The first excerpt is from Margot Livesey's short story, "Mr. Clark's Daughter."
When I saw the dark windows of my father's house, I turned and retraced my steps down the short street of elderly people and made my way to Perth Station. Despite the November weather I knew I would find him at the far end of platform 4, pursuing his mysterious hobby. During the last few months I had accompanied him here so often that the ticket collector nodded me through the barrier. On the main part of the platform travelers waited for the next train to Glasgow but for the train spotters the whole notion of travel was irrelevant. Their territory was a concrete peninsula, stretching out amidst the converging rails to that neglected part of the station where, in summer, wild lupins sprang up between the sleepers. I passed the freight office and there was my father, studying his train spotters' guide.Even from a distance he was an odd distinctive figure, somewhere between gentleman and tramp. Over his good suit he wore a raincoat of immense shabbiness, and his white hair, without my mother to chivvy him to the barbers, straggled to his shoulders. He had grown up in Lancashire but his high coloring and blue eyes made most people think he was Scottish. While he read, the Gordon twins circled him, making jabbing motions with their hands and feet. Perhaps they were dancing, or practicing kung fu. The few other train spotting boys I had met had been painfully earnest, wearing thick glasses and anoraks, but the twins sported leather jackets and tattoos; Raymond, the older by eight minutes, had a nose ring."Dad," I said. "Walter.""Elspeth, I'd forgotten you were coming. We were waiting for the Highland Chieftain. Raymond thinks it might be a Class '26' with a Sulzer engine."The twins gyrated away, still kicking, and I sat down on the single bench. My father joined me, and stared off down the tracks. I knew he was not pleased to see me -- we were in the middle of an argument -- and I, in turn, stared at the ground. A fleck of white landed on the toe of my black boots, then another. I counted thirty-one snowflakes, the age I would be on my next birthday, before my father relented.
Read the rest of "Mr. Clark's Daughter" and check out all the awesome fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by picking up a copy of vol. 6, no. 1 in our webstore. To get it for $5.95, choose, "sample copy, editor's choice" and enter "fall back sale" in the special instructions box.