Category: flash fiction

Do Me a Favour by Katie Oliver

On Thursday night the head chef’s girlfriend comes into the restaurant to have a meal. She’s got a wheely suitcase with her – come straight from the Eurostar, apparently; they all know she’s studying at the Sorbonne. The head chef hurriedly combs his hair back from his forehead, wipes greasy hands down his apron.

Do me a favour, he says. Don’t tell Millie what I’m like when I’m here. All the… you know.

She narrows her eyes but nods her assent, folds her arms. Sure, she says.

Breath From Strangers by Thomas Elson

His hands trembled as he reached for a shopping cart. He had avoided life for the past five weeks. Now, wherever he looked there were threats. He saw it in the way people veered to the left or the right. He saw it in their eyes.

Past sliding doors into an open area designed to protect customers from winter blasts and summer bursts. He walked around stacks of bottled water, boxes of mac and cheese, and sugared cereal, then to a second set of doors. Clerks who had once smiled now resembled bank robbers – their faces covered and eyes swerving. One employee pointed to a sign.

Answer One Question for The Stay of a Lifetime by Rebecca Houghton

“Have you seen my wife?” says Mr. Blakeney, his hand coming down on the slate tile counter with a thump.

“Ah, hello, sir. We’ve been expecting you,” replies the neatly dressed concierge, his dark red uniform smartly pressed, metallic buttons glinting in the light from the old-fashioned brass desk lamp.

“My wife isn’t here?” says Mr. Blakeney.

Solstice by N.R. Baker

You moved like a glacier through the best years of my life. Shaped me hugely, imperceptibly, until I’d forgotten what I was before and had become something that made no sense after you were gone, something carved and scalloped by a million unnoticed excisions. After the divorce I looked for myself in what you’d left of me, but saw nothing I recognised in the bleak, hollowed place where I thought I used to be.

Drip…… Drip.

The Inner by Emily Harrison

He tells the customer on the other side of the counter that I’m “good to stand and look at when it’s quiet, helps pass the time.” He says it like it’s nothing and hands over the boxed-up pizza. The customer stifles a laugh, scuttling out the door with a reptilian backwards glance.

I stay still and silent. He turns to the ovens and lifts a stack of greased black trays towards the sink, dropping them in. The belt that pulls the pizzas through is still rotating.