the path.
"Wanta come inside?"
Alex nodded his heid and followed the man intae the hoose.