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 15 Minutes

  • The Alien

    He lay on his bed looking out of the window through the partly drawn curtains at the clear night sky. There, a little to the left, just above the window shutter, was the Belt of Orion, shining clearly and brightly as always; and further to the left by about one hundred light years was his own star system… and home. He knew one day he would return there, one day, but for now here he Read more [...]

  • Murder on the Duchy Estate

    Chapter 1 The Duchy of Lancaster’s housing estate in Harrogate is described euphemistically by local estate agents as ‘The favoured Duchy Estate’. It was built towards the end of the Victorian era for the successful merchants of Harrogate’s booming spa town, and consists of large stone and redbrick properties, many sporting mock Tudor gables. The houses were built on a grand scale and typically featured five or six bedrooms, sometimes more, and included coach houses Read more [...]

  • Mr Veron

    When Susan recalled how she had been in the summer of ’68, when she had first gone flat-hunting in Edinburgh, what came into her mind, with a rush of embarrassment even after all these years, was her youth, her innocence and her unshakeable belief in the values that her parents had imposed upon her throughout her childhood. In retrospect, she now saw she had been looking for an ivory tower, or at least a cell, Read more [...]

  • 1807

    April 13th 1807 I was hiding in the closet with a sock stuffed in my mouth. Short shallow rapid breathing. I tried with great difficulty to not make a single sound. They were like lions cleverly preying strategically on an unsuspecting plump gazelle. Peering through the slight crack, I watched on as the bright flames of the torchlights glared through the windows, resonating against the pitch-black sky. I sat, frozen, aghast. They had found me. Read more [...]

  • On the Way

    Only after she secures her starched white blouse does she line her eyes and dab her cheeks. Otherwise she wears no visible makeup. Slinging the yellowing cloth bag over her shoulder, she locks her door and makes her way down the unpainted stairs. When she steps outside, she is confronted by the dust and commotion of a seven-am weekday. But there is a welcome that Dhaka reserves solely for her.   ***   After she Read more [...]

  • Her Silent Man

    Such a quiet boy could not be good. Zulekha saw him the first morning he was on duty, waiting for the girl that was to be his charge. She asked his name, and he ignored her. A snide remark about him being deaf and dumb didn’t make a difference. He went on cleaning the dashboard and only left her steaming even more. That first time Zulekha thought, there it was! Her mother’s warning in motion, Read more [...]

  • New Year’s Eve at the Nun’s Purse

    If there’s a dingier, grottier pub in all the British Isles, I’ve not found it yet. The Nun’s Purse boasts fly-strewn windowsills, walls the colour of a tobacco addict’s teeth, and table-tops so sticky that old Bill Jones lost a shirt sleeve to one this afternoon. Even the most iron guts can’t stomach “The Food”, not for long anyway, and never twice. The toilets? Don’t ask. Complaining is futile. The Manager — Tommy ‘Gun’ Benson Read more [...]

  • Too Cold For Snow

    I’ve slept badly again. The farmhouse is unearthly cold. Alive, too, in the still of night, with ticks, groans, intestinal gurgles. The fridge, juddering to a halt. Alice was restless. Shy of dawn I heard her get up, potter about downstairs. She’s left a note on the kitchen table: can run you into the village in the afternoon. Ok, maybe. I’ll have to check texts at some point. Go through with the renewal. Let Leonora Read more [...]