Fifteen minutes after turning out my light, Dad is back in my room. I simulate the breathing pattern of a sleeping child as he lies down next to me and puts his hand on my back.
Category: Flash Fiction
Stories longer than 100 words, but less than 1,500
She smiles apologetically when they meet in the communal hallway each morning.
‘Sorry about the noise,’ she’d said when they first met, her son lurking behind a haircut in the doorway. ‘It’s my thing.’
Move To Trash
Wednesday night is party night and it’s my turn to bring the music. He usually staggers in about 11.
Steve arrives at the polling station without a placard.
What good is that? I say.
Moral support, he says.
But no one knows you’re here.
I kick lazily at the dead leaves and wait for them to file past and offer one last condolence before drifting back to unchanged lives.
The next day: Ring ring. Dad picks up.
We’re watching that fat nanny film.
Fake News, 1986
George carefully mops up the remaining bean juice with his last bit of sausage.
‘Did you know,’ he says, stabbing the food into his mouth, ‘Franklin Roosevelt won a silver medal in the Peru Olympics in 1891?’
Someone in my dictionary is up to no good. Words slip, slide; old truths melt away as new ones emerge, dark and glutinous, always just out of reach.
The Great Weight of Ordeals
We watch children mourn their futile endeavour as the tide engulfs their sandcastles. Ellie lies with me as the water laps at our feet and we find his ghost in the clouds.
Ghosts of the Machine
We find shelter from The Horde in the old courthouse.
Casey marvels at the cornicing, the domed ceiling, the utilitarian furniture.
We skip Geography, race to the cliffs and dance incoherent patterns on the roof of a World War Two pillbox. Harry pulls his trousers down and pees over the cliff edge until the wind blows it back onto his legs and the three of us collapse in laughter.
Working It Out
That’s not really how it works.
You can’t really rob a spa.
Gavin put the gun in her mouth.
I want a free massage. Now.
How can a violin be haunted, I said. Maybe it’s got a ghost living inside it, like a little mouse, he said.
Mitigating Circumstances – Part 1
‘Truman, you can’t expect a crushed child on your watch to go without consequences.’
Derek Granger stands up, gulps down his Coke and burps. I stare out the window at the July snow.
Testimony of Niagara Falls Repatriation Officer #3
Before The Contamination my job was much easier. I’d never complain, of course, but stopping Outcasts from scaling a 188-foot waterfall to flee has been tough since they drained Lake Erie.
Until the End of the World
Bulgaria was the last to fall. They even had hotel bellboys, for fuck’s sake.
Robert knows too much. At first light, I run the bath, yank out his Pain Threshold chip and throw him in the water.
‘You can’t expect a crushed child on your watch to go without consequences.’
Come Home Adam
After more than two weeks of 50-word stories, I thought I’d combine a couple to expand into a longer piece.
Advice for Budding Journalists #83
If you are interviewing grieving parents in their cramped Victorian living room, try not to knock a photo of their dead teenage daughter off the mantelpiece.
The vacuum whine woke him every morning.
She met him once in the communal hallway to apologise, her son lingering behind a haircut.
Unused swings wobble in the breeze. An disheveled man, can in hand, chases a pigeon, staggering, burning fury in his bloodshot eyes. The taunting bird hops in a large circle until, bored, it hauls itself […]
The Union flag stood tall in scruffy gardens, thrashed violently on the aerials of speeding white vans, draped lazily across windows of now-darkened pubs. Victory. The windswept rock was cleansed, thanks to one woman, in […]
Swipe to Clear
Mum’s birthday today, don’t forget. Swipe to clear. Huge earthquake in Bangladesh. Swipe to clear. Police hunt for missing toddler in Derby. Swipe to clear. I love you. Swipe to clear. 86 dead in suicide […]
Aika shut out the world, gripped the scissors in her right hand and cradled the baby’s head in her left. Her training had prepared her for this and yet her heartbeat was deafening, her breath […]
‘The barbarians are coming,’ proclaimed the king. And so, the people prepared for war. A sacrifice was left outside the walls. The wait was agonising, but no one came. ‘Where are the barbarians?’ demanded the […]
He rides the buses, leaving stickers on the windows. Blood orange, with white writing. Come Home Cameron. The city that swallowed his son unspools. He stares at colour-coded maps of vast, monochrome housing estates. YOU […]
The advert had promised adventure, action, yet here he was in the Bahamas, building a circular green fence to protect the crops from an unremitting wind. ‘You joined at the wrong time, Haddon,’ barked his […]
The salesman on her doorstep reeked of old perfume. The knot of his tie pinched his neck and it dangled too long, tapering over his groin like a desperate plea. Sweat pooled on his upper […]
The Royal Ballroom was not accustomed to motorbikes careening through its windows, but the helmeted man had a message. A red triangle on the seal told the King all he needed. ‘A storm nears,’ he […]