Serial Fiction Beta Reads

Seed, Part 4

The Factory

Steve Fendt
3 min readNov 9, 2022

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Trippy City | Steve Fendt

Author’s note for this beta read

  • Please go easy on the highlights.
  • Please, please comment! Be as honest as you like.
  • I’m putting all 12 parts up simultaneously. You can use the list at the end to move between parts.
  • Language warning. Plentiful c-words, f-words and other delights await you.

‘Come on up. Second floor,’ said Jelka’s faint voice, distorted by the door intercom. The buzzer sounded and the door lock clicked open.

The long building had been a carpet factory in its previous life. After a decade empty and derelict, the admin block at the western end had been converted to apartments. The bulk of the building, comprising the factory floor and warehouse below, was turned over to mixed commercial use. A collection of retail outlets occupied the ground floor, from a Turkish deli to a nail salon. The first floor was shared by a dance studio, a martial arts dojo and a tattoo parlour. The top floor was divided into half a dozen studios, with a tiny café and gallery at the eastern end. Its high roof and excellent natural light made a superb arts space.

The stairwell still had the look of a commercial building from the Fifties, with its tall windows in a plain mid-century Modern style. Sal heard a door open high above as the street door swung shut behind him. He looked up and saw Jelka’s pale face appear over the bannister, foreshortened and with her black hair hanging forward. She raised a hand in greeting, leaned on the rail and watched him as he mounted the stairs.

‘No lift, then?’ he puffed when he reached the top.

She looked at him quizzically. ‘You’re not that old, mate.’

‘Asthma. These fucking plane trees.’

‘Ah, sorry. Bad?’

‘Bearable. Always worse after rain.’ He fished an inhaler from his pocket.

‘So … this is it.’ She waved him through the apartment. It didn’t take long: two smallish bedrooms, a tiny kitchen. A west-facing living room with a balcony looking out on Lygon Street across a small carpark. A clean but cramped bathroom.

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Steve Fendt

https://stevefendt.substack.com Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.