The Electrician’s Daughter

‘The Electrician’s Daughter’ was first published in The Harbinger 1:1 (April 2013) online, and now appears in Prayer at the End: Twenty-Three Stories.

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…The sign said, ‘Lakeside.’ A stone bungalow with a veranda looked down towards a pebble beach, and a rowing boat and a couple of pedalos were moored to a jetty. The windows of the house were dark, but they could see a head torch quivering under the trees where a battered Nissan truck was parked. A house light shone more distantly on the other side of the lake. They stopped behind a Ford Mondeo, and as Sara jumped down onto hard sand and thin turf and stonecrop she could hear the quiet muttering of the lake and the clucking of waterfowl. Her father took his toolkit from the van, standing by the open back door to buckle his utility belt round his hips, and a fat man with straggly grey hair climbed out of the truck and slouched across the lawn towards them.

‘Rhys Aled,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen you for nearly ten years.’

‘It’s more than that, Denzil. I remember you weren’t at my wife’s funeral.’

He had used the intimate form of the verb, and her father had rebuffed him. He kept his hair tied back in a pig-tail, and a tee-shirt reading ‘Working Class Hero’ was stretched over a pendulous belly. He dropped his voice to a confidential tone, glancing towards the bungalow as though his guests might overhear or understand them. ‘The husband’s not happy,’ he said. ‘He’s demanding a refund. I had to get dressed and come straight to the house to stop him phoning his lawyer.’

‘You had to get dressed. I had to drag Sara out of bed for this.’

The man Denzil was still wearing that torch. She dropped her eyes, looking down at her battered trainers, and then her father shut the van door with a slam, and Denzil looked away. ‘People like Vince sign you off easy,’ said her father, ‘and then you need me to sort out your mess. What do you think you’re playing at, interrupting my little girl’s sleep on a week night?’…

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