In 'Need', Biddy longs to escape the noise and claustrophobia of the travelling circus she calls home, the chaotic family she shares her cramped quarters with, and the teasing, intimidating presence of Little Midge - the neighbour boy who spies on her. The lack of a plan and her attachment to the frail fortune-teller Rosa, is all that prevents Biddy from leaving. But when tragedy strikes, Biddy finds comfort in an unlikely figure.
In 'Moving messages', Didi is afflicted by a curious condition: 'poetic tinnitus', which causes poetic snippets to ricochet around her mind at all moments. Despite this, she feels content with her lot, living in the country and making quilts to forge a living. She is happy - or is she? When Didi visits a glamorous old school companion in London, her self-doubt flares up, but she soon begins to see the cracks beneath the perfect veneer of her friend's life.
Part of the Storycuts series, these two short stories were previously published in the collection The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read.