Featured Below Some of the Best of our Original Stories
A Bird in the Hand – Rebecca Mansell
2000 words Humour
Cyril has an obsession with birds; the feathered kind you understand. The problem is that he neglects his wife and though he has created a seed mixture that his birds absolutely adore, will his wife want to remain with a man who prefers twitching to kissing?
Cyril taught History at the local community school but he knew far more about birds. The feathered kind, you understand. It couldn’t possibly be the other. If you saw Cyril, you’d understand why. He was an unassuming, humble man. You could pass him in the street and not really notice him as he seemed to blend in with the scenery. Nothing at all remarkable to look at; grey hair, grey eyes and even a grey complexion, sallow and lacking in any healthy colour. Very slim and tall; he wore suits all the time and rarely smiled. He also scratched his head quite a lot. His pupils were constantly sniggering that he had dandruff or nits, but they didn’t realise that it was actually a nervous complaint he’d had since his youthful days.
A Pick Me Up – Paul Warnes
2000 words Humour
A woman joins a gym to lose weight and finds love there. She finds a novel way of coping with eventual rejection.
Derek’s upstairs having a kip bless him. He’s never going to desert me because he needs me as much as I need him. How did we get together? Well, I suppose looking back, it’s Dr. Richards I’ve got to thank. Dr. Richards was a real treasure. I swear he used to look forward to our weekly chats and there was never any fuss about prescribing my pills. “So, Mrs Jones, some more of your little pick-me-ups then?”
Adam’s First Case – Patsy Collins
Nine year old Adam, police deputy in training, has a very important task. As well as catching the burglar and keeping his parents' secret he must save the magic of Christmas.
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Adam adjusted the focus of his binoculars. He’d promised community police officer PC Marks that he would carry out observations, because of the recent burglaries in the area. Adam is an unofficial deputy and in training for when he’s old enough to join the force. It was already dark outside, and Adam had been on stake-out since tea time. He could see people in the garden, but they weren’t burglars. It was his mum and dad. He went to see what they were doing.
All Because of a Book – Susan Wright
1800 words Ghost Story
Soon after buying an amazing book about ghosts in a charity shop, Lucy drives miles to visit the widow of the man who wrote the book. The old lady invites Lucy in and as the two women talk, it becomes clear just how amazing the book really is.
This story is included in the collection Six Stupid Sheep and Other Yarns
As she sat down on the black leather sofa, Lucy smiled at the old lady she’d come to visit and marvelled at how her life had changed. Just days before, she’d been thinking how boring everything was, but since then she’d seen a ghost, been to a police station and driven further than she’d ever driven before – and all because of a book! The old lady she’d come so far to see was the widow of the man who had written the book, and she’d been surprisingly welcoming when Lucy had turned up out of the blue. She’d hardly reacted when Lucy had told her that she’d come to talk about the book, and she hadn’t batted any eyelid when Lucy had explained how she’d got the address from the publisher. She’d just told Lucy her Christian name and invited her to come in.
As Different as Chalk from Cheese – Joan Zambelli
800 words Children 6 - 10
Mrs Uncertain could never make up her mind about anything. But her friend, Mrs Certain, knew exactly what she would be doing each day of the week. See what happens when they change roles...
Although Mrs Certain and Mrs Uncertain were the best of friends, in some ways they were as different as chalk from cheese. You see, Mrs Uncertain could never make her mind up about anything. She couldn’t even decide what to eat for her breakfast each morning. “Shall I have toast, or cornflakes?” she would ask herself.
Ben the Blue Engine – Pat Boulton
550 words Children 2 - 5 years
Ben loved his job picking up the passengers each day. But one day, he went right to his journey end, and not one passenger got into the carriages behind him. When he found out why, he couldn’t believe what a silly engine he had been.
Ben the blue engine wearily hooked on the blue carriages that followed behind him. With a chuff, chuff, puff, puff, the engine puffed away, ready for his days’ work. “I seem to be so tired today, I can’t think why.” It was not like Ben to start his day this way.
Boy About Town – NA Randall
13000 words General Fiction
Things aren’t going too well for out of work, wannabe rock star, Johnny Lane. His luck changes when he buys a suit from a charity shop that dispenses twenty-pound notes. But will his dream girl still like him for who he really is?
I couldn’t see his face at first. He was sort of lurking in the shadows, half in the alleyway, half out, leaning against one of those big industrial bins. Like me, I presumed he’d taken a step back from the crowds, the paparazzi and the film crews waiting outside the superstore, just so he could get a better view of things. When he offered me a swig from his hip-flask, I started to feel a bit wary, and took him for some shambling drunk. But then he started telling me this story, and he had such a strange, gravelly voice, I became more interested in what he was saying than anything else happening around me.
Carla the Little Red Hen – Pat St Pierre
One day Betsey found that her pet chicken, Carla, had lost all her feather. Carla was shivering from the cold. Betsey didn't know what to do.
This story is included in the collection Read It Again
Betsey lived on a farm. She didn't have a pet of her own but she wanted one. One day Betsey asked her dad, “May I have a farm animal for my very own?” “Well,” said her dad. “Do you think that you'll be able to take care of it by yourself?” “Yes, I think I can,” said Betsey. “I want to keep a baby chick for my pet.”
Chuckles for Speed – Nathaniel Tower
1500 words Humour / Science Fiction
Artie Frankinson thinks he has it made when he builds a time machine and travels back in time to win at horse racing, but he doesn't realize the presence of his former self, and later former selves, will become such a problem.
Artie Frankinson smiled from his couch as Chuckles for Speed rounded the final turn and stretched its lead to 5 and a half lengths. When the thirty-to-one longshot crossed the finish line, Artie lifted his arms and squealed. After this short victory celebration he wrote down the order of finishers along with a lot of dollar signs. He hadn't placed a bet on the race, at least not yet. A small black box covered with knobs and dials sat next to Artie, two long tubes jutting out into a small helmet. Artie placed the helmet on his head, fiddled with the dials, and disappeared.
Cora in Glowland – Perry McDaid
1700 words Humour
Spoof of Alice in Wonderland in Carrol’s style, a young girl is transported into a modern glow party. Her Victorian perspective clashes with modern idiom and a jealous girl. She’s saved by a drug dealer she mistakes for a healer.
‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ thought Cora, as she entered the darkened hall where beams of multicoloured light flashed at her from the shadows and an awful thrumming, throbbing noise assaulted her finely-tuned hearing. She was too confused to react when a strangely clad fellow with emerald hair and gleaming eyes floated out of the melee which surrounded her, embracing her quite forwardly before once more disappearing into the throng of wildly gyrating savages her adapting sight could now distinguish. ‘Gracious,’ exclaimed Cora, alarmed by the situation in which she now found herself, ‘why, some of these unfortunates are almost without clothing altogether.’
Curtis, Alone and Aging – B. F. McCune
1050 Words Literary Fiction
Not all war injuries become evident on a soldier’s body, nor do they show themselves without delay. Years after a stint in the service, one man treasures his experiences and boasts about them, yet suffers the real results silently.
"C'mon, Curtis, make up your mind. You've had all lunch hour to think." The young waitress, as lush and appetizing as her pies, bounces the eraser end of her pencil on the order pad. Every part of her pliant body pushes a rounded curve against the thin white uniform. Curtis wonders why he prefers to consider relishing the taste of pie to that of flesh.
Dear Mrs Golding – Lorraine Coverley
1600 words Humour
Emma works all day, while her husband dabbles at mysterious scientific projects. Their long-suffering cleaner leaves notes for her employer each day, telling Emma about the vanishing sandwiches, the destroyed hoover, the trouble with the ceiling and the day the house is destroyed …
Dear Mrs. Golding, Have cleaned all windows inside and out. Tea for you and Mr. Golding is in fridge. Mr. Golding did not eat his sandwiches today, so have put them in fridge too. I am sorry about the plates. I didn’t take my money today, because I thought it might help pay for the damage. Have hoovered carefully and I don’t think there are any splinters in the carpet. Mrs. Jenks
Discovering Marilyn – Alan Cadman
2000 words Women's Fiction
When Michael ducks inside a shop doorway, to shelter from a sudden downpour of rain, he doesn’t realise he is about to embark on a brief, but revealing adventure. The woman he literally bumps into looks familiar; there’s something about her eyes that holds his attention.
Michael winced as fat splashes of water rained down on him. He ducked into the nearest shop doorway and bumped into a woman already sheltering there. ‘Sorry,’ he said, ‘another typical English summer, isn’t it?’ ‘I know. I’m so annoyed.’ Michael ruffled his hair and shivered, even though it was in the middle of August. The woman’s eyes held his attention. ‘Do we know each other?’ he asked. ‘You remind me of someone.’
Driving Miss Katie – Linda Lewis
1500 words Women's Fiction
A man takes a job as a chauffeur so that, on her wedding day, he can be near the daughter he has never seen. His plan goes wrong when the main car gets stuck in traffic and he has to collect her himself.
Today I’m breaking a promise I made twenty years ago. I promised Julia I would stay away. No visits, no phone calls, not even a card at Christmas. It’s a perfect September day. The sky is a blanket of blue. No breeze disturbs the perfect stillness of the afternoon. I’m outside number 25 Sunnycroft Road exactly on time. I walk down the clean path, past the watching lines of maroon and white dahlias, and up to the door. Inside, I know they will all be ready. Rattling round like peas in a pod, just waiting to be popped. I feel the excitement in the air as I ring the bell.
Father – Ivaylo G. Ivanov
3300 words Science Fiction
An absurd coincidence drives a young man to look for the truth about his deceased father - and find out the price of fatherly love.
I am walking, and I cannot hear my steps. Their tapping is drowned in the lashing rain and the deafening roar of thunder. I have no steps... The cool drops run down my cheeks and my temples, soak through my clothes and lap the bouquet of white narcissi. I can't help remembering Murphy's laws--it never rains but it pours. Damn it, I didn't even take an umbrella! Yet, what does an umbrella have to do with all that? IX sector, fifth row--there's the small copper plaque "Sean Simon (2053-2081)".
Footprints – Susan Howe
4500 words Mystery
Who can you turn to when the law is on the wrong side?
I haven’t done this for a long time. Not since Ma died. She got upset so I promised not to do it again, but she’s gone now. What she can’t see won’t hurt her and I’ll be really careful. This time no one will know except me. I’ve been watching the house from my room across the road. I’ve seen them come and go, the tall girl with bouncy red curls like shiny new chestnuts, the smaller one with long golden hair and a coat that almost touches the ground and the tiny little guy who looks like one of Ma’s garden gnomes, but without the fishing rod.
Forests of Brooklyn – Gerard Taylor Wallace
1500 words General Fiction
Treasures waited, battles were won, castles grew and magical moments never ceased in The Forests of Brooklyn. They were there; they are still; just close your eyes and open your heart to know them.
You had to do a little magic; you had to see more than was there. An abandoned car could be a castle if you liked and the ice cream truck could be driven by a king or a knight. The sidewalks could be painted and even the sewers held treasures that parents were denied. Trust me still and know that great forests were there in Brooklyn and this one I will tell of was filled with more wonder than all.
Nigel’s Choir – Jenny Francis
A tale from the animals who live in Apple Wood Glen. with silly Mrs Quackers the duck, kind Mr Fluffytuff the rabbit and clever Nigel the frog.
A story in which Nigel the frog starts a croaking choir.
Nigel is a happy little frog; he loves his Lily pad home on Apple Wood pond, and liked nothing more than to croak all day long. One day Mrs Quackers paddled by with her ducklings trailing behind, she stopped at Nigel’s Lily pad, “You croak very well Nigel, why don’t you ask a friend to croak with you, and then it would be much louder.”
Note in Pocket – Tyler Wills
A vignette of a day and an incident in Spain. An alternative view of the traditional image of this beautiful country.
They killed a rabbit this morning, the enemy. They are as jittery as we. We, if the others are still out there. We of course knew all about the rabbit, we had seen it, studied its run for the last month or so. We discussed various plans for hours, good plans, to get that rabbit into the pot with all the local herbs we have here, wild garlic, bay leaf, cumin also grow abundantly, the smell of it follows every nearby blast.
Spinning Wheel – Craig Davis
Well, the war had ended. Joy swept across the weary cities and worn homesteads of the nation, drawing cheering crowds into the streets, and drained wives and mothers out of farmhouses, waving their aprons. Flashbulbs caught euphoric couples in mid-embrace, and microphones sent exultant speeches to all the country’s radios as politicians congratulated themselves. Years of struggle and hardship left the population exhausted, yet also elated at having merely survived, each man and woman outlasting their emotions as well as the enemy overseas. The war’s imposed rationing had capped off more than ten years of the unofficial, but no less cruel deprivations of the Great Depression – everyone knew there was nothing great about it, other than its tenacity.
The Chocolate Detectives Part 1 – Gill McKinlay
1600 words Mystery
Can Annie and Evie find a missing lawnmower with only a chocolate wrapper to go on?
This story is included in the collection Stuffed Robins Don't Fly
“I’ve reported the theft of our mower to the police, Annie” Gran said. “They’ve given me a case number.” “Did you show the bit of evidence to the officer?” I asked. “Yes but he wasn’t very convinced - he seemed to think I was one chunk short of a bar.” I wasn’t in the least surprised to hear it. “Let’s have another look at it….” Gran unearthed a clear plastic wallet. Inside was a purple wrapper that had once graced a bar of chocolate.
The Holiday Tree – Pauline Lachman
1800 words Women's Fiction
It had been three months since the Paul family,husband, mother and son Jason had arrived in a little village in China. She was a teacher of English and Mr. Paul was a post-graduate student. November had arrived and still the villagers did not accept them. Christmas was approaching and missing her home in Canada Mrs. Paul made a little tree from scraps of materials she found. The twinkling lights she strung around the Holiday Tree as she named it ,caught the eye of little Feng-Feng. He wanted a Shu just like that for his home.
His mother came to the school to see what had caused her only child to be so excited. Life for the Paul family changed dramatically.
This story is included in the collection A Wish for Christmas
“Teacher, can I take this shu to my house?” Feng-Feng asked Mrs.Paul the morning after she’d set up an imitation tree in her classroom. His legs splayed, eyes glued to the flickering bulbs, his right fist opening and closing in unison with the lights, the five year old boy seemed entranced. Mrs. Paul smiled. “If your mother can come to the school tomorrow, I’ll show her how to make one. We’ll keep this for the class. Okay.”
The Marmalade Cat – Raelke Grimmer
1660 words Humour / Women's Fiction
This actor’s jobs have been steadily drying up. Now, he’s discovered the reason why: the marmalade cat. There’s only one thing to do: take revenge. The marmalade cat has ruined his career, so it’s only fair he should ruin the cat’s career, too.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
There used to be a cat who sat on our driveway. A ginger long-haired creature who enjoyed leaving her fine hairs all over the front yard. She’d sit there all day. I didn’t like it. When Sharon went to work at eight, the cat was never there. Only when I got home after taking the kids to school did the cat arrive to take her place. I dreaded going home. Most days I prolonged it by going to the supermarket or listening to kids read in Maggie’s class. Eventually, though, there was work I needed to do at home and I had to return.
The Most Terrible Beast – Khristo Poshtakov
1800 words Science Fiction / Humour
As you read the story, glance at the sky now and then. Is it changing colour? The most terrible beast may visit our Solar System too.
This story is included in the Essence of Humour collection
It was a regular bar room, one of those found near null terminals or spaceports in any point of the intelligent universe. Nickeled holders for consuming various gas mixtures occupied the bar, their sterilized inhaling mouthpieces sticking out from the consumption sockets. Any patron of the place would be thoroughly familiar with the selection of cocktails; nevertheless, their numbers were engraved in a dozen galactic languages. Four members of humankind sat on the comfortable stools in front of the bar. Three of them already knew one another, and the fourth one had just joined their company. They had been drawn together by their common need to kill some spare time between flights.
The Perfect Crime – Rosemary J. Kind
4300 words Crime / Humour
Matthew Wilbright wants a divorce from his childless marriage to Laura. Given it is because he still wants the chance to have a family heir, Laura might be forgiven for being a little resentful. Her response is to devise the ideal solution to her problems. But perfect plans don’t always go quite as intended!
“Laura, thanks for looking after my little darlings while I was away.” “Don’t mention it, the pleasure was all mine.” I smiled down the phone. If only Rebecca knew what I’d done. “I was quite worried about you before I went. You seemed very low. Is there anything I can do?” “I’m fine now. Really I am and believe me when I say I appreciate everything you’ve already done.” Every little thing! I grinned. “Well if you’re sure. I’ll see you next week.” “Yes, bye.” I put the phone down and nodded to myself, yes I was fine.