David Hartley

Fly on the Wall Press



ISBN: 9781913211608


Publication date: 9 October 2021

Rights: World



Fauna follows the lead of the bacon-skinned Pig with a menagerie of twisted tales about the lives and times of our fellow-feeling creatures. There are guinea pigs in the underworld, elephants in a virtual world, vengeful birds from a far-off world, and so much more beastliness. There will be nowhere for the humans to hide.

“Brilliant imagination and sharp storytelling aside, Dr. David Hartley shows us a delightfully fresh way of looking at who should, really, be our closest friends.”–  Nik Perring (Author of Not So Perfect, Freaks!)

 “Fiercely original, these are stories that are at times disturbing, absurd, and darkly comedic, and which refuse to conform to the constraints of time and space. A startling collection, that begs to be read aloud. Hartley is a brilliant storyteller, with the kind of imagination that leaves you feeling a bit fearful for your own safety.” – Lucie McKnight Hardy (Author of Water Shall Refuse Them)

 “I haven’t read anything quite like these brilliant, dark and often fairy-tailish short stories. The tension is found here on the edges and boundaries: human/animal, natural/man-made, happiness/horror. With humour and an incredible versatility in voice and style – not to mention technology-hacking rabbits and horses who time travel – Hartley asks us to look hard at our own world and never, ever, underestimate the animals. ” – Tania Hershman, author of Some Of Us Glow More Than Others and My Mother Was An Upright Piano


A Panda Appeared in Our Street

A panda appeared in our street, skewered to the railing outside my house. Let me paint the picture: there’s the road outside my house, then there’s this long strip of grass, then there’s the houses opposite. And the grass has got these railings all the way around it, for kids to kick their footballs off and stuff, and this panda was just there that morning, stuck on a row of the spikes, directly opposite my house.

So, I went up to it and I was like that to the kids who were playing out, I was like; who’s is this panda, lads? And they were like; dunno, dunno mate and they didn’t seem to care. So, I knocked on to my neighbour, Gail, and she comes out and I’m like; Gail. Check this out. A panda. And she’s like; hmm, oh yeah aye. So how are you keeping Jon, are you well?

But I’m like; Gail, it’s a panda! What should we do? And she’s like; leave it, it’s just some kid’s toy.

And that’s when I realised. The people of the street; they weren’t seeing the same thing I was. They were seeing a stuffed toy, like a teddy bear type thing, all synthetic fur and glass-bead eyes. But I was seeing something else. I was seeing a real-life panda skewered on a row of the railing spikes. And the poor bugger was still alive.

There was blood on the floor and the panda was squirming and crying out a bit. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about trying to lift it off, but you shouldn’t do that in case you hit an artery. Or it might get angry and start attacking me, or it might run off and hurt some kid. So, I thought; ring the RSPCA, Jon, but if I’m the only one who can see it’s a real panda, they might end up locking me away instead. So, I just left it. I guess I thought someone else would figure it out, or it would free itself or something.


David Hartley

David Hartley is a writer of weird short stories designed to sit in the space between your brain and your skull. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Manchester where he researched narratives of neurodiversity and wrote a novel about autism and ghosts.He is the author of four books: Threshold (Gumbo Press), Spiderseed (Sleepy House Press), Incorcisms (Arachne Press), and Pigskin, a standalone single-story chapbook which was published as part of Fly on the Wall’s political Shorts Season. He lives in Manchester with one human, two rabbits, and an endlessly shifting number of guinea pigs. #AdoptDontShop Twitter: @DHartleyWriterInstagram: DHartleyWriterWebsite: davidhartleywriter.com