Short Story – “Lights Out”


“ ’The lights will go out across Europe and I fear they won’t be back on in our lifetime’ ”. Father shook out his newspaper in frustration. “What the hell does that mean!”

Grumbling to himself as he read more, pausing only to slurp greedily from his rapidly cooling tea from a saucer, Father continued with the story in the paper.

“Do you really have to do that?” Mother admonished, wafting a dishcloth at him angrily.

“It says here that we’re heading for war!” he exclaimed and stabbed his finger into the print to make his point. “Who do they think is going to fight in this bloody war then? The only fit men round here are all down the mines. Who’s going to bring up the coal if they want us to go and fight in sodding France? Is that what he means about the lights going out or what!”

“Hmph. I didn’t mean the news,” muttered Mother, fussing round the small kitchen and tidying the breakfast things away. “If you don’t stop slurping your bloody tea off that saucer, it’ll be YOUR lights that will be going out. And it won’t be no bloody Sir Edward who does it neither!”

lights out

This is a piece I have composed in preparation for my first assignment on my OU course, due in the week after next. We were tasked with writing a 200 word piece from a set prompt and then we had to write a commentary on it. I have not published my commentary here as that’s the bit that will earn me marks and to be honest I don’t want to get into trouble with the OU! I’m allowed to share the story so here it is. Please be gentle with your feedback if you would like to leave some for me!

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4 thoughts on “Short Story – “Lights Out”

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  1. My Gran sipped tea from a saucer. I understood that it was to cool it. She always considered it mischievous because nice people don’t touch the saucer when it’s on the table so being uncouth was her little bit of naughtiness.
    Forgive my pickiness but the quote is “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” The picture is showing a misquote and a date error of what he said to John Spender on 8 August in the War Office a week or so after the war began.

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  2. The above quote by Sir Edward Grey is a quote that I am sure has been repeated many times by different people. World War One was a great shock to people. Someone’s father would have been very concerned about a looming outbreak of war, whereas the mother would maybe not have been taking in the seriousness of it immediately showing more concern for the father’s bad manners. All this is very well set out in your 200 word story. Well done, Pam! 🙂

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