Keep the Lights On

There was nothing Elly liked better than fairy lights, and everyone knew it. As a result she had quite the collection: white lights, multicoloured lights, umbrellas, pink elephants, hearts, horses, all sorts of flowers, even Swarovski crystal. Those had been a gift from a boyfriend, now ex, who had been more lavish with gifts than monogamy.

Men come and go, but fairy lights remain.

She changed them according to her mood. Her small apartment could only accommodate 2 or 3 at a time – depending on the length. She enjoyed the hours she spent redoing them, untangling the new rope, getting out the step ladder, hooking it all up, combining different designs for something new, stepping back to see how it all came together. And then there was always the thrill as she plugged in the final one and flicked the switch.

‘Look at them,’ she would exclaim, with rapture on her face. ‘Just bloody look at them!’

At work she made do with a small battery operated wreath around her monitor. She didn’t want to look like a crazy cat lady or anything, she didn’t even like cats. Her cubicle mates had said that it was alright, she could go fairy-light crazy and make the place shine, positively effervesce if she wanted to. But no, she didn’t want to. Lights had their place, and that place was at home.

And home was where she was keeping Ben, tied securely to a chair with 30 metres of heavy duty outdoor Christmas lighting. He hadn’t complained about the lights like the others, no, that she could handle. No, he had unscrewed bulbs, random bulbs from random sets, and hidden them — like the coward he was.

Well, she thought, as she picked up a skull set on her way home. He would soon learn what it meant to come between a lady and her lights.


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Nat Newman - portrait

Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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