The Absence of Henry Swail Added£0.99
Add to basket
(A short story of 5477 words)

The Absence of Henry Swail


by Kathleen Jones

Henry Swail went missing years ago in peculiar circumstances. No one knows why he left or where he is now. Officially, he’s presumed dead. But who is this strange man asking about him?

‘Why do you want to know about Henry Swail?’ The girl in the library asks me. Her blue eyes are fixed unselfconsciously on mine.

What am I to say? How do I explain why I’m following his trail? I hardly know myself. It’s as though I have to check out what still exists of him, to find out what he was really like, so that I don’t have to be like him. It’s important that I don’t make the same mistakes, because, of course, he made them, must have, or he wouldn’t be where he is now, would he?

Google his name and you come up with headlines like this:

‘The Search for Swail’. Daily Express, Jan 2005.

Has anybody seen Henry Swail? Since his disappearance a year ago, dozens of sightings have been reported. One couple said that they’d seen him on a beach in Honolulu, others have met him in a bar in Madrid, seen him driving a taxi in Los Angeles, running a restaurant in Sydney. If they’re all to be believed, every major city on the planet has its Henry Swail.’

There are two photographs; one of Henry on his wedding day, his collar-length seventies hair blowing in the wind, the bride cropped to a blur of white lace at the edge of the frame, and a more recent image of a balding, paunchy figure leaving court in a suit with his hand held up to protect his face from the camera. I can’t help thinking that, out of the thousands of photographs of Henry that must exist in the press archives, it’s a peculiarly unimaginative selection...

What others say about The Absence of Henry Swail - Add your review

© 2024 CUT All rights reserved.