Have you ever been really, really cold? I’m talking so cold that you have to fold up in your bed, huddled into yourself, to keep warm. You can feel your bones getting tired and stiff when it’s that cold, and see your own breath in the darkness.

That’s how cold we were on our ‘camping trip.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous, ‘Chelle. I’ve bought you a hot water bottle. Bloody use it!’ Mam came in to the kitchenette, the dog, Bwci, trailing behind her. She could hear me talking on the phone. This caravan was too small for any semblance of privacy. I rolled my eyes and hung up.

‘I gave it to Deryn, Mam; she was shivering.’

Deryn looked up from her seat at the table and nodded. Last night’s cold had sent her creeping into my bed to curl up beside me, shivering and shaking in her sleep.

‘Well you can keep warm today by helping me out, both of you, c’mon.’

Deryn looked back at her colouring in on the table and pretended not to have heard Mam. She picked up a fat blue crayon and poked out her little tongue, concentration moulding her face.

‘Where’s your brother, ‘Chelle?’

‘He’s outside, on the beach, I think, Mam.’

‘Well go and fetch him. I want all hands on deck to get lunch ready.’

I sighed and climbed through the door of the caravan, stepping outside into the cold wind.

The sand was soft and squelched under foot as I picked my way through the dunes and along the coast, looking for my brother. Grey sea stretched out before me, huge and vast, beautiful and terrifying.

‘Ianto!’ I called his name, but my voice was carried away in a gust of wind. ‘Ianto.’ I dipped down one sandy dune, losing sight of the beach momentarily, then reemerged on the next mound, sand crumbling beneath me like a miniature avalanche…

Read the rest of the story in Parthian’s Cheval 9, along with some other fantastic pieces of work by many talented writers.


First place winner of The Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award and published in Parthian’s Cheval 9.

Cartref also appears on the short story website Pennyshorts.


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