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 family by Amy Ridler.

Amy Ridler is a writer, Managing Editor of MIR Online and English Teacher in East London, where she runs the LGBT+ society. She has worked with queer, feminist, live art theatre company Carnesky Productions as an Associate Artist since 2009 and continues to be a member of the company’s advisory board. She is currently an MA Creative Writing student at Birkbeck.

‘Soil’ follows a woman struggling after the loss of her father.



The soil crunches against Nell’s teeth as she grinds them together. Clumps of earth and small shards of stone cake her gums. Her tongue feels around for pebbles too big to ingest and brings them out from the very back of her mouth. They have no place here. Once identified, she spits them back onto the grass. Congealed brown droplets hang from her chin. She does not bother to wipe them away; she’ll tidy herself up once it is over. A light, a bathroom light, a few houses away, illuminates, momentarily catching her attention. An orange rectangle of life in an otherwise indigo sky. Frosted glass. She feels certain that her shape cannot be seen crouching behind the garden fence and even if it could, she doesn’t care anymore. Knees aching, she shifts her weight from left to right, unable to accept that it is over. Unable to get up and go back inside. Not yet. A noise comes out of her that could be mistaken for a laugh. Unsure why, the situation amuses her. Ever since she decided that tonight would be the night, the thought of it has amused her greatly. She is both in the moment and outside of it. The self which looks down on the scene, does so with calm resolution. It was always going to happen.

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