Intermission #shortstory

Lying in a tangle of sheets, I watch a spider cross the ceiling while Jacob struggles unsuccessfully to open the window.  ‘I’m afraid I’ve broken off some of the paintwork,’ He holds up the thin white slivers, and lets them fall from his hands onto the wide windowsill of the triangular alcove. Continue reading “Intermission #shortstory”

My Quota of Joy (short story)

The highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness

–  John Locke

One morning at the end of February I look up at the colossal wooden frame mounted above the fireplace and I can see I’ve already used up my Quota Of Joy for the rest of the year.

‘You’re so greedy.’ My mother twists my hair between her fingers. ‘Always wanting more. No sense of self-control.’ She ties the end of the braid with a red ribbon. ‘You get what you deserve; we all do.’

Sulking makes no difference. Under her name, flashing red in the half-gloom, are a couple of spare weeks. She says she’s saving it for August, in case of fine weather. Continue reading “My Quota of Joy (short story)”

Breakfast (short story)

Hanging on the wall in the hallway of my parents’ house is a portrait of my great grandparents on their engagement day.  It’s one of those typical, non-smiling sepia photographs.  He has a massive moustache and her hair is scraped back off her face so hard it must have been painful.

They’re both facing slightly off centre.  One of his hands is blurred; it looks as if he moved it from resting on her shoulder to cupping her elbow.  Or the other way round.  I’ve walked past it a thousand times without ever really stopping to look.

My mother puts her hand on my shoulder and pushes me closer. Continue reading “Breakfast (short story)”

Words Cannot Express (short story)

After reading the first line out loud, my mum falls silent.  I dig my nails into the palm of my hands.  She holds the piece of paper away at arms length while she reads and narrows her eyes.  Her reading glasses are in her bag but she always squints, claiming that they tend to smudge her mascara. Continue reading “Words Cannot Express (short story)”

Birds may fly (flash fiction)

Falling off the wall had been the most exciting thing ever to happen to Jane.  The doctor’s soft hands, the crisp white hospital sheets, the smoothness of the empty vase next to her bed. Continue reading “Birds may fly (flash fiction)”

Relaxation (short story)

She has bought a box of supermarket sushi for lunch, but all the green spaces and benches in the centre of town are so packed with people. Loud people. She wants to go somewhere and relax. She would like to be able to enjoy her lunch in peace and quiet. She hates seeing so many faces crowding round her. It is upsetting. She can feel herself becoming panicked. The panic feels like a snake. It pulls itself up out of her stomach and up through her throat; like a slow, venomous vomit rising into her mouth. Continue reading “Relaxation (short story)”