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(long short story of 28558 words)

The Summerhouse

Literary Literary - General

by Sue Wilsea


David wants to give his wife Kate everything she didn't have before meeting him: security, a nice home, another baby. He wants to be a good step-dad to Josh and erase the memories of Tom, Kate's first love and Josh's father. But none of this seems enough for Kate and after the birth of their daughter she slips into depression, her only solace the run-down summerhouse at the bottom of their garden. When David discovers what he thinks is her betrayal he sets out on a path of destruction. In late 2014 The Summerhouse, a novella, was shortlisted for Gateway's New Fictions prize. "As an animal would its territory, Kate marked the summerhouse with her scents: coconut and vanilla body lotion, coffee and cigarettes, a citronella candle used to deter bugs, the new wood of pencil shavings mixing with that of the rotting window and door frames. Some smells she carried with her all the time – I could tell where in the house she’d been by sniffing the air for the musky aroma of joss sticks which clung to the materials she wore. Her skin always tasted of coconut and her hair of smoke. She hadn’t used it at first what with feeling so lousy throughout the pregnancy and I was all for pulling it down to tell you the truth. But she got so upset if I so much as hinted at it that I learnt to steer clear of the subject. You couldn’t see the summerhouse from the house so it didn’t matter that much, I suppose, but it bugged me that she could get so worked up about what boiled down to an ugly, damp outhouse obviously built by some toff so he could sneak out and screw one of the maids."
 

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