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 10 Minutes

  • On the Shelf

    On the first Sunday in November, at six o’clock sharp, as visiting hours at the retirement home ‘Peace’ begin, kyra Efthalia’s daughter arrives. She works as an administrative assistant at the hospital of Patras, two blocks down the street, but she usually visits once a month. She’s wearing a plasterboard-starched beige suit and bright red stilettos, which look like Easter eggs at the back. She sits across from her mother, calves crossed, fingers knitted, face Read more [...]

  • Pie and Mash

    I’d been badgered for a while by mum to get a Saturday job but this time the threat felt real. Dad was kind of on my side, but he also was adding the pressure lately. ‘You have to get a job, Michael. We’re not going to pay for another computer game, and that’s that,’ my mother said. ‘Your mother’s right, Mikey,’ my dad said, briefly lowering his newspaper across the breakfast table. This was a Read more [...]

  • Just a Cat

    It was 2.56am when it occurred to Emma that she could not remember the name of her childhood friend’s cat. Lindsey had been her timid next-door-but-two-neighbour, and her cat had been completely black with an incongruously bright pink nose. Emma’s daughter had reminded her of the creature that evening. ‘A kitten got stuck on the gym roof today!’ Lucy’s voice was thick from the garlic bread she hadn’t quite swallowed. Emma looked at her sleepily, Read more [...]

  • Clear Your Plate – Part Three

    DINNER   ‘Happy birthday, laopo.’ Emmeline beamed, her soapy fingers trying not to drop the phone into the kitchen sink. Such tiny things, the phones these days! ‘Thank you, dear.’ ‘I’m sorry I can’t come home early this time. New boss, you know…’ ‘Of course, it’s okay. We’ll have dinner tonight.’ ‘The kids are back, right?’ ‘The kids…’ Well, they had been back – school ended two hours ago – but they’d come in, had Read more [...]

  • What My Father Told Me

    My father said that he could hear them coming long before they arrived, long before they burst out of the bush, surrounded by villagers, the engine of their truck screaming, everything dipped in noise. He was twelve years old when they came – the same age as his father, my grandfather, had been when the old white explorer came into his life, sick and dying. I have seen pictures of the vehicle, in the archives Read more [...]

  • Misper

    Strong boots stomp the tarmac and stop right next to Geoff and me. Wet leather and sheep muck leap up my nose. There’s a strange hand in my fur, big-fingered. I lick the palm – urgh, tastes of engine oil. And the voice that belongs to the hand shouts over the beast in the sky: ‘That missing girl… I saw her. About ten this morning. Trudging along the path between the end of my field Read more [...]

  • Winter, 1963

    A well-aimed kick winds her; gasping, she bends double. Late afternoon, deep-dark February, and on the snaking branches of the common limes outside, snow sits tight, a vanilla crust ready to drop. She knows it won’t fall. There’s not a breath of winter wind. The air, it’s freezing. Another, insistent kick, a dense heel to her soft stomach, and now her belly is a Wurlitzer, the baby zealous for thrills and spills. She spreads the Read more [...]

  • Visit to the Toy Museum

    Charlie’s Toy Museum was built on an old bombsite and had been open almost twenty-four-seven ever since 1953. Charlie Walsh and his beloved but sadly late wife, Mu, loved kids so much that they had seven of their own. When their seven had wed and increased to twenty-seven, and the twenty-seven also wed, Charlie began to lose count of the number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who filled his life with cries and screams, hopes and Read more [...]