Tag: short fiction

Will Tree Roots Damage My House? By Natalie Bowers

Will Tree Roots Damage My HouseAs Daniel sits and opens his laptop, Ruth takes a sip from her well-earned glass of white and looks at the little oak tree that has planted itself in the flowerbed at the bottom of the garden. Against the darkening sky, its leaves look almost black. From where they’re seated on the patio, the swaying of its branches makes the stars behind them seem as if they’re really twinkling.

‘It says here that some species of oak tree can grow up to two-and-a-half feet in a year.’ His eyes still on the screen, Daniel reaches for his beer, but before he can knock it over, Ruth slides it across the table and into his grasp. His lips quirk acknowledgement, and after taking a long draught, he peers over the top of his glasses at the tree. ‘What is it now … eight feet tall?’

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Exclusive Member Story: Thalia By Patrick Sagaram

ThaliaThe muse comes to me on a Saturday morning, while I am in bed, tucked underneath the covers, luxuriating in waves of sleep. She tries descending on me in a dream, but since her attempts at poking through my unconsciousness are unsuccessful, she glares at me through slivers of sunshine, rousing me awake.

I’m ready for you to write me, she says.

But it’s still early, I tell her drowsily. Not now. You better come back later. So she did. About forty-five minutes later that morning when I’d finally gotten out of bed, washed up and peered into the fridge, looking for milk and eggs only to find what looked like two cloves of wrinkled garlic.

I’m ready now, she says. Write. Now.

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CROCODILES by Matt Harris

CrocodilesOnce there was a very happy little girl who lived in a village between a jungle and a river. The little girl was so happy that she smiled all day long. She smiled when she woke up in the morning, smiled when she saw there were noodles for breakfast, smiled on her way to her school lessons, smiled when she came home for lunch, smiled as she spent the afternoon helping her mother with the laundry and cleaning, smiled and laughed while she played with the other children in the evening and went to bed smiling and looking forward to happy dreams. Life was good for the happy little girl.

But not everyone liked to see the girl smiling so much. In fact almost everyone in the village disliked seeing her smile all the time. This was because life in the village was very hard. The reason it was hard was that they lived between the river and the jungle. The river was full of crocodiles and the jungle was full of tigers, so the villagers had to scrape a living from their thin strip of land. At night they stayed indoors, fearful of the rustling sounds from the jungle where the tigers crept, and the sloshing sounds from the river where the crocodiles surged slowly through the brown waters.

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I Eat People By Will Davis

I Eat PeopleI eat people. It’s what I do. I don’t care what they look like, if they’re fat like seal puppies, or mouthwateringly beautiful as Nereids. I don’t discriminate. The only thing that matters is that they have flesh I can suck on and bones I can chew. I wait near the shore until they get close to the water and then I rise and wrap my coils around them and eat them right up.

‘You’ve become trapped in your own destructive cycle.’

That’s what my therapist said, blowing bubbles out of his pipe while I floated on his couch amidst the decorative seaweed of his office.

‘You need to develop a normal healthy relationship.’

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Take A Number Please By Tamara Jones

Take A Number PleaseHarry and Oliver sat on the bench at the bottom of the stairwell and stared morosely at the lino floor beneath their feet.

‘Getting a bit boring this,’ said Harry, scuffing his boots on a large patch of worn lino and grimacing.

‘Got boring ages ago,’ said Oliver, shuffling on the bench and looking around vainly, but not for the first time, for a clock. ‘Must be getting on for lunchtime, don’t you reckon?’ Silence. ‘How much longer before our numbers come up do you think?’

Harry shrugged dismissively, but before he could say anything the doorway from outside opened and a man entered the waiting room. Harry and Oliver stared at the newcomer and watched curiously as he stood looking around the room, at the benches against the walls and at the stairway leading up to the blue sky filled doorway above.

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Edward’s First Love By Jay Moussa-Mann

Edward's First LoveTomorrow the world changes. A new dawn, bringing with it new times, new foundations, new concepts. Tomorrow the blood and sweat poured into the tracks that will now carry people from one town to the next will not be in vain. The passion I have borne for the past years will finally see fruit. Tomorrow all our efforts shall be rewarded. The Stockton-to-Darlington railroad is born.

I turn from the window (I don’t know why I am stood here, it is the dead of night and outside is pitch black). His breathing in the corner of the room has become more laboured, as if the body is craving, heaving, fighting for the air all around it yet unable to take enough in. Rapid breathing, now quieter. Easier. I feel my body relax again. I didn’t even realize I was tensing with every inhalation. Subconsciously breathing each breath with him.

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Cabinet Reshuffle By Thomas Mogford

Cabinet ReshuffleThere were eight of them on the terrace, sweating in their emerald tailcoats. Dinner plates had been discarded, congealing taramasalata stabbed with fag butts, torn pita breads swollen pink with spilt claret. The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ blasted from the CD player, drowning out the evening sounds of the Corfu peninsula – the chant of cicadas, the distant ebb and flow of the Mediterranean, steady as a heartbeat. Above, the Milky Way glowed eerily, but none of the group was looking up. They were staring instead at the three-inch gecko lying motionless beneath the outside lights.

‘Slops,’ hissed the group, ‘slops, slops…’

As the song reached its final verse, the young man knew he was running out of time. He crept towards the wall, black shoe in one hand, seeing moths fluttering around the light fitting. Then he let fly. His aim was true, a fast bowler’s length and line – the reason, his brother would always insist, that he was allowed to run with this crowd at all. A slap detonated above the music as the shoe hit the wall, then fell to the ground.

‘Did he get it?’ someone called.

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Dirty Laundry By Lisa Blower

Dirty LaundryYou’ve been reading about the cuts and Icelandic banks but you only put two and two together when you’re given your cards and see the state of your pension. You call and see Beattie – a steamroller of social action – who laughs repeatedly and is lost for words. You are 58, she reminds you, and not cheap. “Alma,” she says putting on Bi-focals to read your statement. “You’re lucky you’ve even got that.” She makes you another a cup of tea and lets you weep on her settee.

A week passes.

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