Ghosts by Alan Delaney

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SUMMARY: Laura dreams of Michael.

Laura dreams. She's six years old and playing in a sand pit. Michael is there too, exactly as she remembers him - curly fringe, toothless smile, oversized nappy. He looks up at his sister, eyes full of happiness and love, and throws some sand at her, playfully. Laura laughs too and throws some back.

A shadow darkens her view. She looks up to see her mother standing over her, legs apart, hands on hips, mouth twisted to a grimace.

"I told you to watch over him," she says. "That's all you had to do."

Laura looks at her mother, not understanding. She looks around for Michael but he's nowhere to be seen - now she understands.

She wakes to a cold, dark, empty room. A colourless twilight creeps in through the window. She curls her knees into her chest and, pushing a pillow into her face, weeps bitterly once more.