Featured Writers

Short stories, features and poems from our writing community.

Writers Vic: Participants in your upcoming screenwriting bootcamp will learn how to create characters and stories that have longevity over a full season. Do you ever use observations and experiences from your own life when developing characters?

Legend has it that rain is on the way when black cockatoos are in flight. However, in Harriet McKnight’s debut novel, ‘Rain Birds’, the cockies don’t so much signify rain as they do an almighty shit storm.

The story starts here. This is a work of fiction. The author is struggling, she wants to write about a bad tabloid that gained from victims of murder, hacked into their phone lines.

There is a space

With an absence of love.

If love is there, that space is filled.

I nod hello to the barista and settle into my usual seat. I’m about to pull out my book when I see two people signing. They are sitting two tables over. I can’t help but really look at them. Their hands are flying up and down, touching cheeks, chins, ears, elbows. They are conversing rapidly; they are exchanging smiles. 

I keep my hands under the table; they thrash about like freshly hooked fish. They can’t speak. I dig my nails into my palms to punish them. 

The Oxford definition of ‘access’ is ‘the means or opportunity to approach or enter a place’.

A definition that breeds triviality. A meaning that surpasses physicality. It is more than sizing up a space. A restricted movement from place to place. It is a negotiation. A validation of a way through. Ears that can hear and make improvement. Minds that can recognise and cause change. Hearts that will accept unconditionally. 

Access for me is a dream of weightlessness. An easy way from one place to the next.

The Oxford definition of access is ‘the means or opportunity to approach or enter a place'.

A definition that breeds triviality. A meaning that surpasses physicality. It is more than sizing up a space. A restricted movement from place to place. It is a negotiation. A validation of a way through. Ears that can hear and make improvement. Minds that can recognise and cause change. Hearts that will accept unconditionally.

Access for me is a dream of weightlessness. An easy way from one place to the next.

Ally means partner, or so I’ve heard. Someone who cares, who'll be there when the walls fall down. Ally is an action, an alliance you build, not something you identify as. Ally is meant to mean something, like a marriage, because that's how marriage started too.

Prologue: One Year Ago

 

“There are too many ghouls in the forest. We need you,” said Kolya.

The poor kid was exhausted and pale. Silvie gave him a second fruit bun, figuring there was no harm in a little petty crime.  The buns weren’t selling; besides, it was depressingly likely that she’d have to resign from the bakery before the day was over.

“I’m not due back at the barracks for another week,” she said.

“Bd hr d—” Kolya paused, swallowing his mouthful before trying again. “But you’re the best, and we need you.”

 

A seed, lovingly pressed into the earth. A child’s first experience with a deep and unconditional love. My most treasured possession.

Fur fabric worn smooth over years of clutching. Dull black glass eyes and a crooked frown. Endless needlepoint scars from patchwork, healing rips and tears from being loved so hard.

Neither children nor new parents are original or clever with names, so his name is simply Teddy.