Short Stories

There are a wealth of fabulous stories here for you to enjoy, many of them winners or runners up in our annual short story competitions. Find out about this year’s competition here…

Giver of Gifts – by Michael English

Won first prize at the Cambridge Short Story Competition 2017. A cold coming we had of it, or so T.S. Eliot wrote.  He may have been right about our predecessors, but, I have to admit, our journey is not so difficult.  I smile at the stewardess as she pours me another glass.  A bearded ayatollah across the aisle frowns at me.  A good Muslim should not be drinking alcohol.  But then I am not a Muslim and, anyway, I am drinking water. I ignore the Ayatollah.  The last thing we need is to attract attention.  All he sees, all anyone

Beryl – by Les Brookes

Won second prize at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2107 It was a fair-sized gathering. A few friends and neighbours, some aunts and uncles, a couple of cousins. His parents liked to throw a party now and again, and their Hallowe’en night had become a fixture, so by tradition some of the guests had come in costume. Stephen, aged nine, was draped in a sheet with a pair of peep-holes, and Mike, aged thirty-seven, was wearing a vampire mask. As usual, there was a good spread on the table. His mum had made sandwiches and sausage rolls, and Emmy

The Three Kings Ritual – by Nicola Gifford

Received Highly Recommended at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2017. There was a knock on the door.  I ignored it.  I was on the phone to a stolen debit card helpline, at least I was held in a telephone queue and had been for a considerable time, listening to a pre-recorded message telling me my custom was valued. There came another more insistent knock on the door.  I ignored it. A moment or two later the Provost marched in and pressed the disconnect button on my desk phone. “What did you do that for?” I demanded before quickly adding

Snowy Saturdays – by Helen Culnane

Won third prize at the Cambridge Short Story Competition 2017. We pull into a parking bay, the driver cuts the engine and sings out, ‘Drummer Street Bus Station’. I join the flow of passengers filing off the bus and emerge into a long, grimy perspex tunnel that bears no resemblance to the open air terminus I remember, where pedestrians would duck and dive between manoeuvring vehicles. But then it is getting on for 40 years since I was in Cambridge: things are bound to have changed. Certainly the route the bus had taken, between vast swathes of raw-brick, new development,

Lingering – by Siobhan Carew

Received Highly Recommended at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2017. It was my last day. I couldn’t say when I might return and the last few hours in the place where my family had lived became sharply precious. I had been filming over the past week, the ruin of the old house, the graves of my ancestors, the special places around and about. Just now I was kneeling on the crumbling floor of the old house. It felt gritty beneath me, though I had brushed the floor clean. I was trying to reach what looked like a tin box,

Bury The Truth – by Jane Phillips

Received Highly Recommended at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2017. This was the part of his job that Ken most enjoyed – the opportunity for silent contemplation. The preparation was done. The T’s were all crossed and the I’s dotted. Now, as he stood in silence looking down the nave of the church, he felt that same sense of tranquillity – that feeling of time-waiting that an empty church always gave him. He stood perfectly still and watched the motes of dust dancing across shafts of sunlight. He breathed in the essence of the place, the aura of agelessness,

What the Dog Ate – by Catherine Brierley

Received Highly Recommended at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2016. A true tale of gluttony Blossom was a big black dog. She had long black legs and spotty white paws. She had a big black body and a spotty white chest. She had a long black tail with spotty white tip so you could find her in the long grass. She had a long pink tongue and big shiny white teeth. Blossom loved people. Blossom loved going for walks. But most of all Blossom loved FOOD.   Blossom loved PEARS. The pear tree in the garden dropped its pears.

Requital – by Les Brookes

Awarded third prize at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2016. This is a weird experience. A first for me. Never been to such a gathering. Suits, hats and rosettes everywhere. The place bustling with self-delighted busybodies. What did someone call them? The chattering classes? Yeah, love it! What a deadly barb! Still, no one is chattering to me. They know me for a disaffected intruder. It’s the way I sit alone, surveying the hall with a jaundiced eye from the end of a back row. I see from the programme that Simon is to speak at eleven. His subject?

Amour Douloureux – by Angela Wray

Received Highly Recommended at the Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2016. She had been my mad, dangerous lover and I needed her back.  I couldn’t think of anything else.  In the year that I had been without her my longing had grown and I was now in extremis, incapable of functioning without her.  Love-sickness is a serious affliction; I knew I could not survive without her, however pathetic that might sound.  The illness was physical; it had spread from my brain and was flooding my cells with is poison.  Mathilde, Mathilde, the poison flowing through my bloodstream seemed to cry.

Work in Progress – by Will Tate

Awarded second prize in Cambridge Writers Short Story Competition 2016 Gerald Bowman steps gingerly over his sun-baked terrace and dives into the pool. While the dramas of chapter twenty-five are printing he swims his dozen lengths, then he dries on the lounger and Maria brings him a Martini. There’s also a message from a journalist in London who wants to interview him. Bowman tells Maria to call her back then grabs his heavy binoculars from the little table beside him. He lifts them to his eyes and focuses on the far side of the steep-sided valley. There, beside the dusty