Flash Fiction: Feral


I set down the saucer of milk in the corner of the barn and scuffed around in the straw, calling and blowing little kisses. Every day I’d visited the kittens, pressing each soft face against mine and sighing.

Cara had sighed too. ‘They’re not your babies, Frances. They’re feral cats and in a month they’ll be yowling, and scratching and copulating.’

Now she stood in the doorway, the sleeves of her shirt sodden.
‘Have you been to the lake?’ I said.
She held out a sack, the dead-weight at the bottom dripping water on the concrete floor.
‘You’re too old for playing mother,’ she said.


This is a Friday Fictioneers story of 100-words or so, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and this week the picture is provided by Piya Singh. Click here to join in or here to read other people’s.


I had some great news yesterday. One of my short stories, A Quiet Tidy Man, has been shortlisted for the Royal Academy / Pin Drop short story prize. The winner will be announced at a ceremony later in June at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where the story will be read by the actress Juliet Stevenson. More information.


Flash Fiction: Third Person


In books there’s always the drunk one. And the hesitant one. And the sober, sensible one – the person warning about the lake’s depth, the submerged dangers and the weeds to get tangled in. I should have been that person when we went down to the water in the dark, but instead we three were all the first kind. Giggling, we pulled off our clothes, plunged in, screaming at the cold.

A full five minutes of laughing and splashing went by before we missed him.

‘Peter!’ We tread water. ‘Stop messing around!’

In the blink of an eye we became the third person.


Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this weekly 100-word Friday Fictioneers writing event. Join in. Read other people’s. The picture this week is supplied by Erin Leary.


Another competition to win BOOKS. But this time not only Our Endless Numbered Days, but also books by Kazuo Ishiguro, Yann Martel, Kate Atkinson, Danielle McLaughlin, Julian Barnes and others. Click to enter.

Short story: The cockerel


Every morning for a month Nanette and I trudged behind our father down to the boat. We each carried an oar, and he carried the cockerel. Everyone stared as he tied the flapping bird to the transom, and rowed out to sea. He didn’t care.

‘What’s he doing?’ someone asked.

‘Looking for our mother,’ Nanette said. I turned away, too wretched to hear her explanation: that Norwegians believe the cockerel will crow when the boat moves over the drowned.

The following day the cockerel got loose and my father sat on the sand and cried, and I turned away once more.


A Friday Fictioneers 100-word (or so) story inspired by the picture supplied by Georgia Koch. Friday Fictioneers is organised and run by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to join in, and here to read other pieces.


If any Canadian readers are interested in winning a copy of my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway for people who live in Canada. (Apologies again to all the Friday Fictioneers from the States!)

Short story: Rowing on the lakes of Canada

My world is green, opaque. Fronds of women’s hair beckon me down. Slippery kisses against my pebble-dashed skin. Content, I sink to the gritty bottom to be nibbled by the fish, the eels, the worms until I will be divided into my constituent parts. Like oil and water I will separate and be remade as scales, shells and fronds of women’s hair.

Suddenly – a refraction, a disturbance of scattered light. Look for me another day I say to the hand reaching down towards me, but I am snatched from my watery home, coughing, choking back into the boat, like a newborn.


I wrote this to the beautiful Lakes of Canada sung by by Sufjan Stevens (originally by Innocence Mission). You can listen to it here (the song starts at .55).

I’m writing a novel and I used this picture prompt from Rebecca Tsaros Dickson as inspiration for a scene. So this piece of writing was a combination of novel, picture and music.

I’d love to receive comments and constructive criticism. Click here to join in or to read other people’s stories inspired by this picture, provided by dianavt.com.