Here are the opening paragraphs of a few of my short stories. I hope you enjoy reading them…


Derek paced the living room, waiting for the last customer to leave. As soon as he heard the front door close, he hurried to his mother’s sewing room. His routine began by re-folding and filing any patterns that had been used that day. Derek loved the soft crackle of the paper as he slid them into their envelopes. His mother had hundreds and, over the years, he had catalogued each one by style and size and boxed them, twenty a piece. That the fragile, transparent templates with their mysterious dots and arrows could be transformed into something so tangible was a marvel to him.

Occasionally, Derek’s mother made patterns from newspaper and, once, he helped her make two reusable cardboard cut-outs of a shirt and trousers for him. It unnerved him to see them leaning stiffly against the wall, like a reflection of himself.

© Karen Hollands 2017

Where the Heart Is

The car purrs along the darkened highway. Casey relaxes in the passenger seat. Her mind, so used to be being hyper-alert, unspools and drifts into corners and crevices she had long ago closed off. She leans into the door and presses her face against the cool glass. She doesn’t know where they are going, and doesn’t care. Cocooned in Joe’s ute with the gentle thrum of tyres on bitumen, she is willing to surrender; grateful to have someone else making the decisions.

© Karen Hollands 2016


Dad and I did a lot of digging today. My muscles ache and my hands and face are dusty, but the front yard looks like a real garden. We finished it off with the Sansevieria trifasciata. That’s what the tag said. Dad couldn’t pronounce it so he called them Snake Plants. He said the long thin leaves reminded him of green tree snakes. I wanted flowers; daisies or pansies or chrysanthemums, all different colours, but Dad said, “What are you, a poofter?” He liked my idea for garden gnomes, though. We got three. Dad called Uncle Dane and he turned up with them, said they fell off the back of a truck. Dad always laughed when Uncle Dane said that, so I laughed, too.

© Karen Hollands 2018