You’ll never guess what I just found. Ann steps over the pile of boxes blocking the doorway, a small black object in her hand. Haven’t seen one of these in years.

She hands it over. An old floppy disc.

Bloody hell, me neither. Where was it?

Found it unpacking a box of your old college stuff. Any idea what’s on it?

Not sure. He turns it over. There’s a crack in one corner, and an illegible red scribble on the label. Chloe Hide’s handwriting. Oh.

The class was paired into teams. He and Chloe were put together. For the whole afternoon she sat beside him, shoulders bare in the muggy heat, red ponytail down her back. When she stretched her arms over her head, he craned forwards to peek at her breasts, turning away as she relaxed, afraid she’d catch him staring. They talked and he made her laugh. At the end of the lesson, they saved their work on a disc and he promised to look after it. Outside, the wind tossed her hair over her shoulder, the clear sky glinted in her eyes. Ask if she wants to go get a cup of tea, or something to eat maybe. Just ask her.

OK, great. See you tomorrow. Her smile showed her braces.

He watched her turn the corner, then ran the other way for the bus. Chloe walked home alone. The police recovered her two weeks later.

He strokes his thumb across the red ink. It doesn’t smudge. It dried decades ago.

It’s nothing. Just some old college junk.

I’ll throw it out then if you want. Can’t use it for anything. Ann holds out her hand.

No. It’s fine.

Ann shrugs and goes back upstairs. He sits down, and slides the disc into his pocket.


Sam comes from East Yorkshire but now resides in Lancashire. He recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, and has had two books published, one in 2020 by Alban Lake, and the other in 2018 after it won 1st Prize in the National Association of Writers’ Group’s 2017 novella competition. When not writing, he likes cooking, hiking, and spending time with his fiancé and his cat.


Sam Graham

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