All Short stories

  • City Lights

    David had observed the long narrow room before. Late at night, sitting in his car at the traffic lights, he would look up at the building opposite. Each time, the room on the second floor attracted his attention. Its large windows were without curtains or blinds. Around the edge of its ceiling, hung strings of pink, yellow and green coloured lights, flashing in endless repetition. Pink, yellow, green, off. Pink, yellow, green, off. Jagged shadows read more

  • Scars

    My mother was in Padua for the mud. A once a year pilgrimage usually made around October to help her pursue a lifelong quest for cosmetic immortality. The mud, she believes, is the perfect end of season treatment for yet another year of lifts, nips and tucks to an already enhanced and overstretched body. Mother hopes that by lying in the grey steaming goo she will achieve a blending of her various surgical procedures, resulting read more

  • The Darts of Harkness

    We were holidaying on the river. The brochure had described it as a cruise. To be honest, it was really just a week-long piss-up, downing tins of beer as we drifted between one riverside pub and the next. Well, what else was there to do? Our vessel required no especial skill to master. At the flick of a switch and a puff of black smoke, the engine would cough into life, like a smoker choking read more

  • Shall We Dance?

    Anna thought: there was a time when people would stop what they were doing, even if they were only walking, and watch, serious and upright, as a cortège went by. Perhaps in other places they still did it. A respect for the dead. Here a funeral car was just part of the traffic, just one of too many purposes choking a road, and a particularly inconvenient one at that. Going too slowly, taking up too read more

  • Dry County

    Frustrating times. Glenn had worked as a junior caretaker at Whittaker Park since he was twenty. That meant lawn-mower or leaf-raker, depending on the season. After ten years he’d persuaded his boss to promote him to caretaker. That meant lawn-mower or leaf-raker, depending on the season. Frustrating times. Frustrating in all ways. It was no surprise when the most eventful month of Glenn’s life started with other people having sex. Even better, while he was read more

  • Crows Caw in Cwmdonkin Park

    ‘Damn, damn, damn it.’ James bangs the pen down on the table causing the coffee cup to rattle in its saucer and the two fresh roses to quiver in their vase. A woman’s voice breaks into his frustration. ‘Can I sit here? There’s not much room today.’ James looks up, sees a woman in her mid-thirties pulling out the chair opposite him, scraping its feet on the paving stones. ‘Yes, of course. Here, let me read more

  • The Glow Worm

    Two of the younger monks came out of the little gate at dawn, running for their lives. The soldiers caught them. They ripped their woollen habits from them and put them on the fire, stripping them naked. ‘Pray to Saint Francis to get you a new shirt!’ the soldiers shouted, and then they laughed. The monks ran from them, crying and praying into the woods. Later the monastery was a quiet place, and only the read more

  • When Freda Met Sally

    I was twelve when my mother Freda first experienced loss of co-ordination. I was sitting in the back of our Morris Minor convertible, Freda was driving with Sally beside her. No one was wearing seat belts because Freda said they were for cowards and conformists. We were speeding with the top down, the three of us laughing and shouting over the noise of the wind, when the Morris lurched and drifted out to the crown read more