Friday 19 April 2013

'All the Birthdays' by Suzanne Conboy-Hill

When it’s our birthday, when the ice breaks and the spirits burst through, you have to dodge out of the way and cover your head so they don’t hiss sharp into your ears or quick-grab your tongue. If they get your tongue, you end up babbling like a prattaloon for days and people laugh and throw things at you to shut you up. Dilip got a broken nose that way last year, when a shelly-pot hit him. If they get in your ears, you’re stuck listening to the flap-mouthing the babblers made all the years before, and that’s worse because you can’t shut them up and the spirits can be a bit choosy about how long they leave you with the racket. But you have to keep your eyes wide open because they want you to watch them while they dance and dive and scorch the air and cut sizzling streaks into the ice. You can blink, just so long as you don’t linger. Blinking is okay.

Izzy got caught last year, twirling on the edge of the freeze-sea like a dizzy firefly with her head back and her arms wide, all shut-eyed and giddy. Burned her eyelids right off her face, they did. She’ll be watching the rest of her life now, which won’t be too much longer because Izzy has to share everyone’s birthday so she gets everyone’s years too, and there are near a hundred of us and nobody lives that long.


  1. Well, there you go! Another wondrous story from the fantasy world of Suzanne Conboy-Hill. Melt into her stories with your mind flung wide; allow her words to seep in and let your imagination flow by her side.

  2. Love this. The almost-nonsense language makes it seem benign, but the ending is really quite creepy.

  3. Love the language. Bizarre and enjoyable :)


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