Brodie by Leela Soma

My journey began in Chennai 2015. What is a young lad from Glasgow doing in Chennai, India? You might well ask! It started on that night in November 2013 strange dream of me drowning or nearly drowning holding on to someone or something very precious to me. That was strange. I am a very good swimmer, a ‘wee fish in water’ as my grandma used to say. I had read late into the night tossing and turning. I was so excited about my success in getting a placement in an Indian music college! The Royal Conservatoire course had a three month placement for our class in the final year of my music course. I wanted to experience a completely new Read More

A Merry Christmas Mr Dickens by Rebecca Lewis

  Gad’s Hill, Christmas Eve, 1869   It is mid-afternoon and the light, meagre at best, is fading fast from the day. Charles is restless at his desk.  The writing is progressing slowly, much more slowly than he should like. He cannot settle – the dreadful pain that has tormented him for months on end will not allow it. To remedy this he drinks a brandy, makes excuses to his family, much occupied with the decorating of the Christmas tree, and strolls down the hill towards the town. He strides as best he can – his left foot dragging slightly – across the Rochester Bridge, flourishing his cane before him and greeting the occasional well-wisher with a nod and smile. Read More

The Knife by Frances Holland

1922 In the topmost attic room of a run-down terraced house in Salford is a small packing trunk. Inside the trunk is a canvas bag containing an identification card, an empty brandy bottle, and, wrapped in a grubby handkerchief, a small switchblade knife with a mother-of-pearl handle. I take out the knife and turn it over in my gloved hand. I slide it inside an envelope concealed in my coat pocket, and leave without a word. *********************************************** FIVE HOURS EARLIER I adore the sound of the telephone ringing in the hall. It makes me feel connected to the world, to life and activity everywhere. We have several in the newspaper offices in which I work, writing articles on local leek Read More

The Punch Bag by S S Haque

“Thunder, thunder, lightening.” “Aish!” Nabiha landed a cross to the head, a sharp left hook and a right roundhouse to the ribs that pushed me back a few paces. I held up the Thai pads and watched her eyes for a flinch, a giveaway. The dark brown discs were still, on my chest. Her shoulders were static and her punches landed without warning. Jab, cross, jab, cross! Fast and strong, her leather fists smashed the leather pads with satisfying whacks. She moved in and out on her toes. “Woah!” Her front teep kick took me by surprise and I fell back against the ropes and bounced forward. “Come forward, yes!” As I placed the Thai pads, keeping up with her Read More

Flora by Karina Cornell

You know when you wake up, and in the first few seconds of existence you don’t know who you are, why you are, and can’t seem to grasp any significant detail about your life? That void of endless possibility, is my favourite part of the day. My mind reels in circles, trying to grab onto any tangible thought or memory as slowly I open my eyelids, peeling them up like tiny drawbridges unlocking my world. The first thing I see is my enormous tree, just outside my window. The lush green leaves move each in their own individual way, but connected as a vast force, in sync. It gifts me the hope that there could be more than just that Read More