Short Stories

at the stroke of midnight

It smelt like every other library, though it was certainly different after dark. The perfume from the books was stronger at night, sweeter and more pungent, made all the more noticeable by the lingering whiff of coffee.

Mila stumbled behind the others, torch in hand. Andrik led their little group through the shelves, all the while whispering in Tao’s ear. Tao let out a muffled laugh and Mila scoffed; her brother wasn’t that funny.

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Gardens of War & Wasteland

short story: the king & his shadow

Prince Kiokharen has loved and lost a great deal in his short life. His sister — gone. His best friend — gone.

And now …

As Kio reels from the tragic loss of his wife and unborn child, will a shock reunion be enough to keep him together?

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Short Stories

the investigator

The smell of death surprised him every time—sweet and pungent in its foulness. Rence stood over the body of Lord Harrison, regarding the pattern of his splattered blood across the slate tiles of the monastery. Beside the body was a pistol—a relatively new model by the looks of it. Pinched between his gloved thumb and forefinger, Rence lifted it from the pooled blood, the barrel cold and greasy. It was a decorative thing: a three barrelled flintlock with brass mechanism and an ornately carved ivory grip. A curious smile crept across his lips.

This was a rich man’s weapon.         

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Short Stories

the dreambound tree

Memories define our sense of place.  Friends and family do too.
And sometimes, perhaps, a bit of magic

.

By the time I was thirteen, I knew I was too old to be sleeping in Mum’s bed. But that didn’t stop me crawling in beside her on that two-inch thick fold-out mattress every second night when I woke slick with sweat from a nightmare.

‘Try to go back to sleep, Maddie,’ Mum’d coo and kiss my hair even though we both knew we’d lie there awake until the alarm chimed at three-thirty and it was time for her to get up for work.

 I never lived in a normal house. Well, I did—once. But I hadn’t since I was seven and we didn’t talk about it or actively remember anything of the life before we left. Since then it’s been caravans or share houses; granny flats in someone’s backyard; or a refurbished old shearer’s shed like the place where we lived now. Mum always told me to be grateful because it was the kindness of strangers and her hard work that kept me clothed and sheltered.

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Short Stories

the carpet cleaner

Robert liked his job. Well, most of the time. He didn’t like going to uni student share houses to leech booze and dried vomit off every plush surface the day before a rental inspection; and he didn’t like going to Ms McTavish’s place because she had ten cats and let them pee on the carpet until it was sodden and the house smelt like piss long after he’d shampooed and shampooed it again. He also didn’t like nursing homes, because it was too hard seeing people not that much older than he with defeated expressions on their sunken faces, confined to beds, stuck full of tubes and left to stare at the empty visitors’ chairs in their room all day. No, he didn’t like that at all. As with anything, there were good clients and bad, and the one client Robert loved, more than anything, was Mrs Lavingston. 

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Short Stories

aunty mim’s lost & found

Miriam Sykes had been called many things and not all of them were kind. A witch, a gypsy. Hermit. Lunatic. Satan. But Miriam Sykes was just a woman—a woman who was very good at finding things.

Miriam lived a good twenty minute walk from Sturtville station. Trains didn’t stop there anymore. Well, not trains for moving people anyhow. There weren’t many people left to move in bum-fuck nowhere South Australia. That’s what my brother called Sturtville: bum-fuck nowhere. He wasn’t exactly wrong. Sturtville consisted of opal miners, a high school of about fifty kids, a Woolies, and one sad little servo that sold over-priced fuel. That was our town. Village. Hole-in-the-ground. We didn’t have a lot in Sturtville (more than one doctor, for example) but there was one thing we had that no other place in Australia did. And that was Miriam Sykes.

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Short Stories

the cottage on peppercorn tree hill

The cottage on Peppercorn Tree Hill was not a cottage: it was a Federation Bungalow with a bay window and Evelyn Millar loved it. From the moment Harold drove her up the dusty road and she saw red brick façade with cream latticework under the eaves, Evie knew they would be happy here. The front was shaded with a large peppercorn tree, for which the hill was named, with a swollen trunk and wide-spanning limbs. Evie jumped out of the car, blonde curls bouncing, and breathed in the fresh country air. A smile curled her lips as she beheld her future looking down at the town below.

Evie and Harold met in a hospital, though neither was a patient. Her mother Vilma had been volunteering at the 113th Australian General Hospital to care for the many repatriated soldiers wounded in the Pacific. Together with her younger sister, Margaret, Evie spent much of her time there, helping where she could, while their father fought in Papua New Guinea. While assisting the nurses on their rounds, Evie happened upon a fresh-faced, fair-haired doctor by the name of Harold Millar. In spite of horror piling up around her, Evie fell in love.

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