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 acceptance by Elaine Miles.
Elaine Miles began writing short stories in 2006, when a back injury forced her to lie down and do nothing for six weeks. Unable to do much more than lift a pen, she thought she’d give writing a go, and sent a short story off to a writing competition, never dreaming for a minute that she’d win anything. But amazingly, she did, and she realised she might be on to something. She’s never looked back.
In 2012, Elaine won a prize for Best New Writing awarded by the Rondo Theatre in Bath. In the same year, she decided that being onstage herself might be a blast (for which read, completely terrifying) and so she began performing her stories before a live audience. Fear was rapidly replaced with the excitement and buzz of live performance, and since then she has read her stories at a multitude of live events, performing her work at the Bath Festival of Literature as well as other events in Bath and Bristol. A number of her stories and monologues have also been broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol and Bath Radio, and Tempest Productions have created audio recordings of a number of her stories.
‘Rescue’ follows two women who form an unlikely friendship and encourage each other to be brave.
Sally locked the door hastily and darted into the alley flanking her gift shop. Because there she was again. Her new neighbour. What was she doing, wafting about the village at five o’clock on a rainy evening in February? Almost certainly yet another import from London, newly-ensconced in what should have been a family home for locals but was now doubtless a ‘fabulous little getaway’ bought for ‘an absolute song, darling.’ Sally had heard all too often the newcomers braying outside the local deli, congratulating themselves on their ‘amazing little find.’ Thanks to the newly-acquired thirst for second homes by the sea, the narrow village streets were positively jammed with SUVs these days. While her son and his wife were still renting, still scrabbling about for a deposit that was moving further and further out of reach.
Such was Sally’s internal monologue as she grumbled her way round the Co-op before trudging home. The Wafter had moved in three doors down the month before. With some careful strategizing Sally had so far managed to avoid her, but it was only a matter of time, because after three sightings this week it was clear her new neighbour was stalking her.
Arriving home, her Jack Russell, Colin (the name had been her husband’s idea) marshalled her bossily towards his lead. No escaping a rain-sodden walk along the coastal path on this evening, or indeed any other. She shoved on her boots, turned out of the front door and… oh for crying out loud, there she was again!
‘Hello! Nice to meet you! I’ve just moved in to number six.’