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 5 Minutes

  • Money to Burn

    The rich always die last, the old man croaked. His voice whipped away, swept across the white scoured snow-surface of the plain. Friend leaned forward trying to catch the tail end of his words. The man’s eyes were black, yellowing skin around them, red patches on his cheeks. Piss-holes in the snow, Friend thought. And hard white crystals of ice had formed on the stubble of his beard. He’s too cold for his skin to Read more [...]

  • The Midwinter Marriage

    Three men asked me to marry them. I said yes to them all. Vernon March whisked me to the altar in the month which matched his name. His courtship had soothed me like a breeze, flattered me into a flutter. I wore a green gown with a wreathe of violets and primroses. They wilted nearly as fast as the marriage. First of my friends to be seduced, I boasted about my man. Ah, that Spring. Read more [...]

  • Just Another Night

    I’ve never understood the allure of New Year’s Eve. I mean, what makes that one night so much more special than the other 364 nights of the year? And am I really supposed to believe that the mere act of counting down to midnight is enough to negate all the injustices and humiliations of the previous twelve months? ‘Think of it this way,’ Josie says, sitting down on my unmade bed. ‘Tonight, when the clock Read more [...]

  • Trust

    I don’t even remember what the fight was about, but what stayed with me was her scratching my arm and screaming that I was a jerk. Succumbing to an immature fit of pique, I broke her vintage Neil Young LP by snapping the vinyl into two jagged pieces. I watched Cheryl rush out of the apartment. I sat on the sofa, outraged, and glad to be alone. When she returned, her face was slick with Read more [...]

  • Coal Turf and Blocks

    In the days before Christmas the weather turned very cold and people said it would surely snow. Demand for coal, turf and blocks placed considerable pressure on my uncle’s yard. He ran the undertaking on the labour of his three sons, all big strong young fellows who were learning the rudiments of the family business. I had been drafted in to assist over the festive season. ‘Give you something to do,’ my mother had muttered, Read more [...]

  • Running the Gauntlet

    In the country town, where she had lived all her life, Connie’s only route to her sister’s flat was along Wash House Terrace, past the home of her former school-friend, Elsie Diggle. Once, during a heatwave, she had removed her shoes, to creep past unnoticed, but that was impossible on this damp November day. Coming straight from the drawing office where she worked, Connie’s shoes had a high heel, making her footsteps louder than she Read more [...]

  • Cold Turkey

    The snow reflects moon-silver, softening the Norfolk landscape, and the wind carries scraps of carols on its wings. Tom shakes himself to clear snowflakes from his snood, his wattle flapping. Tom’s a bigger turkey than me. He teases me about my ‘superstitious nonsense’, but I have this nagging feeling. Two children walked past yesterday and one said, ‘Nearly Christmas.’ Whatever that means. I sidle over to the hole in the fence, squeeze through and plop Read more [...]

  • Clear Your Plate – Part Two

    LUNCH   ‘She’ll grow up to kill you, you know.’ That was what I wanted to say, but how can you say that? Every time I see them, and smile at that poor little girl, and she tries to smile back at me, I want to seize her mother and shake her, slap her, shout at her, do all the violence to her I can see burning in her daughter’s eyes. How old is she? Read more [...]