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MORNING SERIAL; Pigeon by Alys Conran.

Byline: Alys Conran

HE had her arm straight away, and pulled her away from the van walking her up the street towards the house. Pigeon left the van, and Gwyn, staring and ran with them.

He ran after them right to the door to the house, his breath tight in his chest. Pigeon got there just behind them, but he dragged her inside anyway, and slammed the door in Pigeon's face.

And you couldn't get in. You couldn't get in, and Pigeon kicked and kicked, he kicked and kicked the door, and she cried, she cried inside.

The police came that day. It was because Pigon ran to Iola's. Efa called them. They came, and that stopped him. But then they went again. His mam sent them away.

She had bruises. "It's ok, love," she said, when Pigeon cried over her bruises. "Bruises fade."

But it wasn't true. That wasn't true for Pigeon.

Though she did wince, did cower, did cry quiet bewildered tears, she didn't carry Adrian's anger, not like Pigeon did.

It was Pigeon that took all His anger about the mess it all was, and how it wouldn't sit tidy, not even for him, the anger about what he was doing to his 'love', to Mari as he fought with her to keep her in control.

Pigeon got it all. Pigeon took it all, and he took the second beating, the beating that was to spare, when he came to the shed, shaking with the rage of it, and with not being able to stop.

And now, again, Adrian is at the door, shouting.

"Open the damned door!" he shouts. "Open it right now or I'll kill you. I will."

Today will be like the other days. Threats. Bruises. Threats.

Pigeon sits on his bed, his knees drawn up to his chest.

He sits, watching a tiny ant crawl over the doorframe, watching his shed become a whole wide world to the ant.

Pigeon sits, and he waits for the beating, and he hates, he hates Gwyn with all his might.

9 Efa will be home, with her million and one herbs and yoga and meditation and pills and grains and breathing exercises.

A million and one things which can't make up for the fact that Efa's not really happy, and her life's no fun.

> Pigeon is the winner of the Wales Book of the Year and the Rhys Davies Fiction Prize. Published by Parthian CONTINUES TOMORROW

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 29, 2018
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