Browse our general literary ebooks….

Our literary short stories are those which deal with themes rather than simply action. These often explore aspects of the human condition or include social commentary. Literary fiction is often defined by what it is not; on the CUT site it is not genre-specific fiction, such as crime or romance, which primarily deal with plot over thematic exploration.

Shooting Stars
Brindley Hallam Dennis
£1.99 Added
You’d be a fool to risk it these days, with no witnesses and only memory to guide you. All you can recall is little details, as sharp as a story painted on shattered glass. The summer of seventy six you took a temporary job with a film company working in the English Lake District.
The White Dog Of Barafundle Bay
Lynda Nash
£1.29 Added
A soldier home on leave sees things he cannot quite believe and finds his wife in a strange, compromising position. "The Boathouse Café had an air about it that suggested sea and sand. If it had been inland patrons would have drank their coffee, eaten their scones and felt nostalgic for the beach without knowing why. It was the décor, Phillip decided. Crisp white walls, low beams, driftwood picture frames, and a candy striped canopy over the ice-cream booth outside. He ordered a fried egg and sausage bap but the assistant with a tattoo on her boney arm, written in a script he couldn’t decipher, informed him that it was after eleven o’clock. They didn’t serve breakfast after eleven, but since when had fried egg and sausage become solely breakfast food? Had he been away that long? If he decided to take the next tour – Middle East, Mosul or Marshhad no doubt – would he come back to find soup sold at lunchtime only or teacakes served only after three in the afternoon? The girl’s lip curled when she spoke to him as if he were the hundredth person to ask for sausage and egg that day. Did she have no respect for a uniform? For all he knew she might have thought his clothes were fancy dress and him, just another case of too much sun to the head. The sun had a lot to answer for in these parts..."
Lullaby
From a gently insidious dystopian future, a woman looks back on her life and the true love she knows she missed out on. Finally, she remains undismayed, confident that the human span isn't everything... "Along a lane threaded through the night… threaded through space: so the colours and shapes had sung for over forty years. Of daylight inside darkness. Of reassurance. Of permanence beyond the transitory. Though its mysterious and variegated surface could not alter, its effect each day, was often subtly different. Kathleen had never tired of this painting, and it always narrowed the distance in years and personal space between her and the painter she’d once known. Several times they’d met when they were young, and so close in mind had she felt, that to her they’d stayed friends in a hidden parallel ever since – despite only an occasional letter to break the silence. Perhaps the song of these colours and forms welled from sentiment? Perhaps she’d buried her love in this painting… and its shifting planes, stood in for the man who would rarely have claimed more than partial responsibility for the work he signed? Moving away from the dark glass, her reflected face left the rim of the impulsive, breathing world beyond – a landscape frequently more promising than the intermittently anxious horizons outside. Passing an empty, unexpectant chair, she had only wished before nightfall, to check the latch. Now, she needed to open the door, to renew her faith in the real world. Along a lane threaded through the night… threaded through space: so the colours and shapes had sung for over forty years. Of daylight inside darkness. Of reassurance. Of permanence beyond the transitory. Though its mysterious and variegated surface could not alter, its effect each day, was often subtly different. Kathleen had never tired of this painting, and it always narrowed the distance in years and personal space between her and the painter she’d once known. Several times they’d met when they were young, and so close in mind had she felt, that to her they’d stayed friends in a hidden parallel ever since – despite only an occasional letter to break the silence. Perhaps the song of these colours and forms welled from sentiment? Perhaps she’d buried her love in this painting… and its shifting planes, stood in for the man who would rarely have claimed more than partial responsibility for the work he signed? Moving away from the dark glass, her reflected face left the rim of the impulsive, breathing world beyond – a landscape frequently more promising than the intermittently anxious horizons outside. Passing an empty, unexpectant chair, she had only wished before nightfall, to check the latch. Now, she needed to open the door, to renew her faith in the real world..."
Lullaby
Lawrence Freiesleben
£0.99 Added
From a gently insidious dystopian future, a woman looks back on her life and the true love she knows she missed out on. Finally, she remains undismayed, confident that the human span isn't everything... "Along a lane threaded through the night… threaded through space: so the colours and shapes had sung for over forty years. Of daylight inside darkness. Of reassurance. Of permanence beyond the transitory. Though its mysterious and variegated surface could not alter, its effect each day, was often subtly different. Kathleen had never tired of this painting, and it always narrowed the distance in years and personal space between her and the painter she’d once known. Several times they’d met when they were young, and so close in mind had she felt, that to her they’d stayed friends in a hidden parallel ever since – despite only an occasional letter to break the silence. Perhaps the song of these colours and forms welled from sentiment? Perhaps she’d buried her love in this painting… and its shifting planes, stood in for the man who would rarely have claimed more than partial responsibility for the work he signed? Moving away from the dark glass, her reflected face left the rim of the impulsive, breathing world beyond – a landscape frequently more promising than the intermittently anxious horizons outside. Passing an empty, unexpectant chair, she had only wished before nightfall, to check the latch. Now, she needed to open the door, to renew her faith in the real world. Along a lane threaded through the night… threaded through space: so the colours and shapes had sung for over forty years. Of daylight inside darkness. Of reassurance. Of permanence beyond the transitory. Though its mysterious and variegated surface could not alter, its effect each day, was often subtly different. Kathleen had never tired of this painting, and it always narrowed the distance in years and personal space between her and the painter she’d once known. Several times they’d met when they were young, and so close in mind had she felt, that to her they’d stayed friends in a hidden parallel ever since – despite only an occasional letter to break the silence. Perhaps the song of these colours and forms welled from sentiment? Perhaps she’d buried her love in this painting… and its shifting planes, stood in for the man who would rarely have claimed more than partial responsibility for the work he signed? Moving away from the dark glass, her reflected face left the rim of the impulsive, breathing world beyond – a landscape frequently more promising than the intermittently anxious horizons outside. Passing an empty, unexpectant chair, she had only wished before nightfall, to check the latch. Now, she needed to open the door, to renew her faith in the real world..."
Pills
Joseph Lavelle
£0.99 Added
In the morning, we fooled around in bed. In the afternoon, Colin packed his bags again. ‘I’m leaving,’ he said.
How To Become Unseen
Helen Pizzey
£0.99 Added
A handy beginners' guide to invisibility. "First, remove all colour from your wardrobe – especially white; white is eye-catching and stands out in a crowd..."
The Night Study
A Danish painter is driven into exile by his father. But he can never escape the chains of the family's dark secrets. "I watched the face of the man who could destroy me and, even then, I remember thinking what a fine composition this room would make. The mighty bookcases indistinct in the darkness, the fire in the grate, illuminating the faces of the two men drinking but clearly having no care or regard for each other. I had never been good enough for my father but I could always trust my younger sister to act as a bridge between him and me. It was to her that I could show my paintings, before my father destroyed them. When my father insisted that I go into the family business, that was when I knew I had to leave. But at regular intervals I would row over the lake to see her when my father was away. When she told me he was making her marry his old business partner I wanted to go and confront him but I did not really have the courage and was too easily persuaded by my sweet sister not to do anything. On the night of the wedding I stayed on the other side of the lake, looking at my old home lit up in festivity. As the music died I rowed over to where I knew my sister would be waiting. That night we said our last farewells, for the next day she would be leaving for Copenhagen. I knew the composition we made was beautiful. Angrily I threw myself into painting, feeding on my melancholy. I tried a palette of blacks and greys but could not cope with these. Instead I painted the summer fields of my childhood, all greens and yellows and a bright blue sky. I despised my weakness. Even more so when I was taken up by the London art market, my bright daubs becoming popular with the bourgeoisie because enough influential critics liked them..."
The Night Study
David Phelps
£0.99 Added
A Danish painter is driven into exile by his father. But he can never escape the chains of the family's dark secrets. "I watched the face of the man who could destroy me and, even then, I remember thinking what a fine composition this room would make. The mighty bookcases indistinct in the darkness, the fire in the grate, illuminating the faces of the two men drinking but clearly having no care or regard for each other. I had never been good enough for my father but I could always trust my younger sister to act as a bridge between him and me. It was to her that I could show my paintings, before my father destroyed them. When my father insisted that I go into the family business, that was when I knew I had to leave. But at regular intervals I would row over the lake to see her when my father was away. When she told me he was making her marry his old business partner I wanted to go and confront him but I did not really have the courage and was too easily persuaded by my sweet sister not to do anything. On the night of the wedding I stayed on the other side of the lake, looking at my old home lit up in festivity. As the music died I rowed over to where I knew my sister would be waiting. That night we said our last farewells, for the next day she would be leaving for Copenhagen. I knew the composition we made was beautiful. Angrily I threw myself into painting, feeding on my melancholy. I tried a palette of blacks and greys but could not cope with these. Instead I painted the summer fields of my childhood, all greens and yellows and a bright blue sky. I despised my weakness. Even more so when I was taken up by the London art market, my bright daubs becoming popular with the bourgeoisie because enough influential critics liked them..."
Twenty-Five Tenpenny Tales
Brindley Hallam Dennis
£2.49 Added
A collection of twenty five flash fictions. "It frightened him when she walked out alone like that in the early evenings and in the mornings. Sometimes he watched her from the upstairs windows, a flickering upright between the hedgerow trees beyond fields. She ranged a little further every time, in widening circuits of the empty space between them. Sometimes he tried to follow her, though not to catch her up, and by the time he’d put his coat on and the heavy shoes – the fields and tracks were often wet and muddy after rain – she was too far ahead for him even to be sure that he was following; not merely walking in his own unravelling circles. Sometimes, when walking out like that he knew that she was one side or another of him, perhaps ahead, and felt they were like planets in their orbits, or rather comets. Their orbits were not perfect circles around the house, but stretched, elongated ellipses. Sometimes when he walked, searching for glimpses of her through the trees along the rides and lanes, he would glance back towards the house and see it setting like a sun, glinting in the early morning light or lit with yellow panes at evening in its deep cut windows..."
The War Hero the Film Star and the Footman and Another Story
David Phelps
£0.99 Added
"When Frederick came home from work one day there was a strange bike leaning against the porch. He cussed; the last thing he wanted was having to be polite to visitors after a hard day in the fields. "As his eyes became accustomed to the gloom of the kitchen he found himself being stared at by a middle aged man. He was wearing a better suit than normally seen in the village and the best china was out. ""They said you were a beanpole and they didn't lie." the main said approvingly."
Background Music
Sue Wilsea
£0.99 Added
Opportunity could be about to knock for a young musician. "Jon had experienced enough knocks in his eighteen years of life not to want to invite more. Losing his Dad had been bad enough but then Mum remarrying a tosser who ran a shop was another kick in the whatsits. Apart from all the personal stuff, he got really bad hay fever. A flower shop, for fuck’s sake, it couldn’t have been worse...."
Dawn Chorus
Brindley Hallam Dennis
£1.99 Added
On the road, escaping from a confrontation a young man unexpectedly returns home, but when his friend retells the story, does he get it right? "Billy and Geoff had gone down to London, with a few of the others. They were staying over in somebody’s house, so they were on their best behaviour. But the folk they were staying with turned out to be OK. Because no-one had eaten yet they all went down the local pub, which served chicken in a basket which was all the rage in those days. Now, Billy was having difficulties with his woman at that time, and Geoff was fooling around with anyone, on account of having comprehensively fallen out with his own woman a few weeks before. So, what with the drinks, they were getting on each other’s tits. Then Geoff started giving Billy hard beans about the way he was treating Sam – that was Billy’s woman – and saying that if he wasn’t careful somebody else would do the Doctor John on her, somebody else will, you know? So Billy told him he could effing well have her, and he took himself off into the night..."
Rebirth in Earth
Alyson Morris
£0.99 Added
An estranged daughter goes to her father's funeral. "I am sitting on the fourth step curling my toes around the stair where the carpet is worn; the naughty step. I was left there once, forgotten; so I’d picked at the wallpaper. And here it is now, the same ripped hole. It’s almost time for my father’s funeral. A man who insisted on a vertical burial underneath a tree. This, of course, is understandable – he was a sixties teenager and wore a garden in his hair. I now imagine his body being lowered into a hole feet first, then being covered with soil, then being topped off with a baby oak. I can see the roots winding themselves around his neck. While picking at the wallpaper, once again – it’s been twenty years – I hear a van arriving. So, rising from my naughty step, I turn and give it a little pat before descending to heaven knows what. The van is yellow like my plumber’s, except this one has REBIRTH IN EARTH written on its side – thankfully with no painted flowers. Dad is inside the van, inside a cardboard box painted blue with lots of clouds on it. It looks like a screensaver..."
Bin Day
A woman in a controlling marriage is liberated by an unfortunate turn of events. "“I have my routine… Wednesdays, I dust and do the midweek wash. Thursdays is market day; I take the bus into town and shop for the week. Fridays, I bake and prepare food for the weekend. Weekends used to be busy. When Samantha was younger the three of us used to go for days out, a picnic in the park, a trip to the zoo. She was all blue eyes and blonde curls then. And her clothes were pink, she wouldn't wear anything else. As a teenager, it was black, her whole wardrobe. Now at weekends I usually potter around the garden. Samantha's out a lot. And I'm not sure what Tom does half the time, apart from taking all day to read The Sunday Times. Mondays, I strip the beds, clean the bathroom and the kitchen, but Tuesdays are my favourite; bin day. I wait for Tom and Samantha to leave the house and I hoover; the whole place, from top to bottom, emptying the bins from each room as I go. When I hoover, I tune into the sound of the bits of dirt as they are sucked along the aluminium tube. I find it satisfying, comforting. Like listening to rain. Dry rain. That Tuesday, I started in Samantha's room. Her room is always a challenge; discarded garments, shoes. Used tissues and make up wipes surround the bin. Every surface cluttered like a beach in Benidorm.' ‘I don't like coming into your room,’ I tell her. ‘It's like an obstacle course, I don't know how you can sleep in here.’ ‘CBA, Mum,’ she says. ‘You're OCD. A clean house is a life wasted.’ That morning, when I finished her room, I took the hoover and her bin to empty into the wheelie bins. As usual, I sorted the rubbish; plastics into brown, cardboard into green, paper into blue and general rubbish into black. But, the black bin was missing; the third time in as many months. Twice before, I'd complained to the council and ended up having to pay forty pounds for a replacement. Things have changed in our street. There was a time when I knew everybody. Not now..."
Bin Day
Wendy Gill
£0.99 Added
A woman in a controlling marriage is liberated by an unfortunate turn of events. "“I have my routine… Wednesdays, I dust and do the midweek wash. Thursdays is market day; I take the bus into town and shop for the week. Fridays, I bake and prepare food for the weekend. Weekends used to be busy. When Samantha was younger the three of us used to go for days out, a picnic in the park, a trip to the zoo. She was all blue eyes and blonde curls then. And her clothes were pink, she wouldn't wear anything else. As a teenager, it was black, her whole wardrobe. Now at weekends I usually potter around the garden. Samantha's out a lot. And I'm not sure what Tom does half the time, apart from taking all day to read The Sunday Times. Mondays, I strip the beds, clean the bathroom and the kitchen, but Tuesdays are my favourite; bin day. I wait for Tom and Samantha to leave the house and I hoover; the whole place, from top to bottom, emptying the bins from each room as I go. When I hoover, I tune into the sound of the bits of dirt as they are sucked along the aluminium tube. I find it satisfying, comforting. Like listening to rain. Dry rain. That Tuesday, I started in Samantha's room. Her room is always a challenge; discarded garments, shoes. Used tissues and make up wipes surround the bin. Every surface cluttered like a beach in Benidorm.' ‘I don't like coming into your room,’ I tell her. ‘It's like an obstacle course, I don't know how you can sleep in here.’ ‘CBA, Mum,’ she says. ‘You're OCD. A clean house is a life wasted.’ That morning, when I finished her room, I took the hoover and her bin to empty into the wheelie bins. As usual, I sorted the rubbish; plastics into brown, cardboard into green, paper into blue and general rubbish into black. But, the black bin was missing; the third time in as many months. Twice before, I'd complained to the council and ended up having to pay forty pounds for a replacement. Things have changed in our street. There was a time when I knew everybody. Not now..."
Reaching You
A story about friendship, loss and seemingly supernatural forces that may or may not be the product of a disturbed mind. "I came to in my own bed, as the August dawn was breaking. I sat up slowly, and next to me on the camping mat on the floor, was my best mate, Shell. The pain behind my eyes made me shrink from the light as I tried to remember the night before. We’d been on the beach, just the two of us. No wait, her brother, Ben, had been there as well. He’d been in a bad way. He’d lost his place on the ‘Back to Work’ scheme for turning up late three days in a row. That meant his benefits would stop. We’d gone out to the local dunes at Druridge Bay, with cans of Magners to try to cheer him up. And, if I’m honest, to keep an eye on him. I stumbled out to the bathroom and heard my mum call, ‘Jo, I’m off to get the bus to Newcastle. Could you give Shell’s mum a call, she wants to know where Ben is. ‘Bye, love.’ The front door slammed shut. Ben. Where was he? I remembered his face twisted with gloom and booze as he’d told me and Shell to get lost and go home. He wanted to be on his own. At the time I’d thought, ‘Sod you.’ Me and Shell’d been rock solid with him and he’d brushed us away like we were nothing. Just flies on his face. Shell must’ve thought the same. ‘Come on, he’s one stupid shithead,’ she’d slurred. Then she linked her arm into mine and yanked me away towards our estate. ‘We’re not the problem here, he is.’ ‘Too bloody right,’ Ben yelled after us. ‘Too bloody right, you’ve caught on at last.’ The wind picked up as we walked away and drowned out the sound of his voice. I don’t know if he said anything else. We swigged the dregs of our cider as we swayed back home, tearful but sure we were right to leave him to stew in his own bad temper. After a quick pee, I guzzled tap water from my cupped hands and splashed some on my face. Then I zombied back to my bedroom and lay back down on the bed. A crow squawked outside my window and the screech split my head in two. I buried my face under a pillow but it made no difference, the pounding didn’t stop. I must have dozed off again because the next thing I knew it was midday. The hangover was still alive and vicious in my skull and part of me wondered if I was dying. Then the recollection of my mum’s words brought me out of myself. ‘Could you give Shell’s mum a call? She wants to know where Ben is...”
Reaching You
Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon
£0.99 Added
A story about friendship, loss and seemingly supernatural forces that may or may not be the product of a disturbed mind. "I came to in my own bed, as the August dawn was breaking. I sat up slowly, and next to me on the camping mat on the floor, was my best mate, Shell. The pain behind my eyes made me shrink from the light as I tried to remember the night before. We’d been on the beach, just the two of us. No wait, her brother, Ben, had been there as well. He’d been in a bad way. He’d lost his place on the ‘Back to Work’ scheme for turning up late three days in a row. That meant his benefits would stop. We’d gone out to the local dunes at Druridge Bay, with cans of Magners to try to cheer him up. And, if I’m honest, to keep an eye on him. I stumbled out to the bathroom and heard my mum call, ‘Jo, I’m off to get the bus to Newcastle. Could you give Shell’s mum a call, she wants to know where Ben is. ‘Bye, love.’ The front door slammed shut. Ben. Where was he? I remembered his face twisted with gloom and booze as he’d told me and Shell to get lost and go home. He wanted to be on his own. At the time I’d thought, ‘Sod you.’ Me and Shell’d been rock solid with him and he’d brushed us away like we were nothing. Just flies on his face. Shell must’ve thought the same. ‘Come on, he’s one stupid shithead,’ she’d slurred. Then she linked her arm into mine and yanked me away towards our estate. ‘We’re not the problem here, he is.’ ‘Too bloody right,’ Ben yelled after us. ‘Too bloody right, you’ve caught on at last.’ The wind picked up as we walked away and drowned out the sound of his voice. I don’t know if he said anything else. We swigged the dregs of our cider as we swayed back home, tearful but sure we were right to leave him to stew in his own bad temper. After a quick pee, I guzzled tap water from my cupped hands and splashed some on my face. Then I zombied back to my bedroom and lay back down on the bed. A crow squawked outside my window and the screech split my head in two. I buried my face under a pillow but it made no difference, the pounding didn’t stop. I must have dozed off again because the next thing I knew it was midday. The hangover was still alive and vicious in my skull and part of me wondered if I was dying. Then the recollection of my mum’s words brought me out of myself. ‘Could you give Shell’s mum a call? She wants to know where Ben is...”
The Tower Block
A multi-generational story, set in a tower block in London, told from the POV of a brick in a wall. "At eight by four inches, made of a mixture of clay, sand, lime, a touch of iron oxide and magnesium, fired that distinctive bright-red colour (the heat in those kilns can reach up to three and a half thousand Fahrenheit), I was what people called a common building brick. But I never took no offence; I had no airs or graces. Like the other ten million commercial bricks fired in this factory each year, I was destined for a long, productive working life. Unity is powerful. And whether I ended up as part of a new hospital or new school or new whatever, the sum is always greater than its parts. My story begins in earnest in April of 1964, when I was proud to be included in batch number 117, reserved by Lewisham Borough Council. After firing, we were stacked on wooden pallets, rows and rows of us, like soldiers waiting to go into battle. Day after day, the lads speculated as to where we were headed, and what we were gonna become. Back then, I guess we were all idealists, determined to help make the country great again. Rationing was a thing of the past. Industry was on the up. We were as close to full employment as we were ever gonna get. There was a new sense of optimism in the air. And in our own small way, we wanted to represent traditional values: hard work, endeavour, spirit, all the things which made England what it was: Empire, we'll fight 'em on the beaches, Britannia rules the waves. Imagine our excitement then, when we learned that we were gonna be part of the Jubilee Gardens regeneration programme, a landmark scheme, whereby local government provided funding to build affordable housing for the hard-working people of south-east London. At the time, Lewisham was one of the most deprived areas of the city. Brick by brick, we hoped to breathe new life into the community, like a concrete phoenix rising from the ashes. The day we arrived on site, most of the exterior construction work had already been completed. I remember being loaded off the back of a trailer, two dozen pallets of bricks bathed in warm spring sunshine, looking up at that imperious grey tower block, all sixteen floors of her, and feeling such a sense of excitement, knowing I was gonna be at the very heart of something like this, something good and worthy, something which would stand the test of time. By pulleys, we were winched up the side of the building to the eleventh floor. From what would soon become an open-plan front room and kitchen area, you could, through the gap left for the balcony door, see right out over the estate, over the other two tower blocks then in construction, and the children's play area, the swings and slides and climbing frames which had just been sited below. There were still lots to do to the interior, mind (and that was what me and the rest of the lads up here were destined for: the front room wall)–permanent flooring needed to be laid and the walls plastered. Two brickies, Harry and Eric, were hard at work, like shining examples of what I've just been talking about–about what made England great. Both in their mid-twenties, pouring with sweat, with rough callused hands, they took such pride in what they were doing. They wanted to be the quickest, the best, to lay more bricks in one day than all the other brickies put together. All the time they encouraged each other –Come on, H, another fifty before we knock off for lunch, eh? – smearing trowels with a layer of cement, with one fluid flick of the wrist, like poetry in motion, like each brick was their own personal work of art. And for that reason, I felt a true bond with 'em, like we was kindred spirits, that like the building itself, we represented something special, something to be admired..."
The Tower Block
Neil Randall
£0.99 Added
A multi-generational story, set in a tower block in London, told from the POV of a brick in a wall. "At eight by four inches, made of a mixture of clay, sand, lime, a touch of iron oxide and magnesium, fired that distinctive bright-red colour (the heat in those kilns can reach up to three and a half thousand Fahrenheit), I was what people called a common building brick. But I never took no offence; I had no airs or graces. Like the other ten million commercial bricks fired in this factory each year, I was destined for a long, productive working life. Unity is powerful. And whether I ended up as part of a new hospital or new school or new whatever, the sum is always greater than its parts. My story begins in earnest in April of 1964, when I was proud to be included in batch number 117, reserved by Lewisham Borough Council. After firing, we were stacked on wooden pallets, rows and rows of us, like soldiers waiting to go into battle. Day after day, the lads speculated as to where we were headed, and what we were gonna become. Back then, I guess we were all idealists, determined to help make the country great again. Rationing was a thing of the past. Industry was on the up. We were as close to full employment as we were ever gonna get. There was a new sense of optimism in the air. And in our own small way, we wanted to represent traditional values: hard work, endeavour, spirit, all the things which made England what it was: Empire, we'll fight 'em on the beaches, Britannia rules the waves. Imagine our excitement then, when we learned that we were gonna be part of the Jubilee Gardens regeneration programme, a landmark scheme, whereby local government provided funding to build affordable housing for the hard-working people of south-east London. At the time, Lewisham was one of the most deprived areas of the city. Brick by brick, we hoped to breathe new life into the community, like a concrete phoenix rising from the ashes. The day we arrived on site, most of the exterior construction work had already been completed. I remember being loaded off the back of a trailer, two dozen pallets of bricks bathed in warm spring sunshine, looking up at that imperious grey tower block, all sixteen floors of her, and feeling such a sense of excitement, knowing I was gonna be at the very heart of something like this, something good and worthy, something which would stand the test of time. By pulleys, we were winched up the side of the building to the eleventh floor. From what would soon become an open-plan front room and kitchen area, you could, through the gap left for the balcony door, see right out over the estate, over the other two tower blocks then in construction, and the children's play area, the swings and slides and climbing frames which had just been sited below. There were still lots to do to the interior, mind (and that was what me and the rest of the lads up here were destined for: the front room wall)–permanent flooring needed to be laid and the walls plastered. Two brickies, Harry and Eric, were hard at work, like shining examples of what I've just been talking about–about what made England great. Both in their mid-twenties, pouring with sweat, with rough callused hands, they took such pride in what they were doing. They wanted to be the quickest, the best, to lay more bricks in one day than all the other brickies put together. All the time they encouraged each other –Come on, H, another fifty before we knock off for lunch, eh? – smearing trowels with a layer of cement, with one fluid flick of the wrist, like poetry in motion, like each brick was their own personal work of art. And for that reason, I felt a true bond with 'em, like we was kindred spirits, that like the building itself, we represented something special, something to be admired..."
The Best Laid Plans
Prue Leith
£1.29 Added
Helen is someone who takes hosting Christmas very seriously. Everything is planned to the last detail. But things don't always go the we plan them to. “It will be fine darling, stop stressing.” Helen knew she was driving Jake mad with her worries about Christmas. She must try not to fuss. “I’m not stressing. Honestly. It’s just that with your whole family coming… And there’s so much to do. And your mother is so good at entertaining, and cooking…” She trailed off, thinking but not adding, and so good at criticising, and knowing better, and pulling rank and making me feel small. “Yes,” said Jake, “but she has nothing to do but worry about matching napkins and the latest fashion in hors d’oeuvres. You have a full-on job and patients to worry about.” "It was the first time she and Jake had hosted Christmas. Usually they went to New York and had a picture-perfect festive celebration with absolutely everything working like clockwork. The decorations were always colour-themed. So far they’d had a silver and blue Christmas; a black and red one and last year candles, crackers, table decorations and napkins were all green and gold, the wine glasses rimmed with a green ivy motif under a heavy gold band and the champagne had flecks of gold leaf floating in it. Even the soap in the loo was green and shaped like a Christmas tree. It sat in a gold dish..."
By the River
Sue Wilsea
£0.99 Added
Terrible things happen down by the river: it is a place of despair where humans do their worst to each other. Yet it is also a place where ghosts can be laid to rest. In By the River, originally published in Umber ( 2011 ), the voices of a bereaved 60 year old woman, a teenage boy who’s lost his way in life and a murdered Viking are woven into a dark story of revenge and tragedy. “From being all conquering giants, they were now instantly reduced to playthings for the deities; as the world seemed to expand, the river becoming broader and the sky higher, some men fell to their knees while others remained impassive awaiting their fate. They didn’t need to wait long. The sky fractured with a great fork of lightening, thunderclaps reverberated off the riverbanks in drum rolls and the water started to roil.”
Cloud 9
Naomi Richardson
£0.99 Added
Morgan is concerned about her mother... ‘She’s been living at the Cloud 9 care home for a few months now and in that time her memory seems to have gone downhill rapidly. It’s probably just the effects of the move, but it’s a real worry and as her only daughter I feel totally responsible for her. This parent, child reversal thing is a steep learning curve'. 'I chuckle to myself as I recall my visit with Mum yesterday. There we were in the communal lounge, often a fairly dismal place – bewildered people, mostly women, sitting marooned around the walls. It can be an uncomfortable void at times; a fretful silence, a waiting for something to happen, but yesterday? Well, yesterday was completely different'. How will Morgan handle what happens next?
The Daddy In The Box
Naomi Richardson
£1.29 Added
It’s early 1950’s and 4-year-old Ruth is embarking on a new phase of her young life. She’s off to live at the seaside, with her great aunts, Constance, Rose and Pearly Trice. The story covers the next few years of Ruth’s life as she struggles to come to terms with the mystery surrounding her father and the bewildering behaviour of adults. ‘Ruth is in seventh heaven, sticky with candyfloss and riding high on a wild, painted horse. Music whirls and giggles in her ears and she never, ever wants to let go. She sees Mummy is watching from below and is giddy with her own power. Back down on the ground floating ducks bob and beckon and the exciting drama of winning prizes unfolds. Ruth manages to catch one of the little yellow ducks on the end of her fishing rod and wins a beach ball. She discovers that winning is wildly intoxicating and is well and truly hooked.
Where the Four Winds Meet
Arlene Pearson
£1.99 Added
Where the Four Winds Meet is the first novella in a Trilogy. This story reveals the emotional journey through time of one man as he tries to discover how his biological father really died. ‘I’m fifty-two years old and today I saw a picture of my father for the very first time. Can you imagine how that feels?’ Bobby is about to open Pandora’s Box to unlock the secrets of his past – but is he prepared for the turbulent secrets which are about to be revealed about his biological father? ‘You know when I was in Germany? A woman came to me and she said, “‘Your husband’s given me a baby as well.’” How will the two immensely different scenarios, one good, one bad, impact upon the present and especially upon his two sons, a moody wannabe rock star and a ghost buster who falls for a mental medium? ‘He was a wonderful man you know, your father. Such a lovely brother to have.’ Bobby uncovers what he believes is the truth and resolves to let the past go – until it surfaces once more to haunt him.
No One Ever
Sean McSweeney
£0.99 Added
“Many who waded through the water coloured it with their blood, wine-red – a new meaning for the wine-dark sea of legend…” The battle of Marathon, fought in a time of treachery, danger and intense fear and superstition, was a military disaster for the Persians. But it was not the end of danger for Greece, and the courier’s famous triumphant journey, commemorated in the Olympic race, carried a frightening secret: “His own shadow, long and thin in front of him, was like a rope pulling him towards Athens; as he neared his destination so it gradually shortened, so the sun rose, so the enemy fleet moved towards Phalerum.” What of the Athenian runner himself? Surely, there was no way he could have known how his feat would be celebrated: “Thousands upon thousands of people running. In all the known world, and even lands beyond.” He would surely not have known or cared how fast he was running. And he would not have been able to predict that two messengers, not one, would be named in the annals. Or would he?
The Summerhouse
David wants to give his wife Kate everything she didn't have before meeting him: security, a nice home, another baby. He wants to be a good step-dad to Josh and erase the memories of Tom, Kate's first love and Josh's father. But none of this seems enough for Kate and after the birth of their daughter she slips into depression, her only solace the run-down summerhouse at the bottom of their garden. When David discovers what he thinks is her betrayal he sets out on a path of destruction. In late 2014 The Summerhouse, a novella, was shortlisted for Gateway's New Fictions prize. "As an animal would its territory, Kate marked the summerhouse with her scents: coconut and vanilla body lotion, coffee and cigarettes, a citronella candle used to deter bugs, the new wood of pencil shavings mixing with that of the rotting window and door frames. Some smells she carried with her all the time – I could tell where in the house she’d been by sniffing the air for the musky aroma of joss sticks which clung to the materials she wore. Her skin always tasted of coconut and her hair of smoke. She hadn’t used it at first what with feeling so lousy throughout the pregnancy and I was all for pulling it down to tell you the truth. But she got so upset if I so much as hinted at it that I learnt to steer clear of the subject. You couldn’t see the summerhouse from the house so it didn’t matter that much, I suppose, but it bugged me that she could get so worked up about what boiled down to an ugly, damp outhouse obviously built by some toff so he could sneak out and screw one of the maids."
The Summerhouse
Sue Wilsea
£0.99 Added
David wants to give his wife Kate everything she didn't have before meeting him: security, a nice home, another baby. He wants to be a good step-dad to Josh and erase the memories of Tom, Kate's first love and Josh's father. But none of this seems enough for Kate and after the birth of their daughter she slips into depression, her only solace the run-down summerhouse at the bottom of their garden. When David discovers what he thinks is her betrayal he sets out on a path of destruction. In late 2014 The Summerhouse, a novella, was shortlisted for Gateway's New Fictions prize. "As an animal would its territory, Kate marked the summerhouse with her scents: coconut and vanilla body lotion, coffee and cigarettes, a citronella candle used to deter bugs, the new wood of pencil shavings mixing with that of the rotting window and door frames. Some smells she carried with her all the time – I could tell where in the house she’d been by sniffing the air for the musky aroma of joss sticks which clung to the materials she wore. Her skin always tasted of coconut and her hair of smoke. She hadn’t used it at first what with feeling so lousy throughout the pregnancy and I was all for pulling it down to tell you the truth. But she got so upset if I so much as hinted at it that I learnt to steer clear of the subject. You couldn’t see the summerhouse from the house so it didn’t matter that much, I suppose, but it bugged me that she could get so worked up about what boiled down to an ugly, damp outhouse obviously built by some toff so he could sneak out and screw one of the maids."
Beyond Her Scream
Katherine Blessan
£0.99 Added
‘Beyond Her Scream’ is the story of a mother-daughter relationship strained by the effects of FGM. It is set against a background of cross-cultural differences and contrasting worldviews. It contains some graphic descriptions which may not be suitable for younger readers. “The sound of her scream stung my mind like a cat-o’ nine tails. Agony. I’d subjected her to such agony. No-one should ever have to endure that, let alone one’s own daughter.”
Do They Know it's Christmas?
Linda Cracknell
£0.99 Added
Set in Edinburgh's 'Sick Kids' Hospital, this heart-warming seasonal tale tells of a cleaner's interest in the Ebola crisis during the festive season in 2014, a seemingly lonely young girl, and the connections his kindness enables. ‘I held the tip of the pen against the window. Jeez, I’d not drawn a thing since primary school. It was a bit squint but you could tell it was a star. The expression on her face didn’t change but I saw a wee click in her eyes. I started on a Christmas tree.’ A story written as part of Linda Cracknell’s writer’s residency at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children, illustrated by Cate James. All author’s royalties go to the Sick Kids Friends Foundation http://www.edinburghsickkids.org/ Scottish Charity No. SC020862.
Dual Carriageway
Claire Collison
£1.29 Added
"She recognises herself not with any rational sense, but with a pang of protective love for the three year old who grins at her from the living room wall." An unexpected twist in the closing frames of an old home movie sends Rose hurtling back to her childhood - a time and a place where no one else's parents were divorcing, and where stepmothers were as exotic as shop-bought cake. Revisiting her memories of glamorous part-time fathers and fortnightly treats, Rose unpicks the unspoken adult acrimony, and the childish confusion: "Each time they were returned to her with their bounty she was tight-lipped and unimpressed, flattening their ebullience to a shapeless guilt, their double bind of love and loyalty teaching them early to suppress their enthusiasm in her company." Dual Carriageway is about parents and children, and how complicated it all is.
Morning Tea
Rebekah Clarkson
£1.59 Added
A woman and her young daughter are invited for morning tea at a the home of her ex-husband and his new wife. A story about the distance between how people want things to be and how they really are. "The four of us sit under Sally’s pergola having morning tea—an attempt to be civilized and mature. There is a slight chill in the air but a stream of sunlight weaves through a tangle of aged wisteria and knotted grapevines above us, warming our heads and chests. And as if orchestrated by Sally herself, birds flit and sing. But morning tea is a bad idea. It is Sally’s idea and they are her words: civilised and mature."
The Green Coat
Sheila Ryan
£1.59 Added
A young girl from a poor family walks to and from her job in a factory in clothes ill suited to the cold winter weather. Her father, despite their lack of money, thinks something should be done about this. "The siren sounded the end of another long working day. Mary pulled her brown woollen cardigan from its peg and wrapped it around her thin body. It did little to keep out the biting December winds. Her shawl kept the chill from her ears though, as she hurried her familiar route home through the main street. Keep your head covered for modesty and warmth her mother had always said. God forbid I should need modesty. I could dress like the gentry and no fella would look twice, Mary thought as she wrestled with the weather. The neighbours were always standing, arms clasped across their bosoms, shaking their heads at the poor plain child as she passed. Still, wasn't she a grand help around the house they muttered..."
The Lacquered Box
Elaine Ewart
£1.59 Added
Yasuko works in a brothel in Tokyo. One night she is visited by a new client... "The front door was already closed against the storm, and I thought I was finished for the night. Crossing the landing, I was on my way to borrow a jar of face cream from Mayu, when I heard the bell. Then, Mama-san’s fulsome stream of welcome: of course it was not too late, it was her pleasure, she had the prettiest girls, as well as the most refined and cultivated... Her tongue ran on. That meant a stranger. How old? I paused, silent-slippered, at the top of the stairs. From here, you can see, in Mayu’s words, ‘close enough to spit’. Older men are generally sent my way. The ‘traditional’ clients, Mama-san calls them, those who like my tiny, doll-like feet and hands, and want to kid themselves they’re connoisseurs of high culture. I can even perform a tea ceremony and, in theory, play my late mother’s ancient koto, although I’ve not fitted the pick on my finger since I first left home. Fortunately, no client has ever asked me for that form of entertainment."
Untouchable
Merryn Glover
£1.99 Added
'There are two kinds of people in this world.' Laxmi, a girl from the lowest caste of a village in the remote west of Nepal, is told that she is the unlucky kind. But, resourceful and fiercely protective of her sister and neice, she is determined that low birth will not ruin their lives. - All profits from this story go to aid work in Nepal. -
Saturday Night
Derek Thompson
£0.99 Added
Saturday night is date night, and after a long week what's the harm if we lie to ourselves a little? A short piece about the reality of dating and attraction when we've already been around the block a few times. "'Am I fat?' Martha swayed in front of the TV, trying to gauge her reflection. I bobbed my head side to side, to work around her. I didn’t say nothing because I had nothing to say about it."
Personal Calls
Brindley Hallam Dennis
£1.29 Added
A mobile phone in the wrong hands, can lead to who knows what messages in the wrong ears....
Providence
Lara Bardsley
£0.99 Added
Providence is a collection of three short memoirs. The stories reveal a mother haunted by the loss of her family. Her child becomes a woman, shaped by the loss of her ancestors, deepened by the compassion for the suffering she witnessed and the resilience that grew from it. “The mind is a fickle bedfellow. It will seduce you one moment with the smoothest of concepts and when you are disarmed and wanting, it will deconstruct you. This world offers us the full smorgasbord — the sweetest fruits and the most bitter, the healing balms and the poisons. There are parts of us we can nourish and they will grow stronger. It was the searing pain of my mother’s passing when I was 21 that turned me irrevocably toward the pursuit of an inner richness, something that was constant and secure because it lay within me”.
Hollows
Stephen Tyson
£0.99 Added
At the end of a long hot summer holiday, as family conflicts simmer, the unexpected appearance of a stranger tests and then shatters the bond of friendship between two boys. Excerpt: ''During the last summer holidays before I started secondary school, my father decided to dig a pond in the back garden. I think my mother must have encouraged him, because she loved animals and wild flowers. Large yellow and white dog daisies sprawled over the rim of the broad earthenware vase on the sill behind the sink, competing for space with the bamboo wind chimes that tinkled whenever the window was open. Even when my mother wasn't washing up, she'd often rest her hands on the edge of the draining board and watch as a robin or some other feathered visitor plucked a nut from the wire cylinder that hung from the bird table''.
Winemakers' Soup
Carmen Nina Walton
£1.29 Added
A young woman discovers something that threatens the family traditions that keep her safe.
Mixing Memory and Desire
Philip Mervyn
£0.99 Added
I should have left the house earlier. There’s nowhere to park. The streets near the church are full of cars – you were always popular. By the time I find a spot in a side road I’m late and I start to run, but I’m quickly out of breath and my doctor’s warning comes back to me so I have to slow to a jog. That really makes me feel old - that, and going to funerals. If I’m honest I didn’t want to come, but it seemed important. It seemed necessary.
Remembrance
Philip Mervyn
£0.99 Added
So as I stood there, outside the chemist’s, my mind was wandering in and out of all the usual thoughts and memories, some good, some not so good, and passers-by would drop their coins in and take poppies, and then suddenly I was aware of a young lad in jeans and a grubby tee shirt, bobbing up and down in front of me. He looked about nineteen or twenty. He was everything David never was at that age – scruffy, dirty, agitated and threatening. I was quite scared when I saw him. I’d heard about some kids in the area stealing from old people. I think it was in the local paper.
A Garden Of Love And Paradise Along The lane
G. F. Phillips
£2.99 Added
Set in the mid 1960s, Tim Bristow is a teenager who cannot make a decision for himself and always does what his mates want to do. Religion, sex and the idea of the body have their part to play in this tale.
Ladies of the Soil
Gill Blow
£1.59 Added
A poignant story of how a broken piece of porcelain and a biscuit tin crammed with packets of seeds allow a couple to confront the tragedy in their lives.
The Monet Exhibition
Philip Mervyn
£0.99 Added
Sometimes you just can't see the big picture. It's all too confusing and you need to put a bit of distance between yourself and what you're trying to see. I could see you, but things still weren't really clear.
How It Begins
Philip Mervyn
£0.99 Added
There you are, minding your own business, trying to get this jigsaw started and there's a knock at the door. Who is this strange woman? Actually, she does look a little familiar, and she seems to know who you are. But you have to be careful. Don't trust anyone. Even the inanimate objects are out to get you...
Boxed In
Leela Soma
£0.99 Added
It is about the plight of many children working in the Fireworks factories in India. It is important that the voices of such people are heard through literature.
Box of Bananas
David Sebastian
£0.99 Added
A college drama student finds himself in the lead role of an improvised omnibus production.
Dark Veil
Terence D Forster
£3.99 Added
There was nowhere to hide from this sightless pain that struck me to the ground, in fear of my life.
Coal Is Our Life
Terence D Forster
£2.49 Added
Danger, drudgery; male solidarity and female oppression summed up life in the colliery villages in County Durham during much of the nineteenth century.
Cabbages
Terence D Forster
£1.99 Added
Africa and a Hippo named Nelly
A Flash In The Dark
Rosie Cullen
£0.99 Added
A collection of three disturbingly dark flashes of fiction, Insomnia, In The End and LOL.
Waste
Tracey Emerson
£0.99 Added
At eight a.m., on the morning of the last day of her life, Alice Calder stood shivering in the outdoor pool of the Madeira Heights Hotel.
April
Tracey Emerson
£0.99 Added
April is rearranging her knickers. In the queue at the garden centre cafeteria. Her hand is right down the back of her tracksuit bottoms, tweaking and twitching and pulling the gigantic pants up and up and up.
Seaview
Tracey Emerson
£0.99 Added
Grace sees him for the first time on a Sunday afternoon at the Seaview Residential Care Home. He is wrestling a magazine from a shrivelled, silver-haired woman in the TV lounge.
The Beach Hut
Anna Reynolds
£0.99 Added
When I first saw the beach hut I realised it would probably be more expensive than a two bedroom town house. I pictured the agent’s face; the mocking laughter, shrieking down her phone to colleagues; ‘She thinks she can afford a beach hut!’
Flatland (2) Lesley
Suzanne Bowen
£1.29 Added
The second of two companion stories about people returning to their south-coast hometown. Both have disappointments and something to conceal.
Flatland (1) Tony
Suzanne Bowen
£1.29 Added
The first of two companion stories about people returning, in disappointment, to live in their south-coast hometown. Both have something to conceal.
Adel's New Bride
Terence D Forster
£1.59 Added
A young Arab woman is to be married to an older man already with wives and children. He crosses the desert with his family to the town of Asyut where she sits on the roof tops crying in vain.
Medium High Gusset
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
The first time Leila was about to have sex with Norman he asked her if she would do something for him. Here we go, she thought, preparing for whips or wanting her to p**s on him. Men were so predictable. ‘Put your swimming costume on,’ he said. The costume was damp and smelt of chlorine. A Nike black all in one, medium high gusset, sports back, neoprene no nonsense number, it chafed her vagina. Hard making love in such a thing. But it seemed to do the trick for Norman. He became quite red in the face. At the last minute she unrolled it, as if it was an especially tight condom. That episode should have warned her.
Junction Ahead
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
One morning when I got up, my dad was still at home, dressed in a tight, shiny suit. I’d only ever seen him in that suit on Sundays. ‘Is it Sunday?’ I asked. He shook his head. ‘Don’t you have to go to work?’ My dad was always at work.
Exhibition Notes
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
When I saw that the Mammy was appearing in our town I wanted to go and see her. I was beginning to forget what a mammy was, but I knew that to have one was important to a boy. The teacher used to show us pictures of mammies in a book. She said mammies were always kind and rosy cheeked and held your hand. ‘A mammy is someone who belongs to you,’ the teacher said. All I remember is a smell.
Collision Theory
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
When she was seventy four my mother began corresponding with an elderly Scottish widower called Robert who was working on a maths problem. She got a ticket to the university library. A tiny woman, my mother: young people towered above her. ‘But they showed me how the computers worked, how to scan in books,’ she assured me on her regular phone call. I imagined they treated her as a member of a rare species, surprised to find her in their territory. She soon spent days immersed in Californian maths and physics journals. Amongst the formal jargon were spattered Californian idioms: gotten, freshen up, dude.
The Haiku Master
James Roderick Burns
£0.99 Added
1 It was ten thirty in the morning, time for coffee and donuts, but Dustin Roberts had other things on his mind. He had slipped out of the prefabricated office unit and onto the shop floor twenty minutes ago, putting up the small satin ‘Java-time!’ banner beside his computer like a friendly mailbox flag, and locking out the screen. Now a cartoon Japanese gentleman in a bamboo-print kimono alternately smiled and frowned at the empty office. Wanda was out for the morning and Steve, the techie geek in charge of the processing software, away at a conference. Dustin wouldn’t be missed.
Cassandra
Csilla Toldy
£1.29 Added
Cassandra asked for admission to the literature club of the university and was warmly welcomed by everybody. We liked newcomers. We liked to believe that we were expanding and it meant joy to have a new companion who shared our sophisticated passion.
Waterlogged
Lisa Samson
£0.99 Added
An old woman trapped by floods.
Night Fight at the Zoo
G. F. Phillips
£1.99 Added
A story about a grudge match that invokes a background of class as competition, strong passions and a sought-after revenge.
The Healer
Caroline Boobis
£0.99 Added
Propelled thousands of miles away by childhood grief, Trish's search for happiness takes some unusual twists and turns.
Satanic Snarl
Nancy Charley
£0.99 Added
Tasha has just moved into her new house, hoping for friendly neighbours. Instead she is faced with Satanic Snarl.
Exodus
Angela Huskisson
£1.29 Added
12 workers trapped underground working on a momentous project. But 'God' has other ideas.
Octopus
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
We lived in Sliema at 197 Prince of Wales Road in a two storey apartment reached from a ground floor staircase that curved high and tight upwards. There was a graceful banister that ended in a tight curl at the bottom and it was my ambition to slide down its entire length, but it was forbidden. What if I fell off ? What if my little brother copied me ?
Spit and Promise
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
It was sweltering in the NAFFI hut. Father Christmas sat sweating, legs akimbo, showing his navy drill shorts and bare legs under the long red robe. He wore huge white plimsolls. His legs were damp and covered with ginger swirls of hair and his white beard had slipped sideways so you could see his stubbled chin and the spray of freckles beneath. I noticed that his hands were huge, not, I was sure, the size of hands the real Father Christmas would have.....
Grandma and Polly
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
My mother always said I didn’t notice much but in those last week in Malta even I felt urgency like a held breath over everything. My sister and I were despatched to our room to clear out just about everything because of the weight restriction on the plane and we fell to quarrelling about whether her ballet books were more important than my drawing books....
Catacombs
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
‘ I don’t want to go.’ I was adamant, inclined to render myself boneless, sink to the floor and become lead. My mother glared at me. ‘You’ll get your socks dirty if you lie on the floor. And we are all going.’ She would have sounded cold to a stranger, but this was an old tactic of mine that was exhausting its credibility. Perhaps I had been overusing it. I was nine after all. My Father looked in....
Pinky Pants
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
I tipped forward, one leg curled round the metal bar and the sky spun under me, rocking into place at my feet. I hooked my free leg onto the bar, trailed my arms close to the ground, blew my hair out of my face and examined the world upside down. I had finished my story and been allowed out of class early so I was temporarily queen of the climbing bars and all I surveyed.....
The Feast of Saint Agatha
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
Theresa says the Virgin in the Church of Saint Agatha has been seen weeping. Theresa is very excited. She calls her ‘ Santa Agatha.’ It is Saint Agatha’s Feast Day on Friday and the procession will pass up Prince of Wales Road, where I live. This is destiny because Friday is my birthday so I must have an affinity with Saint Agatha....
Tomato Sauce
Vivien Jones
£0.99 Added
' A bowl of freshly picked tomatoes. That’s all it took. Just carrying them from the larder to the kitchen filled her head with sensual images, square white buildings, bright paper kites in the deepest blue sky, tanned faces, ramshackle single decker buses, a different colour for each destination. Blue for Rabat, green for Sliema, mustard yellow for Bershibuga. She didn’t know the spellings, just the Moorish sounds.'
Prairie Rain
Cherry Potts
£0.99 Added
A flash fiction set on a porch in Illinois
The Real Me
F. Linday
£0.99 Added
This is a new adult story about a student called Nicky. She juggles caring responsibility challenges alongside attempting to have a social life.
Endings
Geoff Poundes
£1.29 Added
A forty-something man attends a friends funeral up North, and has a strange encounter with an old lover, and with the local characters...
Loving Imogen
Mari Biella
£0.99 Added
When Daniel finds two runaways hiding in his cellar, he is charmed by their youth and innocence. As he soon learns, however, Imogen and Leo are hiding a dark secret. LOVING IMOGEN is a novella of approximately 32,000 words.
A Feast of Flash Fictions
Brindley Hallam Dennis
£0.99 Added
Ten Flash Fictions, from 449, to 96 words short...illicit affairs and railroad crashes, murderous spouses and vengeful neighbours.
The Power of Love
Leyla Leyton
£2.49 Added
As Carol looked back on that terrible time she soon discovered that she was not alone.
Love Is All That Matters
Leyla Leyton
£2.49 Added
A grieving woman looking back on happy times and in the process discovers something which she never knew which finally gives her the peace she desperately needs.
Suenos
Sue Dean
£1.29 Added
A young Cuban chambermaid who dreams of becoming a poet
Waiting for the Agent
Barbara Hawthorne
£0.99 Added
This story is about a pensioner waiting for the Estate Agent to show him around the house he was born in.
The Trap
Tony Lawrence
£0.99 Added
I sit here, watching, waiting for everyone to come. Behind these bars, my life is never ending. I see them come, I see them go. No one escapes my attention.
Three
Kathleen Jones
£0.99 Added
Ursula has taken a job as an intern, working for a world famous artist in Tuscany. But he has a beautiful wife. Soon Ursula is locked in a triangular relationship and she dreams of mythical beasts emerging from the pine forests.
The Absence of Henry Swail
Kathleen Jones
£0.99 Added
Henry Swail went missing years ago in peculiar circumstances. No one knows why he left or where he is now. Officially, he’s presumed dead. But who is this strange man asking about him?
Jazz Cafe
Kathleen Jones
£0.99 Added
Kate is a jazz singer, living happily with her musician husband. That is, until Maggi comes to stay.
Pearls
Kathleen Jones
£0.99 Added
Aine is a wet nurse on a big estate in 19th century Ireland and her life is in danger unless she can escape. But how can she leave the child? And where is she to get the money to go to America.
Sloe Gin
Fritha Waters
£0.99 Added
Aunt Mabel was an alcoholic... How do people become the way they are? Old age disguises stories of long ago which the young could never imagine. Why does Mabel especially drink when the black thorn is in bloom?
Stanley and Nat
Anne Caldwell
£0.99 Added
A coming of age story about a young boy, his greyhound and first love
Three-Card Brag
G. F. Phillips
£1.29 Added
See the hand a citizen has to play when he becomes too big for his small town, and, according to the local authorities, stands in the way of progress by his action.
Just a Toenail Away
Sylvia Petter
£1.29 Added
Al Gore, the Internet, the Algonquin Hotel and perhaps some misconceptions.
The Colour of Haze
Sylvia Petter
£1.29 Added
'The Colour of Haze'[is] about the Nazis [and] is especially pungent. Every kid knew there was a row back then but didn't know what it was about. The past can be disturbing for children, too. - Trevor Reeves, Southern Ocean Review
Bagman
Helen Pizzey
£0.99 Added
An extraordinary personal encounter on the New York subway.
Going Backwards To Go Forwards
G. F. Phillips
£1.29 Added
Set in Northumberland, the Charlton's, a family of tenant hill farmers, struggle to survive against folk who wield the power to control their land usage.
The Travellers' Man
G. F. Phillips
£0.99 Added
Jamie Mullen is caught in the middle of the wheeling and dealing among Irish Travellers who have returned home for Christmas.
Restoration Project
Janet Gogerty
£0.99 Added
When Ellie Smith went in search of her real family she did not expect to acquire a whole village.
Trafalgar Square
Emma Bolger
£0.99 Added
A flash fiction story about transition
In the Air
Adrienne Silcock
£0.99 Added
Not one inhabitant of Bois-Bezolles remained unshocked by Frederique’s suicide. As news spread around the village, disbelief became anger at such an outrageous lie. What was the truth?
Piri-piri Sauce
Adrienne Silcock
£0.99 Added
Paulo is determined to start a book business in the old Portuguese market, but it looks as though the odds are stacked against him. That is, until a stranger arrives in the village.
The Lovely Water
Adrienne Silcock
£0.99 Added
Rosa has devised her own solution for combating poverty on the Ria Formosa, where morals are compromised with a strange take on community salvation. When the Englishman arrives, things begin to alter, but with an ironic twist.
Now the Moon
Clive Collins
£1.59 Added
A man, his life and the moon
Photographs of Her Father
Carmen Nina Walton
£1.29 Added
A woman is abandoned by her father as a baby but he is never really out of her life.
Don't You See How Dark It Is?
Kevin Doyle
£0.99 Added
Set during Ireland's ill-famed Celtic Tiger era. A job must be done, a contract must be honoured...
Goldfish Man
Janna Grace
£1.59 Added
"When my father's brother came to visit, he filled our entire room."
Upriver from Bridge Cottage
Lesley Jackson
£1.59 Added
They had a rented cottage with a rowing boat all to themselves in the north of Scotland but the first trip out on the loch had to be weathered in more ways than one.
Rice
Lesley Jackson
£1.59 Added
A young boy experiences something out of bounds which has more than one reason to be kept secret
Bella's Journey
Lesley Jackson
£1.29 Added
Bella takes a bus ride and struggles with her feelings when someone sits beside her.
The Visit
Lesley Jackson
£1.59 Added
A woman visits her daughter who has a job that she doesn't approve of, one that brings all her fears to the fore.
More Important Than Love
Lesley Jackson
£1.59 Added
"He was twenty seven. She told him she worked in a boutique but that actually she was a writer. She said it was her way of making memories. There was the possibility that she would stop one day. She told him about the place she grew up. Its vast sky. The boats on the river......"
Fallen Angel
Frank Woods
£0.99 Added
A small boy plays in the falling snow. He tries to understand his broken life. He doesn't cry, but you might. Shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize
Jack Wax
Sarah Passingham
£0.99 Added
For nearly all her life, Marion has dreamed of the North Woods and eating maple syrup, snow-frozen into Jack Wax, but an innocent trip turns into an obsession.
Marked
Susmita Bhattacharya
£1.59 Added
“He loved her so much he built this tomb for her,” she persisted. “If we write our names here, our love will last too.” A story of love and loss, and new beginnings.
Dirty Work
When a bank forecloses on a company it's a case of numbers of a spreadsheet, but for those giving and receiving the news... things are more immediate. Bad news travels fast, so we had to travel faster. This, in essence, was the notion that guided us. You get it, you give it, you move on. Do it right and you’re away before things get messy, before the condemned have had time to let the reality of their new circumstances sink in, before that hollow look they get in their eyes has had a chance to take root in your memory. Do it that way and it’s smooth and efficient. Do it that way and it’s as close as something like this gets to being a job well done. And that’s generally how it went. Most of the time. This particular call came in late morning one Christmas Eve and swiftly killed off any hopes I’d had of any early finish. That disappointment was then exacerbated by the fact my car wouldn’t start, having been left parked up with the lights on for a few days. I’d been drinking most nights, medicating a malaise that often reared its head around that time of year. Happily, my thirst meshed well with the festive season. Our office’s underlying culture of functional alcoholism always received a shot in the arm that time of year. Yet, that morning as I sat in the car park turning the key in hope and then without, I wasn’t feeling all that functional. Jump leads and attempted push starts proved useless. The battery didn’t need so much a mechanic as a coroner. I was calling a taxi to take me to the train station when Russell Boyd sauntered over, all three-piece suit and Italian loafers. He sparked up ceremoniously and took a long pull before acknowledging me. It never did to be too cosy with the underlings. “Shouldn’t you be out bringing comfort and joy to the masses?” he asked. I explained the situation. Russell’s smoke curled in my direction. “Where to?” “Grantham, Lincolnshire.” “Sounds a shithole.” He paused a moment, as if sounding out a thought and finding that it pleased him, “I’ll drive you.” I laughed and waited for the punchline. It came in the form of the central locking system of his gleaming, bottle-green Jaguar yipping eagerly to attention..."
Dirty Work
Paul Lahert
£1.59 Added
When a bank forecloses on a company it's a case of numbers of a spreadsheet, but for those giving and receiving the news... things are more immediate. Bad news travels fast, so we had to travel faster. This, in essence, was the notion that guided us. You get it, you give it, you move on. Do it right and you’re away before things get messy, before the condemned have had time to let the reality of their new circumstances sink in, before that hollow look they get in their eyes has had a chance to take root in your memory. Do it that way and it’s smooth and efficient. Do it that way and it’s as close as something like this gets to being a job well done. And that’s generally how it went. Most of the time. This particular call came in late morning one Christmas Eve and swiftly killed off any hopes I’d had of any early finish. That disappointment was then exacerbated by the fact my car wouldn’t start, having been left parked up with the lights on for a few days. I’d been drinking most nights, medicating a malaise that often reared its head around that time of year. Happily, my thirst meshed well with the festive season. Our office’s underlying culture of functional alcoholism always received a shot in the arm that time of year. Yet, that morning as I sat in the car park turning the key in hope and then without, I wasn’t feeling all that functional. Jump leads and attempted push starts proved useless. The battery didn’t need so much a mechanic as a coroner. I was calling a taxi to take me to the train station when Russell Boyd sauntered over, all three-piece suit and Italian loafers. He sparked up ceremoniously and took a long pull before acknowledging me. It never did to be too cosy with the underlings. “Shouldn’t you be out bringing comfort and joy to the masses?” he asked. I explained the situation. Russell’s smoke curled in my direction. “Where to?” “Grantham, Lincolnshire.” “Sounds a shithole.” He paused a moment, as if sounding out a thought and finding that it pleased him, “I’ll drive you.” I laughed and waited for the punchline. It came in the form of the central locking system of his gleaming, bottle-green Jaguar yipping eagerly to attention..."
SAY NOTHING TILL YOU HEAR MORE
Marie Alvarado
£1.59 Added
Theresa and her sister share a red coat and a deep loss. Years pass until one evening, as the rain lashes down, an unexpected visitor arrives at Theresa's door. Memories and secret sorrows seep once more into their silent lives.
Something Vital Fell Through
Char March
£0.99 Added
A disabled girl's view on her parents trying to run a small-holding in Norfolk.
The Mill
Lillian Aldus
£1.59 Added
"The mill was the biggest secret. I knew it was out of bounds." The story of a summer on the edge of childhood.
The Quality of Mercy
Judith Allnatt
£0.99 Added
George Tiller can't bring himself to open the box of his wife's belongings, neither can he compose himself to pray - but what he can do is perform a miracle . . .
Transit
Megan Palmer
£0.99 Added
An elderly woman takes her wheelchair-bound husband on a mysterious journey at dawn - but why? Transit is a tale of the power of life-long love, set against the incomprehensible vastness of the universe.
Lifetime
Ruth Brandt
£0.99 Added
Subject: Apologies Dear Who’s The Man, I have just arrived home riven with guilt at my earlier behaviour towards you. I should certainly not have said that The Garden at Dawn bore no resemblance to any work that Rothko had ever completed or even contemplated. ...
Learning
Jane Rogers
£0.99 Added
A grandmother ponders the way her grand-daughter is learning to assess the world. This story owes a debt to Tove Jansson.
The Summer of Learning
Susmita Bhattacharya
£0.99 Added
'When Lali stole Dad’s money, she also stole my childhood.' A young girl's coming of age in her father's homeland.
Salt Stain
Zoe F Gilbert
£0.99 Added
'At first I missed corners...' A new lighthouse keeper receives a mysterious visitor.
Elsewhere
Ray French
£0.99 Added
A chance meeting between John Lennon and Philip Larkin in a motorway service station cafe in 1966.
The Engineer's Daughter
Sarah Passingham
£0.99 Added
'A brief study of bitter pride, it's a remarkable example of economical writing, painstaking in its attention to detail.' Nicholas Royle Time Out
As if she was Coco Chanel
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
It was after midnight in the communal bathroom that I caught Aggie wearing the English woman’s pyjamas. Aggie was a thin, blonde haired woman in her fifties, with an attitude. Every day I passed her as she smoked long, expensive looking cigarettes outside the front door of the hostel. She never acknowledged me, although I’d stayed at the hostel often, sometimes for two weeks. At breakfast, she sat by herself in the corner, and tilted her body against others. Held herself proudly, but trembled at times. Always the same corner. If anyone took Aggie’s place, while they were up collecting breakfast she’d move their crockery and cutlery to another table. No one ever argued.
Divine Hearing
Kath McKay
£1.29 Added
When Dee began asking people to repeat themselves, and started saying ‘What?’ a lot, it took her a while to realise what was going on. With the kids left home, she was enjoying herself again. Sex was not a problem. Once you let men know you were available, they weren’t fussy. The best ones were short-sighted, and didn’t seem to mind varicose and thread veins, hairy chins and dyed hair. Plus the fact that you couldn’t see further than them seemed to be an advantage. They just wanted to know that the important parts were in working order. But when she couldn’t hear the phone in different parts of the flat, and missed the beginning and ends of words, she knew that joy was departing from her life. Birdsong. The doorbell. The music on Radio 3. The concerts she went to twice a year by the sea. The nuances of people’s words. Missing the joke. A gradual descent into silence.
Must Sound Genuine
Jonathan Taylor
£0.99 Added
A Soviet composer is trying to write the perfect Socialist Realist symphony, before a knock on the door.
A Happy, Safe Thing
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
My older sister, Minnie, and her new husband, Sax Smithers, whom she met six months ago, are going to show up half an hour late for their wedding reception. They get held up on the way to the American Legion because all six guys from the pharmacy, where Sax sorts boxes of pills, want a ride, right then, in front of Shepherd of the Hills Methodist Church, in Grandma Tillie’s brand new 1983 Cadillac convertible. Then, Minnie, excited not just about the wedding, but also about her graduation from Smoky Ordinary High School yesterday, smuggles me into the passenger seat, ignoring what Mom and my stepdad Frank and Grandma Tillie have said over and over about my heart.
Little Big Show
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
The footpath gallops ahead like a dumb dog, disappears around bends in the forest. This has been Alexander’s first real hike, a hard scrabble -- scuttling along in a crouch at times as if he might find grips on the flat rocks. His assistant at work would have loved some photos. Now that he’s made it – almost made it – this easy wide dirt path where he and his sister Marietta started hours ago, where families had pushed all-terrain strollers, seems embarrassing somehow. A bird chirps sweet, trilling notes. The watery quality of the sunlight suggests cocktail hour. Through gaps in the trees, the gravel lot materializes, but there’s no blotch of red. Marietta’s car should be visible. Shouldn’t it?
Somebody for Everybody
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
How he had knocked, Francine could not guess. But here he was. Or at least here was his head. Floating in the hallway outside her apartment, as if it had wafted over on the aroma of Mrs. Singh’s stir fry. Here was the sun-kissed face from his Match.com profile. The broad forehead and faintly hooked nose. Somehow, though, it had seemed like the head would be attached to an equally rugged, sun-kissed body. Had it been presumptuous to assume, at the very least, a torso?
Half a Brother
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
Valdur – with his impossible wingspan – reached into the taxi, all the way across the passenger seat, and placed his hand on the Russian cabbie’s shoulder. “Don’t!” I said. The traffic light had just turned green. “If he drives away, you’ll break your arm.”
Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
For ten years, Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge had been Veronica’s special time with Joe. He came along for moral support, sitting in the front row, sipping Jack Daniels, beaming up at her, nodding his head to the music, snapping his fingers like he was in a jazz café instead of a square cinderblock honky tonk that attracted the down-and-out and the dangerous.
An Airtight Box
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
During intermission of the “Tosca” benefit performance, ex-President Clinton, without Hillary, stepped outside the door of his Kennedy Center box, wondering what it would be like if someone shot him, maybe in his good lung, or maybe, if the attacker had lousy aim, even in the groin.
Experiments
Kathy Flann
£0.99 Added
My father, appliance repairman Ed Hart, had been dating a reporter from the local news for over three months, ever since he and my mother separated. They met when Channel Four’s "Eye on You" News interviewed me at the Northern Virginia Sixth Grade Science Fair about my winning project, The Worm Farm--a kitchen composter made from a recycling bin filled with dirt, biodegradable household trash, and a hundred worms.
White Goods
Carmen Nina Walton
£0.99 Added
A rebound relationship fills with complications that are going to hurt.
Rockabilly Quiff
Carmen Nina Walton
£0.99 Added
Young people who find solace in a vintage shop in a town that seems to be developing around them without including them.
Steve's Band
Elaine Walker
£2.99 Added
Steve's longing for his own rock band takes him on a journey that gets too close to home for comfort. A story about music, friendship and what happens when you get what you wish for.
The Gun Shearer
Clare Chandler
£0.99 Added
The arrival of a young sheep shearer at a farm in New South Wales has a profound effect on the owner, bringing back memories of a pivotal moment from her past. The Gun Shearer was shortlisted for the Costa Short Story Award.
Alphabet Wednesdays
Sarah Salway
£0.99 Added
A story of role models, betrayal and journals - from A to Z
After Addition
Sarah Salway
£0.99 Added
It's 'Take your father to school day' and some fathers are better at it than others.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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