Justice? (250-word fiction)

Goldilocks was our favourite bedtime story when we were kids. In that age of schoolyard bullies, I guess we liked the idea that thieves would ultimately get their comeuppance – that you couldn’t just walk into someone’s home and break their favourite chair and eat all of their porridge without consequences. No: you would be caught out. You would have to answer for your actions. Papa Bear would be stern and enraged, Mama Bear would shout, “for shame!”, Baby Bear would cry his eyes out, and you would be struck by the deepest remorse.

You certainly wouldn’t smirk and whisper some disparaging remark to your lawyer when the victim impact statement was read out, that’s for sure.

The Ballroom Project, Chapter Two (3,600-word fiction)

Alilah must reach her brother. She must. She can’t quite see him – it seems to her that he is standing at the other side of a vast, unfamiliar hallway, his silhouette barely visible – and she is running to reach him, yet the faster she moves, the further he slips from her view. She…

She’ll be out of here as soon as possible (fiction)

Ellen knew that today’s biology class would be a nightmare. She skimmed through the textbook at the end of summer – just to familiarise herself with the syllabus before the term started – and as soon as she saw the chapter about the human reproductive system, her heart sank, because she knew what to expect. There would be audible snorts and giggles and furtively whispered remarks around the room, especially at the back of the class.

When AI art encouraged the return of human creativity (set in the year 2070)

Further building on the 2070 story I’ve been developing, this post is inspired by my own belief: that the internet as we currently know it may well be flooded with AI-generated content in the near future, and non-AI work might be regarded as inferior for a time … but the human desire for authentic expression – messy, imperfect, imprecise expression – can never truly die. We will return to our innate drive to dream.

Grace (a short story)

Grace remembers it well. It’s one of the few things she remembers. Her mother used to put a drop of brandy in her sister’s bottle to help her sleep. She no doubt did the same thing for Grace, and why wouldn’t she? In that dusty room, in that falling-down old house, the walls covered in grime and soot from the Franklins’ fire downstairs. Her mother had tried to give them both the best life she could, Grace can see that now.

He acknowledges her with the briefest of nods (880-word fiction)

Albalia’s sharp gaze takes in Alilah’s dress and cape – Alilah sees her checking that the ancestral gems are correctly arranged – then she nods and turns away. “Come. Eat, and we shall then prepare the grounds. I will go to the kitchens first, I must consult the chefs…” Downstairs, Eitrem is seated at the…

The Ballroom Project, Chapter One (1,900-word fiction)

It is no bad thing, Guenneth believes, that she is now regarded as too dowdy and dull for most men of high standing or wealth to acknowledge. In her younger days, she was sometimes pursued by the wealthy sons of those who visited or worked with her employers, but she found herself becoming more and…

Your mother saved me (540-word fiction)

The poor child is only sixteen years old. Guenneth can well remember what it was to be that age: how a romance can light up your every waking moment and make you believe, somehow, that even as a downtrodden peroi girl, your life might be blessed with some measure of joy.

You will never be a part of that life (530-word fiction)

Obscured from view behind a pillar, she wasn’t seen by either of them, but she decided to confront Josliehn later that day, when they were alone in the kitchens. Josliehn furiously denied that anything untoward was happening; claimed she had simply gone into Orvec’s chambers to clean; offered up a series of such laughably obvious…

From an early age, he was shown all that he stands to inherit (550-word fiction)

Orvec Pallias is the first-born child of Eitrem, Orsthai’s wealthiest merchant, and Albalia, high priestess of the Orsthis: one of the two religious sects that dominate the continent of Aarai, as well as boasting sizeable overseas empires. The rival sect, the Meithsis, largely consider themselves to be the older, more traditional and therefore more valid…