Free to read online, please enjoy some of Catriona's self-published
My gift to you! Catriona's award-winning short story, The Contract, is available now to download for free
Crazy not crazy
In a radio interview, I was once asked why I write what I write. I more or less replied that I saw little use in spending the time and energy I pour into my writing unless it was going to change the world in some way. And it may not be the whole world I change, but maybe a handful of people here and there will have their lives enriched because of what I write. This story I wrote for a competition, but I realised afterwards it was only allowed to be a thousand words. Not wanting to cut it back because of what it could teach the world, I thought I'd post it here, for you, my friends. Trigger warning: this is a story about a student experiencing anxiety. But I hope you see the hope buried in its pages.
My skin is tightly wrapped around my limbs and pressing hard into my face. It’s that time of the year, when it hasn’t rained for a while, and the air is sucking every bit of moisture it can from everything it can – including people. Including me. As I stand just outside the darkened room, my uniform itches my skin more than normal. I can feel everything. The join at the end of my socks, the tag on the top of my shirt, the button that fastens my skirt.
A light flickers. The room has come alive. It’s nearly time. Time to fail. Again.
I’d got here early but now everyone else is arriving and they’re closing in around me. I shut my eyes tight, put my head so far down that my neck is squished like rolling hills against my chest. My laptop is hugged hard against my chest. Wooden fingers dig into my stomach... Click here to read more
What do an Apron, Pigment, Ribbon, Icon and lemon all have in common? Well, a writing prompt of course! Throw it together with a start on the side of the road and a splash and you've got a 500-word challenge. Thanks to Australian Writer's Centre, this story was written for the April 2020 Furious Fiction competition, but wasn't entered because I wrote two and thought the second one fit the style of the competition better. Hope you enjoy it!
Bright pink nails peaked out from Alison’s sandals as she teetered on the concrete curb opposite her childhood home. The usually quiet street was lined with a rainbow of family sedans, and a sports car probably belonging to her younger brother. She plunged the bus ticket into her pocket and tightened her grip on the lead. She smiled at her son, obediently standing beside her. His eyes remained on his tablet, clutched in his hands. His headphones ensured no sound would penetrate the necessary barrier to the world. In the eight years since Percy’s diagnosis, he’d only met his aunts and uncle four times. Once when his father had left them. Once for his grandfather’s funeral. But this was the first time she’d brought Percy to her family by choice. She chose to be here. She’d accepted the invitation. She’d decided to come... Click here to read more
I wrote this for a Science-Fiction Short Story Competition, but didn't submit as because it isn't really Sci-Fi! But it is a fun little story that those who are a little inclined to romance might enjoy. I hope you do. Best read with a hot chocolate in hand on a cold wintery day...
It was a wintery afternoon the day Stephanie discovered the bookstore. The sky was unleashing its fury; she’d sought refuge in the store’s dimly lit doorway, yet she couldn’t recall exactly what had lured her inside. Peace. Protection. Parapsychological, perhaps.
The bookstore appeared empty but for the strong aroma of coffee. Usually, she adored old bookstores, the way they smell of dust and vanilla and her grandmother’s bedroom. Other than this one’s corrupted coffee-putrefied air, this was the sort of bookstore she imagined owning one day. One day, when she’d meet someone, and he too would love books and Melbourne winters and sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace... and two hands, untouched, yet each longing to be touched would find each other with a jolt that would electrify the couple and draw them into each other’s arms forever.
Dickens. He’d also love Dickens... Click here to read more
When we find ourselves at a place of intense loss, where can the colour be found? And, what if, when we realise where the colour is, it is also stolen from us? I wrote this for a short story writing competition with an Open Theme, but could only be a maximum of 500words. Up for the challenge, I wrote this little story reflecting on what may be some people's experiences of COVID19 (but hopefully not too many...).
Something made Molly look up; a hint of hope in the sky, perhaps. Someone was hovering up there. They floated like an autumn leaf, ambling its way from branch to ground. Pinks and purples and a hint of blue worn by the human under the silken sheets. It was an otherwise grey sky. It wasn’t really the afternoon for skydiving. It was bleak. Dark. Depressing. It was the day that Harrold had died.... Click here to read more
I wrote this for a short story competition and it was shortlisted - but in my heart, I know it deserved more. Yes, it's a story of fiction, but it could be someone's story. It could have been someone's story ten years ago, it could have been someone's story last week, because not much has changed for those who live in our Indigenous Communities in Australia. May this story touch you and soften your heart to the plight of our young Australians who fight to stay and fight to leave their homes in outback Australia.
There once was a boy whose mouth would erupt in a grin that flattened his pouting lips and grew chubby mountains between their edges and his ears. His eyes were wide as the sunshiny sky with centres as brown as the colour of his skin. Silas was thirteen. He was kind. He was smart. And he was my son's friend.
That year, we’d left the rolling green hills of West Gippsland, where my spare room looked more like a laundry than a place to house visiting friends. Our sea change took us from a land of too much rain, to views that coloured the world red, and never demanded I worry about how I would get the washing dry.
Northern Australia can be a brutal place when you don't know how to live in it... Click here to read more
Remembering Rosemary Carter
Inspired by the (writing prompt) painting, "Under The Arches, Mangles Bay” by artist Rosemary Singleton, this short story was entered into a competition and was granted a 'Highly Commended' award. It is about an elderly woman who finds herself sitting on the beach with no idea of where she is. But at least she remembers one thing: she doesn't remember things well.
The most important thing Rosemary Carter remembered, was that she had a problem remembering things. The fact she remembered this wasn’t something she appreciated as much as she should have, for there were times when it may well have saved her life. After all, not remembering why one walked into the room rarely causes more than mere inconvenience. But forgetting one’s name, or place of residence, is something quite different altogether.
Sitting on a beach as Rosemary found herself to be one particular day, it was as though she had woken from a strange dream and didn’t know how she had gotten there. A large rimmed white hat flapped above her eyes and white sandals wrapped around her feet highlighting what she considered to be over-sized ankles. She scoffed at herself; she was wearing the shoes of an old woman, just like her mother... Click here to read more