Archives for short stories

Flash Fiction: Stone

Joanna stood like a human pebble amongst the ebb and flow of the tourist tide on the roof of the Reichstag. She’d bought a £39 flight to Berlin and got on the plane the very same afternoon, something she’d never done before. She was giddy with bravery. And now she was here, with Berlin at her feet. So far she had eaten currywurst – a disappointing long sausage with curry sauce on the side, rather than the curry-flavoured sausage she had expected – she’d been on a boat trip down the Spree, walked through Checkpoint Charlie which was a street filled with tacky souvenir shops – not like the films at all – and she’d plucked up the courage to ask a stranger to take her photograph outside the Brandenburg Gate. He was Japanese, she thought, or possibly Chinese, but he smiled a lot and seemed to know more about how her camera worked than she did. She had managed to say danke schön, which afterwards she realised the tourist wouldn’t have understood. And now she was standing on top of Berlin. Her nose felt hot, she hoped it wasn’t red. September in Berlin was hotter than September in Leeds,
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Short story heaven 28/10/13

An unpublished story by Stieg Larsson Brain Power, a previously unpublished short story by Stieg Larsson, is to appear in A Darker Shade, a new anthology of Swedish crime stories published in the UK by Head of Zeus. The editor of A Darker Shade is John-Henri Holmberg who was a personal friend of Larsson. The anthology will include stories from Eva Gabrielson, Henning Mankell, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. The anthology will be the first collection of Swedish crime short stories translated into English. At the Malga I didn’t know what a ‘malga’ was until I read this story by Catherine McNamara. Afterwards I Googled it to find out a bit more. A ‘malga’ is an alpine hut, as described clearly by McNamara in At the Malga, a charming story of juxtapositions. Past/present, snow/sun, winter/summer, husband/stranger. An encounter between two strangers, left behind at an Alpine hotel by their fitter companions; one is tired, the other injured. They walk towards a malga, a walk that may lead to more than cheese. There is a wonderful sensuousness about their companionship. They pass a lake. “Veronique had never paused here this long, except to loosen her neck scarf or apply sunblock. But
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Flash Fiction: ‘An Apple Five Ways: 1/Hers’

She gets on the number 45 and sits upstairs. He sits down so he can see when she gets off. In town they cross the road to the station. The ticket machine is out of order and he is pleased, he prefers talking to a person. He stands in line behind her. She buys a return ticket to London, so does he. On the train, he sits two rows away. It’s a bit close but she may make a telephone call on her mobile and he needs to hear. She could be arranging to meet someone. He sits with his good ear facing her, she sits looking at her phone, typing. But there is no call. At Waterloo he waits outside M&S, studying a poster about Kew Gardens. She re-appears, carrying a small green bag. Her lunch. He has no food, didn’t expect to be gone for long. He can’t go into a shop now, and risk losing her. Really he just wants to touch her, but he knows this is not possible. He is frightened she will disappear on contact, like the time he looked at his reflection in the pond at Wisley. He dropped to his knees to
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.

Flash Fiction: ‘Chairs Chairs Chairs’

It is just before nine. She takes her time clearing the tables, the ones outside in the dark alley between the Royal Festival Hall on one side and the railway arches on the other. The sun won’t reach here until lunchtime. The alley has quietened, the rush to work is drawing to a close and the queue at the coffee counter for ‘to-go’s’ numbers only two. She prefers clearing tables to serving at the counter. Outside, only one table is occupied. The same table, every morning. She watches him, without seeming to. Arranged in front of him are pencil, notebook, ruler, pencil sharpener and eraser. She straightens chairs as he arranges his possessions at precise angles to each other. Into the tableau he adds his silver phone, a used and re-folded napkin, large coffee mug and plate with crumbs of almond croissant. She knows his routine. Every time she is on the morning shift, he is here. It’s as if he gets a copy of the week’s timesheet when the manager pins it on the noticeboard every Sunday evening. He sits now and looks into nothing, studying the blank paper as if it tells him the meaning of life. He
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Categories: My Flash Fiction.