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Birdwatcher

Female | 50s | Under 3 minutes
Starts on page 27

EXTRACT: NEAR THE SHORE OF A COASTAL LAKE THE SOUNDS OF RAIN AND THUNDER ARE HEARD. BIRDWATCHER: I can’t find her. I run along the water’s edge through the reeds, my feet sink into the wet, muddy sand. And I know I’m calling, shouting out, but I can’t hear myself. There’s only silence. My feet are wet, but I keep searching. On the shore across the lake the godwits are back - or a new flock has arrived…? I run towards them, sinking into the mud. The godwits will know where she is. They’ll know...


Former Astronaut

Female | 50s | Under 3 minutes
Starts on page 28

EXTRACT: IN SPACE, STARS AND CONSTELLATIONS FORMER ASTRONAUT: That last time – when I went outside… I’m floating, suspended, in the ultimate cold of the universe. The earth is again below my feet but then, as I move it seems to disappear, then reappear above me, then disappear again. It makes no sense. I’m staring out at eternity, then in an instant I see the blue marble, our sanctuary in this emptiness. Again and again, empty eternity, then life; eternity, then life. And the more I look, the more I realise I can’t see it - the night sky, the familiar one I see back on Earth. It’s something else – there’s something squeezing at my mind, my understanding...