Short Fiction by Ric Carter


An ambulance pulled to a stop outside the building first thing, as people were arriving into work, just before the work would begin. Its siren was switched off, its motor kept running and there the ambulance remained, trembling in anticipation by the pavement. You could see that the people going into the other offices were all rubbernecking to see what was going on or what was going to be going on.

Late arrivals saw the ambulance parked outside their building and rushed in, eager to find out what the emergency was, but all they found was an office full of people eager to find out what the emergency was. Nobody was doing any work. Are you feeling ok, they asked one another. I’m feeling ok, they answered. Are you feeling ok? Are you sure?

Everyone wanted the ambulance to be not for them. Someone started a sweepstake. Someone started a conversation: when was the last time you had to go to hospital? When they made hot drinks they did so carefully, wary of the scald, cautious of the trip and smash. They swivelled round on their swivel chairs, so they were all facing one another, and speculated.

The ambulance had been called as a hoax or a joke or by mistake. Or they had the wrong address — someone had repeated it incorrectly to the operator, or the driver had driven to the incorrect place. Or, or. Or they had received an anonymous tip-off — something was going to happen. Someone was going to injure themselves or someone was going to injure someone else. Or the ambulance drivers were bunking off, pretending to attend a pretend emergency. Or it wasn’t even a real ambulance but a fake ambulance being used in a bank robbery or a stakeout.

They took turns to look out of the window to check it hadn’t gone away.

It was always still there.

But that was also the afternoon that – for one reason or another, and depending on whose speculation you believed it might have been caused by the tail end of a headline-making storm sweeping round to catch the city or it might have been caused by a faraway forest fire or it might have been caused by the phase of the moon or by the crumbling economy or by the breaking down of dream matter…That was the afternoon the sky turned an orangeish-yellow colour and brought everyone back to the windows again, to look and see.

They had not in such a long time felt so much like tiny models of people being lit up in a tiny model building.

The tiny model ambulance was still there outside the building, but as they stood at the window, fearful of that malevolent-feeling orangeish-yellow sky and what it might mean, they saw the ambulance pull out into the empty tiny model street. Its siren had been switched back on, blue light rinsing off the orangeish-yellow buildings, and they stayed standing at the window and kept watching as it got further from their building and they kept watching and they didn’t leave the window until they had seen it reach the end of the tiny model street and turn the corner in to the next tiny model street and they could be sure that the tiny model ambulance wasn’t coming back.



ricOriginally from Bury, Ric Carter lives in Guernsey. He has written hundreds of short stories, some of which he has published at He has been shortlisted for the Bristol Prize and the Fish Prize and is currently working on a short novel.
December 10, 2018

An Ambulance by Ric Carter

Short Fiction by Ric Carter
December 5, 2018

Podcast: Lou Kramskoy discusses her MIR15 story

In the second episode of the MIR Podcast, MIR 15 editor Amy St Johnston talks to author Lou Kramskoy about her short story “The Front Line.” They discuss ways of writing anxiety, the struggle of choosing a good title, and the importance of reading your work aloud. Lou also gives us her short […]
December 3, 2018

Sister Sarya at The End of The World by Gerard McKeown

Short Fiction by Gerard McKeown
November 30, 2018

Gog, Magog, Gogam, Gog by James Machin

Short Fiction by James Machin
November 26, 2018

The Heights of Sleep by Sam Thompson

Short Fiction by Sam Thompson
November 23, 2018

Walking Circles by Lily Dunn

Creative Non-Fiction by Lily Dunn
November 19, 2018

Road Liable to Flooding by Andrew Oldham

Short Fiction by Andrew Oldham
November 12, 2018

Foaming Grasses by Nick Owen

Short Fiction by Nick Owen
November 9, 2018

Podcast: Arhondia discusses her MIR15 story

In the first episode of the MIR Podcast, MIR 15 editor Lauren Miller talks to author Arhondia about her short story “Tom Corridan.” They discuss the influence of music on her writing, the power of drawing on real experience in prose, and how to develop convincing dialogue. Arhondia also gives her short story recommendation. […]
October 19, 2018

Meeting Myself Again

Arhondia writes about her experience of being an artist and a new mother
October 2, 2018

Why are We Free?

Managing Editor of MIROnline, Melanie Jones, discusses why we are free.
August 17, 2018

Reasons Not to Write

Stella Klein discusses her frustrations when writing.
July 20, 2018

Nobody to Impress but Myself by Natalie England

Natalie England remembers what it’s like to write as a child.
May 19, 2018

How I Write – Melissa Fu

Melissa Fu on her process for writing.
April 19, 2018
Understanding Balance

Understanding Balance in Life to Benefit Storytelling

Vida Mikalcius on the importance of balance in the life of a writer.
February 22, 2018

Reading is Writing

Peter discusses what he learnt about writing by doing a lot of reading.
October 25, 2017

Why I Write by Stella Klein

On Becoming a Writer, by Stella Klien 
September 13, 2017

Where are we? The importance of Place

 The Importance of Place in Writing, by Peter J. Coles
August 9, 2017

Continuing to Write Post-MA with London Lit Lab

On keeping the momentum going after the MA, by Zoe Gilbert
April 26, 2017

And this time it’s personal

Poet Fran Lock writes on the connection between poetry and therapy.