Steve Toase

My short story Red Clay, that first appeared in Pantheon Magazine, has been republished as part of the Writers for Calais Refugees project.

Writers for Calais Refugees

Red Clay


From our cab we saw the road obscured by thick red clay, a quilt of receded floodwater washed from crop bare fields on either side. Every so often an abandoned possession poked up through the mud. A mobile phone long out of charge. Three cheap, rusted, pans. The frayed edge of a blanket hooked, flag like, on the splintered corner of a bed. Beyond the blockage we saw what was left of families gathered. They looked for limbs and faces in the surface. Clay hardened to brittle porcelain in the bake of the sun. There was no way for us to reach them.


During the night the potters came, breaking off the crust and digging down to the still moist clay underneath. In plastic buckets they carried away as much as tired shoulders could bear, each tying the razor sharp metal handles to thick rope draped…

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