Welcome to Fairlight Shorts – the home of seriously good storytelling. All of the Short Stories on our website have been hand-picked for their originality, contemporary themes and superb writing. We aim to post a new story each week, so do subscribe to our newsletter or join us on twitter if you would like to be kept up to date.

All July 17

  • Stocktaking

    Shops that sell antiquarian books might get broken into occasionally, but twice at once seems excessive. At least, it does to me, and I was one of the people breaking in. Although I’m usually punctilious – and only someone punctilious would use that word – I didn’t extend myself over this one. After all, I was stealing a single book, not the Alexandrian Library. The shop stood in a quiet street in Bath. Amongst the Read more [...]

  • The Miner who would be a Gannet

    Gannet: Sula bassana. Very large seabird, cigar shaped with a six-foot wingspan. Narrow, black-tipped wings and a white body with ochre head. A superb, graceful flyer, prefers open sea except when breeding. Dives from a great height to catch fish.   ‘When tha’ going to get ‘itched then Tommy?’ one of his lippy mates asked him as they entered the cage for the day-shift. It was a question on many of the men’s minds but 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • The View of the Garden in Summer

    I met him in the Marais. For me, Paris was a passing place on route to the South, but he was working on a series of commissioned landscapes. I was struck by his thick sandy hair, broad shoulders and that he was covered in paint. The cuffs of his grey linen jacket were speckled with azure and primrose; his lapels smeared with scarlet slashes. Brilliant white accentuated the creases around his eyes, and I noticed Read more [...]