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Short Stories

When One Door Closes

Realisation trailed a thorny chill across his neck. Precisely where the lies had begun was still a mystery, but it was clear he had been exploited and exposed as a gullible fool. “Oh, my dear boy, you aren’t coming back in here,” the guard slurred with a smirk, folding his arms and leaning against the …

Short Stories


The squirrel leant against the scratchy bark and curled his tail around his cold feet. The sharp wind repeatedly forced prolonged blinking, but he could still watch the show from his lonely vantage point. The badger, woodpecker, fox, hedgehog and a few garden birds revolved around the feeding station. To the rose-tinted lenses of human …

The COVID-19 Diaries

29 April 2020: Volunteering

The Stories of Our Times podcast is interrupted by my ringtone. I fight my way through the empty bags hanging off my arms to reach the back pocket of my shorts. “Hello?” “Rihanna?” I wince at the common mispronunciation. “Yes?” I already know who it is. “It’s Pam” “Hi Pam!” I tilt my head and …

The COVID-19 Diaries

25th March 2020: Locked Down

It’s day two of lockdown. Or, perhaps, hopefully-as-locked-down-as-it’s-going-to-get; best manage our expectations. Social distancing and self-isolating are lodged into vocabulary like they’ve been around forever. The phrase ‘when it’s all over’ needs no further explanation. The world has changed so rapidly that time is, paradoxically, passing extremely slowly. Surely it’s not only a few days …

Life According to Emmy

Talking to Strangers

“It’s Erin, isn’t it?” Emmy lifted her head to meet the eyes of an elderly gentleman leaning over her table in the coffee shop. “Sorry?” she was nonplussed. “Erin. She told me to go and sit down next to Erin, the pretty girl in the corner” he said, indicating that ‘she’ who had given him …

Life According to Emmy

Toll Gate Trauma

Giggling from the car behind, Emmy created a story out of what she observed one sunny August day… She hated these bloody things. Could never get her car close enough to the payment machine. And straining the whole right side of her body out of the window wasn’t getting any easier, at her age. However, …

Life According to Emmy

Emmy the Entomologist

“Eleven”. Emmy spat out the plastic tube attached to the glass needle. Still holding the tiny cold body of the mealworm between her thumb and forefinger, she scrabbled to locate the correct plastic cup. If only she was better organised. Selecting an unlabelled vessel in the sea of white containers on the bench in front …

Life According to Emmy

Emmy’s Respect for Spring

Emmy loves how resilient spring is. Summer has it easy. In summer, wildlife is simply required to appear. Whatever its aesthetic technicalities, the hazy warmth and sparkling sunshine make it dazzle. Spring nature, on the other hand, is the most hardy. It cannot get away with battening down the hatches and burrowing away – that’s …