Short stories 1000 –
5000 words. Some teasers!

quill Sicilian Defense

“Dad can I have a dog?”
“Let me think about it.” She was sharp, knew how to take a risk. That was his daughter!
The right to gamble: black to respond. White makes the first move. The Sicilian defense is an obvious reply

quill Keeping up with the Drones

It doesn’t matter how often you bury the axe; it keeps popping up again. Friends disappear, leave you to it but enemies have a habit of resurging, at all the best moments, just when you cannot say no. The blade remained sharp so keep it well clear of the old block.

quill Cold War Babes

“Not tonight.”

And she wasn’t called Josephine.

“You have to go Frankie.”

She still wasn’t called Josephine. Napoleon would have approved.

Johanna stared at him with those chocolate eyes hinting at a mint filling, a hazel berry glow of deferred reward. Visions. And Louise was still up and it was past dawn. Frankie grabbed the drink firmly in his left hand.

quillA Good Night’s Sleep

“Can I phone my friends now?”

“No honey. Wait until I get a new phone deal. We are way out in the country you know.”

That wasn’t quite true, a secluded estate bordering a major city was hardly the countryside but a ten year old didn’t have to know that. Anything to keep her quiet and them both well protected behind a veil of secrecy, a wire mesh keeping the chickens from returning home to roost.

“Ready children?”

“Just a sec Dad,” says Brian.

“Coming!” says Jessie.

Time ticks. Sticky and sweet. Dad hovers, sweet swelling, toes wiggling nervously. He opens his mouth. Closes it. Just wait a minute more.

quillBattle Stations

Silence stank into a mush of dying vegetation, fumes hanging on the damp air, perspiration dripping down his cheek, tangling in the folds of his beard, blending into a narrow chest, trying not to heave with the tension. Battle Stations

quillDaddy’s Little Girls

The last miscarriage was like a vacuum pumping her stomach. In vitro sucked you dry. Arturo had made her promise it would be their last attempt. She knew he was right: he was an astronomer and he could see it written in the stars.


“Turn your phones off,” Dad said, gently, so quietly the words carried an electric current.

Squabbling, the children in the back seat didn’t hear him.

“Turn them off!”  he repeated, voice shrilling over the din.

The two girls looked blank. They shrugged.

quillSleeping Partners

There was a steam of clouds hanging around outside as the rain prattled on the tin roof of their hideaway. An endless rattle of drops ribbing against each other in a shield of terrifying squeals. The straw was rough. It pinched her shoulders, his knees. Sleeping Partners

quillAnother Draw

They had hung a large screen on the back wall. It flickered palely under the strip lighting, the soft thuds of pints on rocky tables, the chitter chatter of familiar conversations, sour jokes, the wrinkle of an eyelid they all knew so well.  Manchester United scored another goal.


She didn’t know what to say. In fact, she had nothing left to say.
The skin on her neck pricked, wrinkled, tensed into lines which reached down her spine and tightened her buttocks. The sensation was too familiar. Her ears perked. There was someone out there.


Chilies and soya sauce, noodles, sweet corn and frijoles wafted through the rafters. Parents had found a crumbled wooden slatted house in the suburbs. A blend of spicy richness stifled the air.

quillNight Watchman

“Stop it!”
“Just a sec.”
“We’re on holiday. On a break. Get your head out of it.”
“And into what?”
Bernie pushed his wife in the arm, gently, unspoken camaraderie he hoped. “Come on. Let Jason do it.”

quillBurn Out

Johnnie found the bed sit for Lucinda. He was an old hand. Had been in the city for two months by the time she got there. It wasn’t an arranged marriage: they were just distant cousins and when you came up from the country any semi-known face was welcome support.


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