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

  • 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 [...]

  • Clear Your Plate – Part One

    BREAKFAST   ‘Well, my dear, I suppose that’s the only promise you couldn’t keep.’ I shut off the alarm clock and draw the curtain to allow the lazy dawn light to filter in. I gaze down at him, my dead husband. Somehow I always thought he would outlive me. He was always the strong one, the macho man who went out in the world to work for us, and then came home and let his Read more [...]

  • Greenwood Tree

    When I was a child, I used to lie under the huge conker trees that edged the caravan park. I watched the dark dense mass of leaves stir and lift. I breathed deeply. As the sun set, the light caught on the upper branches – so far up, touching the sky – filling me with ideas and possibilities, of where my life might lead. ‘Oh, there you are, you daydreamer,’ my Mum would say, smiling, Read more [...]

  • So Dad, There’s This Girl…

    Tommy Lunger got off the school bus, ran up the driveway, and went inside his house. The sun was sinking down below the horizon in the late afternoon like it always did at this time in December. There was no snow yet, but soon the ground would be white, and Tommy would have to start wearing boots to school. For now the weather was fair, though. Once inside, Tommy threw his book bag down and Read more [...]

  • When You’re Told Holly Berries Are Sweet

    It’s always afterwards people tell you they were worried or they thought that something wasn’t quite right. They couldn’t put their finger on it but felt something might be wrong. Virtue-signallers, one and all. I know, that makes it sound as if I’m lacking gratitude. But I didn’t know anyone wanted to help. I guess I better go back to the beginning. There was a house. An ordinary house designed for a family to live Read more [...]