Category: John Christopher

A man without insight

‘You think I do not know myself, Niels? I am a man without insight, ruled by his prejudices and obsessions. That is how I appear to you, is it not?’ ‘Not quite like that.’ ‘The...

The anti-Oedipus

‘She was incredible,’ Mouritzen added. ‘A magnificent woman.’

‘Yes,’ Olsen said. ‘But I haven’t much liking for masterful women. When, in school history, I read of Joan of Arc, I detested her. I thought it fitting that she was executed, although I did not approve of the method.’

‘The beast walks free!’

Mouritzen heard a shout behind him, and turned to see another of the hands coming up from the direction of the forward hatch. Whatever he was saying was carried away by the wind.

Mouritzen shouted: ‘What was that?’

He came up to them. ‘The bear?’

‘What about the bear?’

‘The bear’s loose!’

‘Are you sure?’ Mouritzen demanded.

‘She’s down there, on the deck.’

Carling spoke then, his voice trumpeting over the massed violins of the storm.

‘The first sign!’

An excellent woman

Nadya said: ‘You look tired, Niels. You have been on duty?’ ‘Yes. Soon I am going to bed.’ ‘Poor Niels. You have a hard time. So much duty, so little sleep.’ She looked at him,...

The advantages of marriage

‘You find passengers too much of a distraction.’ ‘Not too much, I think.’ ‘You don’t think straight; that’s the trouble. Once we’ve cleared Amsterdam, I suppose it will be the Simanyi girl again?’ ‘No, no.’...

No man knows another’s mind

‘Where?’ ‘In the barn – the little barn.’ ‘And how, then?’ ‘With his belt.’ ‘And with what reason?’ ‘It’s not known. Her, maybe.’ ‘In Hell – for her?’ ‘No man knows another’s mind.’ ‘But in...

No one can fine a captain

‘What are you doing, do you think?’ Josef glanced over his shoulder. ‘Fishing.’ ‘Forbidden,’ Olsen said. ‘Three thousand francs’ fine for any who fish within the harbour.’ ‘Truly?’ ‘Truly. Give me the rod. If anyone...

‘Do you like her?’

‘The bear goes a walk,’ Mrs Simanyi said. ‘Would the little Annabel wish to see this?’ ‘I’m sure she would,’ Mary said. ‘Thank you. Where is it?’ She pointed and smiled. ‘On the deck. That...

Next time she must speak

Carling clutched the rail in his agony, feeling the cold, wet metal sting his skin. Nothing made sense unless there was an answer, somewhere, somehow. She could not have left him like that without a...