Friday’s Short Story

Sunday morning, and Mrs. Stevens has her hand up a chicken when she hears a knocking at the front door. She wipes the sage and onion off her fingers, and goes and answers the door. Why wouldn’t she?

It’s Trevor, from next door. Her heart skips, just slightly. She is happily married, to Mr. Stevens, but sometimes Trevor smiles at her and she feels a bit giddy. He has a way of looking at her, like he’s looking past the shop-worn facade of her middle-aged body, to what lies within. She likes Trevor.

“Hello Trevor,” she says.

“Yeah, hi, I was just wondering, could I borrow a drill, if you’ve got one?” says Trevor.

Mr. Stevens joins his wife at the door. He doesn’t like Trevor. Trevor has this way of smiling at his wife.

“Hello Trevor,” he says.

“Hi, yeah, I was just asking if I could borrow a drill. Mine’s broke, drill bit got stuck in his leg.” says Trevor.

“His leg?”

“Table leg. I’m making a table,” says Trevor.

“Oh, I’m sure that’d be OK,” says Mrs. Stevens. She turns to her husband. “There’s that Black and Decker you got for Christmas, isn’t there. It’s not out of the box yet,” she says, looking at Trevor again. “Never uses it. Are you very handy?”

“Well he was certainly drilling this morning!” says Mr. Stevens, lightly. “We heard it, didn’t we? The sound of drilling. Not that it’s a problem. It was quite early, though. What with that, and the screaming…”

“Oh, was that you screaming, Trevor? Did you cut yourself?” says Mrs. Stevens, allowing herself a compassionate twinkle.

“What? Oh, yeah. I nicked myself with a… splinter. Paper cut. Whatever. So, the drill…”

“Is that what all the…?” she gestures at the apron Trevor is wearing, the apron glistening with fresh, wet blood.


“The blood, is that where the blood is from?” she asks.


“Is it from the splinter?”

Trevor looks down at his apron. There is a great deal of blood on it. “Yeah, must be,” he says. “So do you have a drill, or what?”

“Go get it then,” Mrs. Stevens chivvies her husband, who disappears into the house.

Trevor and Mrs. Stevens smile at each other for a while.

“You’ve got a bit of…” she says, gesturing vaguely towards Trevor’s face.

Trevor cocks his head, brings his hand to his ear, dislodges something that has been dangling from the lobe. Something pinkish-red and stringy, which lands on the doorstep with a little wet sound.

“That’s got it. I’m glad you popped round, actually,” says Mrs. Stevens. “You haven’t seen Sammy anywhere have you?”


“Our son? He’s just back from Uni for the weekend. Only he went out last night and he hasn’t come back.”

“Oh dear.”

“Yes. I’m sure he’s just at a friend’s house but you know what it’s like, we parents do worry don’t we?”

“I haven’t seen him.”

“Do you remember what he looks like?”

“What does he look like?”

“About 6 feet ta…”

“Haven’t seen him.” interrupts Trevor, as Mr. Stevens re-emerges from the house, bearing a drill, mint in box.

“Here’s the drill,” says Mr. Stevens.

Trevor grabs it off him with both hands. “Great.” says Trevor. “Three speeds. I like the slower ones. Fun. So if you don’t mind I’d better get back to him.”

“Him?” smiles Mrs. Stevens.

“The table. I mean I’ve done one of its legs, but it could still run off, eh? Haha.” Trevor laughs, an odd, hollow sound.

Mrs. Stevens laughs along, even though she doesn’t get the joke. Mr. Stevens smiles politely.

“Will you bring the drill back? When you’re done?” says Mr. Stevens.

Trevor says “Listen, tell you what. I’ll be finished with… the table in a few hours I reckon. How about you…”, he points at Mrs. Stevens, “Come and get it? Just you,” he adds. “By yourself. How would that be?”

There’s that smile again, think both Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, for different reasons.

“Of course,” says Mrs. Stevens, her mind conjuring various scenarios that will absolutely not happen. “I’ll pop round later. In the meantime, you will keep an eye out for Sammy?”

Trevor turns and walks down the path, leaving sticky red footprints as he goes.

“Eye out?” he says, mostly to himself. “There’s an idea… I’ll keep an eye out. Or two. Or more. I could keep a jar full of them out if you wanted. Haha.”

“Haha,” laughs Mrs. Stevens, and she goes back to the chicken.

The Drill
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

Dinner passes without incident. The food is tasty, the conversation light and inconsequential. So far so good. They are waiting for pudding when the chat veers into well-explored but still dangerous territory. Here be dragons.

“I don’t know why you’re with me,” she says.

His eyes flicker imperceptibly as he controls the urge to roll them. He smiles, even though his internal terror alert has just been upgraded to amber. He knows that simply saying “Well, I am, so why not just roll with it?” is not an option. He takes a sip of his wine, stalling for time.

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“You’re such a lovely person,” she says, “and I’m just…” She pulls a face.

“You’re just beautiful,” he says. Game, set and match me, he thinks. He is, of course, wrong.

“I’m not,” she counters, and looks away.

“You are,” he parries expertly. He has played this game before. “You’re the most beautiful woman I have ever met.”

“How many women have you met?” she asks. “You haven’t met her over there, have you?” She gestures at a lady diner across the restaurant. “She’s more beautiful than me. Because I’m not beautiful.”

“You are,” he says, or tries to, but she’s still talking, her freight train of self-recrimination clanking on into the night.

“And I’m not clever or funny,” she says. “Why would you even want to talk to me?”

He pins his hopes on a sympathetic shake of the head, hopes as doomed as newborn baby turtles scurrying past a hungry but bulimic seagull, which will eat them but take no real pleasure in doing so, and will feel guilty and ashamed afterwards.

“I’m plain, and stupid. And mean,” she says. “God, I didn’t tell you. I was really nasty to my sister yesterday.”

“Oh, her,” he says, “She’s always winding you up. She’s jealous of you. No wonder you bite back every now and again.”

“I pushed her down the stairs,” she says. “She’s in hospital. Her condition is critical.”

“Over-critical more like,” he says. “She’s always putting you down. Don’t feel bad about it.”

“I ran over a lollypop lady last week,” she says.

“Accidents happen,” he says, “You mustn’t blame yourself.”

“It was awful. I hit her and drove on, and I could see her moving, sort of twitching, in my rear view mirror, so I drove round the block and hit her again.”

“I really admire that in you. When you set your mind on something you really go for it, see it through. That’s rare.” He reaches out to squeeze her hand, but she pulls it out of reach.

“And last year I led an attempted genocide in a West African country,” she says.

“I expect they were asking for it,” he says.

“You could be with anyone,” she says, “And I’m currently plotting the final destruction of the material world,” she says, “Because I’m Satan. Lucifer in human form. Not metaphorically,” she goes on, “I really am the Anti-Christ, here to do battle with the second coming of the cursed Nazarene on the blood-drenched plains of Meggido. But before that I’m going to kill you slowly, and condemn your soul to eternal torment in the charnel pits of Hades. I don’t know why you put up with me, I really don’t.”

He looks away for a moment; thinks. He looks back up. His eyes meet hers. He reaches for her hand again, takes it, squeezes it.

“I love you,” he says, and he smiles because he means it.

I Don’t Know Why You’re With Me
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

“It’s one small step… What the..!?”

Yes! It’s six word sci-fi story time again. I haven’t written any short stories in a while, so I’m easing myself back in. Here’s a few more:

George Lucas. Time machine. History “improved”.

In parallel universe, this story better.

Repressed gay aliens enjoy closet encounters.

Aliens send Neil Armstrong parking ticket.

Danger signs: Skynet app for iPhone.

Monster in his pants – no metaphor.

Maverick mad scientist breaks all the rules.

Her perfume is my time machine.

(inspired by – oh, all right, nicked from – Wired Magazine.)

Inspired to write your own? I’d love to read ’em! Pop em in the comments…

Previous six word sci-fi stories.

Six Word Sci-Fi 2
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

Good question. I’d have to think. I don’t want to die alone, for example. The thought of dying in a bedroom somewhere and nobody finding my corpse until it’s all manky and melted into the duvet, and nobody caring apart from whoever has to spatula me up from my bed. God, that’s – I think about that a lot. that keeps me awake, yeah. And I sometimes worry that I’ve been a huge disappointment to everybody I’ve ever met. Everybody. From my ex-wife to the feller who sold me cigarettes this morning. Was I a bit brusque with him?

– Ah. It’s interesting that you

Does he think I’m an arsehole because I was too preoccupied to give him a truly genuine smile? And of course I worry that my Mum secretly wishes she’d hadn’t had me and had spent the money she’s spent on me over the years on buying a yacht. She buys a lot of yachting magazines and sighs a lot when she reads them. Makes you think, you know? She sighs very loudly. She could be off the coast of Barbados right now if she hadn’t had to pay for all the shoes she’s had to buy me over the years, and my University tuition. Shit. And my smoking

– Perhaps it would be better if we focussed on one particular

I know I should quit obviously, but I get the thought that cancer has already taken hold, just in a couple of cells, maybe it happened this morning, the cancer seed being planted, and even if I quit tomorrow it wouldn’t matter because I’ll be dead in 10 years, all thin and grey with lots of tubes sticking out of me. Alone, all grey, with tubes, I hate thinking about that, that’s really scary.

– OK, the smoking, maybe we could concentrate on

But I mean if you’re asking about my greatest fear, was that the question?

– Well, yes, but it’s more of an exercise to get you to

Yeah, my greatest fear, Christ. The big one. OK. My greatest fear would be that the monster inside me will escape and kill everybody that’s ever pissed me off. I’ve had some sleepless nights about that, I can tell you.

– You have anger problems?

What? No, I don’t think so.

– But you get very angry?

I get frustrated sometimes. Pissed off.

– And you think of your anger as a monster?

No. I think of my anger as my anger, and I think of the monster as a monster.

– Just to clarify, we’re not talking about an actual monster.

Aren’t we? I am. I’m talking about the monster that lives inside me. In my tummy.

– You think you have a monster inside you? A real actual monster? Like Godzilla?

Yes, well no. Smaller and not radioactive. Oh fuck, what if it is radioactive? That’s going to increase my cancer risk, isn’t it? I mean, what would be the point of quitting smoking

– How do you know you have a monster inside you?

I can hear its voice sometimes, telling me what it will do if it gets out.

– You hear voices.

A voice. The voice of the monster. And I can feel it moving round inside me.

– You know, these symptoms, although alarming, can be quite simply explained by

And it sometimes sticks a tentacle out of my bellybutton.

– It what? It has tentacles?

It’s doing it right now. It’s not an unpleasant feeling. Do you… would you like to see?

– Do I want to. Yes, sure, show me the monster’s tentacle, why not?

OK, well, here.

You see?

– Fuck me. Shitting fuck. Shit. It was there. A tentacle. Where. Where did it go?

I think you scared it. I’ve never showed it to anybody before.

– So it’s scared. I scared the monster. Fuck. You say it talks to you?


– Is it, is it talking to you now?

Yes it is.

– What is it saying?

Oh, you know, Stuff.

– Stuff? Stuff about me? It’s not angry now is it?

Not angry, no. But it. It wants to come out.

– Um. Now?

It wants to come out now and show you something. It’s never done that before. This is new.

– Um. Maybe next session?

It wants to come out now.

– Well it’s five to, I think perhaps we could maybe resume next week? I really must

It’s coming out, it’s pushing out!


The alarm rings and he wakes, gratefully. He hates that dream. It is disconcerting to say the least. He lies motionless for a minute, thinking about what it might mean. His partner sleeps on beside him. Should he wake her? Would she tell him not to be silly, that it was just a stupid dream? He thinks, then decides it’s worth the risk. He needs to talk to her. He tentatively reaches out a tentacle and lightly shakes his partner’s nearest gelatinous egg sac. I had that weird dream again he says.

My Greatest Fear
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

Ding dong.

Agnes opens the door. There are two smartly-dressed men on her doorstep. They both look young, wholesome and healthy. One of them carries a clipboard. The other wears trendy, heavy-framed glasses. This is really the only way of telling them apart.

Hello, says Agnes.

Hello, yes, says the smart young man with the glasses. This is just a courtesy call really. We’re in the area organising a witch hunt.

Is that right, says Agnes. How exciting.

Yes, continues the man, you might have noticed in recent times that petrol prices have gone through the roof, the property market is in decline, there was a three headed calf born in the next village along and you remember those little, individually wrapped chocolates… um…

Neapolitans, interjects clipboard-man. They were great, like tiny chocolate bars, all different flavours?

I remember those, says Agnes.

Yeah, well, you can’t get them any more, says glasses. Why? Nobody really knows.

Nobody, says clipboard.

Oh dear, says Agnes.

But we suspect witchcraft, says glasses, and he smiles a winning, Arctic-white-toothed smile.

Oh dear, says Agnes.

So we’re hunting witches, says glasses and his smile disappears quicker than the Arctic ice shelf. And we have a couple of questions for you, if that’s OK. Um, firstly, are you a witch?

No, says Agnes.

You are an old lady though, says clipboard.

Yes I am, she confirms.

Clipboard writes something on his clipboard. Is an old lady, he mutters.

Excellent, says glasses. And do you have a supernumerary nipple with which you suckle your demonic familiar?

No, says Agnes.

The men look at each other.

Tell you what, says clipboard, I’m going to put down “yes”.

Because if he doesn’t, they might not let us burn you, says glasses, helpfully, and he smiles his charming smile once more.

And to be honest, everybody’s saying no to that one, says clipboard. It’s doing my head in.

We’ve got a quota, says glasses.

Burn me? queries Agnes.

Oh yeah, says clipboard, have to check: are you flammable, yes or no? His pen hovers above the clipboard. Yes? No?

No, says Agnes.

Clipboard has a think.

Yeah, I’m going to put “yes” again, if that’s OK.

Well, er, clipboard peers at his clipboard, Agnes, it looks like you’re probably a witch We can’t be a hundred per cent sure, but better safe than sorry, eh? Think about the children. So if you’d like to pop down to the town centre, just outside Somerfield at around lunchtime on Sunday we’ll get you burned.

Agnes sighs. If I must, I suppose I must.

Lovely, says glasses. We’ll see you there.

The men stare at Agnes for a while. Agnes stares back. It is all rather awkward.

Was there anything else, asks Agnes, eventually.

What do you think, asks glasses.

Oh right, says Agnes, and she disappears back indoors for a minute. She returns with a box of Terry’s Neapolitan chocolates.

The men are delighted. They pick a chocolate each.

Ah, cafe au lait. Brilliant, says clipboard.

See you on Sunday you despicable old crone, says glasses, unwrapping a tiny mint chocolate bar.

They set off down the path and away, leaving Agnes to ponder the error of her evil wiccan ways.

Witch Hunt
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

“I’m no scientist, right, but I believe E=mc means that if you go faster than light then you can travel back in time.

“So say you want to go visit your Gran’pa Benson, who lives in The Olden Days.

“You get a bus and an infinite amount of fuel. So far so easy. You start the bus and work slowly up the gears until you’ve ramped that baby up to light speed.

“If you want to check whether you are going at light speed, pop the headlight on. If it’s still dark out front, but you can see the headlights shining in your rear view mirror, you are.

“But according to Einstein’s special theory of relativity equation, mass will increase as an object goes faster. This means the faster you go, the fatter you get, and light speed is, by definition, awful fast.

“You hit light speed, and start to travel back in time to The Olden Days. But oh no! By the time you reach your destination you will be too fat to get off the bus. In fact, science says you will be infinitely fat, so even if you sit there a couple of days and don’t snack at all you will still be proper portly, and bus doors are not infinitely big. So you can’t get off and say “hi” to gramps. Wasted trip.

“Also, if Gran’pa Benson sees you wedged in the bus like a giant sweaty marshmallow, and instinctively recognises you as the eventual fruit of his loins, he will decide never to have sex again because nobody wants a chubby grandkid. That’s true, by the way. If you’re overweight, your grandparents are disappointed in you. Their smiles are fake and you have ruined their lives.

“Anyway, your Gran’pa Benson’s sudden lack of ardour will create a paradox, meaning you will never have existed. And, ceasing to exist, you will not travel back in time to visit your Grandpa, who will not be put off sex. And so you will exist once more. And you will travel back in time to visit your grandfather because you do not learn from your mistakes.

“The net result of this kerfuffle is you blinking in and out of existence, like the amber light on the traffic signals of quantum possibility. It is essentially the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment, only instead of a cat it is your grandparents humping.”

Gran’ma took her glasses off.

“Like I say, I’m no scientist,” she said, and breathed on the lenses.

Sometimes it was difficult to tell what the point of Gran’ma Benson’s stories might be.

“So… you think I should lose weight?” I said.

She didn’t look up, just carried on cleaning her glasses.

I’m No Scientist
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

Between brainbursts of agony, as the branches pushed his head apart from the inside, one thought, repeating: Mum was right about not swallowing apple pips.

(Another really short one this week, written for Laura Degnan’s 25 word short story challenge. I misread the brief, it was supposed to be for kids. But, y’know, there’s a vital lesson for the youngsters here: DON’T SWALLOW PIPS! I can’t stress that enough…)

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This
by Harris
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Friday’s Short Story

storyteller“I’m here,” says Albert. “Here I am.”

Albert looks old. His grey skin sags off his bones like old dishcloths off a drying rack. You can see a lot of his skin, because he is naked. The fact he is naked is probably the third thing you noticed about him, after you registered that he is glowing and acknowleged that he is floating in the corner of this darkened living room.

“Here I am,” he says, impatiently, but nobody seems to hear.

In the middle of the room an old lady and a younger woman sit on either side of a small table which has three candles, two bone china cups and a lot of Rich Tea crumbs on it.

“Are you there?” asks the old lady in a booming voice.

“Yes,” says Albert.

“Can you hear me, O spirits from beyond the veil?” asks the old lady.

“Yes,” says Albert.

“Please answer me,” says the old lady, “One knock for yes, two for no.”

“What? What do you want?” says Albert. “Carrie, Carrie, is that you?” he says, looking at the younger of the two women.

“One knock for yes, two for no,” the old lady repeats, and she reaches out to squeeze Carrie’s hand in a gesture of reassurance.

“I’m here. Carrie, I’m here,” says Albert. “Who is this dopey bint and why does she want me to knock?”

“Are you there, Albert?” the old lady intones.

“Oh for fuck’s sake,” says Albert, and he balls his fist and tries rapping his knuckles against the wall. His hand passes noiselessly through flock wallpaper, damp plaster and brick.

There is a knocking sound in the room.

“It’s him. Is it him? Are you there, Dad?” says Carrie. The old lady nods, with a gently triumphant look on her face.

“Yes, yes, Carrie, it’s me,” he says, “But I didn’t-“

There are two knocks.

“Do you have a question for the dear departed my love?” asks the old lady.

“Is… is he happy?” asks Carrie.

“Happy?” Albert practically shrieks. “Happy? I’m not fucking happy! Do you know what I was saying just this morning, do you? Aaaaaagh! Aaaaagh, I was saying, aaaaagh get your hands out of there, it hurts, I was saying. Does that sound like something a happy man would say?”

Two knocks.

“He’s happy,” confirms the old lady.

“Stop that!” cries Albert, “Stop it you cheating cow! Every morning a burly, red man-beast with antlers pushes a big stick up my jacksie.”

“That’s… a relief,” says Carrie. “He was a complicated man, our relationship was, um, you know, and I’m just glad he’s at peace.”

“I’ve got a bumhole the size of a dinner plate,” says Albert.

“He wants you to know he is happy, and with all his friends now,” says the old lady.

“Friends?” says Carrie, looking surprised.

“He’s made lots of new friends,” says the old lady hurriedly. “Dead friends” she adds, lamely.

“I had friends, you stuck-up bitch,” says Albert. “Look at you, still judging me even after I’m dead. I was right about you, wasn’t I, you starchy twat.”

“He says he still loves you, and is watching over you.”

“You dessicated, hairy-faced charlatan!” Albert shouts, “You fraudulent, brittle-boned walnut! Watching over her? I’m in hell! How can I watch over anyone? All I can watch over is my own fucking ankles as Satan himself rummages around elbow deep in my chutney locker. He’s got big hands! Biiiiig hands!”

“It’s a comfort to know he’s found some kind of peace in death,” says Carrie.

“His hands really are huge,” says Albert.

The old lady pats Carrie’s hand. “Did you bring your credit card? I don’t take cheques,” she says, soothingly.

The grey, glowing form of Albert begins to grow transparent. “No!” he cries, “I don’t want to go back! Sweet Jesus, I’m sorry for everything, whatever it was, whatever I did, I’m sorry!”

The old lady munches thoughtfully on a Rich Tea as Carrie reaches into her handbag.

“It was such a shock to us, we thought the belligerent old bastard was going to live forever,” says Carrie.

“Was it sudden?” asks the old lady.

“It was. He was run over just outside his house. Joyriders. He was living in Middlesbrough.”

“Ah,” says the old lady. “Middlesbrough. Well, he’s in a better place now.”

They share a smile.

And, as Albert is dragged through limbo and purgatory, back to the fiery charnel pit of degradation and violation that will be his home until the end of forever, he thinks: Can’t argue with that, like. You’ve got to count your blessings.

A Better Place
by Harris
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6 Word Sci-Fi Stories

Thank you to everybody who took the time to write ickle stories. They were all excellent, and some of them made me lol or rofl or pmsl or whatever it is you kids do instead of laughing these days. Anyway, here’s a selection:

Aliens. Choose Brian Blessed as disguise.
Rofl Lundgren (perpetrator of Kriss Akabusi Sex Stories)

It looked dead, then spoke loudly.
Gus Hughes (illustrator extraordinaire)

So, the anal probes were unnecessary?
Kevin Murphy (comedy writer, journalist, brown food obsessive)

Daleks land, feeling randy. Dustbins violated.
Bob Fischer (Britain’s randiest hairiest DJ since DLT’s head imploded like a furry black hole. Ew, bad image, sorry.)

2165AD recession: International Rescue submit invoices.
Aliens vs Predator: late kick off.
Asteroid misses. Humans exhale, tilt axis.
Creature from Black Lagoon dredges pond.
Hiding police phone boxes, Brigadier laughs.
Kevin Jon Davies (animator on the Hitchhiker’s TV series. Honestly. Swear down! Legend.)

Friday’s (Really) Short Story

storytellerWe died. Then things got interesting.

(note: yeah, that’s really it. Inspired by Wired Magazine‘s 6 word sci-fi story challenge. And Thursday night laziness.)

A1 super-special bonus tiny sci-fi tales:

When worlds collide, alien continents kiss.

Jesus returned, forgot why, left again.

Theory my story chaos affected short.

Richard Dawkins awoke in heaven. “Oopsie.”

The aliens were impressed: Ferrero Rocher!

It’s fun! Why not try it yourself – write me one in the comments section…

Six Word Sci Fi
by Harris
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