Number Six is a Half-Broken Mind


Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about summoning by Beck Collett.

Beck Collett lives in South Wales with her husband, 9-year-old daughter, two monochrome cats and Multiple Sclerosis. She writes short-form fiction, and graduated from the Open University with an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction in 2020.

Beck began writing as a result of her MS diagnosis. Suddenly unable to work, and having no identity or idea of what the hell to do, writing allowed her to create a role for herself among the pain and confusion.

Beck contributes blogs to the MS Society, and her work has been published by MakarelleThe HootSecret AtticSixth Element PublishingCastle Priory Press and New Welsh Review among others. Beck’s novella-in-flash, Blinks and Shards, was highly commended in the New Welsh Review Rheidol Prize for Prose 2022.

‘Number Six is a Half-Broken Mind’ follows a sixteen-year-old attempting to summon a demon.



You’ve to follow proper etiquette, or demons won’t give you the time of day. It only takes six things to reach them, and number one is the book I had from my auntie, along with dire warnings not to use it.

Demons are surprisingly easy to reach; I wasn’t even trying properly, just having a run-through in readiness for when I meant to kill someone. If I meant to kill someone, I mean. Numbers two to five represent the elements. (I had a candle, pot-plant, balloon and a pint of orange-squash. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it to work.) Demons are specialists – no Jacks-of-all-trades in their land. You respectfully greet every single one as you make your way to the demon you need. Everything’s purple or dirty-emerald coloured, with wonky pillars everywhere and a dark, gloopy river running backwards.

Read more…