The Seen


Our short story of the week is a story about cheating by Jane Copland.

Jane Copland is from Wellington, New Zealand. After spending her early years almost entirely underwater, she broke a national record in the 200m breaststroke at eighteen and moved to Pullman, Washington to take up a swimming scholarship at Washington State University. Receiving her degree in English in 2006, she moved to Seattle with every intention of working in publishing. Instead, she found herself in tech, which led her to London three years later. She now lives in Reading with her husband, son and large German Shepherd.

Jane began writing aged four, sent swiftly to the headmistress’s office to share her story about a rescue on a mountain. At seventeen, her flash fiction piece placed third in a national Tandem Press competition for under-eighteens and was published in the resulting anthology. However, she only began writing again in earnest in 2019. Since then, her work has been published in Ellipsis Zine, Spelk and Virtual Zine. She was shortlisted in the inaugural Nobrow Prize, the 2020 Fresher Prize, the London Independent Story Prize and the forty-ninth New Millennium Writing Awards.

The Seen follows a runner desperate for validation, even if he has to get it by deceitful means.


It didn’t start on social media. No, he couldn’t even blame the bubbly icons of validation on the phone, because it didn’t start there at all. It didn’t start at the pub or at work, and not even at the gym. It didn’t start at any one moment that Ryan could have put his finger on, were he in the mood to try (which he certainly wasn’t). A thousand small humiliations and lessons that separate good character from bad, perseverance from apathy, honour from duplicity: they were all the toxic seeds of deceit.

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