100-Word Fiction: ‘Towards a New Year’

There are people here, but not many. An old man sighs a joke as his grandchildren try to raise a kite into the still air. On the grey banks of mud a wiry bird stands still, too tired to prod for worms with its thin beak. Reeds have been blackened by the winter across the silent pools of the marsh. In the nearby woods, fragile, rusting leaves are broken from their branches by the merest gasp of air, their colour dulled in every moment that dusk creeps over the sodden ground. Birches have been felled and forgotten; ferns lifelessly splayed…

100-Word Fiction: ‘The Old Cupboard’

Pat turned the key in the gloom and the old cupboard door opened. Shining a light, he gasped. Inside, boxes were piled high. A year calendar hung on the back of the door with days circled. Files were stacked and labelled meticulously. Civil Partnerships and Church, ‘Trouble’ Families, Euroscepticism and the Public, Standards and Sleaze: the topics ranged widely. The old cupboard was much deeper than Pat had expected – or hoped – and there was something strange about it too. The cardboard files were crisply rigid, the boxes bright and unsagged. Where was the dust? The calendar was from this year.

100-Word Fiction: ‘Advent’

It is the 12th of December. The passing of steady time is played out with a handball game in Doha, the King of Bahrain at Downing Street and Iraqi soldiers graduating into action after a mere month’s training in Kirkut. Was it Kirkut? The name remains, lingers like a strange flavour in the mouth. And from behind a grate there is heard a scratching, shuffling sound. Something is coming; some rough beast in a vast image, a revelation in these parts. But now clear, black and white, moving its slow thighs, Tian Tian the panda appears – and we forget all.