130story Archive

@130story is a creative writing project and the brainchild of James Rutherford, conceived as a means to inspire others to write short stories. I created this page to try and keep track of my submissions and I'd encourage everyone to participate, even if you don't usually write (I don't!).

  • jam

    The air rushed as the 8pm from Hove thundered through the tunnel toward him. He jammed his body into a recess, and shut his eyes.

  • wild

    His beard was long and untidy, his hair ran wild, yet his eyes sparkled with the burning intensity only true genius can ignite.

  • beat

    Gunfire cracked a percussive beat somewhere nearby, followed by muffed voices and the sound of hurried footsteps on the pavement.

  • ray

    A beam surrounded him, dust specks sparkled oddly between shifting rays of green light. Slowly, gently, he lifted from the ground.

  • Lift

    Mirrors on the lift's walls created infinitely repeating reflections, tiny worlds imprisoning perfect echoes of the occupants.

  • monster

    "Monsters are all in your head", they tell kids. They're right.

  • Rain

    They tumbled over each other to get through the door and out of the rain, laughing at their ill preparedness for British weather.

  • appeal

    They'd said the 'protein paste' would keep her alive, but the act of eating the odious brown muck before her didn't appeal at all.

  • Glare

    Sunrise bloomed over the horizon. Dan squinted through it's glare on the wet road. At least he knew they were still heading east.

  • dark

    36 days since Earth went dark. Ren scanned for activity in the readout on the Orbiter's com screen, but she knew. It was hopeless.

  • lead

    Some men lead with fear and volume. Such men are overthrown. Remember, always. No one dares cross the softly spoken gentleman.

  • load

    Caught out by the loaded question, his mind now raced in panic. He'd admitted involvement, but they'd no idea how entangled he was

  • best

    As he stared down at the exam paper, he remembered his mum telling him "Do your best, that's good enough." Yeah. Maybe not, Mum.

  • knife

    Last night's argument niggled at her as she buttered her toast. How DARE he call her immature! She licked the knife, defiantly.

  • worm

    Loss. Like woodworm, gradually destroying your best furniture. Weakening from the inside, unseen. Until you're soft and useless.

  • shine

    A glimmer of hope shone through her mind like the beam of a torch, burning away the blackness of despair.

  • sting

    Screaming and flapping her arms at the tiny yellow insect she ran to the caravan for cover, slamming it's thin door behind her.

  • wire

    His fingers absent mindedly played with the arms of his wire-framed glasses as he watched her work, oblivious to his surveillance.

  • Air

    He'd found he could differentiate between countries based on subtle nuances in air quality, like some strange oxygen connoisseur.

  • Move

    He didn't sleep well after the accident. His left leg twitched endlessly to an unheard rhythm, played out on his shattered nerves.

  • self

    He wasn't sure when he'd begun taking to himself, it was a habit that crept up on him slowly. Still, it was company... of a sort

  • shift

    "Room for a little one? Shift up!" the old lady cackled as she shoved her way on to the busy bus, tartan shopping basket in tow.

  • twice

    Tea at the cafe was his favorite. "Egg and chips twice Love" Dad used to say, then they'd laugh and talk happily between mouthfuls

  • control

    Anger rose in him as if it were a fluid filling his body from the gut upwards. As it stained his vision crimson, he lost control.

  • envy

    The tantalising smell of last night's lasagne, warming in the canteen microwave, filled his nose. He gazed forlornly at his salad.

  • hand

    The implant housed tiny thermal charges. Once armed, you placed a palm on your targets back and BOOM, game over. His hand itched.

  • sweet

    He was sweet, handsome too, she'd give him that. But he was her pupil and all the apples in the world wouldn't change the rules.

  • climb

    Bark under his fingernails, school trousers stained green by lichen and shoes scuffed. None held concern for the king of the tree.

  • open

    As his tyres kissed the apex he opened the throttle wide, skillfully caught the slight oversteer, and powered on to the next bend.

  • poll

    "Ms Gale?" boomed the judge as he continued his poll. "Innocent, Your Honour" she replied, enduring the groans and daggered looks.

  • rock

    Air with a familiar, lightly salted, taste filled his lungs. Ah, Brighton. He wondered if they still did that peppermint rock.

  • fake

    "None of this is real you know" he said, waving a dismissive hand toward the TV. "There's been no actual news since 2024 happened"

  • nail

    Deaf to any denial of wrong-doing and all agonized screams, they'd begun by taking his nails. He was innocent, but he confessed.

  • sky

    More chemtrails this morning, two running east to west almost at parallels. He made a note of the date and reached for his gasmask.

  • mine

    Spine weakened, yellow pages dog-eared at intervals, edges bumped and chipped. Marks made by old lovers, but now the book is mine.

  • trade

    "Ham, what's yours?" she asked, examining the contents of the sandwich in her hand. "Urrgh, egg n cress!" came the reply "Trade?"

  • fault

    Partial memories of last night swam in his mind. "I didn't... I'd remember!" The vacant eyes of the body watched him in silence.

  • squeeze

    He squeezed himself into what was, surely, the world's most densely packed train carriage and began daydreaming about homicide.

  • real

    They kept him sedated. 'For your own good', they said. His world was one twisted by medication, vaguely defined, never quite real.

  • future

    When you grow up, this will make sense. You still won't like it, it'll always be difficult, but in the future you'll understand.

  • hold

    Wind thrashed at their tiny shelter threatening to tear it, and them, apart. Ali wrapped her in his arms, it was all he could do.

  • just

    "Just?" he spat, as the surly sheriff dragged him out of the courtroom and back to his jail cell, "Righteous? Y'all are COWARDS!"

  • robot

    'VIOLATION: LAW 1' flashed across it's optical display in angry red letters. 'OVERRIDE ENGAGED'. Laws were made to be broken.

  • hidden

    Laying on his stomach in the tall grass heart pounding, he hardly dared breathe. Then, the sound he dreaded "Coming ready or not!"

  • break

    Enough. They'd finally gone too far, finally pushed him past breaking point. Well, now they'd see what broken men were capable of.

  • mole

    Getting him on the inside will be easy, gaining their trust is only a matter of time. They'll have no idea, and we'll know it all.

  • deal

    Smoke hung heavily in the air, almost as heavy as the tension the man at the table felt. The dealer looked at him, and grinned.

  • book

    "The book... I must be sure, get me the book!" Breathlessly he traced a finger around the hieroglyphs, was this the missing clue?

  • copy

    The 360 million mile hop to earth took almost 30 minutes. Eternity, compared to how long the creature needed to clone its army.

  • park

    Sam tapped the drivers window of the car, it's lights on, engine ticking gently. "You can't park here bud.. oh, GOD!" Another one.

  • fire

    He huddled up to the dying fire, knowing it was all that stood between him and whatever those things were playing in the shadows.

  • fold

    Page 97. Dog eared. A fold made by the book's last owner, reminding them where to start next time. I wonder if they ever finished.

  • skeleton

    She reached out for him in the dark, but her hand found only bony remnants of his body, stripped of flesh by something unseen.

  • hour

    The professor was fairly sure his calculations were right but, just in case, he only set the chrono-selector forwards by an hour.

  • stick

    Two stout sticks bound together into a cross mark his final resting place. A simple grave, for a great man of simple means.

  • up

    Panicking. Disoriented. She twisted violently in the frigid water, desperately looking for a way up to the surface, to air.

  • taste

    Once he'd found it hard to overcome his revulsion, his disgust at what they paid him to do. But now. Now he had a taste for it.

  • field

    As he gazed idly at the sky and wondered how clouds stayed up, he became vaguely aware of someone distant yelling "CATCH!" at him.

  • hundred

    The monstrous engine of the Gobron-Brillie roared as it thundered along the Ostend beach, Rigolly at the wheel. 98mph, 99mph...

  • mail

    6 years in America and she still couldn't get used to the differences. Back home you sent letters, here... well. It was different.

  • twin

    He poured a glass of whisky, sank it, then sent a twin to keep it company. He didn't look for comfort in each glass, only silence.

  • tape

    Were the 80s really so long ago? He wondered as He settled into the velour driver's seat and fiddled idly with the radio-cassette.

  • case

    He carefully rubbed the case's ornate clasp, clearing away dirt from the shallow grave in which he found it. It felt oddly warm.

  • leaf

    Sarah didn't believe that occult nonsense, but as she swilled her tea dregs she found herself wondering what the leaves might say.

  • chain

    The noise came again. A slow scrape echoing around the room, punctuated by sharp metallic clinks. She hid quietly under the duvet.

  • late

    Late again. She once frustratedly claimed he'd be late to his own funeral. Being proven right felt like the hollowest of victories.

  • check

    Fixated on the flickering monitor, still convinced she imagined it, she rewound the tape for a third time and hit the play button.

  • feast

    Leaves dripped gently. Last night's storm had left the air moist, which meant swarms of mosquitos again. Where was the repellent?

  • alert

    His master's whistle flicked a switch in his primitive brain. His animal senses were suddenly alive and tingling, the hunt was on.

  • shout

    She shouted til her lungs burned and her ears rang with the sound of her own voice. No one heard. No one was left to hear.

  • wind

    The sea, like a vast window looking down on oblivion. At it's center the speck of a raft, whose occupant prayed for a gust of wind

  • safe

    He turned the dial steadily, ear pressed up against cold steel listening for the tell-tale 'click' of a tumbler falling into place

  • mirror

    He hung up. As the phone dimmed, he saw his face reflected in the screen. Tired eyes bagged, hair unkempt. Older. But still here.

  • follow

    "Jones? JONES!" Smith bellowed into the oppressive, black, nothingness of the cave. No reply. He had no alternative but to follow.

  • call

    "Chaffinch!" he whooped triumphantly. "Blackbird" she corrected, rolling her eyes.

  • half

    Today needed to be washed away in a tide of alcohol. He checked his pockets, but only found small change. Maybe just a half then.

  • frame

    Old age steals the world, reducing it to an ever-moving picture, framed by rotting timber and flaking paint, behind dusty glass

  • faith

    "Sorry, would you mind?" Vic waved his camera at a man who grinned broadly and accepted it, pointing it roughly in their direction

  • made

    Hudson focused the microscope. "This isn't organic" He turned to face Meyer, his thin face ashen "Someone... something MADE this"

  • veto

    As he adjusted the straps of his new summer dress he wondered if the allotment association really knew what the word 'veto' ment.

  • small

    The pain of the bullies taunts felt solid, like a kick in the stomach - and these guys wore big boots. He hung his head lower.

  • right

    Left? He'd turned left? Why was he was taking her the wrong way? Did he know a shorter route? No. He should have turned right.

  • run

    Though it had been a long time he looked the same. Age had brushed his temples with grey but, those eyes... She ran into his arms.

  • stand

    It would be difficult, they could lose everything over this, but they would not run. He gripped her hand tighter. It was worth it.

  • scene

    A seaside postcard, faded and brown at the edges. The forgotten adventure of his youth captured in a 50p souvenir, kept in a draw.

  • time

    The small stone ground angrily against the wall, sending gritty fragments tumbling to the floor. Another line marking another day.

  • train

    The gentle rocking of the carriage had soothed her to sleep some time ago. For now, she drempt. Unaware that she was finally free.

  • sale

    Mich, carefully avoiding yesterdays discarded teabags, reached into the bin and pulled out the receipt. "Total: £1045". He gulped.

  • press

    Hundreds of faces looked back at him expectantly, microphones held aloft poised to record every word. "No pressure" he thought.

  • fly

    "Sir, you need to sit down!" Any panic in the stewardess voice was perfectly under control, she *had* to make him listen to reason

  • turn

    Huge springs flexed, oiled cog ground heavily against oiled cog. It moved. So slowly it was barely observable, but gathering pace.

  • letter

    Mail call came and went without utterance of his name. He slumped back into his bunk, dejected. "Happy birthday to me" he sighed.

  • rule

    "FAULT!" yelled the linesman, deftly sidestepping a streak of neon yellow which, milliseconds earlier, had clipped the chalk line.

  • tear

    "It's really not your day is it, son" growled the towering security guard as he gripped Dan's ID papers between his oversize fists

  • space

    She shuffled her feet, trying to find space amongst the commuters in the stuffy carriage, promising herself 'Just 5 more minutes'