Short stories

 

One of our short fiction pieces might whisk you away to another place or another time. It might put you in the shoes of someone you've never dreamt of being. And the whole journey takes place in a single sitting. Come on an adventure with us. Compelling Australian short fiction is what we're all about.

 

 

Washed Out

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There are scratch marks on his arms that don’t belong to me. Bite marks and bruises, old and new, on his chest and shoulders that don’t match my dental records. There’s mud between his toes from another adventure and I can see the pressure marks from his heavy backpack on his chest. There’s a festival wristband around his arm, but it’s not the same as the one around mine.

Out here in Blacktown, four dollars sixty and sixteen stops from Kings Cross, naked and sore I take an OxyContin out of a box on my bedside table and I hold it between my fingers.

I say ten milligrams.

The Trouble with Fish

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My great-grandmother was born in a large puddle in Osaka. I’m not really sure what happened in the middle. It’s irrelevant to my story. But I was born in that pet store. The one with the photo of the smiling girl surrounded by puppies and kittens hanging out the front.

I didn’t hate my time there - it was by no means extraordinary - but I didn’t mind. I was fed daily at 2pm and every Thursday my tank was cleaned out. I lived alone with my thoughts, which was relaxing.

The Dinner Party

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Emma Sanderson-Ellis, her partner Jarrod Ellis, their “sensitive” baby of seven months, Moss, along with Kevin Irving and his partner Emma Beekman (the Other Emma) were coming over to Stella Martin’s in South Yarra on Saturday, 29 May for a modest two course dinner party, but 60 minutes before the big event, Stella, crushingly hungover and hampered by an injured left foot, recognised that because she still had so much to do and so little time to do it in, for several hours, until her guests filed out of her flat, there would be absolutely no opportunity to pause...

A Man Of His Word

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His guts churn something shocking, so he reaches for the pills and washes down a couple with a good clump of spit. The knot loosens, relief flushes. The kitchen sink is clean. Did the dishes last night. Do the dishes and wake up to a clean caravan. New man, new decisions. Sign of things to come. 

The sun chases him over the mattress until one more roll will see him face plant the floor. Been a while since it’s had a mop. Plus, imagine yelling out to the other long termers and asking to help lift him up: all six-four inches and a hundred odd kilos. 

Aurora

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Snow crunched under thick boots, compressing into the earth as I trekked further north. I raised my scarf against the breeze sweeping through the trees that brought a frostbite chill to my nose. Not much further; it should start soon. A thump to the left caused me to turn sharply; the only sound besides the wind and my own footsteps. The branch of a tree had been strained too long, finally releasing the built up snow weighing it down. I was unclear why; the wind wandered its way through the forest carrying not a single snowflake.

A Short-Lived Marriage

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On entering his apartment Rob could hear the sound of the television. Coming down the hall he noticed cardboard boxes sealed in duck tape with “Arthur’s clothes and books” written across them in scribbled black text. Arthur sat in the living room, despondent. The light coming from the television broke the darkness at intervals with iridescent flashes. Rob passed into the kitchen. 

S-M-S!

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I start the day of my death like every other: barely alive.

Sleepless and cruising mindlessly through the shopping centre that some town planner has sketched out next to my regional train station, and probably the train station after that. I imagine a carbon copy of me in the next town over, scurrying to pick up the exact same shrink-wrapped and canned goods that will help me subsist during the workday. Tuna. Sweetcorn. More tuna. A limp and vaguely chemical-tasting salad if it’s Monday (which it is) and you’re detoxing, (which I am).

Can Kirby Come Out and Play?

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There’s something to be said of the fact that I’d decided to return to a specific place, to the creek in Prospect, to remember Kirby. Walking down the gentle slope of my old street I thought that, even though I had no desire to ever go back to the “Westie” suburb of my childhood, as I tried to write about Kirby on the narrow front balcony of my rented terrace in Surry Hills the words on the page sounded forced, fictive, like I was being dishonest. 

“Come on, Kirby!” my brother and his mates used to say.  

We're friends

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So, here we are at Lou’s birthday. All the boys have taken over the fire, fighting with each other about who can best build up the flames, drinking and smoking, and talking a whole lot of shit. I was over there about 20 minutes ago, and guess what they were talking about? Premier League fantasy football. No shit, they really were. They were all sitting there with their phones lighting up their faces, comparing teams, players, and some other stuff that I got bored of super quickly.

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The Dinner Party

Profile picture for user email_registration_D8PtAyJF59
Emma Sanderson-Ellis, her partner Jarrod Ellis, their “sensitive” baby of seven months, Moss, along with Kevin Irving and his partner Emma Beekman (the Other Emma) were coming over to Stella Martin’s in South Yarra on Saturday, 29 May for a modest two course dinner party, but 60 minutes before the big event, Stella, crushingly hungover and hampered by an injured left foot, recognised that because she still had so much to do and so little time to do it in, for several hours, until her guests filed out of her flat, there would be absolutely no opportunity to pause...