Tag: short stories

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.


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.


Sleight of Hand By Tracy Fells

MagicThe parcel waited, sullen and brooding, on the hall window seat where I’d let it sulk all day. I flinched as Jake let the wind snatch the front door to slam shut, cracking like a starting pistol. He bounded through to the kitchen tossing the package on to the breakfast bar towards me.
“Why haven’t you opened this yet, Mum?”
I shrugged. “Because I know what it is.”
Thankfully the interrogation stopped there, as Jake was already heading out with a packet of crisps and a fizzy drink. I called out the obligatory maternal plea: “Don’t ruin your tea!” The parcel was wrapped in brown paper with a handwritten address. Tracing my name on the paper I decided to leave its contents contained for a little longer. Instead I picked some flowers from the garden, an occupation that never failed to calm me.
The roses, flushed pink like geishas, dripped from the earlier rain shower. Ignoring their flirtatious blushes, knowing that once plucked they wantonly shed their petals at the slightest glance; I headed for the Michaelmas daisies, Granddad’s favourites, wide-eyed and welcoming.


Short Story Sunday Festive Special (Day 4): Once Upon A Catmas Eve By Rachel Stevenson

Ebbie was unimpressed with her new 'evening' festive outfit.
Ebbie was unimpressed with her  ‘evening’ outfit.

Once upon a time, there lived a lonely cat called Ebbie. She was lonely because she hated Christmas, whereas all the other cats loved it because they got new toys and would find turkey giblets in their food bowl.

Her owner also loved Christmas and spent a lot of time putting up decorations and trimming the tree and was very annoyed when Ebbie spent the same amount of time pulling down the fairy lights and trying to gnaw on the baubles.

‘Christmas isn’t a time for cats!’ she said to Ebbie, who went off to sulk in the airing cupboard, making sure to chew on a few of her owner’s towels. She wanted to do a protest wee in there as well, but she didn’t dare do so because then her owner would put her out for the night and it was -2°C outside – and everyone knows that 20°C is the minimum feline temperature.


Short Story Sunday Festive Special (Day 3) The Christmas Card By Michael J. Farrell

Christmas CardEvery year without fail Angela received one Christmas card, the one she sent herself.

‘From an admirer, Angela?’ the postman would ask with a knowing wink.

She would finger the red envelope fondly, almost with curiosity, then place it behind the clock, she was never in a hurry to open it. She did not fit anyone’s definition of an eccentric: popular in the village, a hospice nurse taking hope to the sick in her little red car. Neither did she fit the lonely woman stereotype, if such there be. Yet she was remote. The stately old house looked out cautiously from small black windows. It was not that she discouraged visitors, yet there never seemed a reason for anyone to visit. She was the last of her line and had just passed the point when she could do anything about it.


Short Story Sunday Festive Special (Day 2) The Christmas Market by Steve Wade

Axe Man(Caution: This story contains scenes of mild terror and is not suitable for those under the age of 13).

For eleven months of the year the three generations existed in harmony beneath the same roof. That tragedy had befallen the family seven years ago no lodger or patron in the establishment would ever suspect or admit. But lodgers were few and patrons fewer. And that’s the way the McGuires liked it. For with just enough business passing through the inn to supplement the livelihood the small farm provided, there was less in the way of temptation on offer to the marauders who had been plaguing establishments like theirs for many years. These bandits had struck them on two occasions, terrifying the children and the grandparents.


Short Story Sunday Festive Special (Day1): Waiting for Christmas by Anne Wilson

Waiting for ChristmasThe haunting always began with a dry rustling sound. I thought it came from the dead flowers; sepia coloured blooms with shrivelled petals and scratchy looking stalks, clutched in the small girl’s hands. I imagined what was needed were brighter blooms. I don’t know much about flowers. Time proved me wrong on both matters regarding them.

Hurrying once again along darkening streets of curtained windows, a thin covering of late snow slowed my progress.


The Temple By Andrew Willmer

It’ll sound strange, ridiculous even, to someone who has never had the misfortune of visiting the city…but the whole place is alive. The crumbling buildings, the huge sandstone blocks that form the walls, the wild eyed statuettes that adorn every house, temple and shop. They emit a hum. No, perhaps hum isn’t quite right. A feeling would be more accurate. A kaleidoscope of senses. During the day you can push it to the back of your mind. You can keep it at bay. But night’s a different matter. Your consciousness is disarmed, voices invade your brain. Dark shapes appear in your dreams. Faces. Shadows. Glowing red eyes. Some nights I fancy I see Jimao’s face. No, not the temple. The real Jimao, alive and of flesh.
Dr Richard Rigby-Smith, 18–