Episode 89 (14 March 2024): Eighteen-year-old Hugo glanced up at the train station clock. It seemed time had stood still, with the minute hand barely moved since he’d last checked. He confirmed the time on his watch and then looked at the departure board, breathing a sigh of relief. His train was running on schedule.

Moving On was my December 2023 Furious Fiction entry for the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly 500-word short story writing challenge. The story had to:

  • Take place at either an AIRPORT or TRAIN STATION
  • Feature an awkward hug
  • Include the words EIGHTEEN, EGG and ELEPHANT – longer variations were permissible (see if you can hear them in my story).

The Furious Fiction challenge takes place on the first weekend of the month. The Writers’ Centre emails the brief on Friday afternoon, and the deadline is midnight Sunday. That first weekend in December was a disaster for me.

Disaster Dog!

On our Friday afternoon walk, my over-excited twelve-year-old black lab, Jet, jumped up for a treat, landed poorly, and ruptured his cruciate ligament — one week before I was due to head off a long-planned road trip with my son from Sydney to Perth to spend Xmas/New Year with our WA family.

I knew the farm stay I’d booked to mind Jet while I was away wouldn’t take him with his cruciate injury. So I spent the weekend exploring short-notice alternatives, including abandoning the road trip with my son or taking Jet with us, neither of which was preferable (or sensible!).

And my mind was overloaded with what-ifs, like, “Why didn’t I stop Jet from jumping!?”

Relieving Stress

I couldn’t focus on the TV on Friday night, let alone the Furious Fiction brief. Or so I thought because to relieve the stress, I sat at my laptop with a glass (or two!) of wine and wrote Moving On in one sitting.

Yes, there were a few edits, especially after much-appreciated suggestions by fellow Furious Fiction writers Richard Gibney and Gav Harris (Twitter/X links), with whom I shared my early drafts. But the story I wrote on that stress-filled Friday evening is essentially the one I submitted on Sunday.

Perhaps, like my young protagonist, writing the story was like jumping on a train and leaving behind my woes!

More Writing

I hope you enjoy Hugo’s tale. You can read Moving On and more of my selected short stories, blog posts and other writings on the Tall And True writers’ website.

You can also buy my latest Tall And True Microfiction anthology and three short story collections from the Amazon KindleApple Books, and Kobo online bookstores.

Share Your Writing on TallAndTrue.com

Please Share

You can listen to Moving On on Acast (player above), the Tall And True Short Reads website, or find it and other episodes on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYouTube, and all popular podcasting apps.

The next episode of Tall And True Short Reads will be released shortly. In the meantime, please check your feed or the podcast website for earlier episodes from all four seasons, and follow or subscribe to the podcast and rate and review it via your favourite podcasting app — doing so helps share my storytelling.

Finally, please share this blog post and podcast episode with family and friends and tell them about Tall And True Short Reads and the Tall And True writers’ website.


I found a dog-loving family to look after Jet while I was away on the road trip with my son. We all had a good time in WA, which helped prepare for the operation and rehab to repair Jet’s knee when I returned home in January. (Visit @mydogposts on Instagram for updates.)

I also shared a Tall And True blog post about our adventures crossing the continent, A Dad and Son Road Trip.

© 2024 Robert Fairhead

N.B. You might like to read my blog post introducing Tall And True Short Reads – Season Four.

Note: This post originally appeared on Tall And True.

This post was proofread by Grammarly
About RobertFairhead.com

About RobertFairhead.com

Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of Robert Fairhead. A writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, Robert also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media, and he's published several collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for further details.


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